ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO – Last Day In Paradise

ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO - Last Day In Paradise
  • 8/10
    ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO - Last Day In Paradise - 8/10


Magnatude Records
Release date: March 13, 2007

User Review
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As the lead guitarist of the Bay-area Thrash band, Testament, Alex Skolnick rapidly rose to the forefront of Metal-Shredders with blistering speed and amazing technique. Alex always stood out in the Metal community with his seemingly insatiable appetite to advance his ability and his understanding of his instrument. It wasn’t much of a surprise when Alex seemingly dropped out of the “scene” for a while to challenge himself; in 2001 Alex earned himself a degree after relocating to New York and studying at the New School University’s Jazz program.

Whilst attending school, Alex meet Matt Zebrowski, a young drum prodigy who himself was a Testament fan, and the two immediately started rehearsing together and working out homework assignments. Realizing that they had a good chemistry together, they started working out some arrangements of their favorite Rock standards with Jazz-improv stylings. Together with current bassist Nathan Peck, the Alex Skolnick Trio is releasing a third album, Last Day In Paradise. Unlike the first two discs, this album delves farther into the Jazz mainstream than the previous releases. This is not to say the revamped Rock standards aren’t there, but this offering only features three Rock-infused pieces out of ten songs, whereas the first Skolnick Trio saw eight of the ten songs being covers.

Be advised, discerning listener: although still a member of Testament and a fixture with the touring Rock-ensemble Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the Alex Skolnick Trio is a true-to-the-music Jazz trio. The rearranged version on Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” is almost unrecognizable until Alex kicks into the vocal melody with his guitar, and even then, if you didn’t know what you were listening to, you would struggle to associate the verse with the swinging beat grooving in the background; definitely one of the more original interpretations of the song you will ever hear.

The same treatments are given to Ozzy Osbourne’s “Revelation (Mother Earth)” and Testament’s “Practice What You Preach” (here entitled “Practica Lo Que Predicas”).

Outside of the Rock tribute songs, the rest of the disc is a brilliant display of original Jazz pieces. Akin to the likes of Larry Coryell or Norman Brown, Alex showcases big Jazz chording with brilliant soloing. The stripped-down trio format offers both Zebrowski and Peck a lot of space to swing and groove and take numerous solos themselves.

Alex states that the music is a bit of a reflection of how he sees the world today; the overall vibe of the disc is somewhat brooding and thought provoking. Even with the Rock staples, the disc is very well-paced and has a nice mid-tempo consistency throughout. Alex’s tone is bright and polished; combined with the acoustic upright bass and soft-touch drumming, the disc never threatens to enter the Land of Rock.

Dare to be different with your listening pleasures and The Alex Skolnick Trio will surely entertain your senses. Fans of instrumental music will appreciate the quality of playing on all fronts with Last Day in Paradise. The bottom line on this disc is outstanding musicianship from outstanding musicians served up with class and respect for the Jazz genre. However, if you are looking to check out what “that dude from Testament” is shredding at these days, you would be safer picking up Testament’s The Spitfire Collection.

Track Listing

  1. Mercury Retrograde
  2. Last Day In Paradise
  3. Tom Sawyer
  4. Shades of Grey
  5. Practica Lo Que Predicas
  6.  The Lizard
  7. Channel Four
  8. Revelation Mother Earth
  9. Out There Somewhere
  10. Western Sabbath Stomp


  • Jeremy Juliano

    Jeremy was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He's been involved with and has been following the Metal scene since the early 1980’s. He started out his Metal journey with heavy doses of Maiden, Accept, and Saxon. And in recent years, he has enjoyed the new age of Metal with bands like Hammerfall, Edguy, and Nightwish, to name a few.

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