Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Alex Skolnick Trio: Veritas (Album Review)

Release Date: March 29th, 2011
Review Date: July 16th, 2011
Label: Palmetto 

My rating: 10/10

Ever since the Alex Skolnick Trio released its fourth studio album 'Veritas' around 4 months ago, I've been a huge fan and a constant listener of the brilliant masterpiece. Because this is supposed to be primarily a metal outlet, I was apprehensive about reviewing it on here. But because I just finished reviewing Alex Skolnick Trio's bass solo jazz fusion album, I have opened my mind to more reviews of non-metal albums involving musicians better known for playing in metal bands. 'Veritas' immediately came to my mind, for it's surely an album that deserves to be written about.

The 'fusion' aspect of a jazz-fusion album allows for a whole world of possibilities when it comes to exactly how the jazz sound is presented to the listener. With 'Veritas', AST have given their music a distinctly exotic touch that can be felt throughout the album, starting from the brief opening instrumental tune "Panna", right until the final moments of the hour-long piece. "Bollywood Jam" is certainly one of the most compelling tunes I've heard this year, and as an Indian I'm delighted by the fact that connotations referring to my motherland can be seen not only in the song title, but can also be felt in the music, specially by those who are familiar with Indian music.

Besides Bollywood Jam which has turned out to be the main attraction for listeners so far, the album consists of plenty of other tunes that are equally as powerful in their own unique ways. While "Song Of The Open Road", "Veritas" and "The River Lethe" can be described as slow, soft and sensual, the tunes "Veritas In Brooklyn", "Path Of Least Resistance" and "Flection" come across as intensely dark and melodic tunes that carry a lot of emotion in them. Then there's also the upbeat jazz rock-type tune "99-09" to change things up, treating the listener to a joyful 4-and-a-half minutes. In addition to the nine original tunes, the trio has added the metal touch with an astoundingly soothing cover of Metallica's "Fade To Black". Listening to this tune is an out-of-this-world experience in itself, and is further proof of the kind of impact music can have on the human mind. And as if all this wasn't already worth 100 times the price of the album, they've thrown in an interesting club remix of Bollywood Jam to bring the album to a close.

Overall, Veritas is 60 minutes of unrivaled awesomeness, and a must-have album for any music fan. I wholeheartedly thank Testament for introducing me to the genius of Alex Skolnick, as a consequence of which I began to explore his works in other styles of music.

If you saw me at the NAMM convention this year and if by any chance I came across to you as an Alex Skolnick stalker, here's your answer. Just listen to Veritas.

    Track Listing:
  1. Panna
  2. Bollywood Jam
  3. Song of the Open Road
  4. Veritas
  5. Fade To Black (Metallica cover)
  6. Alone In Brooklyn
  7. 99/09
  8. Path Of Least Resistance
  9. Reflections
  10. The River Lethe
  11. Bollywood Jam - Club Remix Version

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