Alex Skolnick Trio
Live Unbound Independent ✪✪✪✪ ✪
Skolnick came to prominence as the lead guitarist in Testament, with impressive shredding on his Ibanez. These days, he primarily enjoys clean(ish) guitar tones in his trio that leans heavily towards jazz as this new live album shows. Opener, Unbound is a muscular piece with a slap intro reminiscent of 80s era Lee Ritenour with its main melodic phrase’s open drone strings. There’s a slight vibe of the jazzy quartet, Fourplay (Ritenour/Carlton era) here as regards the groove and melody lines. Come solo time, Alex has a great knack of implying the chord changes with his lead lines and arpeggios. Culture Shock is an exciting country train groove with tasty band interplay and nods towards middle eastern modality; this trio plays with real conviction and authority! 99/09 is a cracking funk number; imagine The Meters with bigger chords and more aggressive syncopations! To close, a reworked Aerosmith’s Dream On and The Scorpions’ Still Lovin’ You are both very impressive.