METAL ALLEGIANCE began as a celebration of heavy metal, powered by the almost tribal bond shared between the extreme music community’s most revered trailblazers, armed with a list of contributors onstage (and off) that read like a Wikipedia entry on the genre itself.
Last week, the band announced they will release their sophomore album via Nuclear Blast Entertainment on September 7th, 2018. Today, the band release the first album trailer. Watch as the core four discuss the differences between their debut album and their upcoming album, here:
Alex Skolnick comments “The first time around we were kids in a candy store. We could do whatever we wanted – all different eras, all different types of influences. We did go in a few different directions on this album, but not quite as many. This time, I think we have a much better sense of what type of songs really fit the project.”
The thrash worshiping album merges old-school legends with the modern metallers of the scene to produce groove driven, adrenaline soaked anthems while tackling the frustrating state of the world. The list of musicians for “Volume II – Power Drunk Majesty” include Trevor Strnad (THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER), John Bush (ARMORED SAINT), Bobby “BLITZ” Ellsworth (OVERKILL), Mark Tornillo (ACCEPT), Max Cavalera (SOULFLY), Floor Jansen (NIGHTWISH), Johan Hegg (AMON). It also marks the return of Mark Oseguesda (DEATH ANGEL) and Troy Sanders (MASTODON).
“Volume II – Power Drunk Majesty” was produced by Mark Menghi and Alex Skolnick while Mark Lewis of MRL Studios handled the mixing and mastering. The cover artwork was created by renowned artist Marcelo Vasco (SLAYER, MACHINE HEAD, SOULFLY, HATEBREED) and Rafael Tavares.
Below is the track list:
1. The Accuser (feat. Trevor Strnad)
2. Bound by Silence (feat. John Bush)
3. Mother of Sin (feat. Bobby Blitz)
4. Terminal Illusion (feat. Mark Tornillo)
5. King with a Paper Crown (feat. Johan Hegg)
6. Voodoo of the Godsend (feat. Max Cavalera)
7. Liars & Thieves (feat. Troy Sanders)
8. Impulse Control (feat. Mark Osegueda)
9. Power Drunk Majesty (Part I) (feat. Mark Osegueda)
10. Power Drunk Majesty (Part II) (feat. Floor Jansen)
Alex Skolnick is world renowned for being guitarist of thrash titans TESTAMENT over many years. Not one to sit back on his laurels, Alex has also explored many other avenues throughout his musical career, taking part in projects with a selection of varying artists, become a writer and he also formed his own band, the ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO (AST), creating a music fusion of jazz combined with rock and metal elements.
On the road promoting their first live album “Live Unbound”, with Nathan Peck on bass and Matt Zebroski on drums, the AST has just completed a run of UK dates of the ‘Europe Unbound’ Tour. MSF Senior Manager Alison Booth had a chat with Alex prior to the show at Real Time Live in Chesterfield on 2nd March. Some excerpts can be read below, as well as the interview being available on the video, though as the sound is not very loud, the audio is available as well.
Discussing “Live Unbound”, Alex stated:
“There were two main motivations behind this album – one, that it was time to do a new album, but it’s also been hard to get into the studio, largely because of scheduling.
I had these new songs and knew I wanted to do them, but we’ve never done a live record with the Trio. Some of the songs, we’ve been playing for a while, I’ve known these guys over ten years. The songs develop live and I think releasing them now, recorded live, it’s almost like releasing new songs because they’re so road tested and we’ve developed these really cool improvisations that weren’t there when we first recorded the music.”
On cover songs, Alex explained:
“First and foremost I have to like them, but also we haven’t done any new covers in a while. We’re much more interested in original music, but when we were doing them and we still love to play them live, it was a matter of tunes that would work. There has to be a really good melody. Most of the jazz repertoire is built on standard tunes, a lot of them were old show tunes, they had these amazing melodies. And metal is not exactly known for its vocal melody, it’s more about the riff. But I think part of what we do is prove there are amazing melodies, so the first song that we started covering was a song by the Scorpions and the Scorpions are a great example of amazing melodies. The first song we did was ‘No One Like You’ and then we later ended up ‘Still Loving You’, which is our favourite one to play.”
Alex Skolnick Chesterfield, England March 2017
Explaining about freedom of limitations in AST:
“It just feels good and it feels very honest. If you see me playing with Testament or Metal Allegiance I can’t fake it, I’m having a great time. But I also a long time ago, still in my teens, decided that I still wanted to develop as a musician, I don’t want my growth to be stunted. As much as I was a fan of Van Halen, I was also a fan of Jeff Beck and the musicians that Jeff Beck was a fan of, like John McLaughlin and Charles Mingus who’s a giant of the jazz world, so I wanted to know more about that music. And the more I learned, I put so much into guitar technique and being able to shred and play fast and know the music theory, it just seemed a shame to really like this music, whether it was by Mingus or Miles Davis and not being able to play it. I didn’t know it would take years! [laughs]
That’s why I was on a hiatus from performing heavy rock shows for a long time, I didn’t know if I was going to do it again. I figured I probably would, but only if I could get to the point where I felt I had the other side developed.”
Talking about if he will stay with TESTAMENT, Alex expressed:
“[Laughs] I have to be careful how I answer this! There are certain websites that I’m not gonna name, instead of reporting on my tour, you know something really newsworthy, it’s like ‘ok let’s find something he says in an interview and try to make it controversial’, it’s so silly, I’ll just say I didn’t expect to be here this long. When I came back to the band in 2005, honestly at that time I didn’t even know we were going to do a record, but we did the Formation Of Damnation record and the next thing we know, we’re touring with Motörhead, Heaven And Hell and Judas Priest. That was an amzing tour, the Metal Masters tour.
I’ve been here now longer than I was the first time, it’s going really well. Here’s where it gets to be a slippery slope – I’m not sure I want to be an ageing metal guy. I’m still in the decade of relative youth, I’m not in my fifties, I’m in my forties, which is longer than I thought I’d be playing this music. It’s such youth music, you can’t say never but I feel like I don’t wanna be one of those guys going forever in between taking Geritol. But who knows, right now it’s working.”
Alex Skolnick Trio Chesterfield, March 2017
For more information on AST and the rest of the tour dates, visit the official Facebook page here and Alex‘s official website here.
METAL ALLEGIANCE gathered last friday at the City National Grove of Anaheim for an unforgettable tribute to our fallen heroes. Hosted by Jackson, Charvel & EVH as well as sponsored by Loudwire, Monster Energy and Musician’s Institute, the night was filled with many special performances as well as an appearance and early birthday celebration for Ray Burton. Today, the band released an exclusive 360 video of the opening song of the night, ‘Pledge Of Allegiance’.
Check out the video here:
This night marked the first time in a year that the core four, David Ellefson, Alex Skolnick, Mark Menghi, and Mike Portnoy have played together. They shared the stage with Mikkey Dee (MOTÖRHEAD/SCORPIONS), Vinny Appice (DIO, BLACK SABBATH), Richie Faulkner (JUDAS PRIEST), Mike Inez (ALICE IN CHAINS) Eddie Hermida (SUICIDE SILENCE), Arejay Hale (HALESTORM), CARLA HARVEY (BUTCHER BABIES), Chris Jericho (FOZZY), Mark Osegueda (DEATH ANGEL) , Phil Demmel(MACHINE HEAD), Gary Holt (SLAYER/EXODUS), Charlie Benante (ANTHRAX), Chuck Billy (TESTAMENT), and Billy Sheehan (THE WINERY DOGS). The night began with performances by Marty Friedman, Gus G, and MARTYRD.
Guitarist Alex Skolnick has made a few posts regarding the Paris terror attacks via his official Facebook page. Today he has reacted to a lot of comments he has seen on social media, which you can read below.
“Morning coffee at Le Louvre Museum, Paris (feeling very French), a couple years ago.
Pardon the lack of updates. In addition to limited wifi while traveling, it just hasn’t felt right to get back to normal, posting day to day stuff with the proverbial “400 pound gorilla” in the room. A few more thoughts to share and hopefully this will be my last post on this for a while….
First, on the image shared in the previous post: I personally feel the drawing expresses gratitude for the prayers but also offers fresh perspective from someone directly affected by the events (a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist), and is done in a creative and particularly Parisian spirit. Though I’m less and less a fan of certain aspects of organized religion, it wasn’t my intention to disrespect those offering #PrayersForParis, and I know some of you (including some loyal supports I hate to offend) have felt that way. So no offense meant and let’s agree to respectfully disagree?
Next, “Grief Shaming.” By now, most of us have seen these memes accusing Paris supporters of selective mourning (“What about Lebanon?” “What about (insert tragedy here)”. The insinuation is that the outpouring of attention to Paris is that the victims are Western/white and none of us would care otherwise. This depiction seems at best unfair and at worst, insulting. First, it should go without saying that lives in Lebanon (which also has a large Christian population) and elsewhere, including high conflict regions where sadly such events occur often, are of course no less valuable than anywhere else, including Paris (where the victims of the recent attack included non-whites and Arabic names). But you cannot fault people for being more affected by tragic events in a place that they are more personally connected to like Paris, where so many of us have visited often and in many cases, lived and worked.
Why the greater familiarity with Paris? For one thing, it is a place EVERYONE is welcome. You can be an ironically named humorous rock band called Eagles of Death Metal or an actual death-metal group like the one my band is on tour with now (Cannibal Corpse), or a gay couple holding hands openly or a traditional Islamic family or a Jewish shopkeeper or a trans-gender person or a pierced punk rocker…it doesn’t matter. Walk the Parisian streets and you’re likely to rub elbows with all these types and so many more. I could be wrong, but I’m willing to bet not all these types of people would be welcome in Beirut, which is controlled by a militant Islamic organization (Hezbollah), not exactly known for their tolerance. And here’s an inadequate comparison, but Farah Fawcett had the misfortune ofpassing away on the same day as Michael Jackson. The latter’s death was much more unexpected (Fawcett had been battling cancer for years). Sorry but MJ’s music had a bigger impact on many people’s lives than her acting and modeling career (not to disrespect that). The point is, I’m sure Beirut, Nigeria and elsewhere would have received much more attention and public expressions of sympathy on any other day.
At the same time, I personally haven’t chosen to do what so many are doing – fly the French flag for my profile pic. While I see nothing fundamentally wrong it, I’m leery of anything that feels like jumping on a bandwagon (even when I support the premise).
Like many other issues, the recent events in Paris and their aftermath are complex and require thought and consideration, something I’m not seeing enough of with the barrage of amateur online opinions.
However, here are some well laid out opinions I can get behind.
Finally, a few words to those who’ve posted comments that basically amount to “Stick to music,” the folks who hate when I post my views:
1. I will not be silenced, verbally or musically. Deal with it.
2. This is my platform, not yours. You’re an invited guest.
3 I welcome constructive feedback including dissent. But if you walk into someone’s house and behave like a jerk, then you deserve to be thrown out.
In other words, if you’re incapable of replying without personal insults, trolling and twisting words (which invalidates any point you’re trying to make), then I have my finger firmly on the “ban” button. Being on tour, it’s been hard to catch all of these sort of comments, but I’ve seen (and removed) a few. Thankfully most are respectful, even if there is occasional disagreement.
To those who respond respectfully or not at all: thank you. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Hopefully we’ll be back to normal posts soon. Everyone please be safe out there! AS”
Progressive supergroup, JANE GETTER PREMONITION, has teamed up with PopMatters.com to launch a new track “Surprised”, taken from the band’s Madfish debut, “On”, out October 2. Stream album opener “Surprised”at this location.
“‘Surprised’ is based on the opening picking riff,”Getter told PopMatters. “I came up with it one day when I was practicing and the song took off from there. Being a long-time fan of Living Colour, it was a real treat to have Corey Glover sing on this song (and the album!). His voice is the perfect combination of rock, R&B and gospel, and he brings the intensity and soulfulness to the song that I was hoping for.
“The lyrics came from my frustration and astonishment at how toxic the political arena is right now. I continue to be ‘surprised’ and amazed at how hypocritical and self-serving some politicians are.”
Recorded at Avatar Studios in New York, On features a stellar line up of progressive and rock musicians – keyboardist Adam Holzman (Miles Davis, Steven Wilson), bass player Bryan Beller (Joe Satriani, The Aristocrats), jazz/rock drummer Chad Wackerman (Frank Zappa, Allan Holdsworth, Steven Wilson) and special guests including vocalist Corey Glover (Living Colour), jazz/metal guitarist Alex Skolnick (Testament) and British saxophonist, flautist and clarinettist Theo Travis (Steven Wilson, Robert Fripp). The album was co-produced by Jane Getter and Adam Holzman. Mixing duties were handled by Adam Holzman and Anthony Ruotolo at Spin Studios in Long Island City, N.Y.
2. Where Somewhere
3. Pressure Point
4. Train Man
7. Logan (would’ve sounded great on this)
Guitarist and composer Jane Getter has played with many jazz and rock greats while garnering increasing recognition as a bandleader, gifted writer and instrumentalist. Early in her career she toured with legendary jazz/blues organist Brother Jack McDuff. Her composing talents received attention when she won the ASCAP Gershwin Award for Music for Dance or Theatre in the mid 90’s. Her debut CD, Jane, in 1998 received worldwide critical acclaim and the 2006 follow up, See Jane Run, was released on Alternity Records (home of Allan Holdsworth). In 2012 she released the progressive jazz/rock album, Three. Getter also received widespread exposure playing in the Saturday Night Live Band.
Her band has played and toured internationally and live dates for fall 2015 will be announced shortly.
Stay tuned for more information on Jane Getter Premonition and On, out this October on Madfish.
Interviews And Recordings By Sandy Storm And Bobby HQ Storm
NAMM 2015 took place at the Anaheim Convention Center, California, USA from 22-25th January. Luckily for Metal Shock Finland, husband and wife team Sandy and Bobby HQ Storm were there to get into the heart of NAMM and report back all the news from many big names in metal, along with an insight into all the latest instruments and innovations available.
Included in this report, which you can see on the video below are guitarists Alex Skolnick, David Ellefson, Mark Zavon and Roy Z. Ramirez, as well as one of the Fender experts showcasing the newest signature bass guitar for Geddy Lee.
Alex Skolnick told of the busy time he was having at NAMM, with ESP clinics and he had played with the METAL ALLEGIANCE tribute the previous night at the House Of Blues, also the Randy Rhoads remembrance show.
David Ellefson stated that MEGADETH have “new stuff developing, working on a new album” as well as mentioning working with ANTHRAX bass player Frank Bello “working on new songs for our “Altitudes and Attitudes” record“.
Mark Zavon from KILL DEVIL HILL discussed that the band “has been writing and getting ready to start tracking in five or six weeks. We’re looking forward to putting out some new stuff and touring.”
Roy Z. Ramirez enthused about his current project TRIBE OF GYPSIES and also revealed that he is “thinking about doing another group – a hard rock/stoner type of thing“, then he also mentioned bands he is working with at the moment.
Check out the interviews and clips of NAMM on the video below: