TESTAMENT Guitarist Alex Skolnick Discusses The Formation Of Damnation
March 2, 2008, 9 years ago
TESTAMENT guitarist Alex Skolnick has issued the following update:"I'm getting a lot of questions about the new record (The Formation Of Damnation, due April 29th via Nuclear Blast) and my take on how it's all coming together? So I'm going to try to answer some of the frequently asked ones here:
Q. How does this album compare with past Testament albums?
A. I honestly think this is the best one. Not to put down the past albums, but I think this one is strongest in terms of production, songs and playing. I feel I'm playing much better and so is everyone else. It's got the best qualities of both the more recent albums and the earlier albums. It doesn't feel like a reunion anymore, it now feels like a new, current project.
Q. Was it hard to get back into that style of playing after being away from it for so long? Is it difficult to go back and forth from your jazz improv to rock/metal playing?
A. I've got used to it. To me, jazz is a delicate process which requires a heightened awareness and sensitivity. Metal is about intensity, energy and aggression, kind of the opposite of delicate sensitivity! But, I see no reason not to do both. Sure, I needed to step away and be purely involved in jazz for many years to develop those skills. But the metal playing came back very quickly and feels better than it ever has. It's very much yin and yang. I have elements of both in my personality and see no reason not to do both musically.
Q. How involved were you in the writing process?
A. There are a couple songs in which I'm the main writer/contributor. One is 'Dangers Of The Faithless', based on these parts I had in 5/4 time. I wasn't sure it would fit the band, but it sounded good and really different. Chuck came up with a cool vocal part over it, which wasn't easy. The other song is called 'F.E.A.R.' (False Evidence Appearing Real) which I brought in as a finished song. It examines fear from a psychological perspective and I've heard people say the riffs are very 'classic Testament.' But for the most part, I just let Chuck and Eric do their thing with the writing. I'd been gone a long time and they've really developed their own process since then. The last album, The Gathering, has great writing. I respect that and didn't want to get in the way too much. But I'm really happy with the way it turned out.
Q. What was it like working with Paul Bostaph and how does he compare to the other drummers of Testament?
A. We've had some great drummers in the last couple years since I've been back (I can count five!) and it's been great working with them all. But now that Paul's worked in, it really feels like he's the guy. He's such a pleasure to work with. He's got a great sound, solid grooves and great technique. I think the fans will be happy. I know we are."