Former TESTAMENT guitarist Alex Skolnick, whose previous group was once considered to be among the natural successors to the San Francisco Bay Area metal throne held by METALLICA, has slammed his one-time heroes, calling their latest opus, "St. Anger" a "sloppy mess" and insisting that Hetfield and Co. "represent everything wrong with the music business."Asked by a fan on his official message board at www.alexskolnick.com if he's heard METALLICA's newest effort, Skolnick writes, "I must point out that when . . . I [and the rest of my band, THE ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO] heard ['St. Anger'] on the radio [in early June], we were all in disbelief. It sounds like the whole thing was pasted together using Pro Tools and the band didn't even play together in the studio. The once-powerful guitar and drum sounds have been replaced with nu-metal-like samples and thin tones. There is no unity or cohesiveness to the songs. Some of them are downright funny, as if 'Saturday Night Live' was doing a skit making fun of them. "If [METALLICA] really wanted to recapture their old energy, they should have gone back to the garage and got in touch with who they once were," he continued. "This album represents what they are now: a sloppy mess (albeit one with a lot of wealth and power). Lars Ulrich once said that BON JOVI's music represents everything wrong with the music business. The same can now be said of METALLICA. I don't mean to be so negative here, but as a one time fan of the band, and even knowing them a little from the Bay Area scene at one time, it's sad to see the that all the integrity which they prided themselves on is gone." When questioned if he would ever consider going back to his early thrash roots, Skolnick responded, "I'd like to think that I've comfortably moved on to a new place, both musically and personally. I have no interest in proving I'm who I used to be. Why? Because I think I have something relevant to say NOW.
"Even though [THE ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO] does music that is labeled as 'acoustic jazz,' in some ways it has more in common with the early METALLICA than their latest album. Why? Because it's a group of guys playing live in the studio and all production and mixing is done in such a way as to preserve that quality. Great albums, whether by MILES DAVIS or LED ZEPPELIN, GIL EVANS or VAN HALEN, have had that 'live' energy as did the early METALLICA. Bad pop records are the ones that completely lose that quality and sound like studio projects. It may just be my opinion, but I feel that the new METALLICA (like most 'nu metal') qualifies as the latter." As previously reported, THE ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO will be teaming up with MARTY FRIEDMAN (ex-MEGADETH) and OHM (featuring ex-MEGADETH guitarist Chris Poland) for a short U.S. tour beginning in early September. Click here to see a list of currently confirmed dates.