This is one of those things where I realize where I've come from and where I'm going.
Now, I've not been able to tell you by name, or pick out his face, but I've been aware of Alex Skolnick for a very, very long time.
In 1992, I attended my very first show....it was the Iron Maiden Fear of the Dark Tour and the opening acts were Corrosion of Conformity, and Testament....
Looking back, that's an interesting line up....and from what I remember, it was awesome. Things got cloudy that day and that's all I'm going to say.
However, this album has nothing to do with Testament whatsoever. In fact, no one from the band is on this record. Please forget everything you think that this album is going to sound like. Seriously, forget everything.
This CD contains far more than just the man who's name appears on the cover. There is a photo array of all of the folks that appear on this album, and frankly I've only heard of about half of them.
He has apparently desired to work on a cross cultural acoustic album for a very long time.
I've been listening to this CD off and on for the past two or three days. In fact, I'm going to listen to it again on my way home to make sure that I have gotten everything contained in it.
When I think of world music, normally it sounds to me that I'm just not going to be interested in it, but I spun this disc and I allowed the music to seep into me.
Yes, Skolnick is a metal god. Yes, there are traces of metal in the acoustic (and unaffected) guitars here and there, but when you hear the Middle Eastern vocals, the mariachi guitar, the percussion that I can't place, you'll quickly see that this is not a heavy metal record.
This album is not Middle Eastern, or Spanish, or Mexican, or Americana, but all of them and about 25 other things as well. It would feel just as comfortable to listen to parts of this album drinking a whiskey next to a campfire as it would be to listen whilst smoking a hookah pipe.
The album has a strong authenticity to it. The music speaks in feelings, not words or even guitar solos.