on the subject of Alex Skolnick…

…and handsome singers, why, I can’t leave you without a Testament fix.

Now, here is some scary cosmic balance at work here. Chuck Billy, the frontman of Testament, is one of the best singers in metal ever. His name may not pop up that often in various lists and ratings, but actually he’s got a crazy range and unbelievable technique (folk/jazz-based rather than “operatic”, but still).

And in his late twenties, he was probably the most good-looking male I have ever seen.

Sorry for the quality, it’s an old video and apparently not even the band themselves have a good copy.

An obligatory live version – the quality is about the same, and you can hear Chuck has always been more aggressive live. But I hope you know that successfully delivering it that harsh takes even more technique than just being nicely clean an’stuff.

Alex Skolnick’s “last…for a while” Testament album was less “thrashy”, so purists aren’t that fond of it, but I’m no purist.

Chuck started gaining weight in the early-to-mid nineties, but you can hardly blame him for that – as it turned out a few years later, he had some weird sort of cancer.
You know what, he lived through that and still performs.

Here’s a lovely song off their 1994 “Low” album (without Alex) – Chuck doesn’t exactly multitrack in the studio as much as Hansi Kürsch does (Hansi’s a fan, coincidentally), but quite a lot; and if you add up the range of all the vocal parts in this song, including the backing ones, it is frellin’ three octaves. No kidding.

And here’s a great live version of this song – audio only; you can hear it’s been simplified somewhat, but what remains is still beyond impressive:


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