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Alter Bridge

Fortress

Written by: BW on 08/01/2014 18:06:31

Alter Bridge, as all fans will know, are basically a more rocking version of Creed, which they were before Scott Stapp made way for Myles Kennedy. In a lot of ways the style stayed the same through "All Day Remains" and "Blackbird" (their first two albums) and it wasn’t until the imaginatively titled "AB III" that we started to see an identity to go with the new line up that differed enough from the previous incarnation to help them stand on their own. With "Fortress" they’ve truly broken off those shackles and become a band to be fully reckoned with.

From the Spanish guitar intro to the dirt laden and almost narcissistic riff leading the way on "Cry of Achilles" you know that there is a big picture that this album wants to paint right from the off. Once Kennedy waltzes in with a haunting harmony and the song begins to settle you’re already feeling the beat and getting into the feel of what your ears are accepting. The noticeable thing from track one is that they are leaning as far away from their old sound as they dare without totally alienating their fan base (so not a Linkin Park, basically). The best way of showing how far they’re willing to move away from their older comfort zone would have to be my favourite track on the album, "Calm The Fire". The intro almost has a resemblance to Evanescence’s "Lithium", but then the moody guitar strains kick in with a thumping drum to hit home the intention.

So what does this tell us about the band as a whole from those original days then? Well you are really starting to see a darker side to their musical input. Even with the slower ballad styled songs like "Lover" you hear whisperings rather than the usual soft sung vocals and more minor chords than you’re perhaps used to. This only furthers the admiration I have personally for this album. It’s almost like they’re taking risks and it seems to be working.

The real test is usually in the single release. "Addicted To Pain" has a hard enough tag on it and as much as it is a little softer than some others on the record it still goes some way to have this fan smiling. The biggest plus point in Tremonti, Kennedy, Phillips and Marshall changing it up is that you want to listen to the album thoroughly to examine all the new additions to their sound. "Peace is Broken" as an example has little extras like Tremonti performing a helicopter-like strum as a background noise to add a bit of drama to the track as well as Myles performing some of his characteristic high notes to turn what could have been a flat standard into a full bodies rock track.

The key word to use with "Fortress" is refinement. This is the fourth album from a band that have been on the go for nearly ten years now and the experience of working together for this time as well as a creative connection allow for a more intricate and professional end product. Even with their normal styled tunes like "Waters Rising" they move things around by letting Mark Tremonti sing lead vocal, which is not normal, but those who have heard his solo work will know how decent an all rounder he really is.

The best compliment I could give "Fortress" is quite simply this..... It’s the best album they’ve done as a whole entity. This album will be their defining one and will hold them in good stead for whatever comes next, but you’ll need enough time to enjoy this one first, as it is a masterpiece in how to do good, soulful music.

Well done boys.

9

Download: Fortress, Calm The Fire, Cry Of Achilles, Lover
For The Fans Of: Creed, Black Stone Cherry, Shinedown, Audioslave
Listen: facebook.com

Release Date 25.09.2013
Roadrunner / EMI

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