Alter Bridge had sowed the seeds of success with their three albums prior to the release of this one. It seems that the world of Metal needed a good shake up, once again and this album received great reviews upon release, given the four talented members of the group, notably singer Myles Kennedy and guitarist Mark Tremonti. Let’s see how this album sounds today, given the positive reception it has received.
We begin with Cry Of Achilles which begins with some pseudo-Spanish acoustic guitar playing that is quite frenetic. It is a nice introduction to the music to come, before going bang into the Metal equivalent of it. It sounds monstrous, and is really awesome. The singing kicks in, and we have a Metal monster that few can compete with. It is very anthemic. It goes into a more melodic section that is a bit more restrained, before unleashing into a very top Metal tune. The musicality here is awesome, notably in the rhythm section included. This is quite uplifting, unusually so for a lot of Metal out there. A really fine effort, it has a quirky midsection with distorted bass and the rest of the band doing an unusual call-and-response sort of motion. Very brilliant, and not at all boring for a six minute long piece. The guitar solo here is really amazing, and blows a lot of the 21st century music away. A great and epic listen, this is a fine start to this album. It ends surprisingly well, a really great start to this album.
Next is Addicted To Pain which begins with a drop tuned intro that sounds really great. It goes into a palm muted semi-Thrash paced song that is really quite good. The whole thing is wonderfully produced, loud and awesome. If Alter Bridge are still making decent tunes in the 21st century, the rest of the world needs to catch up to the quality songs on this album here. Musically, it is explorational and very Heavy Metal and although the lyrics and singing evoke pain, this is a really uplifting joyful and exciting listen. The guitar solo here is really amazing too, very fast and frenetic. A great four minute long song, and proof that Metal is here to stay. Great song, and a fresh and inspired listen.
Bleed It Dry is next with more excellent drop tuned guitars and bashing drums that sound really cool, before launching straight into the song itself. With some socially conscious lyrics and excellent singing, Myles Kennedy does really well here. A really interesting and demonic sort of listen, this is really superb to hear. This piece is more song based in terms of structure than what came previously. A breakdown occurs with clean guitar parts and some singing alone, before launching into a very David Gilmour style guitar solo here, except perhaps a bit more Metal than what David Gilmour would ever do. Really excellent to hear, this is incredible musicianship. Another great song here, it needs over extends its welcome. Excellent.
Lover begins with some beautiful dual tracked acoustic guitars with some whispered lyrics on the top of it. This is different, but really excellent. It then goes into a slower, more ballad style piece that is really awesome. It then goes into a more typical piece with Myles Kennedy singing. This is a romantic ballad for Metalheads out there, but there is always some time and reason for a bit of good variety on this album. The lyrics may be typically dark and heavy for a song of its sort, but it is great to hear anyway. It goes back into the acoustic melodic section as a suspense creator, before going back into loud chaos. Brilliant though, a very anthemic piece of music. Very dark, but beautiful too.
Next is The Uninvited which begins with some watery semi wah-wah guitar parts before it launches into some really Heavy Metal chaos. This is, once again, really excellent music to hear and sounds really punchy, loud and impressive. Surprisingly for Metal of its kind, it is really catchy and headbangingly good. This is not garage jam music, this is obviously well worked on and clever music. Even non-Metal fans could appreciate this sort of thing. The chugging midsection is brilliant. The singing throughout by Myles Kennedy is really top and brilliant here, it sounds as though he is a true professional at what he does. Another decent tune that demands listening.
Following is Peace Is Broken which has a bass guitar led intro, before going straight into an awesome sounding piece with some killer guitar chops by Alter Bridge. This is really cool and awesome, and although the music is mainly formatted to full on Metal, there are always some interesting twists and turns from within. It is an amazing tune with some excellent guitar playing in particular. A wonderful and brilliant piece, it goes into a very melodic second half with some different sounds and textures to blow your mind away. An amazing outro finishes off this song with an expressive and shred style guitar solo. Really amazing song, one of the best from this album. Top.
Calm The Fire begins with more acoustic guitar, deep singing and dark textures in the background. It then has some pseudo-Classical Metal guitar playing that sounds like Yngwie Malmsteen has some real competition here. It then goes into some electric guitar playing and the song itself begins gloriously. It is a punchy and uptempo number that has many original and inspired musical elements to it. An incredible listen, this is wonderful music for those who dig really Heavy Metal. The playing here is really top notch, and sounds really skilled and as though Alter Bridge know their craft very well. An excellent song, and to be fair, quite a decent album too. There is an AC/DC sounding guitar part in the second half that drives this towards the finish. It gets super loud and crazy towards the end, a really fine and wonderful listen all the way through.
Waters Rising has some clean guitar and bass guitar parts in the opening section, before singing kicks this one off. It goes into a loud and electrified piece of music that is quite good, once again. Admittedly the songs here if they do have a flaw, they sound a bit too much like each other. However, that is easily forgivable as the music here is of good quality. This is an excellent and thunderous listen regardless, which goes into a different midsection with some chugging guitar and pounding drums, with some lyrics that are quite apocalyptic. It goes back into the full on Metal assault after the midsection, and towards the end is a legendary guitar solo. Great stuff, a decent listen. The outro is pretty ghostly.
Next is Farther Than The Sun which begins with some psychedelic guitar riffs and some drum rolls, before going into a super dropped guitar sound that is pretty cool. This song has some outer space lyrics to match, but still sounding Metal and introspective. This is a really cool listening experience, it sounds really interesting and nicely layered in terms of instrumentation. A good song with some trippy sound effects throughout, this is really incredible. There is an amazing guitar solo in the second half that is really awesome. Great stuff, and really cool to hear something a bit different but still really Metal here.
Following is Cry A River which is a semi-Thrash Metal piece to begin with, before going into a good piece of music that is really frenetic. This song is quite good, perhaps not as impressive as what has come before it, but still really good anyway. It takes aim at a person who has lost sense lyrically, and musically has some frenetic guitar work. The changing time signatures are really cool here, but this track is a little lacking, except for the guitar solo in the second half here, which is welcome. A good song, just a little short of being great, however.
All Ends Well begins with some beautiful acoustic guitar work, and the rest of the band kick in nicely to match a groove with it. It is a reassuring listening experience, and is a welcome change from some of the more morbid themes that Metal can bring. Singing about believing in yourself is a nice concept. This piece is more songy as a result, but still kicks the proverbial. Different, yet great to hear, this is proof that the songs on this album are variable and interesting enough to attract new and older listeners to Alter Bridge. The acoustic playing re-emerges briefly, before going into an awesome sonic piece that finishes off the track nicely. Nice sentiment and decent tune.
Fortress is the last song and title track of the album. It begins with clean electric guitar arpeggios and sure enough, goes into a banging drum beat. Some soft singing enters, and we have another really cool tune here. It sounds really quite amazing, just like the rest of the album. The sections alternate here, and some lyrics about desire and suffering are here. If one likes Metal and breakup songs, this is your piece of music that should fit you perfectly. Some interesting and incredible guitar playing is here as well, making this piece come alive. A great way to finish off this album, there are a huge amount of guitar pyrotechnics here. It quickly goes into a loud and very Black Sabbath sounding second half, with an screaming guitar solo. This is musically amazing, and sounds really cool. It then goes into a frenzied section of drop tuned playing, before going back into a quieter and more melodic piece of music. Singing resumes, and towards the end of this song we hear the climaxed section of music that suits the album well. Great to hear, and a nice way to finish off this very good listen of an album.
Okay, it’s Metal and very Heavy Metal at that. Still, the songs here are somewhat broad in appeal and they have an interesting set of musical touches. This is a very good listen, regardless of if you dig this sort of music or not. Any flaws? The album goes on for over an hour and most of the songs are the exact same length, oddly enough. Still, a good effort, although maybe not an instant classic. Worth hearing, however.
Dark and demonic.
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