Thursday, 4 November 2010

A couple of weeks ago I was hit by very welcome and exciting news, news which caused me to shout out loudly in excitement...BRAND NEW ALTER BRIDGE ALBUM!!! Excellent news I thought, one of my favourite bands with a new album, and just in time for their latest UK tour (which unfortunately I wasn't able to make, due to my student poverty and another reason which I will get on to in a minute). 

    I have to tell people the news, spread the excitement I thought. However I realised I only have one mate who would have got anywhere near as much excitement from this news, and I know quite a few people who like/love heavy music, the second problem with not being able to see their tour being a lack of someone else wanting to see the band (damn my friend for being in Leicester!!). This isn't even a case of people I know otherwise absolutely hating them, but mere indifference to the band. For me this is a complete injustice, for a band containing so much talent, so many quality songs, and (admittedly taken from DVD clips and reviews, no personal experience in this case) a phenomenal live act. So instead of an album review of Alter Bridge's third album (the imaginatively titled ABIII), I decided to write a piece about this band, about why I love them, and hopefully strike a bit of curiosity amongst some of you and open you up to an awesome, and very catchy world of one of the most underrated bands on the planet.

    As some of you may know three of the band members (Guitarist Mark Tremonti, Bassist Brian Marshall and Drummer Scott Philips) started out as part of Christian/Grunge rockers Creed, a band who despite selling millions, and being absolutely huge (especially in the States) are generally despised amongst the majority of metalheads. This for some may be a factor that puts them off Alter Bridge (completed by singer Myles Kennedy), but others may see that even if your not a fan of Creed, they were undeniably great song writers and made some very emotive music (and still do since their reunion last year), and if your like me and you think Creed are pretty awesome then this will be a great incentive to check out Alter Bridge

    But as amazing as they were songwriters in Creed, they certainly came fully into their stride with the formation of Alter Bridge, the début album One Day Remains, though despite not being the most breathtaking of débuts; and certainly not Alter Bridge's strongest album, contained some instantly powerful and incredible songs, just try to listen to Metalingus (a song still used to this day as the titantron for WWE Superstar Edge, which is where me and my friend mentioned before first discovered this band) without air guitaring, drumming, headbanging or just tapping away like a lunatic. Mark Tremonti, undoubtedly not only one of the best guitarists, but also one of the coolest looking as well, and the rhythm section of Scott and Brian is a definate force to be reckoned with. 

    Equally important to these three members is the amazing vocal ability and lyricism of Myles Kennedy, definately one of, if not THE most underrated singer in the world right now. A vocalist who seems to be able to do pretty much everything, from powerful and commanding hard rock singing to spine tingling sadness and vulnerability, such as in One  Day Remains' incredible ballad In Loving Memory (a song written for the death of Mark's mother) or the moving Watch Over You from the epic Blackbird album. It is difficult to put into words how amazing Myles' voice is, but don't just take my word for it, just ask Led Zeppelin, for whom he auditioned for the possibly vacant lead singer position a couple of years ago, or guitar legend Slash, for whom he is the current touring lead singer, and who provided vocals for the stunning Starlight on Slash's debut album released this year.

    Myles involvement with Alter Bridge has seen the band veer towards darker, more sombre territory than the more positive and praising work of Creed. Here subject matter is very much bleaker for the most part, songs on the brand new album ABIII focus on a person who has lost all faith and belief, reflection on hard times faced in the world right now. Saying this Alter Bridge have a huge arsenal of songs made to make you pump your fist and jump. Come To Life, Metalingus, new single Isolation, White Knuckles are just a few examples, and they are songs that sound like they purpose built for the pit and the live environment as well as on high volume from a pair of headphones. 

    Touching on the new release ABIII, whilst it is an impressive collection once again, apart from Isolation it does lack more really memorable songs, a problem that previous album Blackbird did not lack AT ALL. If you are to listen to one Alter Bridge album then it has to be Blackbird, an album that is a personal favourite of mine, songs like Rise Today, Come To Life, Coming Home and Watch Over You ( a song which Myles famously performs live alone with an acoustic guitar) being incredible pieces of musicianship. 

    With all of this in mind, Alter Bridge certainly do have a big following in the hard rock and metal world, recently an article in Metalhammer, and a large UK date including headlining the prestiges Hammersmith Apollo, so its not like no one at all has heard of them. But from personal circles they seem to be a band not really known of, and in my opinion this is an absolute tragedy. So if you read this article, take a few minutes of your time to check this band out, it will be a couple of minutes well spent. You may find them to be your new favourite band, and I will have another person to talk to them about. 

Essential Play list: Come To Life, Open Your Eyes, In Loving Memory, Watch Over You, Isolation, Broken Wings.

Stone Sour- Audio Secrecy

Time for my first real post on here. This is a piece I wrote a little while ago, an album review of the new Stone Sour album Audio Secrecy

Following the tragic passing of Slipknot bassist Paul Gray and a successful performance at this year’s Download festival, this album is highly anticipated and certainly under the spotlight as to what Corey Taylor and co will pull off. Thought of by many as a mere side project; and the heaviness of said band, it is striking how far away from the Slipknot sound Audio Secrecy is, even more so than the two previous albums. Whilst heavier moments remain (e.g. Mission Statement, Unfinished) and there is undoubtedly some hints towards Slipknot’s inspiration this album veers more to mainstream, radio ready rock anthems , whilst still sticking to the Stone Sour sound fans will recognise. Single Say You’ll Haunt Me being a prime example, easily suited to radio, yet Corey’s growl still included.  Corey’s impressive vocal skills once again on show, showing he is a fantastic singer on the albums numerous ballads; most impressively the Alice In Chains inspired Imperfect followed by the beautiful Miracles, to a grittier vocal styling on The Bitter End. Whilst not all the songs are necessarily the most memorable; and this isn't perhaps the bands best effort yet (Come What(ever) May being a very hard album to beat), this is mostly an impressive showing, and proof that Stone Sour are more than just a side project.


Listen to: Imperfect, Say You’ll Haunt Me, Dying

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Good Day To You All

    Hello there. This pointless post is merely to start this blog thing rolling (Im completely new to this so bare with me). As you may have already gathered my name is Chris, and I am a student, therefore this blog will be updated whenever I find time within my busy schedule of sleeping, brief studying then watching crap tv and playing xbox.
    Joking aside, music is a very important part of my life, and im sure many people's lives. Music has an effect on pretty much every aspect of how we feel; Music can make you smile, make you cry, make you feel empowered, feel relaxed, feel inspired and motivated. Pieces of music can remind us of happy times, dark days, people in our past, or even who are still around and generally can make us feel good about ourselves and better no matter what. This is certainly the case with me. 
    I am pretty obsessed when it comes to music (Mostly Hard Rock and Metal, but I will listen and enjoy most things, but not quite as much as Hard Rock and Metal) I have to say. I am the little fan boy who avidly looks everyday in the hope of news from my favourite artists, new tours (although as a lowly poor student going to gigs is now a rare occurrence), new albums etc. When money allows I will often rush out to buy brand new albums from bands and artists I love, as well as magazines. Listening to music, I am also very passionate about writing about music, which is where this blog comes in. 
    This blog will contain album reviews and my thoughts and opinions about bands, artists and events in the music world (Can only really give thoughts about Hard Rock and Metal if i'm honest, but if I can I will try to diversify), and I hope this will help develop my abilities as a writer, any feedback is very much appreciated. I hope you enjoy my future ramblings :).