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.

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