Album Review: Alter Bridge – AB III

The biggest worry among many Alter Bridge fans when ‘AB III’ was announced was how could they possibly create an album worthy of or better than ‘Blackbird’ now that Creed had reunited. Myles stated that Alter Bridge had spent nowhere near the same amount of time on ‘AB III’ as on previous albums, and this came down to the time spent by the remaining members on the road with Creed. ‘Blackbird’, as any fan will know, is certainly not an easy album to follow up to and it’s only made that bit harder when it is the album that guaranteed the hard rock legacy of these four gentlemen.

Did the break and time spent with Creed hinder ‘AB III’? Not even in the slightest.

Alter Bridge AB 3 ArtworkAlter Bridge have returned with a more powerful, darker album than their previous two releases but have again found a reserve within themselves to take it up a notch musically. ‘Blackbird’ had Myles becoming the rhythm guitarist as well as handling lead vocal duties when the other members discovered his talent on tour and ‘Blackbird’ benefitted incredibly from this. ‘AB III’ not only showcases the growth in Myles own guitar skills, but Mark also performs above what we have come to expect from him with some new tricks in the bag. Over the last six years Myles and Mark have always been the main men for Alter Bridge but Brian and Scott cannot be forgotten with equally incredible performances and combined, each member feeds off what the other is giving to accomplish a mature and more solid sound.

The growing relationship between Myles and Mark should be intimidating to any band who believe they are worthy of the hard rock crown as when both combine they write some incredible songs, such as the opening to ‘AB III’, ‘Slip To The Void’. Instantly we’re listening to the new dark Alter Bridge with Myles vocals creating the atmosphere with minimal backing before bursting into a heavy classic Mark Tremonti riff and powerful chorus.  Followed by ‘Isolation’, the first taste that we all had of ‘AB III’ and one of the fastest songs on the album, comes another heavy and dark anthem.

‘Ghost Of Days Gone By’ is a song that I have found among listeners is receiving a mixed welcome but it is certainly one of my favourites on the album. While we focus on the vocals on Myles powering the song forward, Brian and Scott are pushed to the front as they carry the song with a catchy upbeat rhythm. Yet the catchy and upbeat feeling found at the beginning of the song is later removed when Mark joins the fray  and the song transforms to a new level and becomes heavier.

Songs such as ‘Still Remains’, another fast paced and heavily metal influenced song should and will likely become one of the highlights of this album to every listener. ‘Show Me A Sign’ is again a perfect example of that dark sound the band have went for on this album as it incorporates a menacing atmosphere with a lot of powerful riffs and vocals to strike the right chords.

‘Wonderful Life’ takes it down a few notches as the band cover death and loss in their lyrics and while this could have become a bog standard ballad, the band, especially Myles, found a perfect balance in striking between moods. It is a beautifully performed song and Myles has one of his best performances to date as he is able to showcase more than just the power in his voice as he allows the emotion to carry him throughout.

‘Coeur D’Alene’ is one of the strongest songs on the album. While the song still has that menacing sinister feel to it, Mark intertwines the dark riffs perfect with the melody and the song flows incredibly with Scott’s drumming becoming a key focus as Mark works his way in and out.

As the album comes to a close on ‘Words Darker Than Their Wings’ I have heard some great songs and while I wasn’t struck from the start of the song, I was pulled in when Mark takes over lead vocals. Throughout the album Marks vocal is stronger than I have ever heard before. His voice is given a lot more focus when he is doing backing vocals but as he and Myles switch on lead vocals and again combine later on the chorus, you cannot help but love the direction they have taken with this song. As we previously reported, Mark is working on his own solo project and if he is becoming comfortable on lead vocals, then this could spell a great sign for future Alter Bridge releases. Although later in the song, Myles does showcase why he will always be the out and out vocalist and this album just provides more evidence to why he is one of the best rock vocalists of all time.

Again, as I said, I was worried before I was given my copy and having had it for some time now, I just think what an idiot I was to doubt the ability of these men as ‘AB III’ is yet another great album.

Too many people try to compare Alter Bridge to Creed but frankly Creed are now a thing of the past. Their latest release didn’t strike me the way their earlier works did and although it was good to see them back again, Alter Bridge have a much bigger future ahead. ‘Blackbird’ gave the band the status they required to be remembered for years or even decades to come. They are a band who are shaping the hard rock genre for the future and for the better, when you consider some of the dross that is being released, but now ‘AB III’ has been released, they have in many ways taken the genre to another level and certified themselves as the band to compete with right now.

Performing these songs live to this standard will be the next step and with the first tour date in support of ‘AB III’ right here in Scotland, I can’t wait to see what the band has in store.

Rating – 9

     

About Michael

Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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