Sound — 10
I have been a die hard fan of Alter Bridge ever since I first saw the Open Your Eyes video on a Metal Hammer DVD from a friend. I was sucked in by the beautiful musicality and harmony, soulful rock vocals and the ripping solos that I couldn't stop listening to that one song.
I've been keeping up on the news of AB 3 up to the when it came out on Monday. Kerrang! Magazine had rated it 3K!'s out of 5. This didn't stop me from buying it, as far as I was concerned, I'm a fan and Kerrang! has never stopped me before.
AB 3 is the bands' first ever concept album. As far as I'm aware, it is a concept based around the Bands' struggle in terms of faith and religion etc. Please correct me otherwise! The concept is about a man who loses hope and his faith in God, the song "Wonderful Life" is a beautiful yet sad song about the character's wife dying of disease. Like I said if this is wrong please feel free to correct me, but if this is the theme they want to convey then by golly have the done it! I'm the kind of musician that likes to portray and emotion or theme through my guitar playing or songwriting or any other instrument etc. So this album really does it for me in that in that respect!
Overall, the tone and vibe of the album is a lot more dark and aggressive and sounds like a progression from their previous album 'Blackbird'. So basically if you were a big lover of AB's heavy and aggressive riffs much like the songs "Come To Life" or "One By One" you're gonna love this album!
What took me by surprise in 'Blackbird' was the fact that frontman Myles Kennedy decided to pick up his guitars a lot more which really changed the way songs were written as oppose to the 'One Day Remains' album where the majority of guitar parts were written by guitar extroardinaire, Mark Tremonti. In AB 3 Myles has decided to join Mark Tremonti as guitar extroardinaire. There is definately a balance between who plays a guitar a solo in this album, but it has been really been an oppurtune moment for Myles to shine by tearing his guitar to pieces! A lot of people haven't heard him play like this since back in the days of The Mayfield four! The guitar playing is definately a lot more intricate in this album especially for Myles.
Lyrics — 10
Lyrics are hard to judge; as far as I'm concerned, lyrics are your own personal input on life or the concept or whatever you're writing about. In my opinion, the lyrics used are mainly simple but affective and they definitely reflect against the instrumentation beautifully. The lyrics are meaningful and the musicality is harsh and aggressive and together I think it really conveys what message and feeling Alter Bridge are trying to get across.
In terms of vocal skills, when has Myles Kennedy ever had a bad moment? He has such an amazing tonal quality and range that a lot of rock singers long for and has proved himself worthy in the music industry for recently appearing in Slash's brand new album in 2 out of 14 great tracks, and fronting for Slash's touring band to promote the album. He didn't exactly fill Axl's shoes when it came to playing the Guns' classics but that wasn't the idea, he still arrived on top.
Vocals are also another aspect that has developed from the previous two albums. Myles really shows his aggression a lot more in this album with his voice and you start to get the impression that he means what he's singing... which is something we may not see a lot these days!
We all know that Mark Tremonti has always been there to add that little extra alongside the voice of Myles Kennedy, but what may surprise you is the chorus in the final song "Words Darker Than Their Wings" where Mark Tremonti takes the role of lead vocalist. Once again, just as a delightful surprise as hearing Myles play lead guitar. Awesome!
Overall Impression — 9
It's hard to compare to the previous two albums positively or negatively! The reason I say this is because this tone didn't just appear from nowhere. The sound that Alter Bridge have today has simply appearing from a healthy progression from their first album to present day. I think the band have managed to develope what they had from 'One Day Remains' whilst still keeping those aspects that make Alter Bridge and as a result they've became a more well rounded band that and appeal to much bigger range of people.
What I love about the album is what I love about Alter Bridge. They bring something new to their table everytime. For example one of my favourite songs in the album is "The Ghost of Days Gone By" this has a sound that I've not heard from AB and the general feel of the song gets me everytime. It's a lovely experiment and I like it.
The most impressive songs? The open track is definitely something we haven't heard from AB. "Slip To The Void" has an eery, ambient opening before they introduce you to the beefy riffs and epic chorus.
"Isolation" is the first single from the album which comes in after "Slip To The Void" that sets the mood for you before "Isolation" kicks in. "Isolation" is just a straight up heavy rock song, heavy riffed verse and melodic chorus which once again, is ridiculously catchy! Intricate guitar solos from both guitarist and the perfect metal breakdown. The first two tracks practically set the bar for what's in store for you!
I'd happily without even thinking, suggest this to any AB or metal fan that has an appreciation the technical side of music, and if you're one to believe in faith and hope this could have those little moments where songs speak to you, it certainly does for me!
When I bought 'Blackbird' I actually dropped it and the case was smashed to bits; I was gutted but straight after ordering AB 3 I re-placed my old battered copy of 'Blackbird', so yes, if I this was stolen or lost I would go out to HMV or log on to Amazon and buy it again! Hope this has been helpful to you.
All the best! Daniel