Sound — 10
Finally, after their 2004 debut album, One Day Remains, Alter Bridge release their sophomore effort, Blackbird. Blackbird showcases everything that has proved Mark Tremonti as a brilliant songwriter and an awesome guitarist. Heavy distorted riffs, elegant and beautiful clean guitar parts, strong memorable choruses and brilliant solos are all part of this awesome album. What most sets apart this album from it's predecessor is the overall darker and heavier feel it has, and Myles Kennedy's clear contributions, mostly lyrically. Another thing that's different from ODR is Tremonti's backup vocals, which are more present and more felt. Like always Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips provide a tight rhythm session.
Lyrics — 10
I know there are some people saying that the lyrics are too generic or whatever but I disagree. The lyrics' themes vary significantly. Lyrics about war, alcoholism, sorrow, loneliness, positive social reform, death, and overcoming pain are all present in Blackbird. Myles continues to prove himself as one of the best voices in rock ever, with his magnificent range and voice control. He's highly emotional voice showcased in every song overcomes any feeling of blandness the lyrics might induce.
Overall Impression — 9
Alter Bridge definitely made a great album, miles ahead of anything release by other modern rock bands. I would say that technically Blackbird is better than One Day Remains as far as musicianship and production are concerned, but it still hasn't left the same impression of "freshness" that One Day Remains caused in me. 01. Ties That Bind - a good opener, nice fast-paced track. Myles's vocals stand out a lot in this one. The song finishes with a nice solo by Tremonti. 02. Come To Life - heavy track with a very heavy intro riff. Mark lets loose, once again, in the middle of the song with a solo containing some "shredtastic" passages. 03. Brand New Start - opens with a nice clean melodic intro. Has a catchy chorus, and a kickass solo. The solo is very melodic and emotional (like the rest of the song) and showcases, in my opinion, one of Tremonti's best ever. One of my album favorites. 04. Buried Alive - opens with an intro full of tasteful licks by Mark and then lands directly into the first verse powered by a slow and heavy riff. I found the bridge to be very contrasting with the song in general (definitely not a bad thing). Again, Mark comes through at the end with a awesome solo with Myles's vocals fading in the background. 05. Coming Home - opens with a heavy intro once again. This song is quite different from the rest of the material from the band. Nice verse and catchy chorus. Sorry no solo on this one. 06. Before Tomorrow Comes - a very nice, catchy song that sounds much like their previous material. It's one of the mellower tracks in the album. Myles and Mark's vocals really shine on this one. 07. Rise Today - nothing too special about this one. Has some good hooks and is maybe the album's most radio friendly song. The solo makes up for what the rest of the song lacks though. 08. Blackbird - my favorite song of the album. Opens with a beautiful, melancholic intro, then jumps into a heavy, distorted guitar riff. The song reminded me a lot of Opeth, with it's overall gloomy feel and it's dissonant guitar parts. The epic-like chorus is sung brilliantly by Myles. Myles also contributes a very melodic heartfelt guitar solo to the song, and when it's just about finished Tremonti unleashes the beast inside of him letting rip a huge solo. 09. One By One - opens with a good heavy riff. The most memorable part of this song for me is the chorus. Very catchy and emotional. It will stay in your head for days. 10. Watch Over You - this song is the ballad of the album. Nothing to big, has some emotional parts though. I'm really not a fan of ballads but it does a good job of setting a different feel from the rest of the album. 11. Break Me Down - another one of the album's less memorable tracks. Overall a catchy track but didn't standout from the rest. In my opinion, tied with Rise Today for the weakest track on the album. 12. White Knuckles - this song is great. Definitely picks up where Blackbird (title track) left off. The main riff is heavy and fast, reminiscent of Bullets (Creed). The track has an overall heavy and "in your face" feel. 13. Wayward One - very strong track to finish the album with. It starts with a clean riff that continues throughout the verse. The chorus is amazing, and after the second one the track turns a little bit heavier and darker with the bridge. Last but certainly not least Mark provides, in my opinion, his most technical solo of the album. Fast, shreddy and with lots of neo-classical influenced licks. In other words, a great way to finish a great album. Overall, the only thing that I didn't like about Blackbird is that it still feels as Mark and co. are still not pouring all their talent unto their music. And yes, I would certainly buy another copy of this album if it where stolen. Can't wait for their next one!