Sound — 10
Earlier, Mark Tremonti said that this would be a more aggressive album. I can recall many bands saying that about their new stuff and it still sounds the same. This is one of the rare cases where it actually happens. This is a heavier, more aggressive and complex album than One Day Remains, though Mark Tremonti is good about not straying too far from his original style. I really detect a lot of outside-the-box thinking on Tremonti's part. Same thing with Flip's drumming. In Creed, a lot of his patterns were very similar, if not the exact same, but with Alter Bridge, and particularly on this album, he sounds like a completely different drummer. He's also thrown in some double-bass too! This album really sounds a great deal like something some of his influences would write.
Lyrics — 10
Myles Kennedy had a much larger role in songwriting for Blackbird. He has definitely grown a lot in the three years since One Day Remains. And this is just me, but I've gotten a little more used to his voice. Sometimes, honestly, I think he would sound a little better as a baritone, but he still provides a great voice for Alter Bridge.
Overall Impression — 10
Blackbird sounds more like Alter Bridge and less like Creed pt. 2, which is a good thing (I like Creed, and think it would be cool to see them reunite sooner or later, but that's a different story). Blackbird actually puts me a little more at peace with the knowledge that Creed most likely will not happen ever again. Tremonti has very obviously grown a lot since Creed and even more so since Alter Bridge's first album. I cannot stop listening to this album. I've listened to it all the way through several times already and am not getting tired of it. Any guitarist who is having trouble with his songwriting skills (either just by nature or he chooses not to be creative As I Lay Dying) could take a few tips from Blackbird. The more I listened to Rise Today in the days before Blackbird hit the stores, I got more and more excited about it, and it did not disappoint. If you love a good combo of heavy metal and hard rock, this is the album for you. There are no filler songs on Blackbird. Each song is beautifully crafted like fine pottery. This is the rare case when the artist comes through after having said "this is the best work we've done."