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Release Date: Oct 8, 2007
Genres: Alternative Metal, Post-Grunge
Label: Universal Republic
Number Of Tracks: 13
Alter Bridge is at its strongest when it doesn't hesitate to deliver riff after riff without a slowdown on "Blackbird."
BlackbirdFeatured review by: UG Team, on october 09, 2007 7 of 12 people found this review helpful
Sound: It's not easy for some musicians to let go of the past with their former bands, but Alter Bridge's Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall, and Scott Phillips may be an example of the contrary. Despite Creed being teased for it's benign rock and vocalist Scott Stapp's antics in the public eye, the formation of Alter Bridge has breathed new life into Tremonti, Marshall, and Phillip's careers. They've obviously got some loyal fans after Alter Bridge's debut album went triple platinum, and the new record Blackbird should maintain that popularity. Alter Bridge still remains a viable band for radio, which will still annoy some listeners out there, but Blackbird does feature some fantastic riff work that is missing from other groups that also get regular airplay.
There is still an equal helping of rock tracks and a bit more sedate material, and there's not necessarily any huge creative turns in Blackbird. But to the band's credit, the guitar work is shockingly more impressive than some of the harder groups in the metal world. Alter Bridge is a strong supporter of a driving riff to carry the song, not to mention some incredible solos. There's a heap of pinch harmonics on the record, and that Zakk Wylde-esque touch is all that some songs need to go from average to memorable. Vocalist Myles Kennedy has a lot to compete with in terms of the instruments backing him, but the frontman has the vocal power to stand his ground.
The title track, a moody and tempo-changing track, is definitely the standout on Blackbird. It starts out like any other rock ballad you might hear, but by the end you've been taken in every which direction. The acoustic introduction is quickly overtaken by some Black Sabbath-style guitars and there are some unusual chord changes through the course. The verses do lag a bit when compared with the explosion that happens during the chorus, but at the same time that contrast maintains a nice up-and-down motion to the song format.
While most every fast tempo track on the record features at least one cool hook, the best guitar work is on the opener Ties That Bind and One On One, which has a darker metal feel to it. In One On One, once again the verses go in a different direction and it tends to get a bit too laid-back. That's probably the biggest complaint with Alter Bridge. It would be nice to hear guitarist Tremonti just let loose the entire song without any easing up during the verse. It's during those slowed-down moments that it feels a bit too much like they're trying to write for the radio. // 8
Lyrics: Alter Bridge's lyrics are pretty standard for rock bands these days, with themes of overcoming pain, sorrow, and loneliness. A good example is Buried Alive in which Kennedy sings, I twist and turn; In the darkest space; Can't find my worth; As I numb the pain. While it does have a familiar ring to it, the lyrics do stop short of being generic throughout the rest of the song. Kennedy is singing about universal emotions and that can usually make for a great rock song or ballad. // 8
Overall Impression: There are highs and lows on Blackbird, and the tracks tend to a have a bit of both along the way. Some moments are reminiscent of a song like Creed's Arms Wide Open, which for this reviewer, is disappointing. It's the moments when the band goes all-out and delivers an epic track or simply lays out hook after hook that truly makes an impression. When you hear what the band is capable of in Blackbird or Come To Life (which features both a killer guitar intro and some nice, subtle vocal effects), you wish that Alter Bridge will add a few more songs that lean towards hard rock on the next record. // 8
Dream_Axe, on october 11, 2007 6 of 7 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 10
Lyrics: 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. // 10
Overall Impression: 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! // 9
jonesmethod, on october 09, 2007 5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Sound: Alter Bridge returns with their sophomore effort "Blackbird," lead by terrific songwriter/lead guitarist Mark Tremonti. Fans of Tremonti have long awaited for him to break out as a guitarist, which was seen on Alter Bridge's debut album, and further regarded by sparkling guitar work on Blackbird. Alter Bridge were quoted as saying that this was their most aggressive material to date, and they haven't lied. They have definitely gone heavier with more drop tunings, and riff oriented songs. Tremonti also plays more leads on this record, which is a good thing. Myles Kennedy's vocals soar on this record, planting his powerful range as one of the best voices in modern rock today. Myles also co-wrote the material with Tremonti and played guitar on the record as well, as he is a talented guitar/songwriter in his own right.The band is anchored by Brian Marshall on bass, and Scott Phillips on drums, both who do a great job and do not get the props they deserve in this highly talented band. This record will not let fans down and will likely impress more than the band's debut, "One Day Remains." // 10
Lyrics: Once again, Alter Bridge tends to stick with issues in life, mostly with overcoming challenge, and moving on. Overall, the lyrics maintain more of a positive tone, with few exceptions, like the title track, "Blackbird." Myles Kennedy continues to impress with his incredible vocals, showcasing a dynamic range. Being a tenor in a rock world full of baritones, Myles puts forth a unique and recognizable sound. // 8
Overall Impression: Comparing Blackbird to One Day Remains, the former is definitely the more accomplished album. Mark Tremonti is constantly trying to improve his already adequate guitar skills, and it continues to show in the band's music. Stand out tracks include: "Ties That Bind," the lead off track to the record is a fast paced, heavy rocker that drops the jackhammer to state Alter Bridge is back; "Brand New Start," a melodic tune that is sure to race up the modern rock charts; "Buried Alive," another heavy track that showcases some of Tremonti's best guitar playing; and the title track, "Blackbird," a true masterpiece which showcases Tremonti's songwriting, and Myles' vocals and guitar playing. Tremonti, being a student of the guitar is always trying to improve and showcase his talents, which is why Alter Bridge have produced such some great songs. One thing I would like to see is the use of the rhythm section in the songwriting process as both Marshall and Phillips are talented in their own right. Overall, "Blackbird" is a dazzling rock record that will continue to impress current fans, as well as attract new ones. // 9
FamousA, on october 09, 2007 4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Sound: The majority of Alter Bridge's debut release 'One Day Remains' was written by Mark Tremonti himself while still with Creed. Whileas this record has the full integregation of Myles Kennedy as a songwriter and guitar player. And you can tell as this CD demands it's role in Alternative Rock and Hard Rock music and 'Rise Today' has proved that as it sits at #10 on The Billboard Top Mainstream Rock Tracks only to move further up upon the release of this masterpeace and the 'Rise Today' music video. What you have here is history in itself, best defined. This album truely has spectacular sound. Heavy, yet catchy riffs, beautifal clean riffs and licks and most of all, devistating and innovative guitar solos provided by both Mark Tremonti and Myles Kennedy. I look for to this album's sucess. // 10
Lyrics: Myles Kennedy has taken the role of writing the lyrics on this cd. And seeing how his views are about the same as Tremonti's, it's not at all a problem. What you do hear in these lyrics, on the other hand, is some curse words not heard in almost all of Creed and in Alter Bridge. Just some d-words in some songs, nothing huge but nothing Creed or 'One Day Remains' ever elaborated on. Though the creativity and change on this hand is couragious and forwarding, it's cramped my style a little. But nontheless, the lyrics hear are very uplifting and compassionate. // 9
Overall Impression: This album, in my mind, has soared over 'One Day Remains' and, in a sense, over any of the Creed albums. Though you can't help but love thier first single 'Rise Today' as I still do. Blackbird, the song, is the song of Alter Bridge's career thus far. It provides everything you could ask for as far as rock songs go. As I love the entire, of coarse, I like some songs over others. Going from best to least-best Blackbird, Rise Today, Ties That Bind, Watch Over You, Come To Life, Brand New Start, Coming Home, Wayword One, Buried Alive, White Knuckles, Break Me Down, One By One, Before Tomorrow Comes. I love the new heavy trio of Creed, but I do miss some of the melody they left behind hence this album. But that's about the only dissapiont. I'm purchasing five copies of the album, and I would buy five more if they all were stolen or destroyed. Long live the legend if Alter Bridge. // 10
Stonewall X, on october 15, 2007 4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 10
Lyrics: 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. // 10
Overall Impression: 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." // 10
sparxzero, on october 25, 2007 3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: Amazing, Mark Tremonti is on top form with his guitar again. All the members are really playing a big part in this album in comparison to the previous, "One Day Remains". You can really hear Brian Marshall in most of the songs, the most prominent of which being blackbird, in which he adds a whole different feel to a riff that would simply have reapeated itself. The title track, Blackbird, was inspired by a friend who had passed away just as the song writing process had finished. // 10
Lyrics: Myles Kennedy, singer, really shows off his voice in this album. Incredible vocal range that is put to it's fullest use. Some people would say that the lyrics are common to modern day rock and metal/Punk bands; that of overcoming pain, sorrow and loniless. He sings about general concerns of the planet and not just of one man. Sounds brilliant though. // 8
Overall Impression: This album outstrips that of other modern hard rock bnads. However, for the more "metalheads" among us, this would not suit you, as the tracks are simply not that heavy. The order of the songs affects the way the listener reacts. Switching from the beautifully melodic and calming "Watch over you" to the heavier rock riffs of "Break Me Down" gives the listener. You lose concentration while listening to "Watch Over You" and drift off and are suddenly brought back down to earth by the fast drum fill intro of Break Me Down. The same affect occurs when "Blackbird" switches from the beautiful acoustic outro riff to the heavy guitar intro of "One By One". Yes, I would buy it again! // 10
TJM2482, on october 29, 2007 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: In Alter Bridge's sophomore album, they're gone a little heavier than on One Day Remains. They make good use of down-tuning with clear "rock" singing, which is kind of fresh nowadays where you either get cookie monster vocals with drop D or standard tuning with audible singers. It's a really catchy album, mixed with Mark Tremonti's insane guitar playing, and Myles Kennedy's blistering voice. This is definitely one of the defining rock albums of the year. My only problems is there are too many songs that seemed to be slower so that they get more radio play, and I wish they would have just let Tremonti loose on a couple songs to do whatever he wants, instead of limiting it for radio play. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics are solid, Myles Kennedy has been doing this with past bands, so you know what to expect. His voice itself is great, with a lot of range. The lyrics work well with the music; a gritty heavy rthythm with his higher clearer voice over it. He is in fact one of the best singers in modern rock. // 9
Overall Impression: Overall, I'd say this album is better than One Day Remains. A few songs I really liked were the heavier ones, "Buried Alive", "Coming Home", and "Come to Life". I love the heavy riffs and skillful solos of Mark Tremonti and the great range of Myles Kennedy. This combo really creates a catchy rock album, with Tremonti's guitar work making it near-metal. If I lost this album in all ways possible, I would probably buy it again, it's a solid rock/metal album in 2007, which is hard to find. // 9
Z-Diddy, on november 12, 2007 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: In One Day Remains, Alter Bridge's debut album, there was a remeniscience of Creed in their sound and music, and it was one of their weakest points when it came to the critics. And Alter Bridge has clearly addressed the problem. The only song that I felt the "Creed vibe" in was "Rise Today." Blackbird is a lot heavier than One Day Remains, you'll know this by when the opening track, "Ties That Bind," closes with a burning solo. Although Alter Bridge clearly took a "heavier" approach for Blackbird, they also experimented with other types of songs. "Brand New Start" (which is also one of the tracks where vocalist Myles Kennedy really shines) is one of a few progressive songs on the album. There is but one true ballad on Blackbird, the sure-to-be-a-classic "Watch Over You." It is a very sweet and emotional song that features some nice falsetto vocals from Kennedy. And of course there are the heavy, guitar-hooky songs that rockers from anywhere will like. "Ties That Bind," "White Knuckles," and lead single "Rise Today" are only a few examples of songs that you will be banging your head to. There are also 2 songs that almost don't really fit into any of these categories, "One by One" and "Break Me Down." They both start with heavy metal openings, then they slow down for verses, and pick back up in the choruses. This works well for the first song of the two you hear, which will probably be "One by One," (it has a great, memorable chorus that will be in your head for days) and is one of the highlights of the album. But for "Break Me Down" however, it doesn't work as well the second time. "Break Me Down" is one of the lowlights of the album. And then there is the album's title track, "Blackbird." This song is their Stairway to Heaven, their magnum opus. "Blackbird" is a lengthy 8 minutes long, but it is so diverse that it feels like it's only a typical 3 and a half minute long song. It opens up with a slow, almost eery feel, but it quickly switches to a dark up-tempo track that will swing you in every which direction before it ends. // 10
Lyrics: I'm not much of a lyrics person, but from my point of view, the lyrics on Blackbird are only average. They aren't bad, but they won't make you think, which is something that I like to have in lyrics. And some of the lyrics don't seem to blend with the music. "Come to Life," as an example, is one the songs that fits the bill here. It has a dark, almost evil sound, but unless the lyrics are referring to zombies, they just don't seem to fit the music. However, Myles Kennedy sings the words so well they may as well just be jibberish. His tenor voice, love it or hate it, is what kept several people from buying or listening to One Day Remains. If you didn't like him then, chances are you won't like him now, but his voice seems to more tailored to the music now. And if you liked him before, your ears will be in heaven. Songs like "Brand New Start," "Before Tomorrow Comes," "Rise Today," and "One By One" are some of the songs that truly showcase his vocals. // 8
Overall Impression: There really is nothing to hate about Alter Bridge's latest album. My only complaints are the lack of heavy songs as compared to progressive songs, and Myles Kennedy's voice still has some "blending" to with some of the songs yet. Overall, Blackbird is a very solid album, and is an improvement over 2004's One Day Remains. Compared to some of the other rock albums out there right now, this one should be a no-brainer. And if you haven't heard of them yet, pick this one up right now, because these guys are going to be huge someday. // 10
Negativeone666, on november 27, 2007 3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: Well, there was a HUGE change between "One Day Remains" and this one. It is way better in every way possible. According to this interview with revolver magazine, their old label was holding them back. Also, Miles started writing a lot more of the music. Who cares what changed them, bottom-line, they changed. As always, Miles's voice is absolutely fantastic. He can change from a deep, grunge-ish voice (Blackbird and Wayward One) to a high-pitched, mellower voice (Watch Over You) and back to the awesome howls he's known for (in like every chorus). Mark Tremonti where to begin. First off, every riff gets stuck in your head! Second off, his solos are some of the most melodic, catchy, and incredibly insane I've ever heard. Yeah, overall It sounds great. Plus, this is a great album to all kinds of music-orientated people. I usually like thrash and progressive metal, but I loved it, so get your ass out there and buy this. // 10
Lyrics: This is the downside to the album. Actually, there are some awesome lyrics. Especially on Ties That Bind, Blackbird, Brand New Start, and White Knuckles. But besides them, they mostly go back to their basis of overcoming obstacles. They still hit you just as hard as One Day Remains, it's like it never gets old. // 8
Overall Impression: As I said before, it's way better then One Day Remains. But for an in-depth review, I'll do a track-by-track.
01. Ties That Bind - it's a big tempo-changing song. It starts off with a low-distorted riff, and then gets heavy, and then goes back, and keeps switching back and forth. What makes the track so awesome is the very wah-wah driven, fade-out solo.
02. Come To Life - crazy opening riff that is probably the most catchy on the album. This brings us to an awesome vocals-behind-mesh verse, great chorus, and insane shred solo.
03. Brand New Start - mellow, acoustic intro/verses, awesome chorus, and the melody-driven solo that "makes" this song.
04. Buried Alive - great opener solo and harmonic-filled riff. The song itself is okay, until the outro solo (sweet).
05. Coming Home - pretty cool riffs, but it's a very tiring song. A short solo, nothing special.
06. Before Tomorrow Comes - another dreary until chorus song. No great soloon this one.
07. Rise Today - it's the single! Yeah, pretty good, awesome chorus and riffs, but the leads and solo are what bring this song to life.
08. Blackbird - hands-down, best song on the album. This song's acoustic riff drew me in, the vocals were different than all of the other songs. Then, the riffs start pouring in and you hear that chorus. A few leads, another verse and chorus. the last verse is the most emotional and that's when the most blistering, fast, and melodic solo just busts it's way out of your speakers.
09. One By One - not so much a stand-out song to me.
10. Watch Over You - ballad, nice! Melodic to the bone.
11. Break Me Down - very poppy, probably a future single. No solo, wait, no solo? Is that a solo? Maybe, you judge.
12. White Knuckles - great riff and pulverizing vocals, one of the best on the album. No big solos, but the riff makes up for it.
13. Wayward One - slow, but gets heavier as it goes. This is a close second in greatest solo on the album.
14. The Damage Done - best buy bonus track. Cool chorus and, again, great solo.
15. New Way To Live - best buy bonus track. Starts out with a cool clean riff and clea vocals. It builds up to the last two tremendous solos.
If I lost it, I'd definately buy it again, and if it was stolen somebody's dying. // 9
unregistered, on february 22, 2008 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Incredible. From the face melting, opening track, "Ties That Bind", to the softer, more laid back, "Wayward One", this album's sound will make bands like Seether and Chevelle piss their pants. Tremonti's guitar work is absolutely amazing. The multiple hooks and bridges put forth by Tremonti add much depth to the album. Unlike most bands today, Alter Bridge's guitar is very discintive from the bass, which adds to the quality of their sound, which is enhanced by lead singer, Myles Kennedy's '70s arena rock inspired voice. Blackbird is probably the best sounding hard rock album of the year. // 10
Lyrics: Though a far cry from the lyrics of Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam, the lyrics on Blackbird are pretty standard for today's modern rock. Most of the lyrics on the album good, but others, such as the chorus to "One By One" seem akward and unfitting in context to the rest of the song. Luckily, any time this happens, it is masked by over by the guitar and Kennedy's beautiful voice and lyrical flow. // 8
Overall Impression: Don't be fooled. Alter Bridge isn't just a rip off of Creed with a new lead singer, they are something completely different. All the proof I need is in this album. It is absolutely amazing. Althogh every song on it stands out, the best songs are "Ties That Bind", "Come to Life" and "White Knuckles". If I could recommend any album made in 2007, it would definitly be this one. // 10
unregistered, on october 10, 2007 2 of 14 people found this review helpful
Sound: Notice the first member of the band that has been listed in every review? Mark Tremonti. As has been noted, Mark Tremonti always has and always will be the driving force behind Alter Bridge. It's a far cry from the backseat he took to Scott Stapp in his Creed years. The sound that Alter Bridge has adopted sounds like Creed trying not to be Creed. That's not a bad thing, and I don't mean it to sound negative. Alter Bridge starts where Creed left off, always on the edge of corny power balads, but pushes the envelope much further than Creed ever did. Very aggresive, and full of Mark Tremonti's trademark guitar fireworks, Alter Bridge continues to push it's identity in this new disc. // 8
Lyrics: Start Preheating the album, because these lyrics are as Cookie-Cutter as they come. I do give them credit for trying to put a positive spin on some of their songs like Rise Today and Before Tomorrow Comes. But overall, the lyrics lean toward the cheesy side of hard rock, lamenting a lost love, or questioning one's existance. "Leaves are on the ground, Fall has come, Blue skies turning grey, Like my love." No new ground being tread here. Although it has never struck a chord with me, I will admit that Myles Kennedy does have a very strong voice. One that he has obviously worked on for years. // 4
Overall Impression: Honestly, just hearing Mark Tremonti's guitarwork places Blackbird above all else in the genre. Replace Tremonti's solos, pick squeels, and riffs, and you would just have another hard rock band with a decent singer. But of course as I said before, it's really Tremonti that will drive this band to success. // 8
GuitarScotland, on may 15, 2009 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: Three years after their debut album, "One Day Remains", Alter Bridge (Myles Kennedy, Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips, the last three previously of Creed) have returned with their second album, Blackbird, which is one to please all types of rock-lovers out there. They finally manage to shake off their Creed cobwebs with this sharp, Hard Rock masterpiece.
The problem that many music critics had with One Day Remains was that it sounded too much like Creed, with the ballad-like riffs, some similar songs and, from the very first song, Christian reference (which is obviously what Creed were slated for). However, with vocalist Myles Kennedy joining Mark Tremonti on the song-writing seat, changes in the band's style are evident as Kennedy attempts to break the sound barrier with his powerful vocals and Tremonti finally breaks out as a Guitar God as many had predicted.
The album blasts open with "Ties That Bind" (one for the metal-heads) which displays an impressive guitar riff and fantastic vocal work from Myles Kennedy. The song is really edgy in all areas. The sharp vocals combine fantastically with the awesome riff-work of Tremonti, who delivers a first-class solo. Scott Phillips shows his talent on the drums also. However, I would like to hear more of Brian Marshall on the bass, maybe turn up his amp a bit? The album is dominated by guitar and the bass doesn't really deliver the smoothness that you usually take for granted, you have to really listen for it. Songs similar to the opening track, like "One by One" and "White Knuckles" are carefully placed throughout the album and smash out the speakers, so it's definitely not an album you can fall asleep to.
Saying that, it's definitely not a record you can get bored of. The variation throughout is outstanding, from the heavier songs already listed to the calm Blues-solo in "Brand New Start" and the softer ballads like "Watch Over You". However, there are two songs on this album which are just brilliant. Both "Before Tomorrow Comes" and "Blackbird" give you the extremes of different emotions. The first gives so much confidence with the lyrics "Before tomorrow comes, you could change everything", whereas Blackbird is truly a novel-like masterpiece: the finger-work on this track is just amazing, with the deep, slow riff, to the soaring solo from Myles Kennedy, followed by Tremonti's. It's just a shame that these two songs sandwich the track "Rise Today" on the record listing, and lower it's rating, especially as it's very similar to "Before Tomorrow Comes". The riffs throughout the album are so impressive though, not only at the skill required to play them, but their varying nature. You won't hear the same song twice on this album, unlike many other Mainstream Rock bands. Take Nickelback's "The Long Road" as an example. // 9
Lyrics: Myles Kennedy's vocals also shine throughout. Despite their similar styles, he easily destroys Scott Stapp's scratchy singing with a four-octave vocal range, the highs displayed at the climax of songs like "Coming Home" and then the lows showcased on "Wayward One". His lyrics outshine Stapp's also. With Stapp's perhaps being over-criticised for the Christian reference, Kennedy's lyrics display a modest and honest approach, rather than some bands sex and attitude-driven lyrics. They also portray a them-against-us' mentality in many of the heavier songs, which is a refreshing change to some Heavy Metal bands' Death-driven and fetus-related topics. His impressive vocals are only proven by Led Zeppelin's interest in him earlier this year. // 8
Overall Impression: This album outshines most other Hard Rock albums of recent times, with better singing and guitar especially. Tremonti displays better riffs and solos especially. This also outshines their last album, One Day Remains. The best song has to be Blacbird, which displays all kinds of Hard Rock, from the slow riff to the heavy chorus and then the double guitar solo from Myles Kennedy and Mark Tremonti. Definitely buy this album, probably one of the best I've heard. // 9