Fortress review by Alter Bridge

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  • Released: Sep 25, 2013
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (137 votes)
Alter Bridge: Fortress
3

Sound — 8
Alter Bridge was formed in 2004, and since that time they've began building a respectable name for themselves. Notably, as far as furthering their name outside of the band, vocalist Myles Kennedy has worked with Slash on two albums and guitarist Mark Tremonti has released a very popular guitar DVD. "Fortress" is the band's fourth full-length studio release and contains 12 tracks with a runtime of just under 63 minutes. The lead single from the album, "Addicted to Pain" was released in August 2013.

The album starts with the track "Cry of Achilles" which begins with some "acoustic shred," but soon enough the heavy guitar comes in and builds to a relentless rhythm driving the whole song forward. The lead single, "Addicted to Pain," is next up and is another really driving song - this early on in the album I realized most of the songs were going to be really driving tracks. "Bleed It Dry" has one of the coolest riffs from the album with a syncopated feel going on. "Lover" has some fairly clean guitar in the intro and has a blues inspired lead guitar part that repeats occasionally through the song. The interesting thing on this track is that the vocals during the verses on the song don't sound like Myles Kennedy to me – is that possibly Mark Tremonti singing? "The Uninvited" starts with some seriously processed guitar and an interesting vocal thing going on, then the heavy riffing comes in – the drums sound sublime on this track. "Peace Is Broken" has possibly the fastest tempo of any song on the album, with a lot of tremolo picking going on. "Calm the Fire" once again starts with clean acoustic guitar and finds Myles singing in a very high register during the intro. The song builds to an "epic" type of feel, with Myles voice really projecting with some serious power. "Waters Rising" is really a pretty quirky song for the album, and is actually sang by Mark Tremonti. You can tell he's been working on his vocals when compared to his recent solo vocal outings. "Cry a River" is another track that is really coming straight out of the gate running, with a lot of drive to it. "Farther Than the Stream" has an interesting type of feel to it, reminding me of some more modern extreme metal than most of Alter Bridge's stuff, except of course with Myles Kennedy's clean vocals, then with a standard hard rock chorus. "All Ends Well" is another track boasting an acoustic or clean intro, and has the most optimistic vibe of any song on the album. The album closes out with the title track "Fortress" which has a cool "Santana-ish" lead part early in the song, and then one of the strongest solos of the album a little later. Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips held down the beat like champs, and occasionally had some very standout moments.

Lyrics — 8
Myles has a unique voice, and that voice really gets a workout on the album. As a counterpoint, my brother who is a big fan of Alter Bridge said he couldn't even listen to this album because he is tired of Myles' voice, so maybe it can get old to some people. Personally, I believe he is one of the best voices in modern hard rock. Mark Tremonti also provided lead vocals for "Waters Rising," and has shown some serious vocal growth since his last solo vocal efforts that I've heard. As a sample of the lyrics, here are some from the title track, "Fortress": "Am I lost to wander forever/ Perhaps for the rest of my days? / If all that has been surrounded will just go to waste/ You left me out in the distance/ To wander this world on my own / Sometimes it's so hard to admit it but I can’t let you go/ I can't let you go."

Overall Impression — 8
Just to be straight up, I'm not that huge of an Alter Bridge fan, but this album impressed me from beginning to end. I've had discussions with people who seem to think that Mark Tremonti is over-rated, and I guess that depends on if you are trying to think of him as a modern shred genius or a guitarist who is prepared to serve the song. What I hear on this album is Mark Tremonti playing flawlessly while playing to serve the song. It is actually reminiscent to me of the criticism that Slash gets, and while Slash isn't Steve Vai he has always served the song. My favorite tracks from the album are probably "Cry of Achilles," "Calm the Fire," and "All Ends Well." This was a solid effort by the entire band and a great album.

56 comments sorted by best / new / date

    HardRock369
    I was waiting to see what kind of reviews this would get, I'm glad to see they've been positive. Myles is a good singer, and really great live, but I can see where some might consider his vocals stale after awhile. Overall though really awesome album. Bleed It Dry and Fortress are my two favorites
    N3WW4V3N1NJ4
    I'm almost interested in this band they seem good, from what little I've heard of their music.
    HardRock369
    Their first album is imho their weakest, but it's still worth trying. I'd maybe start with either Blackbird, ABIII, or Fortress. They all get progressively heavier and darker. Really incredible work by Tremonti too, just listen to the title track off Blackbird. In other words, I'd highly recommend giving them a shot. Wholly underrated.
    ibanez124
    Anybody that says Tremomti is overrated needs to get their head examined. AB kicks ass! \m/
    Astaldo
    WTF who says he is overrated ???!!!! He is UNDERRATED
    Patrijz
    I actually see so many people say he is underrated that I don't think that's the case anymore.
    ibanez124
    From the article "I've had discussions with people who seem to think that Mark Tremonti is over-rated"
    Holoogamooga
    I really do like Myles - I own albums from Mayfield Four, Slash, and AB - but I think Mark is a breath of fresh air on vocals in Waters Rising. I'd be perfectly okay if they started sharing more time on the mic or if they did more duets like Words Darker Than Their Wings. They're both qualified lead vocalists and lead guitarists.
    JSmith38
    I also bought the album today and listened to that song. It is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
    Logan_B
    I agree. It would certainly change up their game. It's something I think that they WILL do next album. I love Myles but man, Mark really blew me away on his solo album. JSmith38 is right, you really need to pick up the Tremonti album. Absolutely unreal, All I Was, and now Fortress are my favourite albums right now.
    vguitars3577
    I'm enjoying this album more than I enjoyed AB III. Overall, I'm just thrilled to see another album out, and I'm glad to hear Mark kickin' ass
    westley23j
    "Farther Than the Stream"? try "Sun". its even in the lyrics. another example of yet another rushed review. KILLER album though!
    D4CE
    Lol, the reviewer listened to an illegal download of the album. "Farther Than The Sun" is called like that on a leak that appeared after the album started streaming.
    Oh_Nutz
    Because they released the album earlier worldwide than the US, because they did a "listening party" for the album, etc.
    D4CE
    That wasn't really my point. I'm from Europe, I've got the CD for almost 2 weeks now, I know it's out there. "Farther Than The Stream" is the name of "Farther Than The Sun" on an illegal download. That's what I meant.
    leony03
    Absolutely fantastic album from start to finish. I normally can't stand excessive shredding but Mark Tremonti is one of my favourite guitarists because he knows how to tailer it to the songs and make it fit and he can do some very melodic stuff when he wants to like the Blackbird solo. Cant wait to see them at Wembley soon for the first time!
    ironman316
    Alter Bridge have yet to put out a bad album, but this is absolutely their strongest since Blackbird. So much love for these guys.
    D4CE
    Best album of 2013 imo. I was afraid they were gonna put out another album like AB III (which is still good, but not as good as Blackbird imo), but they stepped up their game!
    Fausch
    Definitely either this or House of Gold and Bones Part 2. Also, am I the only person that thought One Day Remains was their best album? I feel like Blackbird went just a little too radio rock for me. It was still good, but far from their best. I don't know though, the more I listen to Fortress, the more this is becoming my new favorite.
    EdguyRule_22
    One Day Remains is probably my favourite, then Fortress, Blackbird and ABIII. They're all good and different in their own rights, I just absolutely love the melodies and solos in One Day Remains. Down To My Last is probably my favourite Tremonti solo, I love the melody.
    artcellrox
    To me, definitely this. It's gonna be hard to decide whether I pick Fortress or Cloudkicker's Subsume in the end. Either way, fantastic album that the boys have put out. I can't stop listening to the riffs!
    TremontiAddict
    "...and guitarist Mark Tremonti has released a very popular guitar DVD." So his guitar instructional DVD was a bigger release than All I Was? lol
    rockerwannabe
    I just saw them live in Orlando and they played 5 tunes off of Fortress. Although I had a copy of the cd beforehand, hearing the new tunes live in comparison to the older songs really made them stand out as heavier songs. The new cd is fantastic. Myles' voice should never grow old on anyone. Tremonti's playing is superb as usual. In fact, on at least two of those new songs, Myles played lead. If AB is playing anywhere near you, you simply have to see their show. They are amazing live.
    Sethis
    Fuking amazing album! It's very rare that I find one where I like almost every song.
    JB95
    The album is brilliant! It's like all the best elements from AB's earlier works and the ones from Mark's solo project were combined. For me this must be the best album I have heared in a long time.
    rockerwannabe
    FYI... for those in the states, Best Buy is selling a version with a bonus track , "Outright." I haven't heard it yet but I can't imagine that it's less than stellar.
    Patrijz
    It's not really an amazing track imo, you can find it on youtube.
    Rosenblaetter
    Verses in 'Lover' are sung by Myles - he sings more like in his old days in Mayfield Four - I missed that tone of his! He is a versatile beast
    Holoogamooga
    I miss that tone, too. He uses it on Not For Me by Slash as well, but aside from those I don't think we've heard it since Summergirl.
    rockerwannabe
    Spot on. My first impression of that song was that Myles must have written it since it sounds more like Mayfield Four than AB. Great tune, though.
    EdguyRule_22
    Love this album! Couldn't ask for more from my favourite band. I love all their albums, but this kicks so much ass. It's too bad a lot of people don't even give them a listen because "It's Creed with a new singer". Their loss.
    FaceTomorrow
    Great band, great album. With everything they release I can´t help thinking what the f*ck they were doing in Creed.
    jessehogie
    I consider Creed their "launch pad", got their feet wet with the music industry and found out they didn't like it. Now they make music for themselves and the fans, not for the money. Turned out well I would say
    HarrySound
    I've been blowing their trumpet since I pre-ordered the import of One Day Remains in 2004. Love these guys, it's mainly down to Mark of course. On this album he seems unleashed and free yet his solos are a little absent in places. I do understand what people say about myles....I think he's a great singer but sometimes you might want to not hear the ooooo ohhhhh aaaaahhhhh kinda things and just have the instruments in the background. I guess all the multi tracking on the vocals can take the shne away from the music and over power it in parts.
    FingerFud
    This album was a hell of alot better than i expected! For me, their best album yet and definitely one of my top albums of the year! Can't wait to see them in two weeks time!!
    BwareDWare94
    It's a great album, and I appreciate that UG got us a review published right away, but it was a day before the US release date, and there are plenty of US users here....I dare say they could have taken some time to proofread? The "UG Team" usually has fairly well-written reviews, but this one just seems rushed, and the album being spectacular just makes the review seem almost disrespectful. Come on, guys. We're not all English snobs, but even the world's biggest dumbass would trip over some of the sentences in this review.
    Pr0teZT
    I think Myles is a way better solo guitarist than Tremonti.
    EdguyRule_22
    I think they are both great with very different, but complimenting styles. They make it work well.
    Amito
    it's good, apart from track 11. That song is ridiculously cheesy, straight out of a Disney film.
    Mainer
    Great album! I've always liked Myles' voice, but yeah, Waters Rising was definitely a breath of fresh air (and a damn good one). For some reason, Cry of Achilles has been one of my least favorite tracks though... Still, it's my album of the year nominee haha