on 25 April 2008
In an age where mainstream 'hard rock' is dominated by uninspired bands like Nickelback and.... well Nickelback, and with Audioslave never living up to their potential, and seemingly a new bunch of emo kids crying through their eyeliner every month on MTV - this is a breath of fresh air!
I was maybe a little harsh before but bands like Nickelback are just so unexciting that to hear an album like this makes me glad I've still got long hair and like hearing someone playing his damn guitar like he means it!
Its basically unashamed heavy guitar rock with anthemic choruses, incendiary solos, crunching riffs, thunderous drums and a great set of Chris Cornell-esque vocals. Its energetic, sing-along music - great for driving or working-out.
Only four (I would say 4 and a half!)stars because it is a little one-dimensional and at 14 tracks is maybe a little too long without some more different sounding tracks. The first 8 or 9 or so are solid gold though! Highly recommended for fans of Audioslave, Soundgarden, early Queens of the Stone Age, Led Zep, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Corrosion of Conformity, the Sword etc
on 20 April 2008
Alter Bridge caught my attention after I heard about Creed's split, a band who I had never really valued, but recognised that there was a lot of potential in the sound they were making.
Alter Bridge's first album was a perfectly crafted, pure rock n roll gem, and this follow-up delivers more of the same soaring vocals, chugging riffs and widdly guitar work that I so love.
Blackbird see's Kennedy pick up the guitar for the first time, and crikey can he play! A few video's on youtube proved to me that he is just as accomplished as Tremonti, if not in a slightly different style. Also lyrically this album is darker, almost bleak in places - "One by One" is an example of this. The riffs are much more "metal" than "One day remains" which, in my opinion, suits Alter Bridge far better.
However there are still the uplifting, singalong anthems such as "Before tomorrow comes" and "Rise Today", Alter Bridge's trademark. However, the real highlight of this album for me is "Watch over you", a down-tempo, goose-bumps rock ballad that is moving and exciting in equal parts - a different Alter Bridge, but one that I very much approve of.
Unfortunately, Alter Bridge set such high standards with their best songs that certain tracks on this album become highly skippable - "Wayward One" and "We don't care at all" are still good songs in themselves but seem unnecessary.
Still, this is overwhelmingly another brilliant musical work from the american rockers, delivering more of the same incredibly powerful and melodic yet brutal rock tunes.
Best Moment: Guitar solo on "Blackbird"
on 10 October 2007
Following the success of Alter Bridges debut Album "One day remains" was never going to be easy. Such was the critical acclaim of the aforementioned album that it had fans packing themselves into modest arenas. And although their first tour of the UK was a modicum of success, it was the second tour of the UK where the band gained such a high reputation for providing a thrilling live experience. So with the first effort being so well received could Blackbird re-produce that same quality and excitement or even better it.
Well appetites have been whet with the single "Rise today", a rock song that is typical of Alter Bridge as it epitomizes their trademark melodies and sing-along choruses. And there is still enough of the classic Alter Bridge sound that fans have accustomed to on Blackbird to keep them happy. Songs such as the previously mentioned "Rise today", "Brand new start" and "Before tomorrow comes" proving this. However the band has clearly taken a new aggressive approach in some of their writing. This has incorporated itself in a greater use of riffs and an altogether heavier sound.
The album starts off in a similar fashion to One day remains, with two hard rocking tracks that will have heads bobbing and arms thrusting in arenas with no trouble at all. Then, again like the first album, opts to slow down the momentum and what we're left with is "Brand new start" an up-lifting ballad, in the same vain that "Broken Wings" was.
One of the differences between the two albums is that the first, One day remains, was written largely before Tremonti and Co. appointed lead singer Myles Kennedy. Therefore this time round Alter Bridge have made full use in what has turned out to be a indispensable weapon in their song-writing approach. With Kennedy integrated as second guitarist it also adds much more harmony as it is utilized to good effect in riffs as well as providing backing for Tremonti's solos or visa versa. And Kennedy's influence is duly noted on tracks such as "Before tomorrow comes" and the beautifully melancholic "Watch over you", both of which are reminiscent of the Mayfield Four.
The song writing and the structures of the songs have improved no end and given the quality of the first album that is indeed a statement to take note of. The songs contain more riffs each one as, if not, more aggressive and sinister sounding than the last such can be found in "Come to life" and "White knuckles", two very brutal riffs if there ever was. And there are much more intricate melodic lines to keep the listener hooked with Tremonti paying homage to his blues influences and his rock influences, the likes of Eddie Van Halen and Zakk Wylde can be picked out especially on "Buried Alive" where Tremonti produces some Van Halen style whamming bar fills and on the album title track "Blackbird" where Tremonti ushers out some Wylde style solos but in every solo evident on the album Tremonti's own style of shred has a prominent role.
It is fair to say that Alter Bridge have kept with the sound that has served them so well and still play to their strong card of sing-along choruses and rock ballads "One by One" being the particular favourite, but not one fan should complain about any of the individual songs. However it would seem they have clearly subdued the urge to over use the clichéd soft - heavy song pattern that was so prominent during the first effort. Yet they still allow each song and the listener to have a breather and keep it interesting until it kicks off again.
Each individual member is also given their moment to shine and show how much they have improved over the years, most notable Mark Tremonti making full use of his shredding ability. However, it would be harsh not to mention the good work done by Scott Philips on drums as his patterns and ideas really do give each song a little extra in quality especially on "Coming home".
While the individuals have clearly been practising, one can also hear that as a group they are gelling more and more as each song contains at least one section of brilliant band dynamics, one might even go as far to say there are some prog influenced sections in various songs for example "Blackbird".
Perhaps inevitably though the latter part of the album does lack the same excitement, which was evident in the first half. With the latter songs sounding trite in sound and lacking the cutting edge ideas that was previously displayed to great effect.
All in all this is a very progressive album and certainly lives up to the standard set by One day remains. The band has clearly taken their writing to the next level and has produced some truly remarkable songs. All the while balancing their typical sound and integrating a developing heavier and aggressive one, which makes the album sound as if it is split between the old Alter Bridge and the new heavier Alter Bridge. Such a remark seems bizarre after two albums but given the significantly aggressive nature of some tracks it seems a fair point.
on 7 September 2007
altough the album is not due for release until 8th Octover 07, I have heard from various websites 5 of the new tracks which sound absolutely awesome!!!!!!!
One Day Remains is undoubtably one of the best ever rock albums. Blackbird promises to be even better! On the Tracks I've heard (which are Rise Today, Ties That Bind, Brand New Start, Before Tomorrow Comes and Watch over You), Myles Kennedy is on outstanding form and Tremonti's guitars just get better.
The opening track will be Ties That Bind and what a track to start with!! the guitar intro is great, it starts of fairly mild but before you know it, it's in full swing.
Of the songs I've heard so far, Before Tomorrow Comes is my personal fav, which is more of ballad (a bit like broken wings).
Goes with saying that I cannot wait until 8/10/07. (and the tour in January)
on 4 November 2007
The world of proper music is not necessarily a strong one at the moment, the market is flooded with mediocre sub-par acts that stick around for a week or so before disappearing into obscurity (but not before releasing two or three autobiographies and making numerous television appearances). This is a dark time for music out of which rises the wonderful new effort by these guys, i was a fan of creed but with one day remains alter bridge truely blew me away, with blackbird they have done the same combining tremonti's stunning guitar-work with kennedy's stunning vocal range and ability creating a second suburb album. Marshall and Phillips give solid performances as usual and overall the album is very good form beginning to end. I think this aalbum is much more solid than one day remains in that it has quality throughout, for me one day remains had a few blow-away tracks but also had a few dodgy ones, blackbird however is hard to criticise in any way. I was hooked from the first listen and having only listened through a few times through clear favourites beginning to emerge are 'brand new start', 'before tomorrow comes' and 'rise today'. Fantastic album, it's just a shame that in this country it wont get the recognition it truely deserves.
on 12 October 2007
This is an absolute stormer of an album by Alter Bridge....it has everything that 'One Day Remains' had (well, almost)....but it has more of a raw feel, it's more brash, purposeful and aggressive. This album proves for one thing that AB are no one-hit-wonders, even if one could possibly suggest that this might be a Mark Tremonti album for the most part, but the band work excellently together.
The opener, 'Ties That Bind' is an aggressive start and one noticeable difference is Mark Tremonti's guitar playing. He seems to be more involved in this album, and his riffs are heavier and reminiscent maybe of Zakk Wylde. The track starts slowly enough, but you just know something is bubbling beneath the surface. This is an all-out Metal track. Myles Kennedy is brilliant as usual. 10/10.
Track two, 'Come To Life' is also Metal, raw and unblemished, with Tremonti's piercing pinch-harmonics on his guitar playing, under obvious influence of Wylde and the late 'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott of Pantera. What AB manage to do is provide an aggressive riff and build a catchy chorus around it. Tremonti's soaring solo is brilliant. The twin guitaring between Tremonti and Kennedy work excellently. 10/10.
Track three, 'Brand New Start' starts softly enough, Kennedy crooning over drifting, dark (ish) guitars in the verses. The chorus is the pinnacle here, and is reminiscent somewhat of 'Open Your Eyes' off their 'One Day Remains' album. It's a very accomplished track. Tremonti's solo is excellent again, in the vein more of Slash (ex-Guns N' Roses/ Velvet Revolver) here. 9/10.
Track four, 'Buried Alive' starts off with Tremonti's wailing guitar as a super intro, before Kennedy comes in as Tremonti finds his Metal tone again with his pinch-harmonics. It's probably one of the weaker tracks on offer here, but the real treat of this outstanding album is found a little later on. 8/10.
Track five, 'Coming Home' is also a transition part on this album, as it isn't the strongest part of the album....however AB make up for this later on. This song is as low as this album gets really, but it's still quite good. 7.5/10.
The next track is a soaring anthem, and this is AB back to their best. The song is called 'Before Tomorrow Comes', and it's a future classic. It's a song that pushed them onto their pedestal as one of the most exciting hard rock/metal bands out there at the moment. The chorus is classic AB and Kennedy and Tremonti are the two standout musicians here...even if the other half of the band don't get the credit they probably deserve. 10/10.
Track seven is 'Rise Today', and AB's first release off 'Blackbird'. It's decent enough, but not as brilliant as the standard set at the beginning of the album itself. It's good and it's understandable why they released it. It's very good, at least on normal standards, but for AB's standards I feel there is better on this album in all honesty. 8/10.
Track eight is the album's centerpiece. The title track off the album, 'Blackbird', and it is a soaring anthem. No, excuse me. It is a soaring anthem and a half...unlike anything they have ever done in the past. It's eight minutes long, and Myles Kennedy is phenomenal on vocals, and Mark Tremonti is insane on lead guitar. The closest you will ever find to perfection in a hard rock track. It's almost like a heavier song that Skynyrd forgot, or even Led Zeppelin. It's Alter Bridge's 'Stairway to Heaven' as such, it is a true masterpiece, and already one of my favourite tracks....immense. Perfect. 10/10.
Track nine, 'One By One', sees Tremonti return to his Metal avenue, and AB are a Metal band here, at least. The chorus is simply stunning, it blows the rest of the song out of the water.....what can I say about this album that I haven't already....you really need it, especially if you are a fan of their debut. 9.5/10.
Track ten, 'Watch Over You' is a beautiful ballad. This sees AB become Led Zeppelin, with their tender ballad and soft guitaring. The words are heartfelt, and Kennedy sings them to perfection. This is a different AB, and it's a truly beautiful song. 10/10.
Track eleven, 'Break Me Down', begins and AB return to the more aggressive sound. Again, you don't have to be a psychic when I tell you that the chorus is the pinnacle of the song. Nothing out of the ordinary here, just simply great music and super vocals. 9/10.
Track twelve, 'White Knuckles' is probably AB at their heaviest throughout this album. It's a good sound, and Tremonti excels on the lead here. It's a singalong chorus here, as Kennedy sings 'hold on for your life'- because you're likely to be blown away from the sheer power of the album....as well as the collective brilliance of it. 10/10.
Track thirteen, the penultimate track, isn't all that heavy. Well, not in comparison with the rest of the stuff that's preceded it. It's called 'Wayward One'. It's good, but doesn't particularly stand out in all honesty. It has the feeling of a final track. However, there is one thing that makes it brilliant. Mark Tremonti- his guitar solo at the end is mindblowing. 9/10.
Track fourteen is heavy. Very heavy. I think it was meant as a bonus track, and it's called 'We Don't Care At All'. It's AB Metal as the crunching riffs are played both by Kennedy and Tremonti. It's not a particularly brilliant track, but it's still good stuff. 8/10.
Overall, it's a brilliant second album, and collectively doesn't have the originality of ODR ('One Day Remains'), but makes up for it with exploring heavier venues, its increased aggression, and Mark Tremonti's influence collectively. There is no 'second album syndrome' here- Alter Bridge pick up where they left off, and that can't be a bad thing. Probably the best album of 2007 so far. 9.5/10.
on 5 October 2007
I was fortunate enough to come across Alter Bridges cd a few days prior to its release on October 9th. Let me quickly say that it is a tour de force. Their first cd One Day Remains was an outstanding album. The 3 former members of Creed(Mark Tremonti, Scott Phillips, Brian Marshall) picked up singer Miles Kennedy(of the Mayfield Four) and proceeded to create an album that reminded the world how rock should be played. Their second album is no disappointment.
Blackbird is one of those albums that inspires one not to just listen to the music, but to pick up an instrument yourself. A bit heavier than the first and full of outstanding guitar work by Tremonti Blackbird simply outshines their previous effort(which in no way diminishes the that album). Lyrically, vocally and musically this album stands as a beacon in the rock world. The guitar solo still lives and what a glorious thing it is.
Blackbird is one of those albums that rarely comes along. Its like Metallica's Black Album or U2's The Joshua Tree. It may never have that amount of success, but if the world was fair it would find its place among the greats. There have been good albums released this year. All pale in comparsion to this one.
Say what you will about the cookie cutter rock music found on every radio station and adored by 15 year old girls Fall Out Boy is just not the same. In an era where it is more important for labels to make a buck and so they throw the world copy after copy, Alter Bridge has come to stand firm above the rest. They may never reach the mainstream success of(their previous band)Creed, Nickelback, or Pearl Jam but their music far surpasses anything produced by the afore mentioned bands.
on 12 October 2007
I loved creed, was sad when they broke up... I love alter bridge even more.... There 1st album was awesome. This album is amazing....and the song blackbird is a work of art... it's like the mona lisa of music... This album is one of the best albums i've heard in years.... The last time i heard an album of this quality was origin of symmetry by muse...
The guitar solos are wow.....this album gives me shivers when i listen to it.
on 19 September 2007
Alter Bridge are an extremely overlooked band, and they are only getting better and better. Buy this album, it will be absolutely incredible without a doubt. What I've heard so far is just the tip of the iceberg, with songs like Rise Today, Ties That Bind and Watch Over You being the most promising thing us Alter Bridge fans could wish for. Outstanding band, outstanding debut album, can't wait for this one. See you on the UK leg in January, bring your vocal chords and your dancing shoes......
on 10 March 2013
if you haven't heard blackbird and are a fan of rock music, get this special delivered. in 38 years of listening to classic/heavy/prog rock this is my favourite cd ever. the vocals of myles kennedy blow you away , tremontis lead guitar is awesome as is myles as well.
the rhythymn section of scott Phillips on drums and brian marshall on bass build the power up to max.
the title track blackbird is an absolute gem . worth the album purchase on its own