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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 1 October 2013
In which our heroes discover Tool, unleash their inner prog, and in this reviewer's opinion cross the dividing line from "great", to "timeless".

I've followed Alter Bridge's career from its inception as "the good bits of Creed ditch that awful singer and get a really good one instead", through their first 3 albums (One Day Remains - solid if a little one paced, Blackbird - slightly less solid but redeemed by the frankly astounding title track, AB3 - not a bad album but so unremittingly doomy it's hard work, and that's coming from a Peter Hammill fan), and saw them from their first gigs at the sadly departed London Astoria, to their current UK arena headlining status. So it's pleasing, and a little surprising in an era where a four album career is such a rarity, to be able to report that Fortress is Alter Bridge's best album by a distance.

There's a whole load of advances from AB3, from the Spanish guitar and slightly proggy structure to Cry of Achilles, to the Jeff Buckley-esque vocal on Lover, through to the title track, which has a twin-guitar section that is up there with anything I've heard in god knows how many years. The incredibly Tool-influenced Uninvited (which features in a really niftily clever recapitulation (how prog is that?!) in the companion piece Cry a River), and the anthemically riffy Addicted to Pain are also worthy of mention. There's a really epic feel to a lot of this album - an earlier reviewever mentioned Physical Graffiti, and I can definitely see the comparison - it's very much the work of a band who are sufficiently comfortable in their own skin to take a song idea wherever they want.

One of the most positive things about the album is the work of the rhythm section, particularly Scott Phillips on drums. It may well be his powerful yet not overly-flashy, almost Bonham-esque approach to the grooves on the album that elevate this to one of my favourite albums of a long time. Myles Kennedy still has probably the best voice in Rock, as well as a very, very good ear for guitar orchestration, and Mark Tremonti hasn't recorded a finer album.

I like it. A lot. You will too, if you're a fan of hard rock done well. Highly recommended.
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on 1 October 2013
Alter Bridge have long been one of my favourite bands. I recall reviewing Blackbird and saying it was an amazing album full of fantastic songs. I'm pleased to say that after the superb ABIII, AB are back with what is easily their best album yet.

Clearly Mark Tremonti releasing his own album, Flip doing Projected and Myles Kennedy doing another album with Slash has meant they have reconvened with a serious purpose; To release the album of their lives.

There simply is no standout track as this is clearly a standout album in a genre marred by mediocrity. From the Tool like riffings of The Uninvited, the fist pumpingly anthemic Cry Of Achilles, the haunting and beautiful musings of Lover to the epic grandioseness of Fortress, you have an album that will grow on you very quickly and stay there forever. I admit this is quite an emotional album and will not be to everyones taste, but to me this is just sheer brilliance. There are mergings of different styles here that simply work well together and every musician is at 200% capacity. I haven't even mentioned the sheer power of Myles Kennedy's voice or the fact that Waters Rising lead by Tremonti is a wake up call to the fact he is an amazing vocalist!

If I could say anything else great about this album I would, all I can say is its a purchase I really don't regret and you won't either, it's that good.
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on 1 October 2013
Somebody once said to me listen to Alter Bridge - and I was hooked. Just added Fortress to my collection and it's brilliant. Can't put it down. I'm 52 years old and not supposed to like this stuff but, I can't help myself...
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on 1 October 2013
Followed rock bands all my life from sabbath and rush through to pearl jam etc, The point is i love rock / heavy rock and discovered alter bridge having followed Tremonti from Creed. They have simply just get better and better with me half expecting a turkey after their first three amazing albums and Tremonti and Kennedy working on their own stuff too (yes the Tremonti album is also superb). They are amazing live and hugely talented musicians, The only thing that surprises me is that there not in the stellar league with Myles Kennedy simply being an amazing find and the best rock singer out there and i include Brent Smith of Shinedown The album is their most complete yet and as the other reviews suggest probably their heaviest with amazing guitar interplay. A sign of a great album is no fillers where they run out of ideas and there's none on this. Its solid from start to finish and worth every one of the five stars. I am not picking any tracks out other than "waters rising" as Tremonti sings on it and yes the clever custards got a great rock voice too. Just keep it going chaps and for anybody who hasn't seen them live then make sure you do as they tour the uk this autumn with Shindown which is a double bonus.
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on 4 October 2013
I knew as soon as the opening Spanish guitar came into my ears, this was going to be something different to what they had done before and nothing short of a killer record. Make no mistake about it this is Alter Bridge at their most heavy and approaching an explosive conclusion as a serious stadium rock band. Every album they’ve done so far has improved on it’s predecessor and Fortress is their best album yet. They could have done the classic rock thing of having some success and playing to the radio… yet they’ve turned around, stuck two fingers up and done an album they wanted to do. This will annoy some commercial rock listeners and also some of their fare-weather fans. Personally I’m glad it does annoy people, that’s how you really know it’s good.

For me stand out tracks are: ‘Cry of Achilles’, ‘Calm The Fire’, ‘Lover’, ‘Waters Rising’ and the sure live hit ‘All Ends Well’

Fortress is a real mix of metal, prog and classic rock with a definite Tremonti influence. That alone has pushed Myles into delivering some stunning vocal work on these tracks. It really is breath taking at times.

Ignore the bore 3-4 star reviews. This is a five star album from a band who are seriously on fire right now. Sit back, turn it up and let the eruption unfold in front of your eyes.
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on 11 January 2014
if you want the commercial stuff this is not it . Alter Bridge are the rock worlds best kept secret. word of mouth fan base building and an Alliance between band and fans that is unbelievable.
fortress is album number 4 and is a monster rock record to compliment the first three albums.
try the samples and if its for you, welcome to AB. if not don't worry we are still the happiest fans on planet rock.
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on 22 October 2013
I've had a read of all of the other reviews on here, and what I can't understand is the really negative reviews. I haven't given this review 5 stars for just sheer blind love for AB before you all start chiming in.

To everyone saying that Fortress doesn't have the melodies of previous albums, that many of the songs are just metal fests, then listen again. And again. And again. I've had to, so I can get the point of this album. Every single Alter Bridge album is different, and that's why these guys are so good! They won't just re-hash the same old that they know will work. They're experimenting, changing, finding new sounds.

After ODR and Blackbird, I had finally found a rock band I truly admired and wanted to listen to time and time again. Then ABIII came along, and there are many songs on that album I didn't like, I thought were too heavy for the sake of it. But over time, each song made more and more sense. I still don't really like All Hope Is Gone mind you, but here's the thing, that song works when you listen to it around other AB tracks from the different albums.

I'll admit, the first time I listened to Fortress album, I didn't like it. Cry of Achilles was something different and I liked that. Addicted to Pain is a typical single song, not as good as Isolation but not a bad song! Then comes Bleed It Dry... now here's a song I really couldn't get into for a very long time. Over heavy, not AB, Myles lyrically not his kind of song, or so I thought. But seriously now, I love it. It's angry and purposeful and has a point!

I'll wrap it up here, but I do understand where you guys that coming from with Myles not being lyrically as good as before (note that he set the bar pretty bloody high till now!) and the guitar is very heavy and has lost the melodic sound than before. But that's the point with this album people! If they brought nothing fundamentally new to the table, the reviews would be "we've heard this before". It's just another twist in Alter Bridge's repertoire. Give it time, listen to it over and over (like you no doubt have done before with ODR Blackbird ABIII) and also shuffle it with the rest of Alter Bridge's other songs. It works, they all work together!

And the final song Fortress is a killer! ;)
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on 30 September 2013
With Fortress, Alter Bridge has produced their heaviest and most progressive record to date. After the solid if somewhat formulaic ABIII, Fortress is both inspiring and challenging, a musical journey that at times can be crushingly heavy, and at others delicate and understated. Technically, it is their best work to date.

Kicking off the record with Cry of Achilles, the Spanish influenced intro serves as a red herring to the monster riff that serves as the songs backbone. Addicted to Pain is the most straightforward rock song on the album, it is a high tempo sprint that has a fantastic Tremonti solo to its name. Whilst we're on the subject of solos, next song Bleed it Dry has one of Mark's best solos full stop, a delicious blues inspired affair that is just about perfect. The song also boasts a pretty brutal riff. In fact, Fortress is full of awesome riffage. The Uninvited, Farther Than The Sun and Cry A River all thunder along happily to themselves.

However this album excels not in how heavy it is, it's in the moments of light and shade that it truly stands apart. Lover sounds like it could have come from singer Myles Kennedy's former band The Mayfield Four. Great guitar work and a staggering display of Myles vocal talent make this song both a surprise and a highlight. All Ends Well is another great tune, with a simple but very effective guitar line and an emotive vocal melody that allows it to shine. This song feels like it could have been on any of the previous Alter Bridge records, with its inspiring, positive message. The title track is another tune that use's light and shade to brilliant effect. Dark lyrically, it is a standout moment and you will not fail to be impressed by Mark and Myles solos on it. To my ears, there is a slight Iron Maiden influence to this one.

There are two musical departures on the record that make this album different to previous Alter Bridge records. The first, Calm the Fire, has an almost Muse like quality to it, maybe even a little Queen as well. It has the best chorus on the record and it will be a live highlight when the band tour. Last but not least is my personnel favourite song on the record, Waters Rising. Notable because Mark takes the lead vocal on it almost exclusively except for the bridge, the verse melody swings back and forth slowly before the chorus crashes in with both Mark and Myles belting it out. Again, it is a masterful display of light and shade and on this tune too, there is a definite similarity to modern Maiden.

The band performance on Fortress is breathtaking and a special mention must go to the rhythm section, bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips. Both turn in stellar performances that are the foundation on which this awesome record is built. In the past, Alter Bridge has shown flashes of what they are truly capable of and Fortress is the realisation of that promise. As it stands right now, they are the best hard rock band on the planet.
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on 29 October 2013
From the introductory riff of Cry Of Achilles until the last lingering chords of Fotress fade away, this album is a solid demonstration of just how GOOD this band is. They've changed and improved vastly since One Day Remains, but remained true to their original ethos: brutally good guitar shreds and riffs, superb vocals and songwriting, and a total forgetfulness as to this "Creed" band.
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on 8 October 2013
It isn't often these days that an album release fills me with anticipation and excitement. It is even less frequent for said album to then rock my world.

Bravo, Alter Bridge. "Fortress" is an oasis of wonderful rock in a desert of entitled brats and bland, tuneless hipster indie. More like this please.
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