Album Review: Alter Bridge

As the title suggests, this is the third album from former Creed metallers, Alter Bridge. Having originally released AB III in 2010, a new, special edition (AB III.5) will be available from the 17th October with three extra tracks; Zero, Home and Never Born To Follow.

The fourteen track album is typical of the band's riff-centred style. Frontman, Myles Kennedy's, distinctive and wide-ranging vocals do not disappoint and Mark Tremonti's screeching lead guitar solos are just enough to satisfy any rocker. Compared to their previous two albums, One Day Remains and Blackbird, the opening track, Slip To The Void, is, just for one moment, unlike any others on the album; a much darker feel with minimal accompaniment in the intro. It pulls me in thinking they might have really gone for it this time, but then, as anticipated, it bursts into that Alter-Bridge chorus; huge melodies that are perfectly harmonised, interspersed with swirling guitar solos and sing-along riffs.

For those that are familiar with the band, you will, no doubt, revel in the fact that this album is not necessarily a change in direction, but more a Blackbird-esque version that they've tried to evolve and develop. But, It has everything you want - if what you want is an album reminiscent of the power ballad days of Aerosmith and Bon Jovi with a bit more 'oomph' and texture. Tracks like Wonderful Life fill the more ballad-like slots on the album, displaying Kennedy's versatility and emotive capabilities, while Isolation hints at the frantic thrash-rhythms of Megadeth and All Hope Is Gone, brings the darker, minor-key finger-picked chords, so common in an Alter Bridge introduction.

Whilst literally every song builds to the climax of the big chorus and double guitar-harmonised bridge section, I haven't found one song as good Rise Today or Ties That Bind, from the Blackbird album. None of the songs quite have that rock punch that I was longing to hear, or that piercing 10 seconds of pure guitar heaven that you just want to hear over and over again. But, I think with AB III, once you accept that it's essentially a little cheesy and a little 80's glam, rather than 90's Grunge, you'll have no problem with it. A good, credible rock record, for sure.

So if you tend to know what you like and stick to it, this album will not be a disappointment; more a comfort in knowing its familiarity will keep you warm and satisfied. But hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

AB III is available now via Roadrunner Records. The album is also up for Roadrunner Record's Album of The Century! You can vote on their Facebook page, now.