Review Summary: A great hard rock album, that shows the former members of Creed coming into their own. Fantastic guitar playing and vocal work make this an outstanding debut for Alter Bridge.
Alter Bridge's debut album was a great way to showcase Mark Tremonti's excellent guitar playing abilities, and Myles Kennedy's great vocal abilities as well. Brian Marshall on bass doesn't have any flashy moments, but provides solid support for the aforementioned vocal and guitar powerhouses. Scott Phillips delivers a solid performance on drums as well, mostly staying in the background, but getting a chance to shine on a few songs.
Find The Real: This rocker opens with a pounding riff from Tremonti and an excellent vocal performance from Kennedy. Tremonti provides some great fills in the chorus, and the nearly 40-second guitar solo in the bridge is well-placed, and shows off his technical skill that had been more hidden during the Creed days. Kennedy shines in this track, particularly during his long sustained high note at the end, which shows how he was and still is one of the most talented rock singers around. Overall a great opening track.
One Day Remains: Tremonti cranks up the speed on this one. This fast-paced rocker starts with a nice drum pattern that quickly gives way to a shredding riff that continues through the majority of the song. He demonstrates his best playing on the album, keeping a relentless pace. His short shredding solo is excellent as well. Kennedy provides good vocals on this track as well, but Tremonti steals the show here.
Open Your Eyes: The tempo is slowed a bit for this mid-tempo rocker, with a Creed-like guitar riff, but a good riff nonetheless. The instrumentation is much less flashy for the most part, focusing more on Kennedy's vocals to carry this one. The one exception is the bridge, where Tremonti lets loose a shredding solo that fits despite standing out from the rest of the song. Kennedy's vocals are good and this is a solid track throughout.
Burn It Down: The first ballad on the album. Vocals are again the focal point of the song, even more so here than in Open Your Eyes. Myles' vocal performance carries this song as it builds in intensity throughout the 6 minutes that it lasts. Tremonti creates a good atmosphere in the background with his guitar, not using too much technicality, but slowly and subtly increasing the intensity along with Myles. At the end Mark gets to let out another solo and it is a great ending to the song.
Metalingus: Phillips' drumming stands out in this track, and Tremonti's fast and heavy guitar riffing brings a metal edge to this song. No guitar solo in this one, but the guitar breakdown in the bridge is good, and Tremonti's playing consistently makes this an enjoyable rocker. Kennedy's vocals are again solid, although his performance in the bridge is a bit rough. This is a band effort, with the members playing off of each other to good effect. This is definitely one of the high points of the album.
Broken Wings: Tremonti opens this ballad with an excellent bluesy intro, however the main riff of the song is a bit dull. Kennedy provides a good enough vocal perfomance to make the song memorable, but the music drags throughout its 5 minutes without too many highlights, aside from the bluesy sound of the intro and also the outro. This track would have benefited from incorporating the intro riff into the rest of the song.
In Loving Memory: Another ballad follows, which is very questionable placement after the more rocking start to the album, however this one is very well done. Mark starts off this emotional song with a very nice little intro, and then gives Myles the spotlight on the rest of the track. Myles provides his best vocal performance on this track, and Mark's subdued but still very memorable guitar riffing gives Kennedy a chance to shine. The lyrics are very personal, and Kennedy does the subject matter justice, giving a passionate performance.
Down to My Last: The pace picks up a little for this mid-tempo rocker. Kennedy provides another good vocal performance, particularly in the chorus. Mark again lets the focus rest on Kennedy while still providing a few good guitar moments. The main riff is pretty good, not mindblowing, but keeps the song at a good pace. Tremonti has one more solo on this track, and again he succeeds in demonstrating his technical ability while still complementing the song. Good song, but the style is still fairly soft, and the album could've probably used a fast and heavy rocker at this point.
Watch Your Words: Alter Bridge has gone back to the heavyness of the first half of the album with this rocker. The riff is Metallica-like, which is a welcome change from the softer style Tremonti was settling into for the previous few songs. There are a couple of soft/heavy transitions that are seemless, both instrumentally and vocally. Kennedy's vocals are some of the best on the album, Tremonti's riffs and fills make this song though, especially as the song gets heavier towards the end. The guitar breakdown in the bridge and at the end are both good. Phillips' drumming also steps up again in this track; he gets a few good moments toward the latter half of the song as well.
Shed My Skin: This ballad is hands down the worst track on the album. This sounds a LOT like Creed, and that is not a compliment. Tremonti's riffs are very dull here, with no real highlights instrumentally; the minimalist style here doesn't work. Kennedy's vocals are also lacking, these are his worst vocals on the album; while there is not much technically wrong with his performance, nothing stands out as memorable in this song, and his vocal perfomance during the final minute of the song is actually annoying, with his repetition of "YeahYeahYeahYeahYeahYeah..."
The End Is Here: Luckily the album ends on a strong note. This one begins with a softer riff making it sound as if it will be more ballad-like, but during the bridge it builds up to a heavy Arabian-sounding riff that makes the track transition to a different style half-way through. This unique mid-tempo rocker has the band at their best. Tremonti's transition from the softer style of the first half of the song to the more aggresive style of the second half is great. Kennedy's vocals are better this time around. Although the highlight of this song is certainly the guitar work by Tremonti, Kennedy provides good support to the darker feel of this track with his vocals. Phillips gets in some good drum fills too. A satisfying conclusion to the album.
Although the tempo slows down a bit in the second half of this album, Alter Bridge makes a fine debut with One Day Remains.