Alter Bridge
AB III


4.0
excellent

Review

by Austin USER (41 Reviews)
October 10th, 2010 | 528 replies | 44,753 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Although it can't match up to Blackbird, AB III is still a very strong release that was well worth the wait.

When looking back at Alter Bridge’s history, I consider myself lucky to have started off with Blackbird with no knowledge of their past, because they have come quite a long way. No matter how you feel about Creed, no one would have predicted an album like Blackbird to come from these musicians. The combination of Myles Kennedy’s powerful vocals and Mark Tremonti’s blazing guitarwork has made these guys a force to be reckoned with. Blackbird was a triumph when many had written them off, and erased anything that tied them to Creed. This also put quite a lot of pressure on AB III. To follow up a record such as Blackbird wouldn’t be easy. There was always the fear that they would just end up making a rehash of the last album.

Thankfully, as soon as the album starts it’s clear that this fear was misplaced. The band promised a darker record, and they delivered. AB III is dark, brooding, and consistently uses Drop A guitars and more pessimistic lyrics than anything the band has written before. Slip To The Void opens the album with a low-key intro featuring a chilling vocal performance from Myles. After successfully building the tension for over a minute, Tremonti lays down a pounding riff, and the song catapults into a venomous mid-tempo rocker. It’s also a good indicator of the overall darker tone of the album. All Hope Is Gone is another highlight, with a dark and melancholic sound, and a fantastic buildup to the thundering riff in its midsection. The darker tone to the album is something that the band pulls off with ease, and it allows them play to their strengths. Tracks like Show Me A Sign and Fallout don’t succeed due to flashy guitarwork but because of the atmosphere that’s created from their brooding riffs.

However, it’s more than just Mark’s guitar and Myles’ vocals that make the album succeed. Tremonti’s background vocals have always been one of the more underrated assets of the band, and they’re more prominent here. The choruses have an even fuller sound this time due to his vocals being pushed higher in the mix. The band takes it even further with Words Darker Than Their Wings, which provides one of the album’s finest moments: a duet between him and Myles. The verses consist of the two men alternating vocals, and the combination of their voices sounds truly magnificent. It might not reach the level of Blackbird’s title track, but it’s a powerful closer, and a promising sign for the future if Mark continues to get his voice heard more on their records. Conversely, Myles’ presence on guitar is another asset that gives the album more depth, and he even gets to do some more soloing on Isolation and Show Me A Sign. His blues-inspired playing once again provides a compliment to Mark’s metal influence.

And for those that like the band for that metal influence, there’s plenty of material here to enjoy, such as the monstrous lead riff that ravages through lead single Isolation. The similarly fast-paced Still Remains will no doubt be another favorite, and features a bridge that lets Tremonti unleash some thrash metal-influenced riffage. Still, the band doesn’t just succeed on pure heaviness, it’s Myles’ vocals that help give these tracks their energy, and that’s the one thing I’ve always appreciated about the band: their dedication to melody even during their heaviest moments. Coeur D’Alene is where the band does it best, and it’s the strongest track on the album. It’s one of the heavy rockers but it’s also very melancholic, and Tremonti does an excellent job of letting his riffs weave in and out of the melody. It doesn’t even have as big of a chorus as a lot of other tracks here, but that’s actually a strength in this case since it allows the track to flow very smoothly.

It’s disappointing, then, that the ballads don’t quite have the same level of inspiration. Wonderful Life is a pleasant enough continuation of the soft balladry of Watch Over You, but the similarity to that fan favorite prevents it from truly standing out, although it’s forgivable since it’s still a very enjoyable track. Breathe Again, on the other hand, is too much self-plagiarism to ignore. It’s practically a note for note copy of Before Tomorrow Comes, only with a weaker chorus. This earns it a place as one of the band’s worst songs, one that hopefully won’t be a single. The best single-worthy material on the album is Make It Right, which takes what they did with Rise Today and adds more musical muscle and an even catchier chorus.

All in all, while it doesn’t match up to Blackbird, AB III is an excellent follow-up, and its main flaws come from comparing it to the band’s previous work, since it doesn’t have a track as brilliant as Blackbird or Ties That Bind. Taken out of that context there’s very little to criticize, other than the fact that the formula does get a little predictable throughout the album’s 66-minute running time, something that will be more intimidating for more casual listeners. Mark can still write excellent solos that have a great mix of shred and melody and always fit the song they’re in, and Myles can still dazzle with his enviable 4-octave range. Given the consistently excellent songwriting and musicianship displayed here, AB III can safely be called another triumph for mainstream rock.

Top Tracks:

Slip To The Void
Isolation
All Hope Is Gone
Still Remains
Coeur D’Alene
Words Darker Than Their Wings



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user ratings (515)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • gimper09 (4)
    The darker side of Alter Bridge...

    CoConi (4)
    A band manages to progress successfully after a critically acclaimed sophomore album...

    Ctippell (5)
    Alter Bridge come through uncertainty and other projects to make one of the finest albums ...

    SowingSeason STAFF (3)
    Alter Bridge returns with their strengths intact, but also with a few new weaknesses....

  • fr33convict (4)
    Another excellent album by one of today’s greatest mainstream rock acts....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
October 10th 2010


31158 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

About time

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

tiesthatbind
October 10th 2010


7374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Sorry this took so long, guys, I know some of you were anticipating this, but I was busy. Anyway,
enjoy the review.

Digging: xSPONGEXCOREx - How Tough Are Yah?

fr33convict
October 10th 2010


11689 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Excellent review, much better than mine haha. I just had three really small things I wanted to mention:
1. The guitar tuning in the heavier tracks is the exact same one used on Blackbird.
2. The later sentences in the second to last paragraph are kind of oddly written to me.
3. I remember you told me you thought the album's formula gets a bit repetitive. You might want to add that since your review reads more like a 4.5 to me.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 10th 2010


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

biblical review length as with your other alter bridge review

i love long reviews though, especially when they are this good. pos'

Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 10th 2010


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

and yeah it took me a few reads to understand the sentence fr33 is talking about, could be easily remedied by adding a "rather" after the but

fr33convict
October 10th 2010


11689 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

OF COURSE Sowing loves long reviews.

tiesthatbind
October 10th 2010


7374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

@fr33: Alright, I'll look those things over. I thought the Drop A tuning was lower than they were using before.

@Sowing: Thanks, and trust me, if I had written this soon after I joined this would be a lot longer. I couldn't make this any shorter, though, since it's AB after all.

Romulus
October 10th 2010


8434 Comments


very nice review Ties, pos'd as usual

fr33convict
October 10th 2010


11689 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

@ties: I believe Come to Life, One by One, Blackbird, and a few other tracks are in Drop A. It's been forever since I played them on guitar though, so I really can't gaurantee I'm right. Whoever neg'd this is retarded (It was Lakes).

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 10th 2010


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

nothing wrong with indulging a little when it comes to your favorite band. seriously, though, this review is very well-written.

edit: whoever negged this, i will find you and give you a lecture on the difference between "is this well-written" and "do you agree"

wyankeif1337
October 10th 2010


6739 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

No, when Blackbird was low it was dropped Bb, not A, at least for most of the tracks.
And review is great.

fr33convict
October 10th 2010


11689 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I know I'm just messin' wit u lol

Outnumbered
October 10th 2010


370 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

YEA A TIES THAT BIND REVIEW!

I'll read it shortly.

fr33convict
October 10th 2010


11689 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

wyankeif1337: hmm I knew I was probably wrong lol

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
October 10th 2010


31158 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

whoever negged this, i will find you and give you a lecture on the difference between "is this well-written" and "do you agree"


I wouldn't have picked you for the intimidating type there SS, but the neg's gone haha

Nicely done Ties, easy pos

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 10th 2010


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

ppl fear me, no big deal

tiesthatbind
October 10th 2010


7374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks guys.

fr33, I think they did use Drop A on One By One, but anyway I changed it and fixed the other stuff.

Outnumbered
October 10th 2010


370 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Excellent review, pos'd.

I haven't listened to whole record yet, but Still Remains is my favorite so far.

The main riff is absolutley killer.

Baphomet
October 10th 2010


7364 Comments


It has come to the point where I read "Alter Bridge" and my brain automatically goes "tiesthatbind".

Good review, though I don't think I will be checking this out.

Emim
October 10th 2010


26621 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Does Myles really have a 4 octave range? Cause that would be bigger than Freddie Mercury.

Great review, bro. Only thing I noticed is that you use a lot of apostrophes, but then again so do I.



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