Alter Bridge
AB III


3.0
good

Review

by SowingSeason EMERITUS
October 11th, 2010 | 66 replies | 9,191 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Alter Bridge returns with their strengths intact, but also with a few new weaknesses.

Alter Bridge is a band that has evoked a divided reaction from musical audiences. Some absolutely love their heavy, intricate riffs layered with Myles Kennedy’s skilled vocal range, and others hate them for the same reasons, only with different perceptions – citing repetitive chord progressions and vocals that are too high pitched for the dark undertones created by the instrumental components. Both arguments have validity, and to be honest, they both have a lot to do with whether or not you will like AB III.

It is a cardinal sin to formulate an opinion on an album based primarily on comparisons to a band’s prior work. So let’s get one thing out of the way immediately: this is in no way as good as Blackbird. Blackbird was a towering achievement of the hard rock genre, with moments of instrumental, vocal, and lyrical brilliance. While AB III falls short of matching that landmark album, it also should not be dismissed. Alter Bridge’s latest release delivers on all of its promises. It is heavier. It is darker. All in all, it rocks really hard for a mainstream band that stemmed from the likes of Creed. The guitars are blazing throughout the vast majority of this sixty-six minute mammoth of a record (and we’ll discuss its length later), with skilled, diversified drumming matching the intensity with each thunderous beat. The opening riff of “Slip Into the Void” is a primary example of Alter Bridge’s passionate focus on creating a darker edge. “Isolation” maintains that edge, and to be truthful, the band never loses it. Each song, even the ballads, plays a part in contributing to the overall atmosphere. And that is one phase in which AB III actually surpasses Blackbird: it is noticeably more consistent. Considering Tremonti’s impressive shredding and the abundance of well-placed guitar solos, this is definitely a good thing.

The problem with AB III is that it spreads itself too thin. There is an abundance of quality material here, but at over an hour in length, it becomes a chore to listen to. Let’s face it, Alter Bridge is not a post-rock wonder. Their music, as enjoyable and accessible as it may be, does not have the rise and fall, ebb and flow progression necessary to make an album of this length constantly engaging. And it shouldn’t; this is mainstream hard rock, not Godspeed You! Black Emperor! Yet for some reason, AB III is drawn-out by moments of filler that clog the album’s flow and makes it feel, as Alter Bridge critics love to point out, repetitive. Tracks like “Breathe Again” and “Still Remains” don’t bring anything new to the table, and worse yet, they take what should be a strength (consistency) and turn it into a weakness (redundancy). The same can be said about “Show Me a Sign”, which clocks in at just under six minutes. Listening to an album all the way through is almost a spiritual experience, and its delicate balance can ill afford to suffer the likes of those time wasters. Like length, catchiness shouldn’t be the sole determining factor of an album’s success. But it at least needs to be memorable more often than not. In mainstream rock, a genre that lives and dies by the single, you need to have a catchy verse or a grand chorus to accentuate the instrumental proficiency on display. Unfortunately, for all of its thrilling intensity, AB III doesn’t boast much to look back on and remember.

AB III is a hit and miss album. Fans of Alter Bridge will have a field day with the abundance of delicious riffs and the record’s overall immensity. Kennedy’s vocals are once again spot on, as he shows impressive range while hitting all of his notes. There is also no doubt this is the band’s heaviest album to date – it creates a dark, brooding atmosphere. However, as many critics have pointed out, Alter Bridge does have a tendency to get repetitive with their chord progressions and overall song structures. Just like with the band’s returning strengths, it also appears that their weaknesses have returned, except in even greater numbers. Alter Bridge has no doubt created a solid, if not exceptional album technically and vocally. But its lack of memorable moments, combined with excessive length and filler, make AB III boil down to an instrumentally impressive album that does not live up to its potential.



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user ratings (496)
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 ...

    Austin (4)
    Although it can't match up to Blackbird, AB III is still a very strong release that was we...

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


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Emeritus
October 11th 2010



14509 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Obligatory Alter Bridge review.

Sorry Ties this is good but I don't love it. And Lakes you are still wrong, this is definitely above average.

Romulus
October 11th 2010



8371 Comments


sowing before i read this i just want to say i figured out your fantasy football slogan today and i felt so dumb for not doing so earlier.

okay reading now

edit: and it's really good, pos'd

wyankeif1337
October 11th 2010



6739 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Awesome review. My thoughts exactly, except that I like it more than you.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
October 11th 2010



7008 Comments


Fantastic review. Easiest pos I had to give today. And for the record, I am glad I helped pressure you into writing this =p

Now, I have not heard any of AB's work myself, but two things in this review stood out to me:

i.) It is a cardinal sin to formulate an opinion on an album based primarily on comparisons to a band’s prior work.

-> I agree. That said, it is equally massive a sin to formulate an opinion that does not make comparisons/analysis of a band's prior work. Like everything good in the world, it's all about moderation.

ii.) Tracks like “Breathe Again” and “Still Remains” don’t bring anything new to the table, and worse yet, they take what should be a strength (consistency) and turn it into a weakness (redundancy).

-> Usage of nuances like this make this review great.

Great job Sowing.

Digging: Caleb McAlpine - All Things New

SowingSeason
Emeritus
October 11th 2010



14509 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I decided I used the word "and" too much in the conclusion so i just fix'd that.

oh and romulus i just realized i forgot about sputnik fantasy football for the 2nd straight week. ugh!

SowingSeason
Emeritus
October 11th 2010



14509 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

thanks irving, im glad you liked this. i have been listening to the album for a while now, but i wrote this review up pretty quickly...hope there's no glaring errors.

Gyromania
October 11th 2010



14647 Comments


I'm a little bit out of it, but I'll read this tomorrow for sure! I promise!

Apollo
October 11th 2010



10083 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

great review Sowing ;)

pizzamachine
October 11th 2010



12568 Comments


'Tis a nice review!

tiesthatbind
October 11th 2010



7360 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Sigh...

No really, good job, man. I approve of this review, and can understand every point you made. I was hoping for at least a 3.5, but oh well. An easy pos.

tiesthatbind
October 11th 2010



7360 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

One thing though:

Some absolutely love their heavy, intricate riffs layered with Myles Kennedy’s ranging vocal abilities,

That phrase just reads weird to me, idk.

SowingSeason
Emeritus
October 11th 2010



14509 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

thanks i worded it better now...i think lol

SowingSeason
Emeritus
October 12th 2010



14509 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

oh and thanks for not dissing this review just because it is lower than what you expected. this album's riffs are killer, i don't think i could have said enough to get across just how impressed i was by them. but i just couldn't find much to make me want to come back, y'know?

for me, Blackbird will always be where its at when it comes to this band

wyankeif1337
October 12th 2010



6739 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, that's exactly it. The riffs here beat out Blackbird in every conceivable way, Blackbird was just more interesting overall.

Spec
October 12th 2010



26833 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pos'd!

Irving
Staff Reviewer
October 12th 2010



7008 Comments


Now you guys have got me interested in ABIII AND their backcatalog unless by "Blackbirds" you mean this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4nz87wWYu4

SowingSeason
Emeritus
October 12th 2010



14509 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

thanks wyankeif and special3ff3cts

yeah this is the first somewhat-negative-ish review of this, but i still gave it a 3 so its not like i didnt like it

tiesthatbind
October 12th 2010



7360 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This is actually the lowest score for an Alter Bridge review on the site.

cinaedus
October 12th 2010



26195 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

yeah i would still have this at a 3 if i didn't hate myles kennedy so much so i can understand. good review.

also, 1000x yes to your first paragraph.

AtavanHalen
October 12th 2010



17927 Comments


Blackbird was a towering achievement of the hard rock genre


[IMG]http://www.granitegrok.com/pix/911TwinTowers.jpg[/IMG]



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