Review Summary: "If only I had found a way to tell you all the things you should've known"8 of 10 thought this review was well written
Alter Bridge has become one of those rare examples of hard rock music done right over the past decade. While they may not exactly be as popular as Creed once was, they’ve proven that the shadow of Creed was definitely gone from them when they released Blackbird. Now with more and more people moving more to hip-hop, pop and radio hits, rock is starting to lower expectations more and more, with many people and even some critics shouting out how unoriginal newer rock and metal bands are, claiming that it has started to sound the same over the past few years. But even so, there are bands out there that stand out among the rest, Alter Bridge being one of them, and their latest album, Fortress, proves just that.
The album immediately starts out with the track “Cry of Achilles” which is probably one of the best tracks there is out on the album. It’s just one of the greatest starters to any hard rock album there is out there, and probably one of the best songs that AB has made to date. The whole song is just one great musical phenomenon and just makes you want to listen to it all the time. It’s dark, malevolent tone just certainly brings out the best. The songs intro starts off with an acoustic guitar before bursting into life, throwing huge guitar riffs and fantastic drum work by the man, Scott Phillips. The albums lead single, “Addicted to Pain” is also another highlight into the album. It’s just filled to the brink with energy, with its fast pace, and great vocals, it’s just another great track to the album. Kennedy’s vocals are probably the best that they’ve ever been, even by Blackbird standards. He just puts so much emotion into his singing (not that he hasn’t in the past) and just hits the notes spot on that it never feels strained. Even when Kennedy hits the higher notes the pitch is just right. But the album actually comes out with a surprise, as Mark Tremonti takes a turn at the vocals on “Water’s Rising” and it fits quite well, making it another standout track. He also brings out a wonderful voice and, like Kennedy, he gets the pitches just right and puts emotion into the song.
“Farther Than the Sun” and “Peace is Broken” are probably the heaviest tracks on the album, bringing out fast guitar riffs and a very dark tone to both the sound and lyrics, while “Lover” and “Waters Rising” are the lighter tracks, carrying a smoother melody and beautiful vocals throughout. The final track, “Fortress” is the most epic track in the album, clocking in at about seven-and-a-half minutes. And while it’s not as inspired and iconic as “Blackbird” was, it’s certainly another wonderful track that AB has done, period. The album’s overall sound is heavier and darker than Alter Bridge’s previous records, which isn’t a huge surprise since Fortress was most likely going to be a heavier record in the first place and I’m sure most fans expected it to be that way. And while it doesn’t push the band from their comfort zone, Fortress does bring out some great moments that will certainly get stuck in your head for weeks, and even months to come.
There isn’t that much to condemn on Fortress other than that it’s not as ground breaking or game-changing as their sophomore album “Blackbird” was. It’s just Alter Bridge doing what they do, making hard rock music, and they do it quite well. Even so, songs like “All Ends Well” and “The Uninvited” aren’t memorable enough to stand out to what Alter Bridge has done in the past. And while the album itself is just plain excellent, trying to go through the whole record in one sitting may not be the best thing you could do. It feels repetitive at some points, leading to a few filler moments like in “Calm the Fire” or “The Uninvited.” The whole album is literally over an hour long and it’s better to savor it in two sittings rather than two. “All Ends Well” could be stronger in terms of lyrics and in sound. Again, it doesn’t hold any surprises and it's probably a song you’ve all heard at least once before on the radio at some point.
So overall, Fortress, while not as phenomenal as some of AB’s previous work, is definitely an album that’s worth listening, for both older fans, and newer one. It holds some of Alter Bridges best work since their formation and they definitely create some wonderful tracks on this album. Sure it does have a few dull moments, but it doesn’t necessarily make any of the songs dull at all, at least not entirely. It may not be the greatest thing you’ve ever heard, but it works extremely well in terms of its genre, making it another wonderful addition to AB’s discography.
Cry of Achilles
Addicted to Pain