Review Summary: If “One Day Remains” helped the band to survive, “Blackbird” is considered by the band as a lifesaver. They succeeded to build their own musical identity and provided them a new fanbase more dedicated and loyal according to Mark Tremonti. This alb
After Creed’s disbandment in 2004, Mark Tremonti (lead guitars), Brian Marshall (bass) and Scott Phillips (drums) formed Alter Bridge with Myles Kennedy (singer, rhythm guitar). Their debut album “One Day Remains” is considered as a Creed like album with a better singer and more qualitative writing skills in overall. If Creed’s Die-Hard fans were immediately convinced by this new project, it was difficult to find a new public as the formula was already used; and so the band’s survival was narrow. The band’s sophomore work entitled “Blackbird” was mostly written and recorded by their own, without manager or label record after their split with their former label: Wind-Up Records. “Blackbird”, produced by their new label Universal Republic, finally came out in 2007 with the aim to develop their fanbase and ensure their lives in music industry.
Right off the first track “Ties That Bind”, Alter Bridge seems express a will to change the formula as heavy fast/mid-paced songs with huge riff more technical than previous works punctuate the overall rhythm of this album. Intensive Scott Phillip’s drums playing give the rhythm through the end and shades is playing perfectly when necessary. The guitarists are not afraid to tune down their guitar to burden the atmosphere for fitting with lyrics and so to follow the meaning, notably on “Come to Life” and “Coming Home”. Impressive mid-paced rockers like “Buried Alive”, “Break Me Down” or “White Knuckles” are well organised in the tracklist to keep up the initial rhythm and atmosphere set by the first one, without losing the melodic style of Mark’s playing. Indeed, lead parts of these songs allow to Tremonti to show and prove that he is way more than just a rhythm guitarist. In the midst of this effort, songs using major key slow down the rhythm felt until there and Brian Marshall’s bass set up a mood to serve the topic of motivation and self improvement, as “Before tomorrow comes” and “Rise today” invite us to reflect on what we are and how we can improve our lives; each one by their own way.
If Alter Bridge succeed to dissociate them to a creed like band in this first part, they reached a new level on the centrepiece that is “Blackbird”. Alchemy between band’s member is complete and this offered us one of the most memorable solo of the early 21th century. Alternation of powerful choruses and softer verses allow Myles Kennedy to demonstrate all his talent to share one of their subject that concerned them the most: the loss of a loved one. They pay tribute to soldiers and families who are torn by their loss on “One by One” in a different way with a mid-paced song with a chorus that sounds like an anthem. In another register, band’s ballad “Watch Over You” and it’s acoustic riff that carries us in a past love story gives us chill; and it picks up power in the bridge with ambient effect on Tremonti’s guitar until the last chorus with an excellent performance of the quartet. The outcome song “Wayward One” kind of sum up all the risks they took for this effort. This moodier song, foster by a well execute singing by Myles Kennedy, end in a blaze of glory with another impressive lead part by Tremonti. “Brand New Start”, in the same style, is no less impressive.