Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Alter Bridge - Fortress

Released: 30th September 2013
Genre: Hard Rock, Alternative metal
Record Label: Roadrunner Records
Number of Tracks: 12

Overall Rating: 9.5/10

The future of Alter Bridge was in considerable doubt after the 2010 release, ABIII. Founding member and guitarist Mark Tremonti turned his attention to his other band, Creed embarking on a tour, as well as releasing a solo album ‘All I Was’ (2012). Lead vocalist Myles Kennedy started a project with ‘Slash’ and ‘The Conspirators’, releasing ‘Apocalyptic Love’ and touring (2012). Drummer Scott Phillips joined a new band called ‘Projected’ with members from ‘Sevendust’ and ‘Submersed’. Despite all of this, they entered the studio in January 2013 and intermittently between tours with their respective projects, began recording Alter Bridge’s 4th studio album – Fortress.

Would they be able to produce another solid album like Blackbird, or would other projects get in the way? One thing is for sure, they have not skimped on this album, which has many different styles of music throughout the 12 tracks, varying from soft acoustic, hints of speed metal, and heavy metal. This is Alter Bridge's heaviest and most intense album yet, as they have put every effort into making a powerful, diverse set of well-constructed, thick-bodied, pounding tracks that are pleasing to any rock and metal fan. All these guys want to do, is rock hard and they want you to join in.

The album opens up beautifully with 'Cry of Achilles'. Kennedy with a finger picking Spanish style guitar lick, before the emphatic head banging riff and thudding drums kick in. A sense of warmth and comfort overwhelms you when you hear Myles Kennedy sing, and even though AB aren't as popular as Creed once was, they are still one of few rock bands that knows how to make a proper rock record. This song is a 6 minute musical phenomenon  and introduces us to an album which will please Alter Bridge fans in the fact that all the songs are pounding and heavy as opposed to the mix that we get on ‘One Day Remains’. 

'Addicted to Pain' was released as a single on August 12th 2013, the song moves like a bullet and has lyrical staying power as well as a jazz style solo. This song is probably the most impactful of any AB track for me. Kenndy's vocals are probably the best they have ever been, and are perfect throughout the album. He hits every note spot on and it never feels forced as well as putting so much emotion into his singing. Just listen to track 4 'Lover' for proof. It starts off acoustic and is lead by some of the best singing to be heard on a rock album. It is the only really soft song on the album. 'Waters Rising' has vocals lead superbly by Mark Tremonti. This song has a typical Alter Bridge feel to it, and that can only be a good thing. It is well constructed, the body of the song is built around Tremonti singing aggressively 'Don't Let me Drown' before a riff that seems to sound as if someone is thrashing about trying to gasp for air. 

'Farther Than The Sun' has a very dark guitar tone, and is one of the many heavy tracks on the album. This song is heavier than the Wrecking Ball Miley Cyrus is straddling naked in her new shitty video. The bridge and solo is so emphatic with fast guitar riffs and an even darker tone. 'All Ends Well' is not quite as memorable as the other songs, but has a typical Alter Bridge feel to it. Slow intro building up to feel epiphanous. Final track 'Fortress' clocks in at 7:36, blood pumping guitar duel type riffs, and great vocal harmony, it seems like Tremonti and Kennedy decided to have a guitar-off, but the song is brilliant and held together by some tight drumming by Scott Phillips.

Fortress is a sensational, solid Alter Bridge album, and will be loved by the older fans, and newer fans. You will need jaw re-alignment, change of pants and your ears checked as It features some of their best work specifically from Kennedy. Alter Bridge for me, are under-rated. They seem to be flying under the radar a bit. Fortress however, should keep their rock God status alive, and worthy of my highest overall rating yet.

Stand out tracks: 
Cry of Achilles
Addicted to Pain
Farther Than The Sun


  1. Solid review, other than the fact that the song is called "Farther Than The Sun" not "Farther Than The Storm" :) Also, if I can disagree with you a little, "All Ends Well" is one of my favorites on the album. Its pretty opposite in tone/theme to the rest of the album, sure, but it really shows off the range and talent that Myles Kennedy has. We rarely get to hear the lower part of his range anymore, and he definitely doesn't hold back on the upper end in that song either. "Calm The Fire" is an amazing song as well, and I think its one of the top 3 on the album, definitely worth mentioning anyway. But I'm no critic, just a fan with an opinion, haha.

  2. Hi Anon, thanks for the comment and for spotting the mistake, which has now been corrected. Your opinion is an interesting one, and well written. The range and talent Myles Kennedy has can be seen in every other song, in particular 'Lover', there is no doubt of his talent, and the song 'All Ends Well' is more proof of that. I appreciate your opinion, and i am sure there are many others that feel the same.

  3. Pretty Girl On Guitar1 October 2013 at 21:46

    Fortress is a sensational album full of great riffs and melodies and soaring song structures. If they can market this one properly, it will be a smash hit. Great complex guitar melodies. Very sophisticated and mature. Good work guys. A+!

  4. I'm actually glad AB is flying under the radar. That means they creating brilliant, clever, fantastic music, and not crappy commercial rock. If you know AB, you will listen and love them, and not just be a sheep. On this album - This is a master piece. Love every single song. The riffs are bind blowing, and Kennedys vocals is something to stand back and admire in awe. Awesome review... Hits it on the nail.

    1. Hi Morne, thanks for your comment. In a way i agree, i am glad they are not 'mainstream', however if they were i know they would always produce killer songs, and could revolutionise rock. Kennedy and Tremonti are not ones to sell out for popularity, but if they became more popular then this band would not let the music suffer. Thanks