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Alter Bridge’s fourth album a hit

Alter Bridge courtesy of Flickr user alter.jimmy

Although I just heard the news, Alter Bridge released their fourth studio album, Fortress, in late September.  Alter Bridge is an American rock band from Orlando, Florida that formed in 2004. The band is consists of frontman and guitarist Myles Kennedy, lead guitarist Mark Tremonti, bassist Brian Marshall, and drummer Scott Philips. Tremonti, Marshall, and Philips were members of the band Creed, which disbanded in 2004.

Fortress has twelve songs, making the album’s length one hour and two minutes. Its first and only single to date is “Addicted to Pain,” which is a stereotypical Alter Bridge song. With a hard rock guitar riff as the intro, the song transitions into a catchy chorus.  It then features a hard rock breakdown for the bridge, loud guitars blaring in each ear as Kennedy hits the high notes.  Tremonti then takes a face melting solo to top of the song.

The album opens with “Cry of Achilles,” which starts with an acoustic guitar. Its arpeggiated standard and diminished chords are full of emotion. And what better way to transition into the rock part of the song than with an acoustic shred solo? This is something that doesn’t happen a lot in the rock industry. Throughout the song, loud electric guitars ring their melodies, complimenting Kennedy’s vocals; Kennedy has a very wide vocal spectrum and is not afraid to show it.

“Bleed it Dry,” the third song on the album, starts with a hard rock guitar riff and catchy chorus, but transitions into a clean arpeggiated guitar bridge, with Kennedy’s melody lines filling in the empty spaces. Tremonti then takes a soul-filled solo, encompassing the spirit of the blues.  The emotional solo adds depth and contrasts to the shredding of songs before.

“Lover” is the album’s rock ballad. It starts with a clean electric guitar strumming a couple of chords and a melodic whispering vocal line from Kennedy. Tremonti solos when Kennedy doesn’t sing, and during the chorus, when the guitar becomes heavy, he solos behind Kennedy’s vocals. The whispery vocals add a mysterious depth to the track.

The majority of the songs feature a standard song format of alternating verses and choruses with a bridge breakdown thrown into the mix. The vocal lines don’t change too much from song to song. Kennedy likes to leave words hanging at the end, outstretching the last word and using some form of vibrato. His vocals are just as harmonic as the guitars and drums.  Philips plays hard across the entire album, full of intricate bass drums patterns and a loud snare drum. The rhythm guitars constantly drive a hard rock sound throughout every song. The mix of drums and heavy guitars leaves the head constantly rocking back and forth, and keeps the foot tapping to the different BPM. The album keeps to the sound of previous Alter Bridge albums: loud, full of instrumentations, and catchy.

Tremonti’s guitar work is very original. His riffs and guitar’s tonality have a distinct sound that people can pick up on almost immediately. Kennedy’s voice is also very distinct because it sounds nasally at times. Many times they double tracked his vocal lines to harmonize with himself, adding depth and creativity to the tracks. Without knowing the song, any radio listener can know it’s Alter Bridge. The album is very dynamic, as it goes between hard rock and clean guitars.

Fortress has received great reviews since its debut in late September. International Business Times gave the album a solid 4 out 5 stars, saying the album is a “delight to the ears.”  AllMusic gave the album 4 out of 5 stars as well, while Kerrang! gave the album 5 out of 5 stars.

Fortress is a hard rock album by the band Alter Bridge. The album continues their legacy as one of the greatest rock bands of all time, and the album is a must buy for any rock enthusiast.

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Alter Bridge’s fourth album a hit