Myles Kennedy – Lead vocals, rhythm and lead guitar
Mark Tremonti – Lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals on “Waters Rising”
Brian Marshall – Bass guitar
Scott Phillips – Drum
Orlando based American Alt Rockers Alter Bridge return with their newest release, “Fortress’’ which is 63 minutes of pure aural pleasure. It had been 3 years since their last “AB III” and their fans were more than ready for a new album.
In the hiatus between albums, Tremonti released a solo record titled, “All I Was” which displayed a much heavier side of his guitar playing. This becomes really relevant as one starts to listen to Fortress. After listening to the single “Addicted To Pain”, it was known that Tremonti had taken what he’d done on his solo record and bred it with Alter Bridge’s signature sound to create a new beast altogether.
With a track list consisting of 12 songs, Fortress is just over an hour long. “Cry of Achilles” leads you into the album perfectly, with the kind of finger-picked acoustic intro you come to expect from Mark and then Boom! Its position as the first track is perfect. In my opinion, it acts as a bridge between the old and the new sound of the band. This is followed by “Addicted to Pain”, which is a tad heavier than the preceding song. In that way the album flows very well, moving from one song to the other smoothly. Describing all the songs would be ruiners for those who haven’t heard the album. However, though I loved the whole album, “The Uninvited”, “Peace Is Broken”, “Calm The Fire” and “Waters Rising” are the ones that really caught my attention.
The production on the album is as brilliant as it has been in the past. Producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette really came through with a splendid record. Though the album is much heavier than anything that Alter Bridge has had to offer before, it’s smooth, retaining AB’s signature warmth. The string arrangements are very well done, especially on “Calm The Fire” giving it an almost Muse – esque intro.
Mark Tremonti has been one of my favourite guitarists ever since I can remember, and he really shines. His signature finger-picked style is not that prominently featured, but it is not missed that much as it’s supplemented by some heavy duty riffing. His solos are beautiful as usual, going all out on the title track and taking it through a bunch of changes. He’s also sung “Waters Rising” in addition to backing vocals on other tracks and no complaints there.
Myles Kennedy is a brilliant vocalist and he does deliver on this album as he has before. The only drawback is that some of the melodies seem a little derivative from their earlier works. That being said, there are some soaring melodies that cannot be ignored, the chorus on “Calm The Fire” being one of them.
Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips exhibit their distinct blend of restraint and musicianship on this record. Besides having a slightly distorted tone on this record, Brian throws in a few licks that will keep bassists interested. Phillip’s drumming maintains the balance between the Alt Rock and Metal in this album, though I feel that the cymbals could’ve come through more in parts of the album. But he makes up again while he really shines in “The Uninvited’.
In the end, Fortress is one of those albums that I love top to bottom. Never a dull moment. I highly recommend this album to those who like their Alternative/Hard Rock, but if you really do, then I’m certain you would’ve already checked it out.
8eight8 Rating: 9/10
1. “Cry of Achilles” 6:30
2. “Addicted to Pain” 4:16
3. “Bleed It Dry” 4:44
4. “Lover” 5:17
5. “The Uninvited” 4:47
6. “Peace Is Broken” 4:40
7. “Calm the Fire” 6:04
8. “Waters Rising” 5:39
9. “Farther than the Sun” 4:07
10. “Cry a River” 4:00
11. “All Ends Well” 5:12
12. “Fortress” 7:36
Total length: 62:52
– Sameer Selvam, Contributing Writer 8Eight8 Music