Time for some unashamed fangirling now. Today sees the release of ‘Fortress’, the new album by one of my favourite rock bands, Alter Bridge. Three weeks today I go to see and hear them live, along with two other great bands, Shinedown and Halestorm. So, for Music Monday, on the run up to the gig, I’m going to post tracks by each band. My rock fan friends will love this. The rest of you – feel free to skim over this stuff and look out for more sensible blog posts. Although there might not be any of those, as my Creative Writing course starts on Saturday and I’m already mildly freaking out about my workload. 😉
Due to being able to listen to official previews, I have heard the album a few times already and it’s fantastic. A great mix of tracks, from soaring anthems to breathy love songs (although Alter Bridge love songs tend to have a bit of a twist). Actually, a lot of AB’s songs are quite dark. Some of my friends find it surprising that I like this band, as I’m also a glam rock/musical theatre type. I like horror and paranormal fiction, and some of my own writing is dark, so when that comes out in someone’s songwriting, I’m drawn to it. Hubby finds it odd that I like AB because he thinks they’re too ‘heavy’ for me. I keep trying to explain that as long as there’s MELODY, it doesn’t matter to me how heavy the music is. (He doesn’t quite get it).
Above from left to right: Mark Tremonti (vocals, guitar), Scott ‘Flip’ Phillips (drums), Brian Marshall (bass) and Myles Kennedy (vocals, guitar). Don’t let the scary tattooed look fool you – they’re all dedicated, (fairly) clean-living family men!
In my opinion, Myles Kennedy is the best living vocalist in rock. (Hi, Freddie, wherever you are). I will get people shouting lots of other names at me here: Corey Taylor, Brent Smith, Bruce Dickinson, Steven Tyler, to name but a few. Yes, I love all of these guys. I did say ‘in my opinion’. Myles’s amazing vocal range, together with heartfelt delivery and charismatic stage presence, make him a force to be reckoned with. Before anyone says it, yes, the fact that he is very easy on the eyes helps too!
Myles and Mark are both talented singer-songwriters. Their guitar-playing backgrounds are very different. Myles honed his skills playing blues and jazz, and even taught guitar at one point. Mark is a self-taught, speed metal guitarist. They complement one another perfectly. Together with their rhythm section of Brian and Flip, they make a formidable whole. Stand-out songs for me on the new album so far: ‘Calm the Fire’, which shows off Myles’s incredible vocal range, ‘All Ends Well’, written by Myles from his mum’s point of view, talking to the insecure younger him (genius idea), and ‘Lover’ which sounds very breathy and sexy, then you listen to the lyrics… Mark takes lead vocal for the first time on ‘Waters Rising’, which will delight fans. Mark has shown his ability as a frontman with his band ‘Tremonti’ over the last year.
I’m not setting out to review the album or do a bio of the band here; this is just me talking about why I love their music. So much so that I will queue all day to get to the front row of the gig, along with a lot of other like-minded loonies (you know who you are). 😉
I’ve featured two videos below. The first is ‘Addicted to Pain’, the first single from ‘Fortress’. This is ‘loud, fast and thrashin”, as they say. We all know somebody in a relationship like the one the song is describing. The video complements the dark, angry tone of the song. If you don’t like dark and heavy, give it a miss, and skip to the next one…
…‘Watch Over You’, from AB’s second album, ‘Blackbird’. A beautiful ballad, although if you listen to the lyrics – there’s that twist. Myles often performs this as a solo acoustic number during their live set, which works brilliantly and usually has the crowd (and sometimes him!) in tears.
Alter Bridge are a band who are not nearly as well known as they deserve to be. They have built up a well-deserved following through regular touring and interacting with fans (hello, AB Nation)! They sell out arenas all over Europe and the UK. ‘Fortress’ could be the album that makes them a household name.