Album of the Week 10-2012: Alter Bridge – AB III

More by necessity than anything else – it was basically the only CD that didn’t refuse to play on my old discman – ‘AB III’ received many a spin last week. But that’s no problem, because it’s easily the best album by one of the best Rock bands on the planet. Having a weak spot for great singers, I was attracted to Alter Bridge’s music immediately. Myles Kennedy is simply the best Rock singer since the generation of Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell and the music, led by Mark Tremonti’s not-quite-Metal-but-close riffs, is powerful and engaging. Melodic enough for the radio Rock crowd, heavy enough for headbangers.

What makes ‘AB III’ an even better album than ‘Blackbird’ is that Alter Bridge explores the art of inner-song dynamics with great succes on this album. By that I mean the following: previously, you could tell from the start if an Alter Bridge song was going to be a Rock song or a ballad. ‘AB III’ is somewhat less predictable in that matter. Starting out with the best song the band has done so far, ‘Slip To The Void’ opens with a brooding synthesizer riff topped by Kennedy’s spine chilling vocals, only to be built into a powerful Hard Rock song. Another great example of these dynamics is ‘Ghost Of Days Gone By’, which sounds like it’s the guaranteed radio hit of the album, but has an incredibly dark and heavy middle part. Tremonti’s favorite – source of that is the interview I had with him around the album’s release – ‘Show Me A Sign’ also shows multiple faces of the Floridian quartet.

If that’s not enough to win you over, Myles Kennedy will. He has a ridiculously wide range both melodically and expression-wise. You’d have to look no further than (once again) opening track ‘Slip To The Void’ to hear what this guy is up to. Soft, warm, almost soothing in the beginning, high and strong in the rocking parts. His harmony parts with Mark Tremonti sound very good as well, as does his duet with Tremonti in closing track ‘Words Darker Than Their Wings’.

With Kennedy and Tremonti soaring at the front, you’d almost forget there’s two other guys in the band. It would be unfair to call drummer Scott Phillips and bassist Brian Marshall “just” the solid backbone to this band, as especially Phillips shines with some killer performances throughout the record (‘Still Remains’ is lifted to a higher level by this guy). The thing is: these guys play together so well that no one deserves more credit than anyone else. Still, I’m giving some more to Kennedy. God damn, that guy can sing!

Later this month, Alter Bridge’s second live DVD ‘Live At Wembley’ will be released and it will contain about half of this album. And that’s only fair, as it’s one of the best Rock album released since the mid-nineties. And that’s why it’s still receiving so many spins, even though I now own a new discman which does work. This is one of those albums you want to play over and over again. Try if you don’t believe me.

Recommended tracks: ‘Slip To The Void’, ‘Isolation’, ‘Coeur d’Alene’, ‘I Know It Hurts’, ‘Show Me A Sign’

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