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Alter Bridge: Fortress

Initially ridiculed after their morphing from gloom-rockers Creed into classic rock behemoths, Alter Bridge have made considerable strides with each of their three previous albums. To the extent that they are now enormodome regulars. However if their previous album III was impressive, then number four Fortress, raises the bar even further.

The formula is simple. Create stonkingly massive riffs, populate them with phenomenal vocals and a rhythm section that gleefully plants dynamite behind all of the big bombastic explosions, while keeping it simply effective during the convincing foot off the gas forays. And hey presto, another great album! Guitarist Mark Tremonti released a tremendous solo album after III and singer Myles Kennedy has barely been out of the music press due to him inspiring Slash into his by far best post Buns n' Toasties output. However team the duo up with bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips and the real magic happens. This is a quartet feeding off each other's spark and striving to keep up with the fantastic contributions their band mates deliver time and time again. The result is one of this year's best riffed up rock outbursts, full of drama, poise and precise knockout songs.

"Cry Of Achilles" introduces proceedings in full style, the acoustic intro merely being the calm before the six string storm. Groove is the word, as it is across the stomping "The Uninvited", whirling dervish of "Cry A River" and the slow build precision of the album's closing title track. However Alter Bridge are no one trick ponies, with "Farther Than The Sun" and "Addicted To Pain" upping the ante in fine, pulsating style. The latter romps along, Phillips nailing everything to the floor spectacularly, while the former begins almost with an extreme metal blast of drums and a dirty, dirty riff. However Kennedy suddenly infuses the bluesy cool he can barely help imparting with his scintillating vocals and Tremonti and Marshall tone things down a notch to masterfully stop it all becoming just too full on. Showing just how tuned in this bunch are to what makes them and the Alter Bridge fanbase tick.

"Waters Rising" introduces Tremonti to the lead microphone, offering up a surprisingly accomplished vocal, that while not quite in the class of Kennedy, isn't out of place, or depth, in the slightest. In fact if AB had a lesser man handling mic duties, you'd suggest Tremonti should step forward more often. As it is however, the song which surges between glorious energetic stabs, restrained strums and rolling drums, offers an excellent change of focus.

With Fortress Alter Bridge have not only delivered the best album in their already considerable catalogue, they have also cemented their status as one of the few vital, big time bands around in the world of modern straight up rock. Long may their rise continue, although with albums like this, that's a given. Fantastic!

Track Listing
1. Cry of Achilles
2. Addicted To Pain
3. Bleed It Dry
4. Lover
5. The Uninvited
6. Peace Is Broken
7. Calm the Fire
8. Waters Rising
9. Farther than the Sun
10. Cry a River
11. All Ends Well
12. Fortress

Added: September 28th 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Alter Bridge Online
Hits: 2600
Language: english

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