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Album Review: Alter Bridge – ‘Walk the Sky

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Walk the Sky’ is the sixth Alter Bridge album and, once more, keeps up the astonishingly high quality of their previous output, the fourteen tracks never dipping below the standard that they have set themselves since they first emerged from the soon to be ashes of Creed in 2004._MG_3762.jpg

With the end in sight of that hugely successful band, the chemistry between the three musicians was too good not to continue and when they met The Mayfield Four’s Myles Kennedy magic happened that would bring a new level of success to these four men.

Alter Bridge can rightly be seen as festival headliners in their own rights and it seems astounding that they are still brought in as ‘Special Guests’ at events such as Download but, and everyone is sure they know it, those headline slots will be coming soon and they’ve certainly joined alongside bands like Black Stone Cherry as the new giants of rock.

Album opener ‘One Life’ is a full-on lush soundscape and when Kennedys gently whispered vocals come in, you’re reminded (if it was ever needed) just what an incredible voice it is and why he has been so sought after for side projects and collaborations.

This certainly isn’t a one man show by any stretch of the imagination as Tremonti is a guitarist who brings huge flair and a unique style to his heavy duty riffing and the rhythm section of Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips are one of the best in the business. Each new album shows a growth in the brand and consolidates the songwriting partnership herein.

Second up, ‘Wouldn’t You Rather’ is a huge, canyon filling epic of a song, the band sounding like they could take on all comers and absolutely flatten them with ease. It’s this pattern that continues throughout the album and number after number consolidates their power as ‘In the Deep’, ‘Godspeed’ and ‘Native Son’ match insistent melodies with huge riffs, the modern production making them seem like a cross between Aerosmith and Led Zep but amped up to the max.

The vibe of Page, Plant and Co lays especially heavily on ‘Indoctrination’, as it creeps and crawls with a dark and ominous menace before it sweeps into a dramatic chorus that matches the power of ‘Kashmir’. This isn’t to say that the band slavishly ape their giant predecessor, they don’t, it’s just a measure of their surety and talent that they can stand in the same heady company and aim to match the world conquering heft of Zeppelin, pushing themselves ever onwards and upwards._MG_3620.jpg

The Bitter End’ has echoes of another mega group in its stuttering rhythms that brings to mind late period Beatles dosed up with rocket fuel and would make the perfect song to play over the end credits of the latest Marvel blockbuster.

One of the strengths that Alter Bridge has by the lorryload is proven without doubt on ‘Forever Falling’ as they demonstrate how clearly they effortlessly mix light and shade, its brittle and electric opening turning into furiously gonzoid riffing.

The track is remorseless once it takes off, highlighting Kennedys outstanding vocals and a truly blistering solo from Tremonti as it swoops and curves from the speakers and is rapidly followed by the hook-filled ‘Clear Horizon’, yet another high watermark from this most modern of rock bands.

‘Walking in the Sky’ can strip flesh from bone in its adrenaline fueled rush and ‘Tear Us Apart’  will have you unable to get its chorus out of your head for days before the album ends with the dark storm of ‘Dying Light’.76608766_10157274968473558_1797350037060059136_n.png

Again, another track filled with high drama, it thrills like a rollercoaster ride and gives centre stage once more to Tremonti guitar as all four musicians push towards a breathless finishing line.

Just how much better Alter Bridge can get is anyone’s guess as ‘Walk the Sky’ is a tremendously high watermark for any band, but, one thing is for certain, they’ll certainly try. A late contender for album of the year, this should be on everyone’s wish list.

Review by Paul Monkhouse

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