By Campbell Mickell
Passion. Emotion. Melody. Aggression. These are the trademarks of Alter Bridge.
Thanks to a mixture of musicianship and supreme songwriting talent and a flawless shared belief in the power of music has allowed Alter Bridge to steadily but purposefully rise to the upper echelons of the rock world. The band's first three albums - One Day Remains, Blackbird and 2010's ABIII - have helped Alter Bridge to build up a huge international fan base, all of whom (including myself) will be thrilled by the chance of hearing the band's fourth album, Fortress, for the first time. A bold, ambitious and exhilaratingly powerful collection of freshly-minted anthems that refines and redefines its creators' trademark sound while at the same time, raising the bar in terms of speaker-melting, state-of-the-art sonic values.
As far as the writing process goes, Mark Tremonti and Myles Kennedy are the writers for Alter Bridge. Putting a lot of effort and time into writing songs whilst being on the road allowed them to have the majority of songs written before they went into the studio. "Me and Myles are the writers, we'll sit down on our computers and sketch out ideas that later become the songs on the album. Brian and Scott come in and do their own thing, but as far as the writing process goes, it's me and Myles" says Mark Tremonti.
"I think we always just write for ourselves," he continued. "If we dig it, usually the fans will too. The only thing we had in mind for this record wasthat we'll be performing this stuff night after night, so we wanted to make sure they were fun, interesting songs with a lot of energy. We don't write heavy songs for the sake of it but the heavier songs are always the ones that really grab the audience's attention. We wanted to have a bunch of that on this record. The heavier stuff is fun to play!"
"Melodies are a first, that's the most important part of the song. When we put parts together the melodies are already there" adds Tremonti.
To me, Alter Bridge has some of the greatest melodies in any hard rock band on the modern day scene. Past albums have given us some great examples of the unique and inspiring songwriting skills and future potential, that Alter Bridge always seems to provide.
Fortress is a dazzling collage of glorious melodies and jaw-shattering riffs. From the epic bombast of pulverising Cry Of Achilles through to the rugged juggernaut rush of instant sing-alongs like Cry A River andAddicted To Pain, the gentler, uplifting refrains of All Ends Well, the thrash-tinged swagger of The Uninvited and on to the monumental blaze of riffs and solos that is the closing title track, Fortress is a triumph for the craft of songwriting and a celebration of four musicians thrilled by the fizzing chemistry that exists between them.
In the past, Alter Bridge has given us a catalogue of metal songs, soaked in heavy riffs but also, softer and gentler ballads and melodic masterpieces. Fortress, will deliver to us, something that I feel, will sum up the bands last three albums. Making way, for a band, who are fully into the swing of things, and ready to give us their finest work yet.