$8.99; rating: ****1/2
It was an old bridge,they say,located near lead guitarist Mark Tremontis childhood haunt in Detroit,Michigan. And as it led to someplace unsafe,the children in the locality were told that whatever lay on the other side belonged to the realm of the unknown. Nobody was allowed to cross over to the forbidden land.
Years went by and Tremonti grew up to become a part of Creed,a popular American rock band that was firmly rooted in Christian philosophy. So,for a time,they ruled the charts with tracks like Higher and My sacrifice until,one fine day in 2004,the band split. While vocalist Scott Stapp decided to go searching for his pot of gold in a solo career,the others bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips stuck around Tremonti and his dream of starting a new band named after the mysterious structure that still haunted his memories.
Shortly,vocalist Myles Kennedy came along,and Alter Bridge was born.
Over six years and two albums later,the band brought out AB III in late 2010. Though One Day Remains (2004) and Blackbird (2007) were overshadowed by the success that Creed once was,things have turned out different with the new album. It took a while,but Alter Bridge have finally arrived.
Even as the opening track Slip to the void begins,you realise that they are doing everything in their power to distance themselves from their days in Creed. Faith is out,doubt is in,and most of the songs in AB III speak about lingering in the darkness of confusion and the resultant loss of faith.
Ghost of days gone by describes a yearning for the past,a time when we were young and unafraid,with innocence wed glide beneath the stars. It is also one of the songs that showcase the extent of Kennedys vocal skills,particularly when he has to keep up with Tremontis lead in the parts where the music breaks into raptures of cacophonic ecstasy.
All hope is gone (not a Slipknot cover,mind you) follows closely in its stead,and as the title suggests,it turns out to be no heartwarming number either. And if you thought Wonderful life would bring some much-needed joy to your hearing experience,you would want to think again. Its about a man losing his wife to disease,the vocals and the strumming guitar in the background giving the song all the soul it needs.
However depressing the lyrics may sound,the album doesnt become anything akin to the regular doom-metal fare. For one thing,it is generously sprinkled with easy-on-the-ear ballads,and the music remains peppy throughout.
The other songs in AB III include the heavier Isolation,a duet between Kennedy and Tremonti in the form of Words darker than their wings,the preachy but hope-giving I know it hurts and the exhortative Make it right.
AB III is Tremontis third bold step down the forbidden bridge,and into a world that seems destined to make a star out of him.