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Alter Bridge - 'III' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/83/40/18/800_alterbridgeIII_1289338551.jpg Hot

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'Alter Bridge III' progresses nicely from its predecessor.

For a while the future of Alter Bridge looked uncertain, the reformation of Creed - a nice little earner for Messer’s Stapp, Marshall, Tremonti and Phillips - looked like ending up with Miles Kennedy joining the ranks of the unemployed. As it was, Kennedy got to play with Slash and Alter Bridge left Wind-Up to join Roadrunner, curious when Creed still reside on that label. 

The Alter Bridge debut ‘One Day Remains’ effortlessly combined elements of Creed and Kennedy’s previous band The Mayfield Four and had a distinguishable commercial element running through it. Its follow up ‘Blackbird’ was a darker more brooding effort with less tangible hooks and an overall more metallic feel. Miles Kennedy’s influence within the band has clearly grown; from the rhythm guitar through to his songwriting contributions, it is no longer Tremonti who calls the tune.

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‘Alter Bridge III’ is a modern heavy metal album, Tremonti’s down tuned gut wrenching guitar tones dominate throughout with Kennedy’s distinct whine complementing it. Darker than ‘Blackbird’ with an even heavier edge, songs like the atmospheric opener ‘Slip To The Void’ or the sensationally rampant ‘Isolation’ intimate a band at the very peak of their powers. Hooks are even less evident on this latest offering, but dig deep and the feeling is one of skilled development rather than instant gratification. Songs like ‘Wonderful Life’ and ‘Breathe Again’ - an extremely Creed-like pot boiler - provide the necessary melodic interludes, but in the main Alter Bridge excel when they they’re bludgeoning the listener. ‘Coeur D’Alene’, ‘Still Remains’ and ‘I Know It Hurts’ all fit into this category; technically mesmerizing and dynamically exciting with Kennedy showing his versatility and unquestioned vocal craft.

‘Alter Bridge III’, progresses nicely from its predecessor, with the band finding their comfort zone. Just as Creed bridged the gap between grunge and classic stadium rock in the nineties Alter Bridge are now blurring the divide between traditional rock and alternative metal with quite brilliant results.

Mike Newdeck

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