It is rare in the current music culture for a hard rock band to garner widespread recognition and sales success, but a veteran group of talented musicians that have been rocking arenas together for over thirty years have achieved that with their latest release.
Alter Bridge features a lineup of former Creed bandmates Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall, and Scott Phillips, along with lead vocalist Miles Kennedy. They’ve delivered their share of hits over the last fifteen years with rockers like “Metalingus,” “Isolation,” and “Addicted to Pain.” Their new project is sure to add to their list of charting favorites.
Walk The Sky is an aggressive blend of modern electronic sounds and alternative rock flavor with a pinch of metal that is lyrically challenging and deep while featuring legendary Mark Tremonti guitar riffs and unmistakable Miles Kennedy vocals. Those beloved AB elements are brought together in this instant classic, their first ever top rock album on Billboard.
“One Life” is a simultaneously dissonant and melodic ballad serving as stark contrast to the hard and heavy “Wouldn’t You Rather,” which is Alter Bridge in peak form. This tune sets the tone for the album, opening with bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips before giving way to Miles Kennedy singing about living life from the heart.
The album is full of songs like “In the Deep” and “Tear Us Apart,” reminiscent of “Addicted to Pain” as they blend pitch perfect harmonies with arrangements so rich and full that they seem made to be played live.
Although Alter Bridge is best known for their alternative hard rock with rhythmic bass and steady drums, tracked alongside smooth and skilled guitars, they perfectly integrate synth and electronic vibes on made-for-radio tracks like “Godspeed,” and they perfect the rock ballad on songs like “Forever Falling.”
“Native Son” is an anthemic declaration that we are just passing through this place as we try to understand and traverse time and space.
“Now I’m a native son in a foreign land
And I’m just living in a world I can’t understand.”
The band invokes their grunge-era roots on “Indoctrination” while “The Bitter End” seems to pull all the styles presented so far into one place while continuing on a reflective theme of moving beyond past failures in order to live life in a positive way.
That theme of reflecting on the past and looking at a positive and occasionally spiritual approach to future living is consistent throughout Walk The Sky. The title track, “Walking on the Sky,” begins with and is layered throughout with unique instrumentation that gives it an oriental feel at times– though it is in every way a rock tune, particularly with the fiery guitar riffs throughout and one of the most skillful grooves on the entire album laid down by Tremonti.
The album closes with alternative tunes “Tear Us Apart” and “Dying Light,” which ties up any loose ends thematically as a reflective and subtly spiritual page turn: how do we begin to live again after surviving our past?
“In the dying light
We can begin
To live again
When we wake up to eternal life”.
Walk The Sky is not as heavy as 2016 release The Last Hero, but it definitely holds something for fans of metal, featuring its share of bangers that will play extremely well in live shows. The album also brings up important themes of how to move beyond past mistakes, often pointing to positive and even redemptive thinking. It is a fresh approach to rock and roll that is not as weighty and dark lyrically, providing an easy listening hour of music.
As is evidenced by sales metrics and Billboard charts, Alter Bridge has delivered one of the best rock albums of 2019 with Walk The Sky. This is Alter Bridge at their finest, and it belongs in regular rotation for rock fans everywhere.
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