Don't Kill The Magic
Isolate and Medicate
Alter Bridge's debut album (2004's One Day Remains) was a radio-friendly hard rock album that sounded almost exactly how its ingredients suggested: Creed with a better singer. Not until 2007's Blackbird did singer Myles Kennedy become more fully integrated into the band - taking a bigger role in the songwriting as well as additional guitar playing - and on the recently released AB III, Alter Bridge are hardly the same band they were on their debut, much less a derivative of Creed. The group's talent is on full display throughout: Kennedy's ever-impressive vocal range, Mark Tremonti's frenetic yet skillfull guitar solos, and the rock-solid rhythm section of drummer Scott Phillips and bassist Brian Marshall.
So what's the problem? Everything is impressively performed, but with the exception of a couple of tracks, there's very little variety to be found here. The bulk of the songs follow the same brooding hard rock formula, and at a whopping 16 tracks (including two bonus tracks), making it through to the end becomes an endurance test. There are a couple of welcome detours, such as the anthemic pop-rock verses of "Ghost of Days Gone By" and the Kennedy/Tremonti duet "Words Darker Than Their Wings", but too many of these songs blend together and just simply aren't very memorable. Perhaps it's due to the relatively quick 2-3 months the band spend writing and recording, or perhaps it's because they're no longer concerned with being "commercial", but a talented band like Alter Bridge can only go so far without memorable songs, and sadly that's where AB III falls short.