All Hail Alter Bridge !
So, "ABIII" isn't the best title in the world by a long shot. I could name a few rock bands that have called their third album '3'. The only difference here being that Alter Bridge's ABIII is a career defining album, whereas the other bands I could have named – definitely were not!!
After he did such a sterling job on "Blackbird", Alter Bridge have continued with producer Michael 'Elvis' Baskette, nicknamed hopefully due to a striking resemblance to young Elvis than having a penchant for burgers, drugs and porcelain thrones!! Straight from the 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it school of production', Alter Bridge, together with Elvis have come up with the best album they could ever have made on this or any side of Florida. Wonderfully polished, "ABIII" surely puts a final nail in the coffin to any previous Creed comparison, and rightly so. Alter Bridge are a class above Creed in terms of quality of songs, style, substance and have a singer songwriter who can piss all over the other guy (Stapp) and is at the absolute top of his game, and one of the best frontmen you'll ever witness
"Blackbird" saw a giant leap forward in musicianship and songwriting over "One Day Remains". With "ABIII" the next step isn't a giant one, but its 14 tracks make for a more consistent sounding album than the previous two.
It's at this point that I would go ahead and pick my favourite tracks to enlighten the reader. In this instance the quality and consistency is of such a standard that I could be writing a thesis rather than a review. If anything the songs on offer have a darker, edgier and possibly moodier feel than the previous two but still retaining Alter Bridge's now trademarked sound. Opening song 'Slip To The Void' starts with this haunting vocal before breaking off into Tremonti's crunching riff, with Kennedy's falsetto wail, and backed up by Marshall and Philips' pulsating rhythm. 'Isolation', the first I feel of many potential singles is an absolute belter, and is one, if not the heaviest songs they have produced to date. Kennedy's voice is so strong and he sings with such an emotion and passion that would make grown Bikers cry into their beer. Check out the sublime 'funeral' song (A song I'd love to have playing at mine) the superbly constructed 'Wonderful Life' – and follows hot on the heels of 'In Loving Memory' and 'Watch Over You'. The combined playing on tracks like 'Fallout', 'Life Must Go On' and 'All Hope is Gone' is as tight as a nut. The album ends on an absolute high with 'Words Darker Than Their Wings'. I was hoping for another helping of an album defining moment, just like Blackbird, and, 'WDTTW' comes a close second to 'Blackbird'
"ABIII" has got the lot; a superb blend of melodic and heavy / bludgeoning riffs / weepy ballad / wonderful harmonies / radio friendly tracks, and in conclusion, is an absolute MONSTER of an album. Alter Bridge and Roadrunner are a match made in heaven, and deserve even greater success from hereonin. You will have to go a long way to find a better rock album in 2010, or any other year come to think of it! Its pretty much faultless.
Ignore Alter Bridge at your peril. They are coming to get you