Well! That bloody lasted about 4 days. Less than a week ago I (wrongly) predicted that the debut album by The Temperance Movement was probably my album of the year. Damn you Alter Bridge for topping a fine debut album.
Fortress is the 4th album from the US quartet, who have now firmly shaken the Creed tag away for good, thank fuck! All I can say as an intro is that anyone of a slightly nervous disposition must undertake stringent medical tests from their doctor before proceeding to listen as this beast will make you look like an extra from World War Z / Walking Dead, as the ferocity of the riffs will splay your entrails for all to see. Yes it's a brutal statement, but I didn't think they would top Blackbird, but its been surpassed and then some.
Alter Bridge have definitely gone for the jugular this time around. The songs are fiercer, much heavier than all before, and downright pulverizing. You're lulled into a nice sense of security with the opening classical/flamenco guitar on Cry Of Achilles before Tremonti steps in and removes the wax from your ears. The bloke is a veritable riff machine. Its definitely Alter Bridge, but on steroids, and despite the six and a half minutes it feels like a three minute single. Tremonti and Marshall trade pounding licks with Kennedy's multi octave wail playing a vocal fiddle to the metal orchestra.
Addicted To Pain, is the first video and single, and sounds like it wouldn't have been amiss if it was on Tremonti's All I Was. Bleed It Dry continues in the same chugging style, before they tame it down slightly for Lover. Calm The Fire has the same sort of sound as if it were a collaboration with Matt Bellamy containing that pompous and overblown intro that is a Muse trademark. Top marks to Marshall as his bass playing is really at the forefront of this album, and along with Phillips, they drive this album on at such a pace, I feel knackered just listening to it.
Waters Rising sees a first for Alter Bridge with Tremonti taking over lead vocals, with Kennedy chipping in on BVs and the chorus. It sounds more vintage/classic rock than the rest. A cool game change, but Alter Bridge wouldn't be Alter Bridge without the vocal powerhouse of Myles Kennedy who just exceeds himself (and excels) with every passing album. Just when I think he's peaked, he packs in another stellar performance. Farther Than The Sun is a proper chest pounder and when played live will be an absolute tour de force. Fortress is this albums Blackbird, with Alter Bridge ending on an all-conquering bombastic high. All Ends Well is the one which sounds most like the Alter Bridge we have all come to love on the previous 3 albums. But music is about change and development, and Alter Bridge have definitely hit the ground running with Fortress. I loved ABIII and really thought the peak was with Blackbird, but Alter Bridge have an album here of such power and face melting force that it will undoubtedly be at the very top of many a magazine and reviewer's lists come the end of the year.
Whereas Alter Bridge traded purely on the Creed past in the early days, 2013 sees them become masters of their own destiny and the Creed days of the past have well and truly been terminated. They simply can't fail to bring in new fans, and drive on to become a huge band over the course of the next year or so. All the cards are firmly in place for metal domination. All hail Plankton! Er, I mean Alter Bridge!!!!