Alter Bridge Light Up The Skies: A Walk The Sky Album Review
Alter Bridge have been creating music since 2004 for fans that enjoy all of the best components of a genuine hard rock band. Riffs, hooks, melodic harmonies, face melting solos and lyrics that sink deep into the soul. Never to repeat themselves, the band firmly believes in evolving their sound from album to album. From One Day Remains, all the way to their last efforts The Last Hero, Myles Kennedy, Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips continue to release music that they believe in, so that when the fans hear it, there is an instant connection, tethering each fan to the feeling of when these songs were put together. Alter Bridge has always shared a deep connection to their fans, showing it in more ways than can be written about. Connecting to them with social media, meet and greets and the countless tour dates the band play. Shifting their focus to a new way of connecting to their fans, the band recorded a new album. Walk The Sky. An almost perfect balance and mixture of pieces from each previous record and then fusing a new sound not yet before generated by the band. Walk The Sky is a crowning achievement to add to an already impressive catalog of music. I was elated to have this record early on and really sink my teeth into it, as I am a genuine admirer of the band. As I started to listen to this record, It felt nostalgic. Which in the case of an Alter Bridge record is more than appropriate. This is a band that never ceases to amaze. The nostalgia for me came from the fusion of familiar guitar work of Kennedy and Tremonti, not to say a repeated type of familiarity but one of (oh this could’ve been on Blackbird,or AB: III). But the newness of the synth sounds weave in and out of the haunting and melodic rock that we all know and love from Alter Bridge. I began to let each song have its time in my mind and here is what I’ve taken from this record:
“One Life” is an introduction to the new record that provides that haunting tone that you feel may set the bar for the record, in some ways it does, in another, it doesn’t quite prepare you for what you are in for. A treasure trove of music that will surely become an instant favorite to old and new fans of the band.
“Wouldn’t You Rather,” the first single from Walk The Sky, is a familial treat to fans of Alter Bridge. With soaring vocals by Myles Kennedy and backing vocals from Mark Tremonti, this track is life’s with gritty riffs and very meaningful, yet deep lyrics. The notes that are achieved on this one will have you banging your head and pressing repeat more than a few times!
“In The Deep” starts with a very anthemic solo into a slowed down and beautifully executed first chorus, almost a love letter to their fans if you will. Kennedy and Tremonti work effortlessly to push you into the depth of your emotions of whatever you may be feeling at the time of listening to this track and pulling you back in with the chord progressions and tasty bass notes lead by Marshall. This song is uplifting and had a lasting effect on me. I found myself revisiting this one as it made me feel different things each time.
Alter Bridge: In The Deep (Official Video)
“Godspeed” starts off with the very meaning of nostalgia. In that it feels as if it could have come right out of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Maybe even a movie from that era. While remaining current “Godspeed” proves that in could belong in any era, by being so relevant and purposeful. This one already has a very special meaning to this consumer and fan of Alter Bridge’s work. The vocals soar sky high as do the riffs and tasty note right towards the end. This song will be hands down added to a near future setlist as it has a very Alter Bridge sound, just by having the deep meaning and uplifting mood that it shares with its listener.
“Native Son” begins with a build, peaceful and almost daunting, and then melts your face right off with massive drums and monstrous guitar work by Kennedy and Tremonti while also displaying the genius bass stylings of Marshall. This fever of a song will get you off your feet and have you shredding your air guitar and air drums for that matter. Alter Bridge is going to have a difficult time discussing future set lists if they aren’t careful, having so many songs that absolutely assault the senses. The harmonious marriage of guitar and drum work on this track are astounding. I look forward to seeing this one played live!
“Take The Crown” takes you on a ride to victory. As the bands third single, you are introduced to that new sound that you’ve heard the band speak on while they’ve been promoting the new record. The lyrics almost feel as though the guys are declaring they will take the crown of all their previous works by stepping up the writing process as well as evolving as a band. This song feels very accomplished. Kennedy, Tremonti, Marshall and Phillips have carved out something special here, letting loose more of that synth sound and blasting in a delectable solo at the end that feels very victorious in a way.
“Indoctrination” is probably my favorite track off this record. There is this “Slip To The Void” vibe to it while also being a super heavy sonic-wave-punch into their sophomore release with Napalm Records and sixth studio record. Imagine sitting in a desert, with Indians who are chanting and passing around their peace pipe that elevates the feeling this song provides the senses. You will be elevated to a higher plane of consciousness with “Indoctrination”. Heavy riffs, bone shattering drums, the whole band really steps up to the front of this one as a whole. The track calms you for a split second and then takes your mind on a journey that will stay with you forever.
“The Bitter End” has a sense of awareness. This song knows what it is and so will you. A clean intro leads into a very respectable ballad. Make no mistake this doesn’t seem to be your normal ballad. Alter Bridge has this way in their writing process to really express meaning and what they were feeling as they write their lyrics. I would be remiss if I didn’t add this to one of my favorite songs in an already long list of favorites. “The Bitter End” will inspire you to start living right!
“Pay No Mind” is a frantically synthetic fused song with heavy ass riffs that grabs your attention right from the first note. Unapologetically, Alter Bridge sends a message with this one to anyone who dares to stand against them or one could say “stand against us”. This punchy synth driven song will electrify your head and lick you up when you feel as though you are on your last leg. A hellacious bridge goes right back into the chorus, highlighting the backing vocals that are transcendent and unheard of for an Alter Bridge record, this song really shows off their willingness to evolve themselves by the changing sound of each record to keep making real NEW music.
“Forever Falling” begins as a beautiful acoustic chord progression leads you in for about 27 seconds before it pushes you down a flight of stairs into a seething sinking feeling of oblivion. Falling into madness, the band carries you along to a feeling of falling forever into a complex and rousing track. There is something about this song's lyrics that will have you really thinking and listening to it over and over.
“Clear Horizon” feels like a personal song to the band. Pulling no punches the song begins with Myles Kennedy telling the story here that leads into a massive sound into a meaningful rocking song. There are those synth based notes placed around the songs structure that really blend in well with this one. The timing of Scott Phillips on the drums is key for this one as it almost leads into each savory moment of the song. There is beauty to behold here with this track as Alter Bridge takes what they have done in records past and combine it with this new material.
“Walking On The Sky” has an interesting synth intro that demands your focus right out of the gate. You can really get a sense of the “John Carpenter” vibe Tremonti touches on when he has been asked about the writing process for this record. This song has so many elements that make it come together, making this song probably the most complex and exciting tracks on the record. “Walking The Sky” is sure to be a fan favorite as the title track of their sixth and insanely ambitious new record.
“Tear Us Apart” is definitely the anthem of the record. Those time signatures are unmistakable and lyrically the band have crafted another beautiful song that will be added to their list that truly feel like it could be on One Day Remains. The band clearly sends their fans a message of hope with this one. There is an unmistakable feeling of weightlessness that sends you soaring to the skies, Alter Bridge wraps their music up in a nice rock and roll bow almost as thoughts putting s message in a bottle for someone who needs it later in life, as it prepares to send off the new record as the second to last song on “Walking The Sky”.
“Dying Light” is the final track on the record and feels like it really rounds it all out perfectly with those Blackbird vibes. The band really pulls you back in after pushing you out the way music should move you. The resistance and returning current of the sounds this record provides is so harmonious, nostalgic in the best ways. The sixth record is a crowning achievement in music. Alter Bridge have just done something very special here.
I hope you all read this and close your eyes. Alter Bridge’s music isn’t meant to just be listened to. It’s to be felt. I have always considered them to be one of the most prolific bands of all time. Meaningful lyrics, insane guitar work, chest pounding drums and deep bass lines, create this sound that only Alter Bridge could pull off. You truly hear the hard work put into making it. Also, you can hear the types of influence it has from outside perspectives. This record is a beautiful and haunting piece of work that I for one will never get tired of playing over and over. If you want a record that will have you buzzing about it for years to come, look no further. Buy this record and Walk The Sky with Alter Bridge.
Walk the Sky will be available everyone October 18th, via Napalm Records.
Alter Bridge is (Left to Right) Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall, Scott Phillips and Myles Kennedy