Continuing along the darkened musical venture forged by 2010’s AB III, 2013’s Fortress sees Alter Bridge maintain the heaviness throughout the entire album. While AB III had several ballad-like songs, even the softer tracks featured on Fortress can rightfully be deemed heavy. It seems as though lead vocalist Myles Kennedy and guitarist Mark Tremonti both brought back some influences from their recent side gigs to enhance this new Alter Bridge effort. Perhaps, Kennedy’s stint with Slash and Tremonti’s metallic solo album played into the songwriting for Fortress. Either way, the new songs are all clearly penned by Alter Bridge and no one else.
Tremonti handles lead vocal duties on “Waters Rising,” mixing up the typical Alter Bridge song format. Then again, there is no real “typical” formula for Alter Bridge’s songwriting as many of their works break the norm, especially on Fortress. This specific track portrays Tremonti’s versatility and talent in songwriting, guitar work, and vocal range. With the proper execution of these abilities, this band has the potential to keep on rising up in the hard rock scene. In fact, with a record like Fortress, there is nothing holding back the appreciation of a hard rock fanatic.
While this is an album worthy of a full, consecutive listen from start to finish, key focus tracks include “Farther Than The Sun,” “Calm The Fire,” and the title track. The latter two are exceptionally well-written and contain great depth with multiple levels of sound. In “Calm The Fire,” Kennedy delivers a catchy melody over a heavy and highly technical riff. “Fortress” completes the journey of the entire album with a detailed musical story of its own. As Tremonti’s incredibly precise and emotionally-supported guitar solo fades out, there is a moment of pause before Kennedy’s voice returns to close out the album over a heavy rhythm with the song’s chorus.
Alter Bridge have come a long way from being the side project of the guys from Creed. They have created a household name of their own and have shown plenty of growth and maturity in the process. Fortress epitomizes this band’s talent and potential.
MusicTalker’s rating: 5/5