Tag Archives: Heavy Metal

[REVIEW] Alter Bridge – “Fortress”

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


[REVIEW] The Past Collides with the Present on Black Sabbath’s “13”

Following the 11/11/11 announcement of a Black Sabbath reunion, heavy metal fans across the globe anxiously awaited what would become 2013’s 13.  This reunion was inevitable after Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler lost their beloved Heaven & Hell lead singer and dear friend, Ronnie James Dio, to stomach cancer in May of 2010.  However, shortly after the announcement, Iommi was diagnosed with lymphoma and underwent chemotherapy.  Being the heavy metal king, Iommi fought through it and helped provide worldwide Black Sabbath fans with 13.

With the excellence of Heaven & Hell’s The Devil You Know under their belts, it was highly unlikely that Iommi and Butler could top that with Ozzy Osbourne on vocals.  Conversely, with the beauties of technology in action, the Prince of Darkness actually sounds pretty good in several parts of 13.  The heavy metal founders clearly came together in the songwriting process this time around.  While it may not top The Devil You Know, 13 comes pretty close.

The album’s first single, “God Is Dead?” revealed a peek into the new material, but did not offer the whole picture.  It could arguably be considered one of the weakest tracks on the album.

Highlights include “End of the Beginning,” “Zeitgeist,” and “Dear Father,” among others.  “End of the Beginning” kicks off the album with a sound almost too reminiscent of the title track off of Black Sabbath’s self-titled debut record.  “Zeitgeist” then brings the listener back to “Planet Caravan” from 1970’s Paranoid.  “Dear Father” is a dark, heavy doom song, clocking in at over seven minutes and closing out the standard edition of 13 with flying colors.

13 is extremely well-executed and I was thoroughly impressed with the finished product. Rage Against the Machine’s Brad Wilk was unbelievably great on handling the drum duties, since the Sabs and Bill Ward could not agree on financial terms, leading to Ward stepping out of the reunion.

For Boston area fans, Black Sabbath are scheduled to perform at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA on Monday, August 12th.


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