Alter Bridge - AB III
'AB III' isn’t groundbreaking, but it is pretty groundshaking.
Alter Bridge are masters of reincarnation. They were once Creed in a past life, and let’s face it, there are probably worse things – maybe Hitler, or some sort of dung beetle. But Creed were never really cool – although their record sales, mainly over the pond, paid no heed to any slight on their trendiness.
What came out of Creed was Alter Bridge, and without crooner Scott Stapp bellowing out wails from behind those misty eyes and luscious locks, they’re just that bit more credible. But three albums in, it’s the proverbial make or break time. The imaginatively titled 'AB III' isn’t groundbreaking, but it is pretty groundshaking. Opener ‘Slip To The Void’ drips with clean melancholy before crumbling away into distorted crunch – an apt barometer for the rest of the album.
Alter Bridge’s innate ability to conjure melody out of the most cumbersome of guitar riff is not to be scoffed at. ‘All Hope Is Gone’ juggles hook-driven chord progressions and foot-stomps of the distortion pedal like an overactive clown whilst ‘Make It Right’ similarly sleeks like a panther from an unassuming rock song into a metal behemoth.
This band’s most trusted fall back are the big choruses – a hallmark of Creed – and whilst these waterfall sized plunges are great for the radio, on an album with fourteen songs their effect is diluted with each subsequent song, much like watering down a potent vodka with a more and more cheap lemonade. But at least the spirit is still in there somewhere, and with the likes of the playful ‘Wonderful Life’ and another purveyor of Alter Bridge’s melodic/heavy dichotomy, the gritty ‘Coeur D’Alene’, we’re left with a piece of work showing that the big chorus and radio friendly hard rock isn’t something willing to be put to rest just yet.