Alter Bridge - 'Walk The Sky'

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Alter Bridge - 'Walk The Sky'

If you can only buy one album this month – this is the one.

Alter Bridge seem to have been around forever, so it's hard to believe that 'Walk The Sky' is only their sixth release and that they're still not considered a bona fide headlining band. However, all that should change with this stellar album.

After the seemingly rushed 'The Last Hero', guitarist Mark Tremonti and singer/guitarist Myles Kennedy have put a lot more time and effort into this new record, and the results can be clearly heard. Alongside celebrated bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips, who adds amazingly inventive drum patterns, it was perhaps essential to do something different and not repeat the formula. In some ways this album owes a lot more to 'Blackbird' from 2007 than any other release. It has way more of a retro vibe cum new direction feel and the use of synths add a whole new dimension to the Alter Bridge sound.

The first single 'Wouldn't You Rather' is bombastic in nature and is about being true to yourself; it radiates an uplifting message that is a recurring theme throughout this release. I particularly like the subtle Eastern-tinged flavour that was added and the Kamelot-sounding bridge section. It's been stated that Tremonti and Kennedy have worked separately this time and brought their ideas to the table; that would certainly explain why in places 'Walk The Sky' can be compared to Tremonti's solo album 'A Dying Machine' with his flashes of raw power and complex riff patterns.

The new flavour fed into the charismatic Alter Bridge sound has come via Tremonti's fascination with film-maker John Carpenter and the old-school, synth-wave kind of vibe that echoes in his soundtracks. With a combination of created old loops worked into the background, it permeates the likes of the synth-drenched 'Pay No Mind' – which features heavy riffs and a cool chorus – and 'Clear Horizon' with its drop-D tuning rawness.

'Walking On The Sky', the heavy and melodic de-facto title-track with its ethereal programming, couldn't be more life-affirming when you live close to the edge as Kennedy relates in the lyric "Do you feel alive?" Other highlights include the dark and moody 'Indoctrination', the heavy-hitting and raw Tremonti-sung 'Forever Falling' (where Kennedy hugs the chorus) and the absolutely essential, uplifting 'Godspeed' with its wonderful wall of sound; the latter is the outstanding song on this record and it's utterly superb!

If you can only buy one album this month – this is the one!

Carl Buxton

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