Alter Bridge – ‘Pawns & Kings’ Review

Pawns and Kings is the most complete, consistently thunderous anthemic Alter Bridge album to date

Most of my musical heroes are either dead / in their 70s/ no longer active. Very few bands formed this century get into my list. The main ones that I adore are Alter Bridge, Coheed and Cambria and Rival Sons. Not only are my heroes as mentioned, very few are ready to take the crown and become headliners at the likes of Download etc. Out of these 3, AB are in the best position for taking the next step upwards, especially now.

I have been a fan of Alter Bridge ever since I heard them on Orlando Rock Radio back in 2004. I have attended an Alter Bridge gig on every tour at least once. I think I’m up to about 18 gigs. I would like to think that I have earned the right to have an opinion on their music. Remember reader, opinions are like arseholes, everybody has one. It is my opinion that the Top 3 Alter Bridge albums are as follows….

  1. Blackbird
  2. Fortress
  3. ABIII

Alter Bridge have been making great and good albums, but nothing after Fortress has come close to breaking into my Top 3…..until now!

‘Pawns and Kings’ is the bands 7th studio album, and by Christ, is it a cracker. At just 10 songs long, the guys have literally gone straight for the jugular. Think of the best of Myles Kennedys solo work and smash it with Tremonti’s knack for a spleen-busting riff, together with the Prince Of Pound (Philips) and the testicle moving, pummelling bass of Marshall and its 10 songs of pure God and Thunder. ‘This is War’ is the best opener to an album that AB have ever done – Myles never sounded better, and there’s almost a Carmina Burana chant that will go down a storm when played live. I honestly think Tremonti has a riff for every occasion (weddings (yup), funeral (gotcha!), Bar Mitzvah (yes indeed). He has the best riffs this side of Tony Iommi’s moustache!!!

Alter Bridge have gone big and long on a few tracks, and all deliver in spades with the anthem ‘Sin After Sin’; ‘Fable of the Silent Son’ is a ‘Children of the Sea’ for the modern era, and the title track is the sister companion to Kennedy’s ‘The Ides of March’.

To be honest here, there is not an average number or plodder on the album. ‘Silver Tongue’ shows why it was picked as a single/appetite whetter for Pawns, as it combines the best AB bits rolled into one song. ‘Stay’ is where Tremonti takes the lead on vocals and is now becoming a staple to have a song from the metal crooner and correctly so. In fact he is continuing to get better with each AB/Tremonti/Sinatra album, and it is closest thing to a melodic rock song as AB will ever get. 

To follow on from a couple of earlier points, I am convinced that after half a dozen listens to Pawns & Kings that this album will probably knock ‘Blackbird’ off its coveted No.1 spot (steady on! Editor). With regards to upping the level to festival headliner, if AB don’t get the breaks after this album, I have no idea what they are supposed to do. This album is next level.

P&K is that strong, every single song on this could make it into the live set. It is the most complete, consistently thunderous, anthemic album to date and for that I have to applaud the guys as they could easily have gone for ‘okay’ but have instead set a level that in 2022 (and 2023) other bands have to meet. It will be in many a Top 5 list come the next few weeks, mine included.


Tracklisting –

This Is War

Dead Among The Living

Silver Tongue

Sin After Sin



Fable Of The Silent Son

Season Of Promise

Last Man Standing

Pawns & Kings

Mark Tremonti Sings Frank Sinatra

Mark Tremonti has come together with the surviving members of Frank Sinatra’s orchestra, creating new takes on some of the classics and deeper cuts from Frank’s catalogue. The album is courtesy of the Take A Chance For Charity foundation. It is a brand new charity focussed on giving artists/actors/athletes the ability to get out of their comfort zone, having the people with a platform get out of the genre they are known for to raise funds and awareness for the charity of their choice. An actor can sing, and athlete can dance, a musician can sing a song away from their musical genre, any artistic interpretation. This gives the artist the ability to do something out of the ordinary, even extraordinary all in the name of charity. Tremonti Sings Sinatra is the first release for the cause, the recipient being NDSS. A charity close to Marks heart as his daughter Stella has Down Syndrome. Frank raised over a billion dollars for charity, and now Mark is on the same path, raising funds and   helping families and individuals with Down Syndrome. 

Whilst I am a out and our rock fan, my musical journey started probably from the age of about 4, possibly earlier than that. I remember going into town with my dad and buying the record player that became a massive part of my life. My dad was a Teddy Boy in the 50s, and he opened me up to the rock n roll greats of the fifties and sixties. I think its why I like rock music as it’s the same path for me as it was my dad. I digress. 

One man stood at the top of the tree for my dad, and it wasn’t Elvis. It was Nat King Cole. Talented pianist, and a voice that was pure velvet. Mt dad owned everything that he released. So I have some skin in the game when it comes to crooners. Whilst I was never a fan of Frank Sinatra, I watched many a Hollywood musical growing up, of which he did many, and it is something I still enjoy today. Mr Sinatra was a part of this journey and I totally respect his place in music and film history

I have watched (and heard) Mark Tremonti go from being a decent backing vocalist (and part vocalist) in Alter Bridge to fronting the band in his own name and getting better with each Tremonti album. What I didn’t realise was how bloody good he is taking on the classic Sinatra songbook. He is too good. When AB decide to call it a day, he will easily jump to crooning if he so wishes to.

So what do we have? Well, theres all the classics we have all heard of, unless you’ve been living in a rock, or were born after 1990. Mark is making sure all the kids who like AB will be directed to Sinatras legacy. I played the opening track for my wife last night, and told her it was Tremonti singing ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’. Gill is in fact a much better reviewer than I am. She can sort a duffer almost immediately, and also knows talent when she hears it. If fact she was blown away by how good Mark Tremonti is in singing a legends songbook. 

When you sing songs like Frank Sinatras, there is nowhere to hide, and Tremonti isn’t phased for one second. Hi hits some low notes on Wave that felt like being stood next to a subwoofer. All the classics are ticked off with aplomb – Fly Me Too The Moon, My Way, Luck Be A Lady, You Make Me Feel So Young, That’s Life (a song covered by David Lee Roth in the 80s), and Come Fly With Me. I just wished they would have thrown in ultimate Sinatra classic New York, New York from the film I only watched last week, On The Town. 

That said, following in Sinatras shoes is one hell of an achievement, and at no point does he let Frank down. The tone and phrasing is excellent. Whilst I think that Take A Chance For Charity is about giving artists the chance to go out of their comfort zones, Mark Tremonti may well have been shitting bricks in having to tackle these classics, but it certainly doesn’t look or feel like it

I don’t think this is the last we have seen from the current and future great crooner, Mark Tremonti.


I’ve Got You Under My Skin

I’ve Got The World On A String

I Fall In Love Too Easily


Fly Me To The Moon

Nancy (With The Laughing Face)

My Way

You Make Me Feel So Young

Luck Be A Lady

That’s Life

Come Fly With Me

In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning

The Song Is You

All Or Nothing At All