Most of my musical heroes are either dead / in their 70s/ no longer active.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….
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.
This Is War
Dead Among The Living
Sin After Sin
Fable Of The Silent Son
Season Of Promise
Last Man Standing
Pawns & Kings