From the ashes of post-Grunge rockers Creed, in 2004 there sprang in Florida, Alter Bridge. The Florida quartet released their sixth album in conjunction with their long term collaborator Michael Baskette (who has produced all albums since Blackbird ). After a decade and half, the lineup remains unchanged with the founding members of both Creed and Alter Bridge Mark Tremonti (lead guitar, backing vocals), Brian Marshall (bass) and Scott Phillips (drums) joined by the exceptional voice of Myles Kennedy.
Undertaking a different style of song crafting for Walk The Sky, whereas typically Tremonti and Kennedy would write collaboratively, touring schedules (Tremonti with his self-named outfit, Kennedy with Slash) prevented this and instead demos were shared prior to the band uniting in the studio
“We came to the studio more organised and got to choose the best of the best material. Everything was already massaged into place and polished before we got in with the band. We were able to take an extra step to polish it further.” Tremonti.
A fortnight was spent jamming and honing the numbers, before the recording process began.
“It feels like an uplifting record to me, especially from a lyrical standpoint,” Myles elaborates. “Musically, the songs are shorter with crystallised arrangements instead of the epic journeys we’ve embarked on in the past. Not that there is anything wrong with epics, but it was time to mix things up. In many ways, Walk The Sky is essentially the spiritual follow-up to AB III. That record was very dark with echoes of spiritual disillusionment throughout. That time in my life was an important part of my journey—a journey that has continued for decades and ultimately brought me to where I am now. The new music is a sonic manifestation of someone who has a better understanding of where he fits in the universe and how to interact with it.”
With a title designed to evoke an image of a person traversing between life and death, moving forward to Nirvana and expanded consciousness. To shatter the shackles of limitations.
Wonderful sentiments, sadly even played loudly it couldn’t even shatter my eardrums.
Walk The Sky, is nice. Almost AOR comparatively to previous offerings. Tremonti widdles as well as is to be expected, Marshall and Phillips deliver a solid, rocking rhythm section while Kennedy could probably sing nursery rhymes and silence haters. But the album as a whole seems dialled in. There is something that doesn’t quite gel almost as though each track has been mixed by a different individual, to be hastily stuck together. More meditative than pumped for action, a sequence of short stories rather than an engaging novel.
Walk the Sky commences with more of an introduction, than a stand-alone track. With its duration of little over a minute, the slightly discordant and ethereal peals of One Life gently eases the listener into the experience.
Wouldn’t You Rather was the lead single for the album and Alter Bridge came out of the stable all guns ablaze but shooting in a somewhat directionless manner. Drawing inspiration (and the phrase to ‘follow your bliss’) from the late author of The Hero With a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell whose mythological analysis inspired George Lucas’s Star Wars (also Jim Morrison, The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan but not Neil Gaiman). Kennedy interprets the quote as
“ To me, it’s also a reminder to follow your internal passion and not be swayed by what can be an empty pursuit of material gains that ultimately won’t bring you long-term happiness.”
A great sentiment, with origins in ancient texts and there is a hint of Eastern mysticism in the main riff supporting the message which is somewhat lost in the uninspired track as a whole. Great lyrics. Great message. I am prepared to give Alter Bridge the benefit of the doubt… With a ‘brighter’ sound and a repetitive guitar driven intro In the Deep is saturated with 90’s AOR (adult orientated rock) vibes that would not be out of place in a teen movie.
Godspeed takes us into more powerful and emotive territory in a track somewhat reminiscent of collaboration, rather than Alter Bridge. A rocking lament, dedicated to a dear friend of Tremonti; to wish him luck on his journey beyond. Heartwarming, without any cringe factor; this track stands out strongly.
Native Son brings a heavy groove and edginess which I have sorely missed. Melancholic and melodic, while incorporating nu-metal and post-grunge elements with a hint of later era Whitesnake it invigorates. Take the Crown with its whispered promise of “So sorry, so sorry, but you’re going down” combines a dirty groove and a distinct clash with the euphorically upbeat chorus. There are moments of brilliance, yet the transitions of minor to major key gives me the unpleasant sensation of being trapped in the metal equivalent of Pop Idol. Indoctrination brings some dark and Toolesque components to build a stirring track. With a lighter touch, but continued progressive flourishes The Bitter End would have benefited with more bass and less synthesisers in this rock gospel. With its overblown vocals and synth basis leads me to imagine that this is how a modern pop rock Beatles might sound. Rocking, but Disney-tastic. Leaning heavily towards 80’s synth’s and a cheesier than expected production, Pay No Mind seems to drag for this listener. Forever Falling certainly does not sound like a re-working of Here Comes The Sun for long. Spinning into more spacey and progressive dimensions becoming more Hurry On Sundown. More like a Tremonti as opposed to Alter Bridge number, I am very much a fan of the most multi-dimensional song on this album.
Clear Horizon is alright, the bridge is excellent but there is a distinct lack of a guitar solo which is a little baffling. Guitars are back for the power ballad Walking on the Sky and there are swirly synths, which adds greater depth and joy (for me!) Unmistakably Alter Bridge, Tear Us Apart is pleasant but not earth shattering, especially as it leads into the album closer Dying Light. Melancholic and symphonic it is quite the crescendo and you can check it out here
In my personal opinion, Walk The Sky is a good album. More contemplative and accessible than I had anticipated and likely to grow, in time. I shall leave you with a further quote from Kennedy:
“Hopefully, the music might move or inspire listeners the same way we’ve been inspired by countless albums over the years. Even though this has a very specific meaning to me, I hope the listener is able to extract his or her own meaning and perhaps the songs will give them new insight into their own journey. That would be beautiful.”
Walk the Sky is available now and can be purchased here
“Walk The Sky” Track-listing:
- One Life
2. Wouldn’t You Rather
3. In the Deep
5. Native Son
6. Take the Crown
8. The Bitter End
9. Pay No Mind
10. Forever Falling
11. Clear Horizon
12. Walking on the Sky
13. Tear Us Apart
14. Dying Light
Walk The Sky Tour with Shinedown, Sevendust and The Raven Age:
12-Nov • Copenhagen, DEN • KB Hallen
14-Nov • Helsinki, FIN • Ice Hall Black Box
16-Nov • Stockholm, SWE • Hovet
17-Nov • Oslo, NOR • Sentrum Scene
19-Nov • Hamburg, GER • Sporthalle
20-Nov • Berlin, GER • Columbiahalle 22-Nov • Leipzig, GER • Hause Auensee
23-Nov • Warsaw, POL • Hala Kolo
26-Nov • Cologne, GER • Palladium
27-Nov • Munich, GER • Zenith
29-Nov • Vienna, AUS • Gasometer 1-Dec • Zurich, SWI • Halle 622
2-Dec • Milan, ITA • Mediolanum Forum
4-Dec • Barcelona, SPA • St. Jordi Club
6-Dec • Lisbon, POR • Sala Tejo 7-Dec • Madrid, SPA • Palacio Vistalegre
9-Dec • Paris, FRA • Olympia
10-Dec • Amsterdam, HOL • AFAS Live
12-Dec • Brussels, BEL • Cirque Royal
14-Dec • Nottingham, ENG • Motorpoint Arena
15-Dec • Manchester, ENG • Manchester Arena
17-Dec • Glasgow, SCO • SSE Hydro Arena
18-Dec • Birmingham, ENG • Birmingham Arena
20-Dec • Cardiff, WAL • Motorpoint Arena
21-Dec • London, ENG • O2 Arena
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