blackbird Soars!!

blackbird Gods of Rock and Roll: Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall, Scott “Flip” Phillips, and newcomer Myles Kennedy are baaaack! With a breath of fresh air of a new label and actually the 1st true “Alter Bridge” CD, One Day Remains as incredible as it was, was more the brain child of Mark Tremonti. If I remember correctly all the songs were written by him and most of the songs arranged before Myles joined the band. Not so with blackbird!! This record has Mark and Myles co-writing together and the entire band creating the sound that causes our ears to bleed!! So, without further adieu (because I know I’ll get longwinded!) my review:

Overall: This CD is like watching the Incredible Hulk smashing through your office wall, slapping you in a big green bear hug, and having him flex on you for like an hour! HAHA. Seriously, this CD is ginormous! Not only did Myles pick up some of the song writing but he also picked up the electric. As if Mark’s sound wasn’t huge enough now we’ve got the two of them going at it! I’m a singer and guitarist so the vocals and guitar always jump out at me but I don’t call these guys ‘gods of Rock and Roll’ simply for Mark. The whole band is just crazy talented. Flip’s drum beats are insane! There aren’t too many ‘rock drummers’ that stand out to me but he’s one of them. And I’m totally stoked Brian’s with these guys. The new guy Creed picked up was blah. Together, with Myles unending vocal range, create some sonically intense music that they effortlessly pull off live!

This CD ‘sounds’ a bit darker than One Day Remains. Also in contrast to ‘Metalingus’ off that record, with blackbird we have wicked crazy metal riddled throughout a few of the tunes that up the ante! However, even with the darker sound we have inspirational, hopeful, powerful tunes here that are beautiful. (We’re a far cry from the writing style of JEM. Much more lyrical and more in the style of painting a picture instead of blurting out what you want the listener to understand.)
What strikes me most about this record is that it sounds so, I’m not sure how to say this…it doesn’t sound radio friendly. I mean that in a compliment. It sounds like this is the record that Alter Bridge created because they wanted to create something they were truly satisfied in. There aren’t so many catchy hooks and safe structures here that was Creed’s staple and formula. And for that: WOOHOO!

1. Ties That Bind – BLAMO the Hulk crashes through your wall!! Seriously! You thought I was joking:

  • “I tear on the leash that keeps me contained and controlled”

2. Come to Life – The big green bear hug tightens with raunchy, nasty, deep, guitar growls!

3. Brand New Start – You get a breath of air here for just a moment. It’s such an odd tonal song. This dreamy, driving, picking is happening and then we get this grunge STP/Nirvana/Alice in Chains guitar swell sometimes and then we get this righteous solo happening! This is the one I see the women swaying drunkenly back and forth to swooning over the Myles’ crooning and Mark’s shredding!

4. Buried Alive – A sliver of familiarity with Creed’s 1st debut CD peeks its head out but is quickly stuffed away again by the new Alter Bridge sound!

5. Coming Home – I just love the intro to this song. Somehow they’ve creeped into the mind of the Prodigal son leaving the pig slop and walking home to his father!

6. Before Tomorrow Comes – One of my absolute favorites! Not only musically tasteful but the lyrics are so incredibly appropriate for our culture right now. I think its the attitude of apathy and indifference that will do us in. I love the progression it takes: Setting up tension in Vs. 1 – Challenging anthem of a Ch – Self Realization in Vs. 2 – It’s just great!

  • “I curse my worth and every comfort that blinded me for way too long
  • Damn it all I’ll make a difference from now on.”

YEAH! It’s such a mature song in many respects, it’s like what U2 would feel and sound like if they were a hard rock band raised up in the 90s! HAHAHAHA! Did I really just say that? Yeah I did!

7. Rise Today – We’ve got our insane first single here settled in the last leg of the record. This is what I was trying to say above. How contrasting this first single is compared to Open Your Eyes. I mean it’s just not that ‘radio friendly.’ The structure isn’t typical. It never stops hitting you in the face! It’s technical! The bridge is mad!

8. The Blackbird – The title track is this beautiful epic 7 minute song. As if Myles’ vocals weren’t soaring enough, Mark makes his fingers and fretboard sing their own verse and chorus that is just stellar! Painting this beautiful picture that, heck I’d be honored if it was played/read at my funeral! Apparently, Myles had a friend battling an illness that was ending his life. I can’t imagine how hard this must have been to write.

9. One by One – The band’s stance on Rise Today is that it isn’t a politically charged song, simply being wondering if the world could be a better place? So, do we read too much into One by One??? Regardless, still a good song.

10. Watch Over You – This makes 3 songs in a row about death, but I’m hopeful not depressed! Some pretty acoustics. Another one of my favorites! So dang poetic and beautiful! Already figuring out if we can work it into Sunday morning somehow.

11. Break Me Down – YES YES YES! Another great song for our culture to hear. Facing criticism and dishonesty what do you do? It’s the bridge that gets me.

  • “I realize forgiveness is calling, it’s calling
  • I’ve denied; the reason I’m falling. So let go.”

To forgive those who persecute you??? How dare they imply 🙂

12. White Knuckles & 13. Wayward One – Honestly, I don’t get this far too often. Break Me Down seems like such a great place to end the CD at 11 tracks and a great tune. I’ll have to give these last 2 another listen through.

14. The Damage Done & 15. New Way to Live – If you pick it up from Best Buy you get these lil gems. Again, I’m not sure exactly how these come in. Haven’t really made it thus far.


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