Alter Bridge

01. Slip To The Void
02. Isolation
03. Ghost Of Days Gone By
04. All Hope Is Gone
05. Still Remains
06. Make It Right
07. Wonderful Life
08. I Know It Hurts
09. Show Me A Sign
10. Fallout
11. Breathe Again
12. Couer d'Alene
13. Life Must Go On
14. Words Darker Than Their Wings
15. Zero (extra track)
16. Home (extra track)
17. Never Born To Follow (extra track)

Bonus DVD:
One By One (documentary)

Myles Kennedy - lead vocals, rhythm and lead guitar
Mark Tremonti - lead and rhythm guitar, backing and lead vocals
Brian Marshall - bass
Scott Phillips - drums, percussion

One Day Remains (2004)
Blackbird (2007)
AB III (2010)

Chris Rodriguez – backup vocals

String arrangements by Michael "Elvis" Baskette and Dave Holdredge
Michael "Elvis" Baskette — producer
Dave Holdredge — engineer
Brian Sperber — mixing
Ted Jensen — mastering
Daniel Tremonti — cover art
Jef Moll — digital editing
Tony Adams — drum technician
Ernie Hudson - Guitar tech
Mixed at Ansons pocket studio
Recorded at The Hit Factory/Criteria Studios, Miami, assisted by Chad Jolley with Chief Tech Simon Soong and manager Trevor Fletcher; Paint It Black Studios, Orlando managed by Terry Nix & Bill Papp; and Studios Barbarosa Bavon, Virginia

Released 17/10-2011
Reviewed 11/11-2011


Roughly four years ago my girlfriend at the time introduced me to Alter Bridge and today this relationship has lasted significantly longer than the relationship with her. This is the fourth release with Alter Bridge, the band that rose after Creed had fallen, and this fourth release also happens to be the bands third release, but in a new package with some bonus materials put on it in the form of a documentary and three new songs. Since Hallowed never reviewed 'ABIII', this review will also cover the original album, but since the new release is marketed by the new material - let's start with that!

On the music-CD we find 17 songs listed as they come on the album as they appear here on the left. The documentary mentioned above comes on a bonus DVD where we see the band from three different live venues and then some interviews and other kind of features which cover the bands history and told by fans and people that has worked around them as well as some comments by the band as well. Almost an hour intimate with Alter Bridge, or rather a shameless . Moving on to the three new songs we find them all in the bottom of the track list at number 15, 16 and 17 in the form of Zero (yes, the same as the Smashing Pumpkins song, but it's not a cover), Honie and Never Born To Follow. All in all this new and extended album ticks in at a bit over ambitious 78 minutes, making it 12 minutes longer than the original release - which was a bit staggering already that with 66 minutes. Normally I'm a bit allergic to albums over 70 minutes on one disc, however, seeing how this is a special edition release I'm prepared to be a bit more indulgent with this given how 'ABIII' originally is 12 minutes shorter (about one six and a half part of the album) and if you prefer a shorter version you can always chose that.

But how does this album sound then?

Absolutely… fantastic!

Honestly, it's impossible not to like Alter Bridge. If you're a person that doesn't, you probably haven't heard this band or you clearly use the wrong time-killer when you spend your time on Hallowed. This is a melodic masterpiece. An instrumental wonder of the world. An orgasmic sensation vocally. And production-wise fully accomplished epic. The sound is as crisp and clear as a winter morning in March. The album cover with design and booklet is beautiful and well-made. The songs on the album flows unhindered by as a spring flood in the mountains and then suddenly you come to a lucid pond with flowers and berries growing everywhere around in the summer heating sun. Ambitious, timid and tremendously pleasant to rest your ears on. However, it doesn't matter how I screw my rubik's cube, I still find this album too long with not just the full hour but 18 minutes extra above these.

As always with this band the vocals are what strikes you first. Myles Kennedy is the man and his voice cuts through your skin like a concrete drill cutting through cement. Myles voice does everything imaginable but as soon as he takes on the high notes, which he does at least somewhere on each song on this album, he completely blows everything away. Myles is the only member that doesn't come straight out of Creed he also handle one of the guitars, in many ways he's the definition of what's the difference between Alter Bridge and Creed, because where Creed goes nasal and have an almost asthmatic unpersonallity Myles goes there with feeling, finesse and personality.

The music overall is quite similar to normal American rock/hard rock but not quite as straight and simple as most of these overly hyped half-emo bands that's been raining like tears over the rock genre these last years. The music is clever and ingenious with rich melodies and instrumental passages. The sounds almost explode with all guitar lines and solo-show-offs bursting out of nowhere along the double rhythm guitars that makes the album so much depth and power and resulting in the album staying interesting for so much longer than an inclever or straighter and simpler album usually do. I especially find the three new songs at the end very interesting, as well as Isolation, Still Remains, Make It Right, Breathe Again, Life Must Go On and Words Darker Than Their WIngs… but it's quite clear that none of the songs is the least uninteresting.

However… in the end we get to the point - would one buy one? Judging solely from the quality of the material I'd say that's the stupidest question I've heard in a long time. Not only do you get a packed CD and an hour long documentary DVD for a few bucks extra and considering the consistently high quality on the product the whole package is just packed to every atom with quality material. So why the modest score? Well, for two reasons. One is of course the length - regardless of how good an album sound I just can't get over the fact that it takes one hour and 18 minutes to play it through. I'd rather see that they split the album on two discs, giving it a natural pause somewhere because then the album could easily go on for another 15 minutes too. But 78 minutes straight through… it makes very little difference then what's on the album when it's like that. When you hear this you might say: but Caj, no one buys albums anyway anymore - we download it from E-Music! Well, I don't have anything against that, go ahead and do so - I prefer physical products before digital witchcraft but the point is still the same. It doesn't matter if you actually change a CD or not - the metaphorical CD is just as important, I want something that doesn't make it feel like I'm canceling the experience only because I don't have the time to play an album this long from start to finish. I want to feel that I get a choice to continue or move on half way through when the album is this long. With a 40 minutes long album it's very different.

The second reason is not as much a reason as it is a question… do we really need this album too if we have the "unspecial" edition? Well… in a way, most of it we've already got from the original and the only thing that's new is the quite poor documentary (which I on the other hand guess is a must-have for the die-hard Alter bridge fan) and three new songs which all are really good too! But the songs on the other hand are all possible to get from iTunes and the movie, I guess, is probably also possible to get in digital form. Which leaves us with the beautiful package in which the two discs come, but neither this is radically different from the original package with only the digipack difference. So… summarizing… if you don't have 'ABIII' or is a collector of Alter Bridge releases, or a die-hard fan, then you do yourself a big disfavor not to buy this special edition! However, if you have the original release - download the new songs and settle with that - because so much more of value is just hard to see in 'ABIII.5'. But seeing it as purely an album… this is one of the best releases this year!


Label: Roadrunner Records/Warner
Three similar bands: Creed/Cervello/Foo Fighters
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm

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