Despite being in the business for over 15 years, Alter Bridge seemingly has a way of continuing to evolve without their music becoming stale. Their new music is unique enough to set it apart from retreads while retaining the catchiness of absolute classics like “Metallingus.” Their latest album, Walk The Sky, is no exception and passes the test from this vexatious critic.
The album starts off with “One Life,” a rather short, ambient tune meant to warm listeners up before the entertainment begins. “Wouldn’t You Rather” is the next track up, unquestionably one of the most memorable songs on the album. Despite the abundance of cheese laced throughout the song (particularly the chorus), the classic trademarks of Alter Bridge are present. Massive riffs, resonant vocals, and infectious beats. Guitarists Mark Tremonti and Myles Kennedy absolutely shred on this track, improving upon their signature sound with well-crafted riffs. Additionally, there’s a well-timed solo that will make even the most docile listeners rock out the air guitar with style.
The positives far outweigh the negatives on Walk The Sky. A profoundly diverse form is present on the album, blending several styles together to create a thoroughly captivating record that requires more than one listen. On the heavier side, the melodic thrasher “Forever Falling” is positively a highlight, comprising a blistering introduction reminiscent of 90’s thrash albums. More melodious tracks like “Indoctrination,” showcase the vocal range of the effervescent Myles Kennedy, as well as the proficient musicianship from the entire quartet. The album’s final song is “Dying Light,” a profound track that touches upon the concept of finding even the tiniest bit of light when one is shrouded by darkness and misery. The melancholy essence of the lyrical content is perfectly juxtaposed with the uplifting melody, metaphorically stating that all is not lost for those buried in discontent.
While there is a myriad of intriguing components on the record, there’s a fair share of tracks that seem to have all the right elements in place but lack a solid punch in the end. “In the Deep” and “Godspeed” are prominent examples of tracks that seem extraordinary at first listen, but don’t retain the long-lasting impact of a classic. “Godspeed,” in particular, is an uplifting track with an annoyingly addictive chorus, seemingly having all the right ingredients for a successful song. However, the build-up throughout the recording ends without a satisfying catharsis, leaving listeners in a rather deplorable state. Although the band has paved its own path since its inception, there is an odd feeling that specific tracks on this album feel like Creed 2.0. Considering three bandmates were instrumental in making Creed a household name in the late ’90s, there’s always going to be some influence prevalent Alter Bridge’s music. Despite that fact, Kennedy’s vocal range and emotion-laden style creating a visceral reaction far more profound than any Creed song.
With Walk The Sky clocking in at one hour, there’s quite a bit of filler present on the album. “The Bitter End” and “Pay No Mind” are shining examples of this, as neither song is memorable and doesn’t do an excellent job of eliciting a reaction. On the other hand, tracks such as “Take the Crown,” “Clear Horizon,” and “Walking on the Sky” are incredibly robust and addictive on repeat listens. Alter Bridge’s ability to churn out catchy rock tunes hasn’t dissipated in years and shows no signs of waning. Even though Walk The Sky contains a fair amount of cookie-cutter heavy rock, the album is incredibly catchy. It also cements the band’s status as one of the dominant active groups in the genre.
Written by Jonathan Berthold
*edited by Danielle Kenedy