Alter Bridge - Blackbird
On October 5, 2007, the album "Blackbird", "Alter Bridge's" second album, was released and we are very excited to tell you a little bit about this very special album.
Just as a snake sheds its skin and undergoes a process of rejuvenation, in which it leaves behind the old skin and wears a new and fresh skin, so too do the talented members of Alter have undergone a process of transformation on this album.
Although they tried to shake off any influence or connection to the previous band "Creed", they were not so successful in applying it on the first album "One Day Remains". However, on this album, the four members take a significant step toward musical maturity and independence.
They shun all the limitations, elements, and influences of "Creed", who were still present on the first album and for the first time manage to form for themselves a pure and unique sound as an independent band detached from the past that haunted it.
The "Texas Sawmill" Mark Tremonti quite managed to break free of Scott Stapp's chains on the previous album, but psychological precipitation that limited him could still be heard here and there. Here he completes the release process and together with his co-pilot Myles Kennedy, he switches to take-off mode and ascends to sky-high. Myles who turns out to be a talented guitarist with very high technique allows Mark to fly far away to new places, not only because he takes the place of accompaniment and rhythm but also because he himself brings ideas and creativity that add to Mark’s growth just like fertilizer.
This is the first time that Tremonti plays/create with an accompanist guitarist. To this day all guitar work has been done exclusively by Tremonti, being the only one to play all guitar roles in gigs as well. Myles' addition may seem negligible at first glance because Tremonti is so amazing and worked out so beautifully on his own that Myles doesn't seem to be able to contribute anything. But this is absolutely wrong and much more complex than you think because this little addition makes a very big change. We suddenly get Mark more open and creative with elements and touches we have not heard before, with more relaxed playing, long solos with a more complex composition, and of course a variety of sounds and acoustic guitars. Tremonti goes through a process on this album and changes his position from Scott wing man and his accompaniment player to a lead in his own right, with perfect creative freedom.
But not only is Tremonti going through a process here, Myles who on the first album came in as a guest, with a minor impact on the writing and whose part as a vocalist there is quite limited, becomes an integral part of the band and a full partner in the writing and creative process. Myles' voice is also changing and you can feel it. He knows how to take Mark's strong riffs and combine them with his touches with an amazing range and a lot of power that pushes even further up the band's abilities. Also on the guitar side, Myles goes one step further here as he gets the lead guitar in two songs from the album, "Blackbird" and "Rise Today" along with Tremonti. To be honest, all the band members are expressed here and give their all, but no doubt Myles and Tremonti are leading the oiled machine here called "Alter Bridge" and pushing it forward. The lead in writing and creating may still be Tremonti's, but that will change later and the two will lead the band's next albums together.
When we used the image of the snake shedding its skin we also meant the fact that the band members complete the rejuvenation process with a unilateral disengagement from their record label Wind-up Records, which forced the musical direction, and pushed them to keep Creed's elements and even kept pushing them to reunite their mother band and release more of its albums. The members of Alter sign with the Universal Republic, releasing the cables that stopped them and leaving no room for doubt, the release process is complete, and there are four insanely talented friends who are going to metal your ears and go write the album they so longed to create.
The album "Blackbird" is the result of the joint creation of all four and you feel the part of each and every one of them, even if it is not expressed in the writing itself. We would like to call it the breakthrough album or even note that this is actually Alter's first album as a "band", but as we mentioned in our previous reviews, this process had to happen for the band to crystallize in the way it crystallized and for this wonderful album to be released. (we also know that some of the band's fans love the first album very much and even think it is the best album by the band).
Unlike the first album "One Day Remains", this album just flies on the wings of the metallic and rugged riffs, as you can already hear in the opening song "Ties That Bind". It's not that there weren't any on the first album, just here they are more compressed, sawn, and bitten like in the songs "Come to Life", in the song "Coming Home" after the opening, or in our favorite song "White Knuckles".
True, this album is not all strong and mowing riffs, it also has quiet tracks like the song "Watch Over You" written by Tremonti and Myles which is the second single released from the album. This song is among the regular songs in the band's setlist and is played in acoustic version performances by Myles. A whole river of emotions will flood you when you listen to a song so do not be surprised.
But the strength of this album lies in the combination of the two. The dynamic (quiet-noisy) sections, in the more complex ones in terms of composition, in those moments when Alter moves between the metal riffs and the melodic chords and returns. For example, in the song "Wayward One" which includes during the verse a melody borrowed from the Bourrée section in B minor by Bach, or in the song "Before Tomorrow Comes" which was the last single released from the album. "Rise Today" which Tremonti wrote about wanting to make the world a better place the huge and immortal theme song "Blackbird".
And it really is impossible to end the review without saying a few words about the immortal theme song "Blackbird", which is no less than eight minutes of sheer bliss. The lyrics were written by Myles to his friend Mark Morse who owned a guitar shop, he sold Myles his first guitar and died while writing the song. Myles saw before his eyes Mark Morse tormented by his pain and through the lyrics, he actually wishes he would find comfort and release all the pain "May you never be broken again". Myles writes and simply can not remain indifferent to the amount of emotion that erupts from the notes and lyrics in this song.
As for the composition, Myles testified that it did not come easily to them and that he and Tremonti were tormented until they reached the best result mostly in the chorus section, but when things started to connect they immediately knew it was going to be a huge song. He also noted that this song is the highlight for him during the band's performances. In the show version, the band usually opens this song with a segment played by Myles from the Beatles song "Blackbird". We are afraid to talk about the song's solo because for us it is one of the greatest solos in the world, Myles is the one who starts and takes the first part, and in the middle, Mark comes in and continues the second part, a masterpiece, and perfection of a guitar solo !!
This album did not reach the number one spot (it truly deserved) and did not break a sales record in the first two weeks. It only reached number four in the US and even less so in other countries mainly due to lack of marketing activity and poor management of the record company, which will be replaced in the next album. This is the main reason why this album did not conquer the top charts!!
And after all that, how can you not spend an hour listening to the album? Listen on: Spotify, Apple Music