From the ashes of Creed, the big-selling '90's Floridian rock band, rose Alter Bridge, to the point where they can play two nights at the Royal Albert Hall, backed up by a 52 piece orchestra.
The musicians from Creed, (Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips) are joined by powerhouse vocalist, and no mean guitar player himself, Myles Kennedy. The first couple of studio albums were more rock than metal, with "ABIII" and "Fortress" taking a bit of a heavier tone. I have to confess to not owning the most recent studio album, "The Last Hero", as I found "Fortress" a bit underwhelming.
I'm a big fan of the orchestral enhancement of a rock or metal band. I think "S&M" by Metallica is probably the best thing they've done apart from "Master Of Puppets".
Anyway, back to matters in hand. How does this live recording, the band's fourth, stack up?
Pretty well I'd say. Due to the sheer amount of sound of offer with the orchestra and band both going at full chat, it benefits from being listened to on a decent sound system. I feel a lot of the arrangements are too similar, with not enough dynamics. Also, a shorter track listing would have been preferable. Take out "Cry Of Achilles", "Fortress", "The Other Side", "Words Darker Than Their Wings", "Waters Rising", This Side Of Fate" and end with the epic "Blackbird" and you have a 15 track all killer no filler live album. "Blackbird" is so good that almost anything feels like a come down after it finishes.
Enough of the negatives though, on the positive side. The rest of the 2 discs are packed with great tunes enhanced by the orchestral underpinnings. "The Last Hero" and "Lover" impress alongside the standout classics of the aforementioned "Blackbird", "Watch Over You" and "Broken Wings" with it's amazing chorus.
In summary, whilst I was expecting to love this album, I 'merely' enjoyed it. Perhaps a case of expectations being set too high. Also I feel that Myles Kennedy's voice is not always best served by the songs. I love hearing him in the lower register, and too many of these songs are all the way up to ten throughout. Please don't misunderstand me, he's an amazing vocalist, I just prefer the more melodic of the band's songs that let the vocal breathe a little.
However, another album has just released, which I think does better job of showcasing his talents. Watch this space...