Formed in 2004 in Orlando, Florida, the band comprising guitarist Mark Tremonti, bassist Brian Marshall, drummer Scott Phillips and vocal powerhouse and guitarist Myles Kennedy have steadily but purposefully risen to the upper echelons of the rock world thanks to a mixture of supreme songwriting talent and musicianship and an unerring collective belief in the power of music. The band's first three albums - One Day Remains, Blackbird and 2011's ABIII - have helped Alter Bridge to accrue a huge international fan base, all of whom will be thrilled by the prospect of hearing the band's fourth album, Fortress, for the first time. A bold, ambitious and exhilaratingly powerful collection of freshly-minted anthems that refines and redefines its creators' trademark sound while simultaneously raising the bar in terms of speaker-melting, state-of-the-art sonic values.
Continuing their tradition of writing highly accessible hard rock songs that are also more than heavy enough to appeal to metal fans, Fortress is a frequently dazzling collage of sublime melodies and jaw-shattering riffs. From the epic bombast of pulverizing opener "Cry Of Achilles" through to the rugged juggernaut rush of instant sing-alongs like "Cry Me A River" and "Addicted To Pain", the gentler, uplifting refrains of "All Ends Well", the thrash-tinged swagger of "The Uninvited" and on to the monumental blaze of riffs and solos that is the closing title track, Fortress is a triumph for the craft of songwriting and a celebration of four musicians thrilled by the fizzing chemistry that exists between them. Not only that, but producer Michael 'Elvis' Baskette has brought the band's new material to life in the most vivid colours imaginable: an exhilarating demonstration of exactly how huge rock 'n' roll can and should sound in 2013.
Music aside, Fortress is also a timely reminder that Alter Bridge have long devoted themselves to writing songs that truly resonate with those who embrace them. As with ABIII, the new album oozes sincerity and soul, while also tapping into the rich stream of melancholy and contemplation that has often marked the quartet out from their peers. Of the album's most inspirational moment, "All Ends Well", Myles Kennedy states that "it was written from my mother's perspective. When I was young, I struggled like any kid who is insecure and lacking self-confidence. But my mother believed in me and in the end that is what I needed more than anything."
"Fortress represents anything that seems impenetrable," Myles continues. "Anything that one assumes is everlasting and permanent. But what happens when the invincible falls? It is something we may all come to grips with at some point in our lives. Nothing will last forever."
As they proved with ABIII, Alter Bridge are a band committed to taking their music to the people. The release of Fortress will herald the beginning of an extensive bout of touring that will once again reunite the band with their devoted admirers around the world. With a whole new collection of meticulously crafted songs to share with their supporters and an irresistible sense of momentum propelling them ever further along the upward slope to glory, Alter Bridge are surely destined to scale new heights this time around.