Courtesy: Napalm Records
The wait is almost over for Alter Bridge’s new album. Walk The Sky is scheduled for release Oct. 18, and the band has already been busy touring in support of the record, getting audiences excited about its release. The hour-long album offers plenty for audiences to appreciate with its powerful musical arrangements and its seemingly recurring lyrical theme of our life choices and their impacts. The album’s opener ‘Wouldn’t You Rather’ is one of the most notable of the album’s songs that supports that statement. It will be addressed shortly. ‘The Bitter End,’ which comes later in the album’s run, serves just as much as ‘Wouldn’t You Rather’ to support the noted statement. It will be discussed a little later. ‘Tear Us Apart,’ the album’s penultimate composition, is one more example of how the album’s musical and lyrical content serves to give listeners so much to appreciate. When it is considered alongside the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s entries, the end result is a record that shows the “sky” is the limit for Alter Bridge. Yes, that awful pun was intended.
Alter Bridge’s new album Walk The Sky is another strong new effort from the veteran hard rock band that is certain to appeal to the band’s longtime fans just as much as its newer fans. That is thanks to its powerful musical arrangements and its equally strong lyrical content, which seems to address the choices we make in life and the result of those choices. The album’s lead single ‘Wouldn’t You Rather’ is one of the most notable of the songs that serves to support those statements. The song’s musical arrangement is yet another of the powerhouse compositions for which the band has come to be known, led by the dual guitar approach of Mark Tremonti and Myles Kennedy. Drummer Scott Phillips’ time keeping is solid throughout, while bassist Brian Marshall’s low-end fills out the song’s arrangement. Each musician joins with the others to make the nearly four-minute opus a great start for the record both as a single and as the album’s official opener, if only for its musical content. That content is only one part of what makes the song stand out, though. Its lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical content.
The song’s lyrical content is important to discuss because it encourages listeners to live the best life that they can. Kennedy sings in the song’s lead verse, “Sell yourself short and buy a world of pain/Follow your bliss or pay the price/All of these lessons/I’ve learned them so well/There is no gain worth the commerce of self/Wouldn’t you rather/Live from the heart/A life that will matter/To be lived from the start.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “You wear an albatross around your neck/The spoils of war will bring you down/Hear my advice/May you hear every word/Don’t sacrifice meaning for riches that burn/Wouldn’t you rather/Live from the heart/A life that will matter/To be lived from the start/All of these lessons I’ve learned from myself/There is no gain worth the commerce of self/A dream left for dead/Now a nightmare that feels like hell.” As the almost four-minute song nears its end, Kennedy reminds listeners, “I’d rather live from the heart,” reminding listeners of the noted message of living life the best that one possible can live; living life with purpose. That and the rest of the song’s message is one that every listeners needs to hear. When that message is coupled with the song’s hard-driving musical arrangement, the end result is a song that is powerful both musically and lyrically, and just one of the album’s most notable tracks. ‘The Bitter End’ is another powerful song that seems to address the choices that we make in life and the impact of those choices.
‘The Bitter End’ opens, musically, with a semi-introspective feel in its arrangement, that eventually gives way to a much more ballad-esque type work. From there, the song’s energy creates a moving sound that conjures thoughts of some of Creed’s most well-known power ballads. Considering that save for Kennedy, the members of Alter Bridge previously recorded and performed as Creed (then with Scott Stapp), this should come as no surprise. What’s different from those songs and this song is that this work doesn’t come across as schmaltzy as its predecessors. Rather, there is a certain real strength to this arrangement that the noted other songs did not have. It is just one part of the song’s importance. The noted positive message in the song’s lyrical content makes it stand out even more.
Kennedy sings in the song’s lead verse, “I’ve walked every road and turned every corner/Searched high and low where I did not belong/Adrift with the tide/Always hungry and yearning/If only I’d known the answer was here all along/the bitter end will come in time/But the joy I have found/In the sweet here and now/It keeps me alive.” He continues in the song’s second verse, ”I’ve kissed the lips of an angel in waiting/Devil in kind/I’ve been lost and deceived/The thrill had to fade in this world for the taking/Once I woke up…Then I could see/The bitter end will come in time/But the joy I have found in the sweet here and now/It keeps me alive.” He later adds in the song, “It’s never too late to learn how to start living right.” This is a statement that is echoed time and again along with the song’s chorus. Keeping all of this in mind, this song clearly proves itself another work that addresses the noted theme of our life choices and how they impact our lives overall. When the song’s uplifting message about living life right is coupled with the song’s equally upbeat power ballad arrangement, the whole of the song becomes another of the most notable of the album’s songs that also continues the album’s overall lyrical theme. It is not the last of the album’s most notable entries. ‘Tear Us Apart’ presents its own unique lyrical content about the impact of the choices that we make in life. It also features its own unique musical arrangement that will entertain and engage listeners.
‘Tear Us Apart’ is another ballad-style work, but stands on its own merits, establishing its own identity separate from the likes of ‘The Bitter End.’ It is more in line with past ballad-type arrangements that Alter Bridge’s members have crafted in its previous records. That is a matter for another discussion as it is just one of so many songs featured in this record that combines elements of the band’s past records for a whole new here that keeps the band’s sound fresh. The song’s musical elements join with Kennedy’s powerhouse vocals to create another power ballad that stands strong on its own two feet so to speak. When that notable musical arrangement is coupled with the song’s lyrical content, the end result is yet another work that is its own important part of the album’s whole.
Kennedy sings in the song’s lead verse, “Blindsided once again/Fooled by the fool within/Turned to a sacrifice/Lonely way to find no home/Withered…the promises you left for dead go cold/But this, too will surely fade/The truth you cannot escape/That we have to face/And learn from mistakes to grow/Don’t let the world/Tear us apart…don’t compromise/Just wait.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “Drink from the poison well/Only to kill yourself alone/Wake up and take a stand. He adds as the song continues, mentions of not giving up the love that one was meant to have before returning to the song’s chorus and reminding listeners to not compromise and that “if there’s something worth saving/Let it go/If there is something/Worth changing/Let it go/’Cause time is only wasting/Now you know.” Once more, listeners get what comes across as a message of living life to the fullest and best; a message to not let certain elements in life get us down. When this seeming message joins with the song’s radio ready arrangement, the whole of the song shows why it is another important part of Walk The Sky’s whole. It is one more song that presents the album’s central theme of understanding the choices we make and how those choices impact us, and entertains listeners fully in the process. When it is considered along with the other songs discussed here (and the rest of the album’s songs) the album shows itself in its entirety to be some of Alter Bridge’s best work to date.
Alter Bridge’s sixth full-length studio recording Walk The Sky is another impressive offering from the veteran rock band. That is due to its collective musical arrangements, which feature elements from each of the band’s past compositions yet still present their own identities. The noted lyrical theme, which is presented in various ways from the album’s opening to its end joins with the album’s arrangements, to make a record in whole that is not only some of Alter Bridge’s best work to date, but also one of the best rock records so far this year. It is scheduled for release Oct. 18 through Napalm Records. More information on the album and the band’s tour in support of the album, is available online now at:
To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.