Alter Bridge Impresses Again On Its Latest Live Recording

Courtesy: Napalm Records

This Friday, Alter Bridge will release its latest live recording, Live at the O2 Arena + Rarities in stores and online.  The band’s third live recording, this three-disc collection is easily one of this year’s top new live CDs.  That is due in part to the concert’s extensive set list, which will be discussed shortly.  The band’s performance thereof is just as important to note as the set list itself, obviously, so it will be discussed a little later.  The recording’s bonus material rounds out its most important elements, putting the final touch on the collection.  Each element is obviously important in its own right to the recording’s whole.  All things considered, the recording in whole shows easily why, again, it is one of this year’s best new live CD recordings.

Alter Bridge’s forthcoming live recording Live at the O2 Arena + Rarities is one of this year’s best new live CD recordings.  That is due in no small part to the recording’s set list.  The 19-song set list pulls from each of the band’s five current full-length studio recordings, and makes a valid attempt to represent each of those albums as fully as possible in the process.  The band’s latest album, 2016’s The Last Hero receives the most nods with six songs.  Its seminal 2007 album Blackbird gets the second most nods with five songs from that album being featured here.  Four songs are pulled from Fortress (2013) while III and the band’s 2004 debut One Day Remains each get two nods.  It would be interesting to know how the set list was chosen since each of the band’s albums presents plenty of enjoyable material.  That aside, the band is still to be commended for making the attempt to paint the fullest possible picture of its catalogue in this extensive 104-minute (1 hour, 44-minute) concert.

Looking even more deeply at the concert’s set list, audiences will be pleased to see that at no point does the set list ever stick to any of the band’s albums too long.  The set list starts at the band’s most recent album before quickly moving back to Blackbird and then on to Fortress and back to III in just its first four songs.  The change-ups remain just as constant from there on right to the end, with the band reaching into each album throughout.  In the same vein, that constant variety in the show’s set list also leads to a respectable variety in the songs’ energy, too.  The set’s first three offerings are heavy, driving compositions that eventually give way to something a little less heavy in ‘Ghosts of Days Gone By.’  The show’s energy picks right back up from there and stays high for a while before eventually pulling back again in the gentle, acoustic take of ‘Watch Over You.’  The songs’ energy rises and falls just as constantly from here, ensuring even more audiences’ engagement and entertainment.  Keeping in mind everything that has been noted so far, it becomes clear that the set list presented in Live at the O2 + Rarities is critical to the recording’s overall presentation.  It is only one of the recording’s critical elements, too.  The band’s performance of that extensive set list is just as important to the recording’s overall presentation as its set list.

The band’s performance of its nearly two-hour concert is important to note because as with any live show, a set list can only do so much for a concert.  If an act doesn’t put on a solid performance, then a show’s set list is worthless.  In the case of Alter Bridge’s performance here, the band clearly keeps its audience fully engaged and entertained throughout.  Those who didn’t get to experience the concert firsthand will find themselves just as engaged and entertained in experiencing the concert here.  From one song to the next front man Myles Kennedy, guitarist Mark Tremonti, bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips give their all in each song.  Kennedy’s vocals cut through like bolts of musical lightning in the concert’s most powerful moments while they move listeners just as deeply in the concert’s more reserved moments. Tremonti’s guitar work and that of his fellow musicians on their respective parts is just as impressive throughout.  The band wastes little time in-between songs with any banter, letting its collective performances do the talking for it as a whole.  The few times when it does spend some time on interludes, the most is made of those moments, too.  All things considered, the band’s performance shines here just as much as the set list that is performed.  Keeping that in mind, audiences will agree in hearing this concert that the band’s performance does just as much to entertain them as the set list itself.  Having discussed both of these key elements, the last important element to discuss here is the recording’s bonus studio recordings.

The recording’s bonus material includes two previously unreleased b-sides in ‘Cruel Sun’ and ‘Solace’ and a number of songs previously only available on exclusive editions of the band’s albums.  Those songs include ‘Breathe,’ which was also recorded during the Blackbird sessions, but was only included as an exclusive for Best Buy’s release last year of The Last Hero, ‘Never Born To Follow,’ which was released on exclusive U.S. and Japan editions of III, ‘Zero’ and ‘Home,’ both of which were also included in exclusive editions of III, along with others.  The songs themselves are impressive additions to the recording.  The fact that they are now all available in one setting makes them even more important to the recording’s whole.  It marks the first time that those exclusives have ever been available in one setting for audiences in a non-exclusive setting.  When this is considered along with the songs’ overall content (musical and lyrical), which impresses in its own right, the end result is a collection of songs that every Alter Bridge will appreciate.  When all of this is considered along with the concert’s set list and the band’s performance thereof, the whole of those elements makes Live at the O2 Arena + Rarities a live and studio offering that will impress any Alter Bridge fan, leaving them agreeing that it is indeed one of the year’s top new live CD recordings.

Alter Bridge’s new live recording Live at the O2 Arena + Rarities is one of this year’s top new live CDs.  That is due in part to the concert’s nearly two-hour set list that includes songs from each of the band’s five current full-length studio recordings.  The songs paint a clear picture of the band’s current catalogue while also balancing the concert’s energy from start to finish and those albums’ representation.  The band’s performance of that extensive set list is just as important to the recording’s whole as it is certain to keep fans who weren’t able to be at the concert just as entertained and engaged as those who were.  The bonus studio rarities and exclusives included in the set’s third disc round out its most important elements both because of the fact that it marks the first time they have been widely available for fans in one non-exclusive setting and because of their content.  Each element is important in its own right to the recording’s overall presentation.  All things considered, Live at the O2 Arena + Rarities proves in whole why it is one of the year’s top new live CD recordings.  One can only hope that a companion DVD and/or BD presentation of the concert will be released sooner rather than later to complete the recording.  More information on Live at the O2 Arena + Rarities is available online along with all of Alter Bridge’s latest news and more at:










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Queensryche’s Upcoming LP A Welcome Return To Form

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Queensryche is one of the most well known bands in the history of rock.  This Seattle based band survived the hair metal movement and the nu-wave movement of the 80s.  It also survived the grunge movement of the 90s and even the musical gold rush of 2000.  Throughout all of these different phases that the music industry has seen come and go, Queensryche has had its share of highs with iconic albums such as Empire, Operation: Mindcrime, Rage for Order, and to a slightly lesser degree, Hear in the Now Frontier and Promised Land.  While it did survive the musical gold rush of 2000, the release of its 2003 album, Tribe and its predecessor, Q2K (1999) were met with lukewarm reviews at best.  And 2011’s Dedicated to Chaos was perhaps its least warmly received album in its thirty year plus long career.  Things didn’t get much better after the less than pleasant split between the band and its now former front man Geoff Tate.  But it looks like the band is well back on track with a new front man and a self-titled album that takes long-time fans back to the days of Empire, Rage For Order, and even HITNF and Promised Land.

The very first thing that audiences should note with this new release is not much its musical side but its cover art and title.  Most people don’t pay much attention to any album’s title or even the cover art for its liner notes/booklet.  But in the case of Queensryche, both are of equal significance with this new release.  They are so significant because of the recent history between the band and its former front man.  The artwork for the standard edition of the album is simplistic, unlike that of many of the band’s previous releases.  It is simply the band’s logo set against a solid metallic background.  In its own way, one could argue that this is its own statement of the band redeveloping its identity through this fashion.  Just as the artwork is simple, so is the album’s title.  The band’s very first release way back in 1983 was a self-titled release.  Now three decades later, the band has offered fans another self-titled release.  Again, it seems insignificant on a small scale.  But considering everything that has happened with the band since 2012, making the album self-titled is another statement of rebirth for the band.  Just as Tate was delivering a statement with the title and artwork of his Queensryche album, Frequency Unknown, so is this Queensryche’s album title.  And it’s a statement that is as solid as the album’s musical content.

Musically speaking, this album is a rebirth for this Queensryche band in every way.  The ten songs that comprise the record are classic Queensryche, hands down.  Even with new front man Todd LaTorre manning vocal duties, listeners will be taken back.  If one were to listen to this record without knowing about the band’s rather acrimonious split with Geoff Tate, one would swear they were indeed hearing Tate.  That perhaps is the most intriguing fact of all about this record.  Forget the fact that the classic bombastic guitar work of Michael Wilton and the equally impressive drumming of Scott Rockenfield are back.  LaTorre’s vocal style and sound are near mirror images so to speak of that of the band’s previous singer.  It’s incredible how similar the two sound.  And it is because of this and the album’s overall old school sound (not to mention the statement of the album’s artwork and title), that fans that grew up with Queensryche will cheer happily once more.  It is everything that those fans have awaited for so many years.

Queensryche is currently wrapping up the U.S. leg of its tour in support of its new album.  It will kick off the European leg of its tour beginning October 2nd at the O2 Academy Islington.  Fans can get a complete tour listing and all of the latest tour updates and general news from the band on its Facebook page, and its official website,

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