Alter Bridge – Walk the Sky

I have always love Mark Tremonti’s guitar playing. Yes, always.

So, in essence, that means I just admitted to liking at least some aspect of Creed’s music. Ok, ok, I admit it. I really loved Creed when Torn dropped. At that time in my life, there was just something about it that resonated with me. Follow up, Human Clay kept me engaged, with it’s beefier production and heavier sound. There were some really great moments on that album. I mean, come on, the bridge in “What If” builds to a pummeling breakdown that still sounds awesome to this day.

But, by the time Weathered dropped, the cracks were really starting to show. Most of this centered around lead singer Scott Stapp’s over-the-top vocal delivery and what really started to look like a messiah complex.

But none of that takes away from the heavy, bombastic guitar work from Mark Tremonti. Musically, those Creed songs hold up just fine, thanks to Mark’s crunching and tasty riffs. So I was more than ready for Alter Bridge to drop their self-titled debut in 2004. We had the same musical backbone of Creed (literally, guitar, bass and drummer from Creed) with a much more accomplished, versatile, and able singer in Myles Kennedy.

I loved their debut, Blackbird was a moving follow up. AB III took a bit to grow on me, but subsequent albums Fortress and The Last Hero were on near constant rotation shortly after their releases. Likewise, I’ve definitely enjoyed and continued to listen to Tremonti’s solo work on 4 solid albums of guitar centered hard rock.

No one wants prime rib every day. Some days, you want a $1.00 McDouble. I mean, come on, you just do.

I’m not saying Alter Bridge is no better than a McDouble. But this is meet and potatoes hard rock. There isn’t much unexpected going on here. And that is just fine. Some days I just want solid, guitar heavy hard rock that you can sing along to. It fills a need and I’ve appreciated Alter Bridge more than capably filling that need for the past 15 years.

So, with their latest release Walk the Sky, I guess I have to say “Sorry, it’s not you, it’s me.”

I can’t get into it. I preordered it, as I am wont to do. It’s exciting, every week or two you’ll get a new track released to whet your appetite for the full album release. Except none of those singles drew me in. I couldn’t make myself even listen to one of them all the way through before the album dropped. And then the album dropped, mid October. Oddly enough, it isn’t even like it had real stiff competition. The latest from Insomnium had released 2 weeks before, but that hadn’t grabbed me the way their previous release had. Lacuna Coil had shocked me the week before with Black Anima which I continue to think is a really great album.

So it was all the more odd to me that Walk the Sky just couldn’t seem to grab me. But it didn’t, and it still hasn’t. Listening to it now, trying to write something about this album, and I find myself skipping songs like crazy. Not because they are bad. Alter Bridge is even stretching and doing some different things on this album. I appreciate that. And all the same keys are there. Myles has an awesome, powerful voice. Mark’s guitar is as good as ever. The man is one of the best rock guitarists out there.

But I just don’t want to listen for more than a few minutes. Like I said, sorry Alter Bridge, it’s not you, it’s me. So I guess it’s back to the cold embrace of Schammasch, Monolithe, and The Drowning for this middle aged metal head.

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