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ANURAG TAGAT
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Alter Bridge – Fortress

Rs. 679, (CD); Rs. 70 (iTunes MP3)

If you’d like to feel a tiny bit old, you need to hear that Alter Bridge has been around for nearly 10 years now. The American alternative metal band started off as an offshoot of Creed, who called it quits at the height of their fame, and guitarist Mark Tremonti, bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips joined hands with a new vocalist, Myles Kennedy.

But enough of the history lesson. It’s a fact that what drives this band way better than Creed (sorry, Scott Stapp fans) are Kennedy’s powerhouse vocals adding to virtuoso metal. While I thought they’d lost part of the plot with their third album in 2010, AB III , it turns out that was the band’s important segue into creating a sound that stays refreshingly current on their fourth release, Fortress . Even though the six-and-a-half-minute opener ‘Cry of Achilles’ is a bit of risky move, they hit a homerun with ‘Addicted to Pain’ which is heavy, fast and quintessential metal that no headbanger would resist.

The rest of Fortress powers through as though Alter Bridge just wanted to create the perfect metal album. In fact, when they try to throw in slower, mellow movements in their songs (‘Bleed It Dry’), it tends to take a few listens to shift gears into calmness. Whether you like your metal with a few blues licks (‘Lover’), with prog rock-solid angular riffing (easily the stellar numbers on Fortress , ‘The Uninvited’ and ‘Peace is Broken’) or with an epic ballad (‘Calm The Fire’), Alter Bridge serves it right up with great diversity.

That’s what you want from any band – for them to keep up with the game, change things around in their sound, but stay rooted in a style that distinguishes them. Alter Bridge’s established metal leanings allows them to take several sub-genres as an influence without sounding gimmicky. Fortress couldn’t have come out at a better time for Alter Bridge, and they’ll continue breaking any brackets people are putting them into with this album.

ANURAG TAGAT

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