It’s easy to think of Alter Bridge of just Creed with Myles Kennedy on vocals. And with their 2004 inception (which preceded Creed’s breakup), the comparisons between the two bands abounded. However, that’s where the comparisons ended. Alter Bridge, through their 6 album career to date, have always released the kind of hard rock records that indeed court the mainstream – but end up sounding huge. And while the band’s 6 full-lengths to date have all been very impressive, it’s 2007’s Blackbird that avoided the sophomore slump and still provides listeners with some huge moments.
One thing that’s important to note about Alter Bridge is that vocalist Myles Kennedy has a range that most vocalists could only dream of. Honed from experience from his time in The Mayfield Four, Kennedy was a seasoned vet by this point – and that really shows on album opener “Ties That Bind” and “Come To Life”. Pairing an energetic hard rock foundation with Mark Tremonti guitar solos has always been a hallmark of the Alter Bridge sound, and when you add Kennedy’s soaring vocals to the mix, you really have the making of something special.
Of course, being a mainstream rock album, there’s plenty of great singles here as well. “Rise Today” is probably the catchiest song here, with its immediacy paying off with the relatable subject matter of rising today and changing the world. Basic, you’d think, but also empowering. Even songs like “Rise Today”, which play things relatively safe, end up being important listens because they provide a sense of immediacy to casual fans, while those who are more into the musicianship side of the band can dig a little deeper.
Nowhere is that more apparent than on the album’s title track. “Blackbird” is an 8-minute long track that’s delivered with the kind of heartfelt drama you’d get from rock’s biggest songs, detailing the loss of a loved one. There’s a palpable sense of emotion in songs like this, “Wayward One”, and really throughout the entire record.
Impressively, Blackbird is a record with both accessibility and depth – rare for music in general. And while the band’s discography is impressive overall, Blackbird is among Alter Bridge’s finest work – if not their most well-written record.