Fortress comes to us from a band that has certainly matured since their beginning. Alter Bridge have always had a very individual style but ‘Fortress’ sees them secure it as their own. The album opens with ‘Cry of Achilles’ and a very melodic acoustic riff that builds to a raw explosion of overdrive and power. The track is one of the most powerful opening tracks to an album that I have ever heard and is followed by ‘Addicted to Pain’ which keeps the fast and furious flow of the album going. ‘Bleed it Dry’ and ‘The Uninvited’ delve into slightly heavier areas that give the album a strong backbone. Myles Kennedy has used his time touring the Slash as a chance to hone his voice and mature it greatly. However, he steps aside to allow the guitarist, Mark Tremonti, to sing lead vocals on the track ‘Waters Rising’. This is the first track that brings the album down to a slightly more mellow tone. The guitar becomes much cleaner and the chorus (which are usually bright and pulsing with energy) is kept very reserved. This reservation seems to be preparing us for the untamed aggression that comes from ‘Farther than the Sun’. Possibly one of the strongest tracks on the album, the heavy sound that seems to be the basis for the entire album returns with full-force. Continuing with ‘Cry a River’, the album keeps us entertained and hooked up to the very end. The album ends with ‘Fortress’, a track that brings together the styles that are explored throughout the album. The clean guitar sound, the harmonies, energising choruses and pounding drum and bass from Scott Philips and Brian Marshall are all brought into play. This song seems to act almost as a small album in itself. There are many rises and falls, build ups and come-downs and differing styles that seem to come from different tracks. Yet the band is able to combine them into a closer that is beyond satisfying. From the early stages of works like ‘Metalingus’, Alter Bridge have managed to maintain a strong style that is yet to run its course.
Review by Max Anderson.