ARTIST: ALTER BRIDGE
TITLE: WALK THE SKY
LABEL: NAPALM RECORDS
WORDS: JAMES HOLDER
Every few months or so, the now familiar cry that rock is dead (Yes, Gene Simmons we’re looking at you) goes up, and with every passing year bands like Alter Bridge make that statement look utterly ridiculous. Over the last 15 years Orlando, Florida’s favourite sons have been one of the most consistent rock bands on the planet. So, the fanfare which now heralds the arrival of every new release is more than justified. Especially when that new release hits the heights of the band’s 6th album ‘Walk The Sky.’
It would be a bold statement to declare this album as the band’s best to date but without doubt it has to be up there. While 2016’s ‘The Last Hero’ hinted that the band may be getting a bit too comfortable, and even a little stale in places, ‘Walk The Sky’ feels like they hit reset and kicked on once more. Tracks like ‘Native Son,’ ‘Take The Crown,’ and ‘Forever Falling’ are as good as anything they have ever produced. The Mark Tremonti powered ‘Forever Falling’ in particular, is some of the most fun you’ll ever have fully clothed.
“‘Walk The Sky’ feels like they hit reset and kicked on once more”
One of the things that really stands out on this album is that the band have clearly tried to develop their sound, while also remaining true to their roots. And nowhere is that more prevalent than on ‘Indoctrination.’ Inspired by a Netflix documentary on a cult leader the track is delightfully dark and brooding, but still contains that classic Myles Kennedy soaring chorus. The quartets penchant for the grandiose has always been one of their strongest attributes and ‘Godspeed,’ ‘The Bitter End,’ and ‘Dying Light’ deliver on that front in spectacularly outlandish fashion.
This is a classic heavy rock record in the finest traditions of the genre. Alter Bridge are the children of your favourite bands from decades gone by, and ‘Walk The Sky’ sounds like the best parts of the past mixed with the present day. As with all Alter Bridge albums it’s a record driven by the duel creative axis of Kennedy and Tremonti while the rhythm section of Marshall and Phillips lays the hard-hitting foundation for the band’s sound to flourish.
“This is an album which is the perfect sonic embodiment of the musicians who created it. ‘Walk The Sky’ is so unequivocally Alter Bridge, and it’s all the better for it.”
If there is to be one criticism of ‘Walk The Sky’ it’s that despite being only 14 tracks long it does feel a damn sight longer. ‘Clear Horizon’ and ‘Tear Us Apart’ could easily have been cut, making the album a much leaner and more streamlined affair. This, however, is a minor quibble against what is sure to be one of the most impressive rock releases of the year. While the singles like ‘Wouldn’t You Rather’ may not have the same spark as singles like ‘Addicted To Pain’ from albums gone by they really come to life when heard in conjunction with the rest of the record.
This is an album which is the perfect sonic embodiment of the musicians who created it. ‘Walk The Sky’ is so unequivocally Alter Bridge, and it’s all the better for it.
Now can the band finally get that headline slot at Download Festival that they clearly deserve?