498: Secret Passions

Too bad for you, Wade.  That's the price of being in a rock (and video game music) webcomic and not liking rock (and video game music).  You don't hear Sultan complaining about the lack of showtune-talk, do you?  Well, actually, he does wish I talked about showtunes more, BUT THAT'S BESIDE THE POINT.  It's my comic and I get to do what I want, so there.  Muahahahaha.

Speaking of getting to do what I want, there have been a lot of really good albums getting released this month that I'm excited to listen to.  Motörhead, Alter Bridge, Cage The Elephant, Black Spiders, Stonefield, Red Fang, and many more that I can't remember off the top of my head.  Over the next few weeks, I'll talk about one of them on each new page - not full reviews, but just giving you guys a little heads up about how awesome they might be.  Today I'm starting it off with Alter Bridge's new album, Fortress.  The short: it's awesome, very metal, and actually kinda progressive, which makes it a bit different than their other albums.

The longer version: Alter Bridge exists in this weird place, somewhere in between soft ballady rock and heavy metal.  In a typical Alter Bridge song, the instruments are playing metal, whille Myles Kennedy's dulcet voice is singing something that sounds like a ballad.  It's actually a very unique contrast; Myles Kennedy's voice is totally unfit for metal, but it's so beautiful that it makes you enjoy the combination of the two.  It's like two polar opposites coming together to form something amazing.  And the band could never really figure out which direction it wanted to go in.  Half of their songs were sweet rock ballads, while the other half were dark heavy metal, and it made their albums feel very bipolar.  But the riffs were awesome, Kennedy's vocals were always 10/10, and before long you'd find yourself coming back for more.  Well on their new album, Fortress, they decided to throw away their split personality and focus almost entirely on their metal side.  Only one or two of the twelve songs are ballady, while the rest are all deep, riffy heavy metal tracks.  You still get Myles' voice providing a stark contrast to the mix, but he is usually backing up the guitars, instead of the guitars backing him up.  And more surprisingly, the songs are actually more progressive than usual.  Some songs have changing riffs and rhythms, some songs have unusual timings (13 quarter notes per sectionwhaaaaa?!?!), and some songs even use djent, that ever-popular style of guitar playing that fans of prog metal and 8-string guitars are sure to recognize.  It's not yet "progressive metal," but it's definitely more progressive, and it sounds really cool.  I like the way the album came out; it sounds much more streamlined than their others do, much more consistant from start to finish, though we don't get as many awesome Myles Kennedy Ballads as we normally would, because of that.  I don't know if they're going to keep going with this style, but I wouldn't be upset if they did. (I also wouldn't be upset if they went back to split personalities, because that was ALSO awesome.)  Yay Fortress.  Fortress is good.

P.S. The other thing that I wanted to point out is how very NOT CREED this album is.  For those who don't remember, this band is all the same members from Creed, but with a different singer, and their styles sounded pretty similar at first.  But with each new album, they sounded less and less like Creed and more like their own unique band.  If I made someone listen to Alter Bridge's first album and told them it was the same guys as Creed, that person would probably go "Oh yeah, I can definitely hear it."  If I played that person their second and third albums, they would go, "Huh, I guess I can hear some similarities..."  If I played that person Fortress, they would go "You gotta be shittin' me.  This is the guys from Creed?!"  I like that Alter Bridge has formed their own identity now.

.... Also half of the songs are STILL in 3/4 timing, or else in triplets.  One thing that never changes is Alter Bridge's love of dividing by three.

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