Alter Bridge’s fourth album, Fortress, is an album that, in my opinion, tops the band’s previous works in the realm of sonic power with an ominous tone throughout. Lead vocalist Myles Kennedy and lead guitar virtuoso Mark Tremonti both share guitar/vocal duties, and they complement each other very well. The guitar work is intricate, and the vocal melodies are memorable, but what is most memorable to me is the message the songs themselves put forth.

Having said that, if you’re looking for some music that will make you feel all bubbly and take you to lands of hopscotch, cotton candy, unicorns, and clichéd happily-ever-afters, this album is not for you.

However, if you’re looking to connect with well-composed rock music that bares its truth with no apology (after all, that’s what rock ‘n’ roll has always been about, right?), then you need to listen to this album.

“Cry of Achilles” opens with a beautiful acoustic piece that contains wonderfully timed hints of Led Zeppelin, and from there, get ready for a ride that rocks hard.  Songs like “Bleed It Dry”, “Peace is Broken”, and the band’s first single, “Addicted To Pain” have some tight and seriously sick grooves that make the lyrics rain down like a mortar barrage. “Calm the Fire” is a dynamic track that is definitely one of my favorites, because it encompasses the tone of the entire record. On “Waters Rising”, Tremonti takes the lead vocals for the first time in this band, and he executes with excellence. Bottom line, this album is solid.

Flipping through the cd booklet, I found it interesting that the chorus lines were all highlighted within the lyrics, so, since they purposefully did that, I took the liberty of typing them out as they appear printed in the booklet to give you an idea of what these songs are about.

  1. Cry of Achilles – // Don’t close your eyes / Something beautiful / Is still alive // Don’t close your eyes / Never turn away / And let it die //
  2. Addicted to Pain - // You’re addicted to pain / Too blind to see you’re lost in the shadows // Too addicted to face / In time you’re gonna lose it all //
  3. Bleed it Dry - // Bleed it dry / Leave us here with nothing / Justify all that you consume // Bleed it dry / What is this becoming? / All your lies / Serve no one but you //
  4. Lover – If you deny the wounds of your love / You will discover // That what you had is shattered and wasted / Did you have to take it so far? //
  5. The Uninvited - // For the blood you waste this will fall on you / Now your fate has been decided / For the life you take this is overdue / You are now the uninvited //
  6. Peace is Broken - // The peace is broken / You did it all yourself / With you and no one else to blame // The peace is broken / The trouble in your heart / Is self imposed and hard to tame // The peace is broken //
  7. Calm the Fire - // Cause now more than ever what we need / Is love to replace all the obscene / Something good and something beautiful / If only we could see / That now more than ever what we need / Is a little love //
  8. Waters Rising - // Now all of the fields are burning / It blocks out the sun / I see all the water rising / To drown everyone //
  9. Farther than the Sun - // I have to find a place where I belong / I do not like / What I have become // No more compromise I will be gone / Free to fly / Farther than the Sun //
  10. 10. Cry a River - // So go on and cry me a river / Don’t say this will haunt you forever // It never did / It never will //
  11. 11. All Ends Well - // If you believe in nothing else / Just keep believing in yourself / There will be times of trouble / It’s gonna hurt like hell / This much I know / All ends well / It all ends well //
  12. 12. Fortress - // Go on and take it all / Go on and take it all / (The Fortress coming down) // I know we can’t save it all / No we can’t save it all / Everything is gone // Oh I have seen it all / Oh I have seen it all / (The Fortress coming down) // Go on and take it all / Go on and take it all //

The musical compositions on this album are clearly designed to be epic with a clean-cut attention to detail that is a testament to the growth of Alter Bridge. This well-respected band’s talent as a cohesive unit shines brighter than ever on Fortress, so pick up your copy and rock it loud and proud.

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