Alright I'm a few more listens in. Got a big ole wall of text for y'all. I really am feeling that this album is like the "light world" version of AB III. Whereas AB III was very dark and depressing with a few spots of positivity and hope, this album doesn't shy away from darker topics but overall the takeaway is "All you can really do is live your life. Be present in the now and you'll be alright" and on paper that's a pretty simple sentiment but just like AB III's themes of loss of faith hit hard for me at the time, this is really just what I needed now. It's crazy how they keep doing that. Does this album have the classic status of Blackbird or the high points of ODR and Fortress? not really. But it doesn't have to. They made good music, it made me feel good, and that's all I care about.
1-2. One Life/Wouldn't You Rather - Alter Bridge continues to be unparalleled in modern rock at starting off their albums perfectly. Not much to say, just a fucking banger
3. In The Deep - Pretty middle of the road track. I don't skip it, but it's not essential AB listening imo. Good performances though and I like the whole "verse in minor, chorus in major" thing
4. Godspeed - First listen I was like "idkkkkk about this" I'm no pop hater and I love AB ballads, but it just seemed off at first. Luckily, it sunk in and I love it. The piano is a welcome addition MORE PIANO IN ROCK MUSIC PLEASE and I just love the uplifting vibe of it.
5. Native Son - Yeah, this one is kinda meh. Has the TLH problem of nothing being technically wrong with it, it's just boring.
6. Take The Crown - My personal favorite of the pre-release tracks. The verses are heavy and chilling, the chorus is anthemic, the outro is a great climax. Classic AB, plus the ending bluesy noodling by Myles oof ummf that's that good shit inject that straight into my veins
7. Indoctrination - Same thing as Native Son. I respect what they were going for here, and there are some cool parts, but the melodies just aren't doin it for me.
8. The Bitter End - Tied for my favorite song on the record. This really sounds like the sequel to All Hope Is Gone, both thematically, melodically, etc. This song just makes me feel good to be alive, man. This is what Alter Bridge excels at, what they've always excelled at. Melodies are fantastic, another great ending climax, some really cool little riffs scattered throughout, just fuck, this song alone is better than the entirety of TLH
9. Pay No Mind - Pretty decent song. Nothing super special, but I do really enjoy the chorus. Probably one of their catchiest chorus ever tbh. I would like the song a lot more if it had a better bridge. It just goes nowhere and then boom, back to the chorus.
10. Forever Falling - Another song that took a few listens to get into, but now I love it. Mark's vocals are top notch, the riffs and melodies are all solid, not much to say, just a great song from start to finish
11. Clear Horizon - It's aight. Kinda feels like a SMKC song. Plenty of decent parts here, just a pretty forgettable whole imo
12. Walking On The Sky - whoooooooo boy. This is my other tied for favorite song. Everything works on this song. The verses are emotional, the chorus is gigantic, the relation to the themes of the album is great, the whole song is exhilirating. "Do you feel a. LIIIIIIIIIVE" damn straight I do, Myles
13. Tear Us Apart - definitely the worst song on the album. Alter Bridge has no shortage of cheesy songs, and I love most of them. But damn this song is too much. None of it works imo. It may fit the positive vibe of the album, but I definitely don't feel alive or present listening to it. If it sounds like I'm being harsh, keep in mind that imo it's the only actually bad song on the album.
14. Dying Light - I still am not really feeling the chorus but everything else about this song is awesome. Super cool bridge, best solo on the album, definitely works as an effective closer, though I personally think Walking On The Sky would've been a better closer
So, in conclusion, just like ABIII, we have some stellar standout tracks with resonating themes amongst a few duds and not so great production. Not the most remarkable album of all time, but the parts I liked, I really really liked, and will cherish forever.
If I had to rank the albums atm, I'd say:
1. Blackbird 9/10
2. Fortress 8/10
3. One Day Remains 7/10
4. Walk The Sky 6/10
4. AB III 6/10
6. The Last Hero 4/10
I'm not really the best at scoring, but you get the idea.