What's Next Musically for Alter Bridge? A Concept Album?

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What's Next Musically for Alter Bridge? A Concept Album?

Postby Skywalker » Wed Feb 26, 2020 3:28 pm

Walk the Sky has been very well regarded by fans and the press. So what's next for the boys? I have to say, I'm not as big on the "let's write complete songs separately and bring them in" approach. While it worked for Walk the Sky, I'm a firm believer that technology aside, songwriters need to be together, because spontaneity usually leads to something.

In the interviews leading up to, and in support of the record, both Myles and Mark said (paraphrasing here) that while they were able to come up with the meat of the record on their own, they also needed to figure some things out and add a couple of songs while recording to "check the boxes." That statement bothers me, honestly. I feel the two of them shouldn't feel it necessary to check the boxes if the songwriting is happening organically. What you create is what you create. Don't get me wrong, I understand what they mean, but my thought is them being separated from one another means that some of the types of songs that naturally happen in the past didn't this time because of the way they had to approach the writing. And while I think they said (correct me if I am wrong here) they would continue this separate writing approach in the future, I sincerely hope they don't. I really think being in the same room, and that "frustration" of working in tandem is what produces the "best" stuff from a band comprised of multiple songwriters.

My hope is that Myles and Mark get inspired by a topic TOGETHER, and decide to do a full-on concept album with Alter Bridge. Mark has done one himself, which while good, clearly isn't the level of Alter Bridge. And while Myles did one of sorts with Year of the Tiger (I'd argue it is more of a theme record with autobiographical overtones), that wasn't as good as the combined efforts of Alter Bridge either.

So can Alter Bridge write their Operation: Mindcrime, Scenes from a Memory, Tommy, The Wall? I think they can, and I think they should. One of the things I've really liked over the last couple of records is the band really working on writing small intros or segues, such as "One Life" and the intro to "Calm the Fire." Those little moody pieces are integral to making a concept album work. You NEED them to tie individual songs together sometimes.

But to me, the concept album, at this point, makes a hell of a lot of sense. They are HUGE in Europe, so they have the ability to take a risk, and they aren't getting any bigger or smaller in the U.S., so it won't matter. And by doing a concept album, they can continue to grow, by experimenting with different styles of songs. They can go metal, they can go pop, they can go wherever the story needs to go. I can only see it being a positive for AB as a band, and Myles and Mark as songwriters.

The other thing is that Myles and Mark aren't just idiots who rock out and don't keep up with the times. They are both well read, both know what's going on in the world, and have opinions they aren't afraid to share in a way that doesn't offend, but DOES let the listener question and think for themselves. That's the ideal (IMO) blend of what you need for a heady concept album.

Looking at the growth of the band musically from ODR to WTS, there is so much of the band's sound they can utilize, and even go different places, depending on the story, all it takes is a little time, and devotion to the project. I'm a little concerned that Myles is spread too thin with three outlets, but he's said a number of times, for him, its needed, as he expresses himself a little differently in each one.

AB III and WTS were theme albums. But its time for Alter Bridge to go all the way, and knock us on our collective asses with a full blown, heady, concept record. Very few bands are left that have the talent and intelligence to pull it off in a meaningful way. Alter Bridge does, and I for one would love to see it.

Thoughts?
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Re: What's Next Musically for Alter Bridge? A Concept Album?

Postby nagpo » Wed Feb 26, 2020 3:38 pm

Skywalker wrote:
My hope is that Myles and Mark get inspired by a topic TOGETHER, and decide to do a full-on concept album with Alter Bridge. Mark has done one himself, which while good, clearly isn't the level of Alter Bridge. And while Myles did one of sorts with Year of the Tiger (I'd argue it is more of a theme record with autobiographical overtones), that wasn't as good as the combined efforts of Alter Bridge either.


Thoughts?

Interesting thing is that before creed broke up again in 2012 this was how they were writing the new record. The were touring together, performing shows of which the playlist was solely the first two records just they could recapture the magic of them. They weren't separately creating a record, all first 3 creed records were done mostly together and organically.

This is not how things are done anymore. I think it would be cool if AB did it, but the guys seem to think they need to have solo career and side-bands - and perhaps they do, financially. Rock music does not make money anymore, only touring and merch makes money. AB still has that debt as far as I know. They probably constantly need to tour to bring in an income for their band and families.

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Re: What's Next Musically for Alter Bridge? A Concept Album?

Postby anguyen92 » Wed Feb 26, 2020 3:42 pm

Actually, I think I read that they finally paid off the debt, hence the better lighting productions and the broken screens in the Europe tour.

I think if there’s a concept AB wants to explore and was able to spend however long together as a group to write it, by all means, do it.

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Re: What's Next Musically for Alter Bridge? A Concept Album?

Postby Skywalker » Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:04 pm

nagpo wrote:
This is not how things are done anymore. I think it would be cool if AB did it, but the guys seem to think they need to have solo career and side-bands - and perhaps they do, financially. Rock music does not make money anymore, only touring and merch makes money.


You're right of course -- things are different than they were in the 70s, 80s, 90s. Touring (meaning AB and their side outlets) is necessary to keep things at a financial level they are all comfortable with. That said, however, it also comes down to the desire of carving out that time, as opposed to just "making time" to fulfill a record contract. I very much think if Myles and Mark WANTED a month (spread out over two two-week sessions perhaps) to write together, they COULD, and their other outlets and touring commitments wouldn't suffer. Yes, the schedules are tight, but its absolutely doable if the desire to do it is there. The question is, is it? Or are they content with just cranking out songs on their own and sending them to each other? None of us know the answer to that, but two separate two-week sessions to write together doesn't really seem like a stretch.

anguyen92 wrote:I think if there’s a concept AB wants to explore and was able to spend however long together as a group to write it, by all means, do it.


Amen. :rockon

I truly feel like Alter Bridge hasn't written their signature record yet. Blackbird is...close. But they have come so far as a band since then, both as songwriters and musicians. And Walk the Sky showed me that they could dial back complexity and still maintain a heady approach to songs (another key component of a concept record -- when to go long and technical, and when to shorten up and get to the point). Their skills are right there. I'm just hoping they do it at some point. That signature AB album is coming. I know it.
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Re: What's Next Musically for Alter Bridge? A Concept Album?

Postby Dolo » Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:23 pm

Not gonna elaborate on it but, yes - absolutely. But it should a full-blown concept record, not only lyrically but musically wth segues, reocurring themes, little interludes etc. But I'm not gonna put my money on it - it wouldn't be a good decision marketing wise for the guys - a writing of such a record is a big undertaking, and with all the side projects that they have, they need to make the songs concise, catchy and preferably - a lot of them at the same time.

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Re: Opus7? Oops wrong band.

Postby Inconquerable » Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:32 pm

I almost feel like it's too soon to be talking about the next album. Walk the Sky is still very fresh, I still listen to it regularly, and it's only been four or five months since it came out.

That said, I think the next writing sessions could be the most interesting period of Alter Bridge in quite some time, maybe since pre-AB III. Slash is busy with Guns N' Roses, whether they're writing new music or working on Axl's songs or whatever the deal is there, and there doesn't necessarily need to be a set schedule that Mark or Myles have to follow to release their solo albums. Also, Myles has one solo album out there, so if there was any pressure for him to get one out, that pressure is gone. We might be on the brink of a good, long writing process for the first time since 2010. Now could be the time for them to go full on concept album, and I would like to see it.

Do I think it will happen? I don't know, I feel like we'll see this year be the last year of touring for Walk the Sky, with maybe a short run next year too, then Mark and Myles will do solo albums. Then AB comes back together for the seventh album in 2022. I'm not confident that we'll see a tonne of time devoted to the next album the way we all might hope, but I am confident that it will still be a great album. I rate Walk the Sky very highly, if we get to hear a continuation of it, I'd be a happy fan.

But who knows? They always say they're writing on the road so maybe they've already started on AB VII.
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Re: What's Next Musically for Alter Bridge? A Concept Album?

Postby UninvitedZero » Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:37 pm

Conceptually I'll back anything these boys write. Something concise that actually tries to tell a story could be cool.
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Re: What's Next Musically for Alter Bridge? A Concept Album?

Postby MuffinMcFluffin » Thu Feb 27, 2020 10:15 am

ODR 2.0 plz kthxbai

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Re: What's Next Musically for Alter Bridge? A Concept Album?

Postby One Drew Remains » Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:56 pm

Maybe we finally get the Brian Marshall Project that was eluded to in the ABIII vids.
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Re: What's Next Musically for Alter Bridge? A Concept Album?

Postby RevenantGB » Mon Mar 02, 2020 4:00 pm

A pure concept album would be amazing but, as others have already mentioned, I doubt we'll see one solely because of the time constraints Myles and Mark work within. Personally I'd love to see a longer production process for the next AB record, just to gauge any differences in overall song quality and consistency.

Out of interest, how many more albums do you think the guys have in them? I perpetually worry that the next album will be their last, although I've been doing that since Fortress for no good reason.
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Re: What's Next Musically for Alter Bridge? A Concept Album?

Postby Dolo » Mon Mar 02, 2020 4:15 pm

RevenantGB wrote:Out of interest, how many more albums do you think the guys have in them? I perpetually worry that the next album will be their last, although I've been doing that since Fortress for no good reason.


I've just remembered something in the context of what you've written right there. Around the ABIII cycle there was a news that Mark had mentioned that ABIII was gonna be the last studio album and they were gonna do only EPs from there. Well, they've come a long since then.

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Re: What's Next Musically for Alter Bridge? A Concept Album?

Postby Skywalker » Mon Mar 02, 2020 4:36 pm

RevenantGB wrote:
Out of interest, how many more albums do you think the guys have in them? I perpetually worry that the next album will be their last, although I've been doing that since Fortress for no good reason.


Dolo wrote:
I've just remembered something in the context of what you've written right there. Around the ABIII cycle there was a news that Mark had mentioned that ABIII was gonna be the last studio album and they were gonna do only EPs from there. Well, they've come a long since then.


Success has a way of changing plans. Remember how big AB is in Europe. When you're an arena act in England and places in Europe, and you hit like "Isolation" did in the U.S. to put you at theater/ballroom level instead of clubs, it can modify things.

I'm not worried about AB being done after this record. They are young enough to the point I think they have another 15 years and at least two or three records in them. I think a lot of it depends on the burnout, if it happens, of Myles. While I know he and his wife don't have children, constantly working, and being in that writing/recording/tour, repeat, repeat, repeat mode for multiple projects has got to be draining, even if you love it.

Personally, that's why I am hoping Myles says "NO" to Slash. But I don't think he will. He enjoys it too much.
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Re: What's Next Musically for Alter Bridge? A Concept Album?

Postby Ubik » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:01 pm

One word - keytar.
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Re: What's Next Musically for Alter Bridge? A Concept Album?

Postby SHEAKENBAKEN » Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:26 pm

On ABs next record
Scott is gonna play Piano
Myles is gonna play the Harp
Mark is gonna play the Accordion
Brian is gonna play the Violin and be the lead vocalist
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Re: What's Next Musically for Alter Bridge? A Concept Album?

Postby AB4Lyfe » Tue Mar 03, 2020 3:51 am

What’s next? Here’s what I hope:

Just...stop caring about whether or not you make a hit radio single. Write whatever the fuck you want, just don’t write another “Tear Us Apart.”
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Re: What's Next Musically for Alter Bridge? A Concept Album?

Postby anguyen92 » Tue Mar 03, 2020 3:56 am

I think they stopped caring about wanting to write just to have a radio hit long ago (since it's been 7 years since they had anything close to it), otherwise they would have caved by now and gotten desperate and get an outside writer to guarantee a hit. However, I think they still write songs like Tear Us Apart and Crows on a Wire and Farther Than the Sun because I think they enjoy playing those kinds of songs as much as playing epics.

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Re: What's Next Musically for Alter Bridge? A Concept Album?

Postby Skywalker » Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:55 pm

anguyen92 wrote:I think they stopped caring about wanting to write just to have a radio hit long ago (since it's been 7 years since they had anything close to it), otherwise they would have caved by now and gotten desperate and get an outside writer to guarantee a hit. However, I think they still write songs like Tear Us Apart and Crows on a Wire and Farther Than the Sun because I think they enjoy playing those kinds of songs as much as playing epics.


I am not sure if I agree. I've heard them (Myles and Mark) both say things like making sure there are songs that "check all the boxes" on their records. I take that as they do very much think about single-oriented songs. I think they want to have a nice balance of the epics, ballads, rockers, and more accessible material. I mean, any good record has a nice balance of that stuff.

I'm not really a fan of "Tear Us Apart," but its still decent filler material. I wouldn't want to hear it live, but if they record is playing, I don't try and skip it. I just let it go.

I think AB's growth as songwriters is going to very much depend on inspiration, and both Myles and Mark unifying on a direction, sort of how they did with with the John Carpenter synth elements in Walk the Sky. Because it is obvious they are going to unfortunately write mostly separately moving forward. I mean, it's not 1982, when that means you mail tapes to each other. They can still write "together" when apart, by going back and forth with digital files if they want to. But they said they each did complete songs and brought them in (for Walk the Sky). And if that continues, in order to really sound unified, it's going to take a similar inspired "lets really do this" decision between Mark and Myles.

I'm excited. They always try and do something new. And with the more melodic direction of Walk the Sky, I think they may get much heavier next time out. (Which is funny, since Walk the Sky has some of the band's heavier riffs, its just the arrangements are more melodic.)
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Re: What's Next Musically for Alter Bridge? A Concept Album?

Postby RevenantGB » Sun Mar 08, 2020 11:31 am

To be honest, one detail I do hope they explore further is the synth experimentation - I love the sections in Walk the Sky where synth is present, in my opinion it really adds to the atmosphere of certain songs.
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Re: What's Next Musically for Alter Bridge? A Concept Album?

Postby AB4Lyfe » Sun Mar 08, 2020 2:42 pm

RevenantGB wrote:To be honest, one detail I do hope they explore further is the synth experimentation - I love the sections in Walk the Sky where synth is present, in my opinion it really adds to the atmosphere of certain songs.


I’d like to second this. The synth sounds worked really well when they were featured in the mix. Hoping for more!
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Re: What's Next Musically for Alter Bridge? A Concept Album?

Postby riemslag1 » Sun Mar 08, 2020 6:09 pm

Would like them to make an unplugged album first with different arrangements and approaches to their gems, a bit like the Biffy Clyro album or the Nirvana MTV-unplugged album. Potential an instant classic.


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