5 Things We Love About Alter Bridge’s New ‘Pawns & Kings’ Album
Since arriving on the scene with 2004's One Day Remains album, Alter Bridge have been one of the more consistently great bands in the hard rock scene. The combination of blistering riffs from Mark Tremonti, a killer rhythm section in Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips and the power vocals of Myles Kennedy have yielded six prior albums filled with rock radio hits. So how is album No. 7? We dug into the band's Pawns & Kings album to pick out some of the highlights from the record that make it one of their best releases to date.
The Backing Vocals of “This Is War”
The album opener “This Is War” is a crusher, but the band raises the stakes in the most subtle of ways - with a choral backing vocal adding “ohs” to go along with the double kick drumming. It brings to mind something like The Omen score, adding a dash of dark and ominous and making the song a true standout to grab your attention to open the record. - CC
Playing to Your Strengths
If you look back over the history of Alter Bridge, some of their finest moments on record are the more melodic, soaring and uplifting songs. You’ve got two here that definitely fill that spot on the Pawns & Kings album. The mid-album song “Stay” feels like a radio-ready hit, destined to uplift with Mark Tremonti taking the lead on the track. The aptly-titled late album gem “Season of Promise” could also fall into this category, with a surprising Blink-182-esque guitar open before delving into more familiar and heavier territory. The song tells the tale of learning from those who came before them and putting those lessons to use in fulfilling your destiny. It’s one of the record’s standout tracks and has some solid Tremonti guitar moments as well. - CC
Enjoy the Journey
If you’re looking for the album’s “epic” song, look no further than “Fable of the Silent Son.” It’s a master class, taking you on a ride through a variety of tempo changes, starting somber, taking a heavy turn right as Myles Kennedy sings about how “times have changed,” has some pretty heavy chugging rock moments and the requisite electrifying Mark Tremonti guitar solo. Strap in, take it all in and enjoy every direction change “Fable of the Silent Son” makes along the way. - CC
It Don’t Mean a Thing ...
...If you ain’t got that swing! While Alter Bridge has a very signature sound, it is cool when they throw in some things that make your ears perk up. With “Holiday,” there’s a weird opening guitar sound that repeats within the track that stands out, but what really pushes the song forward is Scott Phillips behind the kit bringing that certain swagger that comes with a swinging drum beat. “Holiday” feels like it differentiates itself a bit from the songs on the album, and in a good way. - CC
“We must stand up for all that we are / We must fight till the dawn / Till the last of their kind are gone”
*double checks* Nope, this is not a Manowar lyric, but this would be a worthy audition for heavy metal’s defenders of true steel.
Here, on the title track closer, there’s a much, much different battle going on — one with quite a lot more at stake than Manowar ever laid claim to, as deadly serious as they take those claims. This is an all-hands effort (in our interpretation, at least) to make a final stand against evil, to understand the value of collectivism and that certain sacrifices are required to ensure that darkness will no longer be present, much less triumphant. —JD
Of course, if you're an Alter Bridge fan, you've probably already explored the title track, "Silver Tongue," "Sin After Sin" and "This Is War" in the build up to the new record. Now go pick up the album and explore for yourself. It's available via multiple platforms here.