Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips are modern rock legends. This trio has managed to do what few others have done even once in their careers. They’ve taken two different bands to the top of the rock charts over a 20 year period. Their first band CREED sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. To put that into perspective, CREED has sold more albums than Beyonce. And when the band recruited Myles Kennedy to helm the newly minted ALTER BRIDGE in 2004, the kid gloves came off and every musician stepped up their game.
A big chunk of Live At the O2 Arena + Rarities (out now on Napalm Records) focuses on live marital (obviously!), and that’s not a bad thing. The band presents us with 19 live tracks in total, spanning the band’s 13-year career. This setlist hits hard, with ALTER BRIDGE declaring loudly that they are one of the world’s finest live rock bands. They bring a massive wall of sound and an energy so palpable that you can almost taste it.
At the center of the live experience is Myles Kennedy. His phenomenal guitar playing is only matched by his ungodly voice. Tremonti is a beast, hammering out riffs and solos like he could do it in his sleep. Phillips and Marshall keep the rhythm locked down, with flawless timing and bone-shattering bass. It’s hard to pick a standout track because they all kick ass. Just know that if you enjoy live rock music this collection is a must buy.
This brings me to the Rarities portion. 11 songs that comprise of unreleased material and bonus tracks from their studio albums. With unreleased tracks there is often a reason why they didn’t get used. The songs probably aren’t as good as what the band ultimately picked to go on the album. That is not the case with these rarities. Most of these songs are top notch offerings, by a band that can’t seem to make a bad song.
“The Damage Done” is a fantastically heavy tune that could have easily made it onto any ALTER BRIDGE record. Thunderous bass from Marshall and a head-bobbing groove from Phillips are the framework for Kennedy and Tremonti to do their thing. Brutal riffs and soaring vocals power this one to the stratosphere.
“Never Say Die (Outright)” is one of the band’s greatest songs. A strong chorus and a melodic hook help push this one over the edge. Songs like this are where Kennedy truly shines. “We Don’t Care At All” and “Zero” help round out a great collection of B-sides that would be worth owning without the included live concert recording. This album is a true double threat that demands attention.
If you like ALTER BRIDGE then you’re already going to buy this. And if you aren’t really into this band then maybe you need a little convincing. You get world class rock and metal musicians performing live, fronted by one of the greatest voices in music. ALTER BRIDGE is simply doing what they do best. Playing loud and hard and leaving it all on the stage. And the Rarities portion of the disc is worth the purchase all on its own. I highly suggest you grab a copy today. You will not regret it.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Zero”, Never Say Die”, “We Don’t Care At All”, “The Damage Done”