Bombastic; heavy, delicate, melodic and powerful. Many words have been used to describe ALTER BRIDGE since they formed from the ashes of CREED in 2004. No matter how you feel about them there is one thing that is truly undeniable. They are a talented group of musicians and truly a force to be reckoned with in the studio and on the stage. ALTER BRIDGE combines world class talent on every level. When these modern rock icons decided to play a live show with a symphony orchestra my mind began to wonder how epic this performance would be. The Parallax Orchestra are a group of young musicians that formed with a desire to push classical music to its limits by collaborating with artists from different genres. And these talented classically trained musicians are a perfect match for this rock band.
Live At The Royal Albert Hall, the most recent release, is out now on Napalm Records. I was expecting AB to tone down their edge a bit to better match the delicate sounds produced by the 52 musicians sitting behind them. Boy was I wrong. If anything the band sounds more aggressive than ever before. Drums and bass hit harder and guitars sound angrier. It’s as if the group was feeding off of the beautiful wall of sound behind them and wanted to create something that truly spoke to the people.
The performance itself sounds massive. Myles Kennedy sings perfectly and you’d swear you were listening to a studio recording. Mark Tremonti and Kennedy play their guitars like men possessed with some truly gritty riffs. Brian Marshall’s thick bass tone sounds angry and the precise percussion from Scott Phillips provides the thundering backbone for every layer of sound to exist. Every track in this 21-song set sounds excellent.
“Wonderful Life/Watch Over You” is a truly stunning piece of audio. The best voice in rock and his beautiful acoustic guitar take the solo spotlight for a minute with the orchestra providing delicate layers behind him. It’s easy to get emotionally overwhelmed with this one and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve cried hearing this song more than once. I could list many other tracks here as highlights but they are all fantastic so why bother? You know what you are getting if you are interested in this performance.
Listening to live recordings can be a bit of a mixed bag. All I can tell you is that the mix is perfect here and the 56 men and women are performing as one entity with a soul. This is quite possibly the greatest live performance I’ve ever heard. And if you buy the physical copy you get an amazing package with a Blu-ray and DVD that both have impressive footage of the show and production value. Do yourself a favor and grab ALTER BRIDGE’S Live At The Royal Albert Hall today! You won’t regret it!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM