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Alter Bridge - Pawns and Kings Award winner

Alter Bridge
Pawns and Kings
by Phil Tyler at 24 November 2022, 3:57 AM

ALTER BRIDGE are a Hard Rock/Metal band formed in 2004 from the ashes of CREED and the addition of Myles Kennedy on vocals. Pawns and Kings is their seventh album and is released by Napalm RecordsALTER BRIDGE have gone a heavier route with Pawns and Kings and I for one am grateful that this has a heavier sound in keeping with ABIII and Fortress which to these ears are their best albums. I was a little underwhelmed by their last album Walk The Sky but I was excited to hear they were working on another album, and on the strength of the singles I had heard, this was going to be epic.

“This Is War” kicks off with some heavy thumping riffs and Myles expressive vocals. The song has a great production and there’s a great solo in the song. It’s a good opening track. “Dead Amongst The Living” is next and again has some heavy monstrous riff with some great lyrics:

“When will you realise and see the light
You’re meant to be so much more
You’re like the dead amongst the living.”

It’s another great track but two of my favourite tracks follow and both are brilliant. “Silver Tongue” is clearly an anti-Trump track but putting politics aside, it’s razor-sharp both lyrically and musically, opening with some heavy riffs, a superb chorus and a great powerful section towards the end.

“I swear to god I’ll find a way
To prove I still belong
I’d rather watch it burn away
Than say that I was wrong.”

You can almost hear Trump say those words. “Sin After Sin” is the second longest track at over 6 ½ minutes long and follows a similar anti-Trump sentiment. After thumping drums, bass and an atmospheric guitar intro, Mark wades in with a monstrous dirty lumbering groove of a riff which carries the song. It’s one of the best riffs on the album in my opinion and Myles impassioned vocals over the top is just an eargasm. There’s a wonderful darker tone to the track as Myles sings “Sin After Sin” over a discordant guitar and all in all its a fantastic track. After the more melodic and toe-tappingly feel good  “Stay” where Myles trades vocal duties with Mark and the infectious “Holiday”, we have one of the best tracks on the album with the mammoth 8 minute 22 second “Fable of The Silent Son” which overtakes “Blackbird” as the longest song they’ve done.

“Lost where we can’t escape
Blind to our own decay.”

A quiet reflective first verse finds Myles in pensive mood but it soon builds to a heavier second verse. Around the 3 minute mark, the song morphs into a beast of a track with a heavy staccato riff with Myles vocals dominating. In its 8 minute + running time, it never gets boring and actually I think is one of the best songs they’ve ever written. After the optimistic “Season of Promise” with a FOO FIGHTERS like riff permeating the track and the decent “Last Man Standing” we come to the excellent title track  “Pawns and Kings”. It’s a track about fighting back against the system and a rolling drum beat half way through gives way to a superb heavy section with again Myles delivering a superb vocal performance

“Stand your ground, hold your head high
Your honor for your life
Stand your ground, don't compromise
Your courage, their demise.”

I have to say the lyrics on this album are very impressive and with Myles impassioned delivery, it makes for some rousing tunes. The rhythm section is tight, the production is superb and a lot of the songs are instantly memorable. With Pawns and Kings, ALTER BRIDGE has delivered on every front and this goes alongside ABIII and Fortress as their best work. ALTER BRIDGE is easily one of the most accomplished Hard Rock bands out there and this album adds to their impressive catalogue and is definitely one of my favourite albums of 2022!

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. This Is War
2. Dead Amongst The Living
3. Silver Tongue
4. Sin After Sin
5. Stay
6. Holiday
7. Fable Of The Silent Sun
8. Season Of Promise
9. Last Man Standing
10. Pawns And Kings
Myles Kennedy – Guitars, Vocals
Mark Tremonti – Guitars, Vocals
Brian Marshall – Bass
Scott Phillips – Drums
Record Label: Napalm Records


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