Just about anyone who’s known me longer than an hour knows that I’m a huge fan of Alter Bridge, the band formed after Creed splintered in 2004 and Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall, and Scott Phillips teamed up with former Mayfield Four frontman Myles Kennedy. The band reconvened over the past year to record their new album Fortress, which is due out October 8 in the US. As with their last two albums (Blackbird and ABIII), Michael “Elvis” Baskette is set to produce the record. Baskette’s production style is familiar to AB fans, and many are looking for something new in their next album, maybe in the form of an instrumental track or experimental rhythms and guitar sounds, which has been hinted at by the band in interviews. Mark Tremonti has confirmed that he will sing lead vocals on one song, coming off the release of his solo album All I Was.
Despite the fans’ hope for something new, Alter Bridge’s first single from the album, “Addicted to Pain,” sticks to much the same formula that has worked for the band for years. After a cool slide intro, the guitar line cuts in and sounds very similar to ones I have heard from the band in the past, especially resembling Tremonti’s solo track “Wish You Well.” While not a bad first single that I’m sure will increase anticipation for the album, I wish they’d gone with a bolder choice (though this could indicate that there wasn’t a bolder choice for them to make, which doesn’t bode well for the album). Overall, this song feels like it could’ve been written by any rock band, and doesn’t sound uniquely Alter Bridge, like previous first singles “Rise Today,” and “Isolation.” Even Tremonti’s solo isn’t that memorable, though it does feature some of his trademark syncopation and lightning-fast finger work.
That said, there are things to like about this track. The lyrics are somewhat interesting; they describe someone who’d rather suffer than make things right in their life, and who is hell-bent on following the path they’ve chosen even as it’s causing their demise. The most interesting sonic moment in the song is in the bridge when Myles belts out, “Cry out!” and a cool echo effect is added onto his vocals as the texture of the instruments around him changes. There’s also a few half-step intervals in the chorus that produce some interesting sounds. Despite the underwhelming impressions I have of “Addicted to Pain, I have every intention of checking out the album, so be sure to keep on the lookout near the middle of October for a review of it. Check out the single for yourself here: