Alter Bridge’s Myles Kennedy talks about new album “Fortress”

Myles Kennedy is the lead singer/rhythm guitar player for the hard rock band Slash and Alter Bridge. The groups 4 album titled “Fortress” was recently released to rave reviews and the group is currently touring Europe in support of its release. Media Mikes had the chance recently to ask Myles a few questions about the album and what it’s like splitting time between two successful projects.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on the new album?
Myles Kennedy: Mark Tremonti and I started the writing process for “Fortress” last year while we were touring with our various projects. We both agreed to meet in Florida starting in January to begin the arrangement process. Things went pretty quickly from there because we didn’t allow ourselves to over think. With that said we certainly tried to challenge ourselves and venture into new musical territory as much as we could.

AL: What do you feel was the most difficult part of working on this record as compared to the previous 3?
MK: Our fall tour and record release date had already been set so it was challenging knowing we had a finite amount of time to get the record done. Another challenge was not allowing ourselves to utilize the same arrangement approaches we had used in the past. It was very important to push ourselves as a band and continue to evolve.

AL: Does having multiple projects and larger time gaps between releases affect your creative process at all?
MK: It liberates us. I feel like our various projects keep the creative juices flowing all the time and benefit the songs at the end of the day. I’ve learned a lot about myself as a writer, singer, guitarist and performer in the last few years.

AL: Can you tell us about the “Addicted to Pain” video which was released recently?
MK: We teamed up with Dan Catullo for this video. He directed our live DVDs which we recorded at Wembley Stadium and Amsterdam. We were definitely on the same page regarding the overall vibe and visual concepts which made the process go quickly.

AL: Can you tell us about the upcoming Alter Bridge tour?
MK: We are currently touring Europe getting the set refined. At this point we are trying to mix up the set-list more than we have in the past. We have a lot of diehard fans that travel all over to see us. Often times they come out and see us more than once on a tour cycle so we are trying to keep them in mind by switching tunes out from the new record in order to keep it interesting. The hard part is when you find a set that has a great flow you have to be careful how much you alter it or the show will suffer. It’s a delicate balance.

AL: Do you have any other projects in the works that you would like to mention?
MK: At this point we are focused on Alter Bridge. I am working with Slash and the guys on new material for the next record and I am sure Mark is chipping away on songs for next Tremonti record as well. We are lucky to have so many musical outlets to keep us busy and it’s definitely something we don’t take for granted.

CD Review: Alter Bridge “Fortress”

Alter Bridge
Producer: Michael Baskette
Tracks: 12

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

It’s been three years since the boys in Alter Bridge have released a new album and the wait is finally over! The group’s new album “Fortress” features 12 hard rocking numbers that follow closely in the footsteps of the bands previous releases “AB III” and “Black Bird”. Michael “Elvis” Baskette was once again chosen to man the role of producer for the album which is being released via Universal.

“Fortress” hits the ground running with the explosive opener “Addicted to Pain” which teeters on the verge of metal as guitarist Mark Tremonti lays down some heavy riffage while vocalist Myles Kennedy displays a vocal range that could rival that of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson. The album continues its heavy approach with tracks like “Bleed it Dry”, “Cry a River” and “Farther Than the Sun” before giving way to more melodic numbers such as “All Ends Well” and “Lover”. The overall sound and production of the album is crisp and clear making each of the 12 performances enjoyable to listen to even for the most casual of listeners

Sometimes when bands use the same producer time and time again their sound and style starts to become complacent however Alter Bridge and Michael Baskette have broken that norm with “Fortress”. The album is powerful and does a good job showcasing the bands talent which in my opinion has been elevated to the next level. There were a times that I think Kennedy could have scaled some of his vocal performances back which would have allowed things to sit in the pocket better however when you have a range as wide as his you can’t totally fault the guy for using it. Hardcore Alter Bridge fans will certainly want to pick this release up as will any true fan of hard rock music.

Track Listing:
1.) Addicted to Pain
2.) All Ends Well
3.) Bleed It Dry
4.) Calm the Fire
5.) Cry a River
6.) Cry of Achilles
7.) Farther Than the Sun
8.) Fortress
9.) Lover
10.) Peace is Broken
11.) The Uninvited
12.) Waters Rising

Blu-ray Review “Fortress”

Starring: Christopher Lambert, Kurtwood Smith, Loryn Locklin, Clifton Collins, Jr., Jeffrey Combs, Vernon Wells
Director: Stuart Gordon
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Miramax Echo Bridge
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Run Time: 95 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A

“Fortress” is a very underrated sci-fi/action film from the early 90’s. It is directed by the amazing Stuart Gordon, who also delivered us the cult classic “Re-Animator”. It stars ‘Connor “Highlander” MacLeod himself, Christopher Lambert, who kicks some major ass. Besides Lambert, there is a very impressive supporting cast including Clifton Collins, Jr. (“The Boondock Saints II”), Jeffrey Combs (“Re-Animator”), Tom Towles (“The Devil Rejects”), Vernon Wells (“The Road Warrior”). The film still holds up today in terms of ass-kicking sci-fi action. This is the first time that “Fortress” has been released on Blu-ray, it is not the best we have ever seen it but for $5 bucks, can you really go wrong?

Official Premise: The year is 2017. The first child is yours. The second is “theirs.” After losing their first baby, John and Karen Brennick dare to have another. Caught trying to cross the border, the ex-war hero and his pregnant wife are sentenced to a sadistic futuristic prison buried 33 stories beneath the Earth. Computers control inmates’ bodies and minds, and newborn infants are being used to create a new breed of human robots. No one has ever gotten out alive. But not even the most overwhelming technology can extinguish one man’s passionate love for his wife and child.

The Blu-ray presentation is not the best that I have seen, especially recently from Echo Bridge. The 1080p transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 feels a little dull and missing a real polished finished.  The colors are a little muted but the scale of the film still is well-represented in high-def, especially the aciton. Nonetheless, it is not perfect but still a sure step up from past DVD releases. The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 surround track is decent but not phenomenal.  It works well for the film itself and compliments the action and dialogue well. Lastly there are no special features included here like most Echo Bridge releases.  I wish they would have taken a page from the impressive “Jersey Girl” and “Hellraiser: Deader” recent Blu-ray releases.