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61eqRdUeevL. SL110 CREED is, was, and likely always will be a terrible band. That said, I’ve largely ignored the first two albums from ALTER BRIDGE, the off-shoot project that involves several  members of Creed, along with frontman MYLES KENNEDY. ‘Thing with Alter Bridge is that they seem to only surface in-between Creed fallouts or disasters, such as last year’s reunion tour that no one really cared about. Even more curious is that by having a great frontman like Kennedy (recently seen fronting SLASH’s touring band), the Creed guys can actually play music that’s better than anything they’ve recorded with Scott Stapp at the front. With the release of AB III (out this Tuesday), the band finds themselves on their third label (their own, distributed by Capitol/EMI in the U.S., Roadrunner elsewhere), and begs the question: “Can Alter Bridge ever get out of Creed’s increasingly hokey shadow?”

It takes more than a minute and a half into the album opener “Slip to the Void” for the band to bring the rock, and when they do – the rock is good. Kennedy’s voice is fantastic, and you’re quickly reminded of why he’s become one of the most sought-after voices in rock. The rest of the band isn’t too shabby either…

“Isolation,” the first single released from the album brings the heavy guitar chunk along with impressive lead breaks and a truly anthemic chorus in what will surely become a crowd favorite. “Ghosts of Days Gone By” is a grower, capped off by choruses that recall Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell at times. “Still Remains” is another grungy rocker that grooves on the verses breaking into an expansive realm for the epic chorus. Another highlight can be found in “I Know it Hurts,” a pure rocker in which the entire band finds a place to shine.

Where the album finds low points is on down-tempo numbers like “Wonderful Life” and “All Hope is Gone,” which seem all-too-ready for soundtrack duty on the CW.

Overall, AB III is a solid rock record that should grow legs for at least the next year or so. I fully expect that rock radio will embrace more than a few tracks found within, and thankfully there’s nothing here even remotely Creed-esque here, to the point where you wouldn’t know that there was any tie to that band unless some jerk like me were to pop up to remind you. Alter Bridge can easily stand on their own.

Rating: 4/5

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