Label: Napalm Records
Release Date: 9th March 2018
Genre: Acoustic Rock
May I present to you Year Of The Tiger from Alter Bridge’s supremely talented frontman Myles Kennedy. This may be the first album Myles has released but it isn’t the first album he’s written. Before this, there was a whole album written over seven years. Kennedy said of the discarded album: “It was actually finished two years ago, but when I listened to it with a fresh perspective, when all was said and done, I thought it wasn’t the right first step to take in this journey—its shelf life had expired.” A brave choice but one that has paid off.
Opening with a track that will get stuck so far in your head you’ll feel like it’s always been there, ‘Year Of The Tiger’ channels some Led Zep style acoustic riff. Lyrically it paints a picture so vivid it’s hard not to drift into its world as if it were words you’re reading from a page. Following is ‘The Great Beyond’ which has the hallmarks of several tracks from Euphoria Morning, a solo record from fallen hero Chris Cornell. Like Cornell, Myles’ vocals are always the drawing point to any performance, whether that be fronting Alter Bridge where he has to compete with Mark Tremonti’s riffs or playing with Slash where he has to compete with….well Slash. On this track, and throughout the record, Myles’ vocals are flawless. Live they will truly come to life, but here they’re encapsulating in their beauty.
The only weak point (and it’s clutching at straws trying to find something to class as weak) comes in the form of a couple of tracks that have the feel of being ‘discarded’ Alter Bridge songs. I’m not naive enough to think that every track would be born from a new idea, but a prime example is ‘The Great Beyond’. It has so much AB about it that it feels like it’s betraying how good Myles is away from the rest of the band. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I like the song. First time I listened through it did put me off, but there’s enough uniqueness about each track that those thoughts were long gone after a second and third listen.
As a whole, from the catchy ‘Year Of The Tiger’, through to a track with echoes of Disney’s The Lion King in ‘Ghost Of Shangri La’, even on to the soft and contained ‘Haunted By Design’, the album is achingly beautiful. Knowing it is written with Myles’ deceased father in mind adds a harrowing element to it; but the sheer talent showcased, both in the songwriting and the performance, will be as fitting a tribute as anyone could ever give. ‘Mother’ itself, despite being written from his mother’s point of view, shows how mature Myles has always been. There’s one note in the middle of the track that stands out above anything else on the album. You’ll know the one.
So, as Tremonti did a few years back, Myles has stepped out and has put his name to an album that obviously means so very much to him. What has been created is a piece of art that could well open Myles Kennedy up to a whole raft fans. The album is a culmination of years of personal heartache and professional progression. It slips with ease into the Myles Kennedy portfolio, and we all know how impressive a portfolio that is.
Recommended Tracks: Year Of The Tiger & Ghost Of Shangri La