Like every other group this year, Alter Bridge was forced to cancel their 2020 tour to the disappointment of fans and the band alike. Fortunately, Myles Kennedy, Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips chose to use the time productively, writing a new song whilst in lockdown. The tune, “Last Rites,” along with a selection of live recordings from the group’s sixth studio album, 2019’s Walk the Sky, was delivered at a time when the world, no matter your musical preference, was craving live music.
So, confession time from myself; I’ve never really enjoyed live recordings or even videos! I have always been of the state of mind that if I want to hear something live, I’ll go to a gig. Now, in these strange times, I have found myself willing to reevaluate this thought process after years of just bypassing anything that has “live” at the end of a song title. So, the question is, has this changed for me now? The answer is, sadly, no, not really, although there are moments during Walk the Sky 2.0 that do bring me back to the days when we could crowd into a venue, fight to the bar, and locate that sweet spot with the perfect view of the stage and not so arduous gauntlet back to the bar.
Opening with “Last Rites,” the only track not recorded live, the song is the embodiment of everything fans love about Alter Bridge. It starts with a heavy, chugging riff and thundering drums, calming slightly into a more grunge-esque style as Kennedy’s vocals kick in. The track’s overall melody is enjoyable enough but feels like it could have been slotted into any of the group’s past album as it lacks that something special to make it stand out from the crowd.
Ignoring my dismissive feelings towards live recordings, the chosen tracks for inclusion were perfect! “Wouldn’t You Rather” is the sort of tune you could imagine the band entering the stage to, and busting out with pure energy whlie “Pay No Mind” feels like it was selected as a faultless follow up moving into almost ballad territory which would have the audience singing along with pure glee. Closing the mini setlist with “Dying Light” the absolute riff-tastic, grunge fulled extravaganza, Alter Bridge really make up for the sadly mediocre opener to this EP.
If you are a fan of live albums, the selections here are top-notch. While, unfortunately, only six songs are included, the EP remains a must-have for fans of Alter Bridge.
Walk The Sky 2.0 Track Listing:
1. Last Rites
2. Wouldn’t You Rather (live)
3. Pay No Mind (live)
4. Native Son (live)
5. Godspeed (live)
6. In the Deep (live)
7. Dying Light (live)
Run Time: 31:39
Release Date: November 6, 2020
Record label: Napalm Records