Pawns & Kings Album Review


Alter Bridge has added yet another album to their increasingly long catalog.  Founded in 2004, Alter Bridge was founded by the lead guitarist Mark Tremonti. He was previously in the band Creed with Scott Phillips and Brian Marshall who are also in Alter Bridge. They are a rock/metal band they always ride the line between the two genres, they aren’t quite rock but they aren’t quite metal either. They released their first album on August 10, 2004. Pawns & Kings is their seventh studio release which came out on October 14th, 2022.

The album, coming in at a little under one hour, is a combination of hard hitting alternative metal and uplifting rock. The album features 10 songs highlighted by  Mark Tremonti’s amazing guitar riffs. Myles Kennedy’s vocals soar through each and every song, even the one song which he is not on lead vocals. The drumming of Scott Phillips and bass of Brian Marshall bring the songs together. The song that stands out the most is the final song on the album, the title track Pawns & Kings. This song hits in every category and is consistently good throughout the entire track.

Pawns & Kings follows up Alter Bridge’s 2019 release Walk the Sky. Walk the Sky earned Alter Bridge their first #1 charted album in America. It also reached #1 on more than a dozen charts around the world. Alter Bridge hopes to regain that position with Pawns & Kings. Pawns & Kings has so far maxed out at #35 on the US Billboard 200.

This album differs from other Alter Bridge albums for two main reasons. First, it has the smallest number of tracks compared to any other Alter Bridge album, only 10. But, for what it lacks in track number it made up for in song length. That is the second reason. The tracks are longer than average Alter Bridge songs; only one song drops below 4 minutes. Here is the track listing;

  1. This is War
  2. Dead Among the Living
  3. Silver Tongue
  4. Sin After Sin
  5. Stay
  6. Holiday
  7. Fable of the Silent Son
  8. Season of Promise
  9. Last Man Standing
  10.  Pawns & Kings

Review of each song:

  • This is War: The album begins with hard-hitting riffs and lots of open string picking. The song also has a good solo to boot. This is a good start to the album and sets the scene for the rest of the album.
  • Dead Among the Living: The second track takes a more energetic approach but has one of the coolest riffs on the entire album. This is one of my personal favorites.
  • Silver Tongue: This song takes a different approach to the chorus section. It is unlike Alter Bridge to have energetic choruses with Myles singing at the speed he does on this one.
  • Sin After Sin: This is the slowest song on the album but has a riff that easily gets stuck in your head. It all starts with an uncommon drum intro from Scott Phillips.
  • Stay: This is one song in which Kennedy does not take lead vocals. Mark takes the reins like he always does with his band Tremonti. This is one of the most uplifting songs on the album, and the bridge where the vocals intertwine is amazing.
  • Holiday: Another energetic song with some hard-hitting riffs, this may be one of your favorites.
  • Fable of the Silent Son: Alter Bridge’s longest song to date, coming it at over eight minutes, and beating out the song Blackbird from the album of the same name. Tells an intriguing story.
  • Season of Promise: One of my personal favorites, this one includes uplifting choruses, an amazing message about life, not losing faith, the future, and remembering the past. But that’s how I interpret it, you can interpret it your own way. It also includes one of the best solos on the album.
  • Last Man Standing: This song is intriguing because some sections are in a ⅞ time signature. Another good message too.
  •  Pawns & Kings: Masterful. Easily the most notable- and best- song on the album. Another great message with great riffs. This may be one of Alter Bridge’s best songs to date.

    This album is a complete masterpiece from start to finish, definitely worth the three year wait in between albums. 

For those who are interested in listening to new music that is different from what is popular today, Alter Bridge’s Pawns & Kings is a good place to start. From start to finish you won’t be bored. Have fun experiencing the sound of Alternative Rock/Metal. Have fun with the Alter Bridge experience.  You won’t be disappointed.