AL­TER BRIDGE man chan­nels tragedy and re­demp­tion on solo de­but

Kerrang! (UK) - - Reviews - JAMES MACKINNON

Life of­ten gives us more ques­tions than an­swers. On Al­ter Bridge’s 2016 of­fer­ing, The Last Hero, Myles Kennedy asked where all the he­roes are in our age of con­crete and sil­i­con chips, em­bold­ened by the mighty roar of Mar­shall stacks. By com­par­i­son, Myles’ first solo record, Year Of The Tiger, sees him cut­ting a qui­eter, more gen­tle fig­ure, as he uses this new out­let to con­front the ghosts of his past. From the open­ing ti­tle-track, he makes a bid to ’Run a thou­sand miles

be­yond this house of pain,’ over rolling acous­tic gui­tar, be­fore shiv­er­ing slide and plain­tive man­dolin blow away an ill mem­ory of a ’Cold, cruel July.’ He may ram­ble on in the same man­ner as Led Zep­pelin at their most pared back and dreamy here, but a shadow of the past re­mains close be­hind through­out.

The hurt ly­ing just be­low the skin of these songs stems from the death of his fa­ther over four decades ago, when Myles was just four years old. The con­fu­sion of the event is ad­dressed in The Great Be­yond, cli­max­ing in a bab­ble of strings and tremolo-picked gui­tar. On Blind Faith’s Delta blues, Myles wres­tles with his am­biva­lence to­wards re­li­gion and the avoid­able na­ture of his fa­ther’s death, after he re­fused med­i­cal treat­ment for what turned out to be ap­pen­dici­tis as part of his Chris­tian Sci­ence be­liefs. ’Faith can be blind,’ Myles rea­sons, ’but it can­not jus­tify the tragedy of a love’s

demise we can’t re­place.’

Out of this uncer­tainty, the fig­ure of strength that emerges is his mother, and much of the al­bum is writ­ten from her per­spec­tive. Ghost Of Shangri La’s slinky folk-blues em­pathises with her hav­ing to shoul­der grief to care for Myles and his brother. It’s a re­solve that Myles pays trib­ute to again on Mother, with a Jimmy Page-es­que raga-blues shake­down – one of many here – and he finds res­o­lu­tion in the line, ’When all hope was left to die /

Your love for me sur­vived.’ As much as loss per­me­ates Year Of The Tiger, how­ever, it is in love – the force that binds Myles to both his de­parted fa­ther and his liv­ing mother – that this wan­der­ing soul finds a rest­ing place. As he ob­serves on closer One Fine Day, ’The prom­ise still re­mains of what’s to

come.’ This mas­ter­ful record may ap­pear to be wear­ing fu­ne­real blacks, but Myles Kennedy has his sights set on a brighter road ahead.

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