The Alter Bridge frontman’s first solo release reveals a personal insight into how he faced his past torment following tragedy.
When news broke that Alter Bridge and Slash vocalist, Myles Kennedy had abandoned seven years worth of work regarding his first solo album with a desire to start anew, intrigue infiltrated amongst fans and the Music industry. Centred around his experience of personal tragedy following the death of his father when he was just four years old, Year of the Tiger offered listeners an opportunity to divulge into a covert side to the vocalist – unlike anything by him before.
For listeners most familiar with Kennedy’s raging vocals in songs such as ‘Bleed It Dry’ and ‘Beneath The Savage Sun’, the hard-hitting vocals of the opening track of his first solo album comes as a surprise, offering an intriguing, yet dissonant insight into what the album withholds.
What to expect from the album
Year of the Tiger caught many off-guard, breaking what was expected of the singer’s first solo album. Entitled after the Chinese Zodiac year that his father passed – 1974, the album promises a personal recollection of the moment that changed the singer’s life.
As the album progresses into melancholic territory with ‘Turning Stones’ and ‘Love Can Only Heal’, it becomes apparent that there is a complete disregard of the metaphorical, fantasy imagery demonstrated by vocalists such as Ronnie James Dio.
With many bands shying away from the motif of personal tragedy, compressing it merely into one song within an album or concealing it under a veil of ambiguity, Year of the Tiger seems to hyperbolise it. Avoiding the cliché ballad seen in Metallica’s ‘Nothing Else Matters’ and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Scar Tissue’, Kennedy dedicates the entirety of the album to reminiscing about his past from multiple perspectives and portraying how he has faced his demons.
The Slash vocalist seems to emotionally expose himself, allowing his most vulnerable mindset to be witnessed by anyone willing to listen. Although an album entirely dedicated to one event may initially appear repetitive, the structure of the album set-list itself is manipulated to force listeners onto a journey following his personal growth and acceptance.
In a country style of writing, reminiscent to that of Johnny Cash, Kennedy explores the seven stages of grief as the album progresses.
Opening with the eponymous track, the vocalist reveals the loss of his father from his mother’s perspective; building up until the overtly hopeful ‘One Fine Day’ to which the album concludes – mirroring the vocalist’s mental state from childhood to present day.
How the album translates live
On the first night of Kennedy’s sold out shows in London, those fortunate enough to attend saw how the album transformed when played live. Toying with the order of each song, Kennedy revealed the dynamic nature of the album.
Entering the stage from the midst of hollow echoes in ‘Devil on the Wall’, the first song acts almost as a microcosm for the entirety of the performance; building anticipation as the audience eagerly wait for the next burst of energy.
Reverting back and forth between his more emotive songs to his heavier work, including an acoustic rendition of Slash’s World on Fire, the musician thrusts the 800 strong audience into different atmospheres – proving that an acoustic show can be far from stagnant.
The insight into Kennedy’s world isn’t restricted to the album itself as more is unveiled during his live performances. His own own musical influences are revealed via hints of Jimmy Page’s style of playing, seen in ‘Blind Faith’, followed by his cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Going To California’.
The future of the vocalist’s career
Few acts could generate the same suspense both on stage and in the release of albums as that as captivated by Kennedy.
Although Year of the Tiger differs exponentially from that expected by those most familiar with his previous work, it is undeniable that the album incorporates the vital, unique sound of the vocalist to keep fans wanting more.
The album has proved to be hugely successful for the Alter Bridge vocalist, with a second date in London being added following demand and the album reaching number 11 on the US Top Rock Albums.
With that being said, the question still is raised as to the future of the singer’s solo career. News of his upcoming third album with Slash generates uncertainty as to whether the new acoustic sound captured in the album is merely temporary.
Regardless, it is certain that Year of the Tiger has been forming new territory with its structure and content whilst maintaining that distinctive sound that first pushed Kennedy into the spotlight.
Year of the Tiger is available to buy now via Napalm Records and available on all streaming platforms.