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Alter Bridge - Live At The O2 Arena + Rarities album review

High-rising rockers in need of some live rough edges

Cover art for Alter Bridge - Live At The O2 Arena + Rarities album

There’s a good reason why Alter Bridge are regularly touted as future festival headliners; they’re an immaculately precise and consistent live act. This set, taken from their triumphant O2 Arena show in London last December, is proof of not only how expertly they command the live environment, but what a stellar setlist they’ve put together over the course of their five albums. Alongside the entire gig is a disc of rare material, including the superb, never-before-released Soundgarden-esque Cruel Sun. If you’re a fan it’s all you could ever want, but for all the professionalism there’s the sneaking suspicion that this lacks the off-the-cuff, rough’n’ready charm that made classic live albums like Live And Dangerous or No Sleep ’Til Hammersmith such essential purchases. Impressive, but your record collection is complete without it.

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.