Have a listen to: "Island Of Fools" and "This Side Of Fate"
Alter Bridge – The Last Hero
Release Date: 7th October 2016
Album opener ‘Show Me A Leader‘ starts slow and heavy with some awesome guitar soloing until the energy picks up, it’s punchy and rarely slows down. The chorus lyrics and their delivery are something I’ve not heard from Alter Bridge to date, and I love it. The pre-chorus is anthemic as hell and compliments the chorus wonderfully, as does the excellent guitar solo from Mark Tremonti.
‘The Writing On The Wall‘ feels like a continuation on the musical style of ‘Fortress‘ but with a new attitude behind the guitars. The drums are explosive in the mix; over the past couple of albums the drums have become increasingly engaging, especially on the half time section before the solo on this particular track.
AB tap in to their darkness yet again with ‘The Other Side‘ – a deep and melancholic track, demonstrating another emotion from the band that I’ve not heard yet. Myles‘ vocals, along with the dissonant chords in the verses, make for something out of the norm for an Alter Bridge song. The pre-chorus has an excellent hook which compliments the chorus well.
Things brighten up for ‘My Champion‘ – the song feels as majestic as it’s title. The intro/main riff compliments the lyrical themes beautifully and also showcases a more 70’s rock and roll sound we haven’t heard from AB in a while. It screams AC/DC meets Thin Lizzy meets old school Alter Bridge, and I love it! It’s the kind of song that can make you feel like you can take on the entire world and it’s the song a lot of us need right now.
Things get heavy again for ‘Poison In Your Veins‘ with lyrics so engaging and memorable you’ll be singing along after the first chorus “it’s the poison in your veins, it’s the beast you cannot tame”. ‘Losing Patience‘ lets out more fury from the band whilst Myles sings some great lines like “If you choose to wallow in this sorrow, what will be the cost?”
The band strip things down with a song in a slower territory with ‘This Side of Fate‘, yet being the grandmasters of composing that they are, they seamlessly throw a curve ball half way through when the intensity increases and goes into some excellent heavier progressive rock – from the guitar riffs to the crooning melodies Myles sings, the production on this track is impeccable.
The sound brightens up a bit for ‘You Will Be Remembered‘, a slower song stepping into early Alter Bridge territory.
‘Crows on a Wire‘ brings the attitude back with a belter of a riff. Leaning heavily on the thrash influences that have shaped Alter Bridge in recent years and again, the band don’t falter. The chorus explodes with Myles Kennedy’s vocal melody combined with Tremonti’s furious riffing.
‘Twilight‘ steps into the hard rock territory again with some immediately engaging guitar work on the verses and the tone changes from the meaty chug of rhythm to more of a dreamy shoe-gaze style riff. The drums in the bridge serve the closing arc of the song justice and the breaks are expertly timed.
‘Island of Fools‘ made such an impact immediately. I can’t thing of a song Alter Bridge have made to date that’s quite as intense and engaging as this, and believe me, being a fan for over a decade now that’s no mean feat as they have consistently found new ways to impress me over the years. The vocals again are unparalleled by any other singer in hard rock or heavy metal. The delivery of the chorus “Save yourself, there is nothing to find but the truth, No one else, here beside you” is such a massive hook but it’s the entire band that make this song. From the expertly timed rhythm section to the blistering guitar solo, this would be my favourite song (being a thrash metal fan) if not for the fact that every song on this record rivals each other, it all comes down to which range of emotion you prefer from Alter Bridge.
The heavy theme stays prominent for the album closer and titular track ‘The Last Hero,‘ but what stands out is the breakdown towards the end of the song – easily the heaviest breakdown I have heard from Alter Bridge to date – before it lets the closing chapter of this record roll out. Again the chorus feels like an anthem and is instantly memorable “Don’t let us fall again, we can’t fight this on our own, who’ll save us in the end? Have we lost our last hero?”.
If you haven’t purchased the record already, I’d look out for a copy with the bonus track ‘Last of Our Kind‘ which is a great bonus track pushing the album to a whopping 14 track total and at no point during those 14 tracks do Alter Bridge falter. It’s an ambitious record and rightfully so, every song is strong in it’s own right. Although it does lean into the heavy territory that the band have stepped into over recent years, there is something for fans of rock, hard rock and heavy metal alike. Songs like ‘My Champion‘ are unique to AB’s catalogue in it’s delivery but some of the time it feels akin to some of the songs from the first album, such as ‘One Day Remains‘. All in all, Alter Bridge prove yet again why they are the finest pedigree of musicians in rock and metal alike right now. Every album has increasingly got more engaging and they have found more ways to keep me engaged for over 10 years now.