All the band members have a serious pedigree in rock with lead vocalist/guitarist Myles Kennedy, lead guitarist/backing vocalist Mark Tremonti, bassist Brian Marshall, and drummer Scott Phillips.
Since their formation in 2004 they have now pumped out five albums, ‘The Last Hero’ being number five, with each new album being more critically acclaimed than the previous. Will The Last Hero continue to win them plaudits or will it break the cycle?
The first song ‘Show Me a Leader’ sets you up with a ‘Bang Bang’ feeling, the Nancy Sinatra version as opposed to the original Cher before leading you on a heavy riffed up journey. Myles Kennedy’s vocals blast through clearly leading the charge. It’s punchy and uncompromising.
The next shows you the ‘Writing on the Wall’, a heavy thumping track that has a fast upbeat pace which Kennedy’s vocals once again rings through clearly: kind of refreshing to hear through a delicious smorgasbord of heavy tuneage. Kennedy floats like a butterfly while Tremonti, Marshall and Phillips sting like a bee. Great track to beast mode to on the free weights.
The band then takes you to ‘The Other Side’ as they take a slow heavy thrashy approach that will have your head swinging along to the chugging rhythm. It feels doom laden and should be darker but Kennedy’s vocals shine through like the Morning Star to drag you to hell with an alluring smile. This would definitely suit being dropped into an episode of ‘Lucifer’.
Then you get to ‘My Champion’, a Southern twanged upbeat rock anthem that will probably get the airtime. This is a beer bottle clinking feelgood song where you and your friends chug your beer in between smiling a lot.
Beware finding any ‘Poison In Your Veins’…much better just pumping out your speakers instead. It has a strange clean grunge sound and feels mixed with a bit of hard glam rock with a light buoyant refrain. Once again a great tune that just pumps you up.
The old adage ‘Cradle to the Grave’ is the title of the next one. This is a slower more ballad like song that just hits the right sound even if you are not a big ballad fan. The power of the vocals and instruments leaves you in no doubt this is not a half-hearted filler track.
Then it’s time for ‘Losing Patience’ - another groove thumping song that would be perfect for a movie sound track. It has an epic orchestral feel coming through the thumping and thrumming rhythm that just hooks you in whether you want to or not. It has a catchy attitude about it that will just keep you listening.
While ‘This Side of Fate’ rolls in like a thunderstorm before breaking up for the verses only to rumble back in for the chorus. It’s like a stormy sea with heavy waves breaking over you allowing you to take a breath before the next one rolls in. It’s a mixed track of relaxation and manic headbanging. Still enjoyable.
With ‘You will be remembered’, Alter Bridge offer up to you a full on, no mistaking it, ballad. Kennedy sums it up saying “It’s a tribute to heroes like anybody who’s served the country or community. The song touches on the ultimate sacrifice soldiers, police, and firemen are willing to give.” A real heartstring tugger of a song, if you listen to it carefully, as each note and word creates an emotional juggernaut.
The hefty ‘Crows On A Wire’ brings it all back to hard and heavy rock. This is cinematic metal that almost creates a seeming montage laden backstory for the main tale. A good rumbling and broody hard rock song. Like a goth song that’s grown up and got itself a job only to find that being an adult is so much more dark and depressing than being a black clad teenager.
Next is ‘In Twilight’, which gives off a slight U2 twang at the very start before redeeming itself and standing upright like a good rock song should. It’s another upbeat cinematic style song that might fit more in the romantic movie genre.
Watch out for the ‘Island Of Fools’ which has an old style Dio vibe as the heavy thrumming rhythm blasts through the whirlwind of guitar riffage. Another good track that won’t disappoint you.
The finale then comes with the album title track in ‘The Last Hero’, a sweeping vista that swoops through the valley of metal and up the mountain face of rock. It may remind you a little of some Euro rock. A very good melding of the heavy and the light.
Overall, the album has a huge cinematic scope to it, full of passion and very catchy tunes. It is well worth your precious time for a good sold listen. Buy it for your collection.
Alter Bridge are on the road with this latest offering as they tour Europe this October through November.
Review by Ivor Whitten