(9/10) It was in an interview I had with Mark Tremonti at the end of last year when he mentioned that the beginning of 2016 will be the starting point for working on the next Alter Bridge album. Having heard this excitement was pretty high and now, nine months later, the new record is out there in the shops.
"The Last Hero” is the name of the longplayer that includes 13 new and exciting songs, reflecting 100% Alter Bridge.
Alter Bridge is one of hese bands that shows what you can achieve if they are more than just four highly competent musicians. This quartet is forming one unit that stands like a rock. It feels like there is a generic understanding of each other’s strengths which makes each Alter Bridge album to a goodie-bag of great alternative metal songs. In this context it doesn't matter if the guys are involved in other bands - Tremonti with his solo project and Myles Kennedy also being part of Slash's band. The guys get together and internal chemistry does the job.
So, what can we say about "The Last Hero"? It wasn't an easy thing to set a next step after having released the very successful "Fortress" longplayer three years ago. However, the four guys managed and they made this next step with the new album. It's the general theme about leaders and heros that characterizes this record and it's all the typical Alter Bridge trademarks that are constantly present. What makes "The Last Hero" slightly different is the fact that the album has less of a dark expression than it was with "Fortress" and the range of sound variations got a bit wider, all this still in the framework of what we know form this fourpiece.
"Show me a Leader" was the first song that was unveiled from the new longplayer and it became the opener too. The songs marks a great start into this longplayer since it combines great vocal lines with the typical Alter Bridge heaviness, created by Tremonti's guitar and a more than robust rhythm foundation done by Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips.
Themewise the opener is addressing good leadership and a need for heroes and therefor the lyrics of "The Writing on the Wall" are more than just decoration. Ignoring signs of things going wrong these days are ignored, leading to nothing better in the future. The tune itself is a heavy one with an awesome chorus.
One of the more atmospheric songs on the album is "My Champion" which is a quite commercial one. It comes has a more melodic rock expression than a metal approach, but who cares. Listening to the guys and the way how they interpret this catchy tune is great, esp. Myles Kennedy doing a great job. A tune that comes with a similar expression is called "You Will Be Remembered". It's a track that's kept in a more moderate pace, belonging to the more soulful moments on "The Last Hero". In this sense it can be compared with "The Side of Fate"" that follows a similar pattern. Interesting with the latter is the silent acoustic section halfway down the road.
Next to these tracks the majority of "The Last Hero" is built on heavy stuff. The mentioned opening duo of songs belongs to this category but also numbers like "Poison in Your Veins", the gloomy "Crows on a Wire" that includes an excellent Tremonti riff and slower creeping "The Other Side" are alternative metal pearls that no one can do better than Alter Bridge.
What I like with this band is, that their sound has an own identity. You're listening to a song and you immediately identify it as being from Alter Bridge. Secondly, in this given framework, the four-piece has enough space for giving the tracks different expressions. Some of the songs are harder, some are more melodic, some are more soulful, but all of them are living up to the bands trademark.
With all the other commitments and obligations Alter Bridge didn't have endless time for working on this album. Things have been done in a rather short amount of time with a result that is jaw-dropping. It shows that time isn't the only factor for delivering quality. Hard work and a lot of passion are equally important. Great guys, great band, great album.
- Show me a Leader
- The Writing on the Wall
- The Other Side
- My Champion
- Poison in your Veins
- Cradle to the Grave
- Loosing Patience
- The Side of Fate
- You Will be Remembered
- Crows on a Wire
- Island of Fools
- The Last Hero
Label: Napalm Records
Genre: Alternative Metal
Release Date EU: October 7th, 2016