Alter Bridge - The Last Hero
Rumours have been flying about that Alter Bridge’s politically charged fifth album will be a good ‘un, with yet another attempt to go above and beyond their previous work. So do they?
Fortress came close to topping ABIII, but fell a little short, so where does this latest rifftastic, wailworthy offering stand?
Opening up is a classic AB number, Show Me A Leader. Resplendent in melodic-cum-screaming guitar spangliness before the heavy drums and bass booming comes into play; there is no doubt that this is their signature, mid-heavy styling. And the icing on the delicious cream cake of loveliness is, once again, Myles Kennedy, making hearts (and ovaries) flutter.
Played on seven string guitars and making use of alternative tunings, the result is a larger than life AB sound. It takes hold of you and ensures that this is an epic offering, their boundless energy shining through. Big lyrics, big vocals, big guitars and big orgasms…
Whilst ascertaining in recent interviews that they are not pushing any sort of political agenda on The Last Hero, they are definitely diving into the world around them and this comes through time and time again: “Show me a leader that won’t compromise/show me a leader so hope can survive/we need a hero this time/or we will never survive”.
The Writing on the Wall is another stand out track, aside from the global warming message which, as good as it is, can get lost on you as you enjoy the music sat in a diesel engine car. The harmony between music, vocals and lyrics however means it just works.
The Other Side begins with a heavier, sludgier theme from the off, hypnotising vocals ooze filth and grime superbly offering a slight twist that keeps interest piqued.
My Champion is an upbeat, keep going, stay strong mantra built on keeping you, the listener, strong and in good spirits. Not a new idea but one that AB seems to pull off repeatedly. It embodies the spirit, the tenacity and the strength that lies within.
Musically Kennedy and Tremonti just work, they set the bar, then hit it only to reset it again. Poison In Your Veins is an ear wormy bastard while Cradle To The Grave is full of haunting melodies. The heaviness transforms into soft, rhythmic verses that highlight the vocal mastery of Myles with ease. As the song transitions from hard rocking yet highly emotional chorus through to banging guitar solo, this is an epic stand out song perfectly placed and a work of art.
Losing Patience perfectly combines the best of their new material whilst harking back to their debut One Day Remains; a perfect musical blend.
The Last Hero finalises this epically good offering from the AB boys. A timeless ending that demonstrates them at their best; interlocking riffs; relentless brutal rhythm ably provided by bassist extradoinare Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips.
AB grow increasingly technically complex, this album being the latest proof, they always know how to balance their dynamics well. They have an identity of their own that grows in strength with each piece of work they produce. The Last Hero manages to honour their past as well as their present and ensure that there will no doubt be a future.
Words: Kat Hilton