Album review: Alter Bridge – The Last Hero
Share This Article:
★★★★★ Whenever Alter Bridge drops a new album, it is undoubtedly an event. The band have entered the rhythm of releasing a record every three years without fail, and with a fanbase as purely dedicated and rabid as theirs, it’s become a tradition that loyalists all over the world look forward to constantly. So, after unleashing the best album of their career to date with Fortress (2013), the pressure really is at an all-time high for Alter Bridge and their upcoming fifth release, The Last Hero, to soar to success. But in many ways, this album does exactly what any follow-up should do; it signals a continued musical evolution on the part of Alter Bridge. When it first came out, Fortress felt like the amalgamation of every Alter Bridge record that came before; it had the melody of the radio-friendly One Day Remains (2004), the ambition of Blackbird (2007) and the dark, melancholic edge of AB III (2010). The Last Hero takes these contrasting tones and explores them all even further, and in this regard is truly Fortress version 2.0. The new record storms out of the gate with ‘Show Me a Leader’, ‘The Writing on the Wall’ and ‘The Other Side’, all of three of which are anarchic, fast rockers, marking Alter Bridge’s first ever use of seven-string guitars. And with the blistering riffs that screech out of the axes of the duelling Myles Kennedy and Mark Tremonti, that fact clearly shows. And it isn’t just the music that’s heavier; the lyrics too seem much more aggressive. On ‘The Other Side’, lead singer Kennedy declares in the chorus “If you believe yours is the only way / Then you’re a fool who needs to die”, while ‘The Writing on the Wall’ addresses the front-man’s anger at those that deny the existence of global warming. But the harmonies and melodies from Myles and back-up vocalist Tremonti ensure that The Last Hero still rings with the sound of old Alter Bridge. The clean vocals on this record soar higher than ever before, the driven and emotive voices counter-balancing this album’s heavy instrumentation to avoid the band becoming alienating to fans that may not enjoy the heavier end of the rock spectrum. ‘My Champion’ and ‘Poison in Your Veins’ form much lighter cuts after The Last Hero’s darker and lightning fast opening, especially the former, which is endlessly uplifting in both its lyrics and delivery as a whole. In that regard, the slightly more powerful ‘Poison in Your Veins’ feels like a middle ground once it comes about, bridging The Last Hero’s first three tracks with the positive ‘My Champion’.
- Article continues below...
- More stories you may like...
- Fresher Sounds - The best new music - 20/08/19
- Album Review: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Infest The Rats' Nest
- #GoodbyeTNS - A lifeline at the right time