Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Review: Alter Bridge 'The Last Hero'

If anything, 2016 has so far been nothing short of a cruel juxtaposition, from a musical stand-point at least. On one hand, we've had albums from returning legends like Anthrax, who are still going strong...but over the course of the year we've all been painfully reminded that despite what we like to believe; rock 'n' roll doesn't live forever. David Bowie, Prince and if you want to round up the last 12 months, even Lemmy have all proven than no amount of drugs or Jack Daniels will make you immortal. It's old bands like Iron Maiden that are relied upon to headline our beloved festivals...but, we need to remember that they won't be here forever. Other bands are starting to step up, but it's undeniably been a slow process...one of these bands not too far off the mark, are Alter Bridge. With their first new music since 2013's "Fortress", Myles Kennedy and co return with album number five;  "The Last Hero"...there's a sorry sense of irony here...is the future safe in their hands?

We rather appropriately begin with "Show Me A Leader" and it's got an almost Western feel to it...a duel; pistols at dawn with the last outlaw so to speak...which really does set the tone for the track. Lyrically, it can be taken politically and given the current state of affairs in the US, more specifically the election campaign, it's safe to say a lot of people are concerned with the potential outcome, and here its summarised brilliantly without being blatant like say, a punk rock track would have delivered it. A very strong start.




"The Other Side" has a sense of foreboding to it, it begins with very ominous, dark tones and utilises some heavy riffs, again touching on some serious topics, the notion of people killing as a means to a better end, a better place, the lengths people will go to prove their faith, ultimately for nothing...it's a scarily relevant thought, especially with today's worries over gun crime and terrorism and hammers a strong message home.

One thing Alter Bridge are renowned for is their knack for writing big, bold rock songs, carried effortlessly by Myles Kennedy's powerful vocals, easily one of the greatest voices in modern rock and metal, backed by Mark Tremonti's sleek and authoritative guitar playing... he knows how to boss a solo...tracks like "Poison In Your Veins", "Crows On A Wire" and again, the album opener, prove this without a shadow of doubt, but they love a brooding rock ballad too and tracks such as "Cradle To The Grave" and "You Will Be Remembered" especially give this album a tender touch, the band pulling off both styles dexterously. It's a very well balanced album and doesn't fall victim to the trap of boring the listener at over an hour long overall.

Are Alter Bridge very much the hypothetical last hero? Or this that notion a bridge too far? Well five albums in, they already find themselves arena headliners and guaranteed festival main stage performers, we're talking tens of thousands of people...no, fans. Black Sabbath are calling it day...Metallica can only continue for so long as they themselves get older, or even get overused, the same with Maiden...the answer? Yes...of course there are other bands with potential, but Alter Bridge are practically a shoo-in. Yes, they are that band you know from wrestling thanks to Edge...but they are so, so much more.

Score: 8/10 

Facebook:/alterbridge
Twitter:@alterbridge

Words by: Gavin Griffiths


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