Alter Bridge bring a politically charged album in The Last Hero.
Of all the hard rock bands that have been around for over ten years it truly feels like Alter Bridge never gets enough credit. From the ashes of Creed starting in 2004 we were presented with a much harder edged post grunge outfit that has evolved into a juggernaut of heavy guitar and impressively vocaled songs that have been constantly used for sports highlight clips and television spots. While Alter Bridge may not get all the credit they deserve, one thing is for sure in that you rarely ever hear a bad word about the band. Over 10 years now Alter Bridge has been known by fans for quality music and making lasting impressions at festivals along with many headlining tours. It can’t be stressed enough just how talented Kennedy, Tremonti, Marshall and Phillips are.
So after taking time off in 2015 for several other projects from band members including Myles Kennedy’s work with Slash and Tremonti’s solo project, the band got back together this year and now have their fifth full album The Last Hero. A 13 track album with every song lasting longer than four minutes. At first glance, it’s just about everything Alter Bridge and hard rock fans could ask for. While the past albums of Alter Bridge definitely have the vibe of post-grunge, The Last Hero is much more focused in lyrics about the current political scheme including songs dedicated to there not being actual leaders in the world, corruption in political motives and even topics like denying global warning. It is a much more focused album that comes at a more than opportune time with the current state of affairs going on in the Unites States. There are many bands who try to push themselves into making political albums but somehow don’t pull off what they intend. It doesn’t sound genuine and in some cases doesn’t really focus on the music as opposed to just lecturing about current social problems. The Last Hero however has the sound and talents of Alter Bridge drenched in just about every second of the album.
I love this song. From the opening build up that sounds like this great presentation which blends into fantastic guitar riffs, “Show Me A Leader” sounds like a triumphant, defiant outcry. The writing and pace of this song is flawless and Myles Kennedy unique voice adds this element of energy in the delivery that makes the chorus and song title stand out in a fantastic way. “Show Me A Leader” is a fantastic song AND single AND album opener as it fits the theme and sets the tone of The Last Hero both thematically and musically. Mark Tremonti sounds unhinged here and as you listen through The Last Hero you realize that this album was meant to be a serious contender as the next great album that Alter Bridge fans love, both new and old. The intensity and dynamic sound throughout the album is the main feature that will stand out to listeners. Hearing the delivery and rhythm in songs like Poison In Your Veins, Crows On A Wire and Cradle To The Grave makes you remember why you are a rock fan. These songs feel full and worth the time invested listening to it and you are more than happy to hear it again.
When you listen through tracks like Poison In Your Veins you hear the heavy build up in the verses and know when everything is going to come together. Alter Bridge are brilliant at writing hooks in a chorus and The Last Hero has many examples of this. Even in a more ballad style track like You Will Be remembered that applies acoustic chords STILL feels strong and moving. The album feels connected through it’s politically charged theme. And while there may not be much of a transitioning flow form track to track, each song still feels like it belongs on the album. In over an hour of music from beginning to end with the title track (which is a great album closer), you get a lasting impression that Alter Bridge pushed themselves to make The Last Hero something special.
Since 2004, Alter Bridge has been consistent in delivering solid albums. Even with other projects for band members going on, the lineup has stayed the same and the music has always been taken seriously. With so many positive traits Alter Bridge has, it’s a shame they aren’t risen higher on the ranks of the biggest and best bands today. Overall, The Last Hero proves that Alter Bridge are incapable of sitting on cruise control for their music and have once again made a statement of just how impressive the band is. No matter how many snarky Creed jokes someone can make, Alter Bridge is a force to be reckoned with and this album should be sought out by any rock fan.