ALBUM REVIEW: The Last Hero – Alter Bridge

It’s been three years since ALTER BRIDGE released their last studio album, Fortress, and if anything the album really showed the bands rising success. Now the rock titans have returned with their fifth studio album, The Last Hero, it’ll only be made clearer that they are a band that are going to be remembered as a classic in the future.

Subtly yet explosively kicking off the album is single track, Show Me A Leader. The track itself doesn’t immediately throw you in there, but there’s a stunning intro of the impeccable skill of guitarist Mark Tremonti, that alone being instantly grabbing. The track is explosive and marks an excellent beginning to the newest chapter of ALTER BRIDGE’s career.

One of the finer things in life can only be described as the vocals of Myles Kennedy, the man himself oozes with a high-powered and energetic style. His voice is one of the most loved in the modern rock scene, and when listening to The Writing on the Wall, it’s a given as to why that is. Whilst, as always the music of the band is consistently on point, Myles’s voice on this track in particular is the epitome of how a good rock vocalist should sound.

When The Last Hero reaches The Other Side only three tracks in, it is noticeable that whilst ALTER BRIDGE have a pretty heavy sound in terms of guitar work especially, the album hits a bit of a darker turn musically without losing their signature sound, and it works effortlessly for them.

As previously mentioned about the darker approach musically, there are still tracks that hold that sound of almost inspiration on the album. It’s difficult to put entirely into words about the sound of inspiration, but it’s a sound that makes you feel like getting up and doing something that matters. ALTER BRIDGE are pretty good with achieving tracks on their albums like that, but My Champion really is it for them. The lyrics of the track are transfixing and really pull you in, you are wholly focused on coming back up from the bottom, it’s a positive song and done with sincerity, sincerity that really makes fans of the band be able to appreciate.

There is a whole new level of character found in the The Last Hero, and one thing that can be a worry with a band that just keeps topping their best is reaching a peak. Listening to tracks such as Poison In Your Veins, Losing Patience and This Side of Fate – it becomes common knowledge that the four-piece have always been at their peak, they just keep making their own new level and hitting that, there is no falling from the top for ALTER BRIDGE. The power, the sheer emotion, and incredible talent in this album just blends together elegantly, they have mastered being able to progress their tracks into stories.

One of the most beautiful things about the band is that they are able to progress from heavy, punchy tracks into something so beautifully emotional. Just refer back to tracks such as Watch Over You and In Loving Memory; those alongside others are powerful, they’re ones that are the most hard hitting, above all of the others. You Will Be Remembered might not be one of the top songs that ALTER BRIDGE have released that really make you feel everything, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not a stunning track. The Last Hero creates a beautiful story about paying tribute to soldiers and recognising their sacrifices and You Will Be Remembered really just puts that concept together with grace, honesty and perfection.

Crows on a Wire kicks in after the emotional take to the album with ferocity, leading into the final few tracks of the album, and my, what a final few tracks they are. They are seeing the rock titans progress with their heaviness and how they really portray themselves, Island of Fools is the perfect example of that. It is out there, but they are not losing their overall style, they were already a mature band with their sound, but they still are finding ways to keep maturing which each record.

The title-track leads the album out, the overall track is absolutely stunning, the only negative is that whilst the title of the song is pretty fitting for the placement, it doesn’t feel like the right track to be closing the album; however there are no other contenders on the album to have done the job either.

The Last Hero is a stunning and powerful album; it shows how strong ALTER BRIDGE come back time and time again. It might not become one of the best albums of their career, because they all compete for that title, but that just says something about the band themselves. They continuously raise the bar for themselves, there is no reaching the peak of their career and then never achieving that again because they do it, constantly. We’ve got the classic bands of previous generations, LED ZEPPELIN, BLACK SABBATH, IRON MAIDEN; if ALTER BRIDGE carry on progressing the way they are now, they are definite contenders for the classics of our generation.

Rating: 9/10

Alter Bridge

The Last Hero is out October 7 via Napalm Records.

Like ALTER BRIDGE on Facebook.

Jessica Howkins

Co Editor-in-Chief for Distorted Sound Magazine, Music Journalism student.