Alter Bridge - 'The Last Hero' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 23, 2016    
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Another important release from of the world's premier Hard Rock bands.

Since 2013's 'Fortress', singer/guitarist Myles Kennedy has been busy recording and touring with Slash, whilst guitarist/singer Mark Tremonti has recorded and toured on the back of two more of his own successful solo band albums. After a brief break at the end of 2015, it was time to re-convene with bassist Brian Marshall, drummer Scott Phillips and long-time producer Michael "Elvis" Baskette to begin work on the fifth Alter Bridge album in Florida. The writing and recording sessions were built around the theme of "heroes", and the material came together quickly, with Kennedy' and Tremonti's ideas forming the basis for the songs, then working with Marshall and Phillips on the arrangements and final structures.

What is obvious after just one play is that the melodies are more uplifting than on 'Fortress'. Kennedy's delivery appears to be more relaxed, though no less forceful, and with no loss of impact. Following a delicate intro, the full band storm into 'Show Me A Leader', an anthemic up-tempo pace-setter with a trademark Tremonti riff at its core (played on a seven string guitar I'm led to believe). The guitar solos throughout '.... Hero' are imaginatively sublime, not just a blur of notes or an exercise in ego massaging. Whether they are played by Kennedy or Tremonti is another matter.

'My Champion' is the ideal showcase for the uplifting melodies mentioned earlier, whilst 'Twist Of Fate' is performed with passion and filled with emotional turmoil. Alter Bridge will never be regarded as Progressive, but the dynamic song structures and subtle time changes are an essential feature of the band's sound. There is a dirty grinding riff at the heart of 'The Other Side', but the mid-song trippy break is bordering on Psychedelic. 'You Will Be Remembered' is essentially a ballad, but built on a huge drum sound and big guitars, bringing to mind 'Broken Wings' from the 'One Day Remains' debut.

All the songs are primarily incendiary in nature with a fiery dynamic, but executed with a graceful elegance. Over the course of an hour or so we are treated to thirteen mini epics that are both enthralling and beguiling in equal measure. Ultimately, 'The Last Hero' is another important release from of the world's premier Hard Rock bands. I have played the album ten times during the week, and it resonated as much on the tenth play as it did on the first.

Dave Bott

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