Alter Bridge is that rare band in the modern day who are such professionals that no matter what they do, you have to respect it. They have a confidence that I don’t think any other band rightfully has and with it they have produced album after album of pure unmatched drive and power. With their fourth album Fortress released in 2013, they went back to a familiar formula after experimenting in fine form on AB III (an album which I openly gushed about in my Fortress review) and this time around on their new album The Last Hero they continue with that formula that made their first two albums such great fan favourites.
The Last Hero starts off promising with “Show Me A Leader” which starts the album off with a minute and a half long instrumental before proceeding into one of the more dominant Alter Bridge tracks to come out in their past few albums. The momentum is kept up with the next two tracks “The Writing On The Wall” and “The Other Side.” Both songs have that hard rock sound some may call heavy metal, but neither pack as much punch as the opener. However, “My Champion” raises expectations once again with its slightly softer sound and Myles Kennedy‘s impossible to hate voice singing a very heavy hearted melody like he’s done so many times before.
The problem I have with The Last Hero is that its middle group of songs just don’t do it for me. I mean for any other band, songs like “Poison In My Veins,” “Cradle To The Grave” and “Losing Patience” would be great songs, but when put into perspective with past Alter Bridge songs, these tracks are borderline forgettable. They still have instrumentations that are more complex than the band is making them seem, and of course, Myles Kennedy is singing his heart out. The more I listen to them, though, the more I like most of them. Like I do hear a bit of magic in “Cradle To The Grave,” especially when I hear it on its own away from listening to the whole album. Its slow tempo leaves a lot of room for Mark Tremonti to really remind us what he’s got with his six string.
The almost seven-minute epic “This Side Of Fate” doesn’t quite break The Last Hero out of its slump, but there are signs of life with its really good composition and its fantastic chorus. The album’s unapologetic ballad further climbs Alter Bridge back up despite its cliché’s. But really, Alter Bridge have never really gone wrong with their heavy ballads, dating back to “In Loving Memory” from their debut.
“Crows On A Wire” is the kind of song I expect from Alter Bridge. Just like The Last Hero‘s opening track, it has an undeniable vocal hook that resonates in my head for hours after the song comes to an end which is what most of the album has been missing. It’s following track “Twilight” is another softer song. That’s something that immediately made me fall for Alter Bridge is their fearlessness to include multiple solid heavy tracks and mix in more than just one softer song. As usual, both for this album and for the band, this particular song is another track that stands out thanks to its terrific melodies.
The two concluding tracks “Island of Fools” and the title track “The Last Hero” do a similar job that “The Writing On The Wall” and “The Other Side” did earlier on in the album in keeping the momentum where it should be, only these two tracks do it better than the previous two. “Island of Fools” in particular has one of the finer guitar riffs on the album while the title track is merely another display of Alter Bridge‘s comfort in the art of composing.
I wouldn’t call The Last Hero a bad album, nor would I call it a terrific album. I would call it a disappointment, but that’s only because Alter Bridge has a very strong past behind them. If I wasn’t comparing this album with any of Alter Bridge‘s past albums, it’s still a big cut above a lot of recent releases, and it has a lot of thanks to give to its best songs.
Thanks for reading!
“Show Me A Leader”
8.5 (Out of 10)
|1.||“Show Me a Leader”||5:05|
|2.||“The Writing On the Wall”||4:28|
|3.||“The Other Side”||5:55|
|5.||“Poison In Your Veins”||4:19|
|6.||“Cradle To the Grave”||5:41|
|8.||“This Side of Fate”||6:48|
|9.||“You Will Be Remembered”||4:42|
|10.||“Crows On a Wire”||4:27|
|12.||“Island of Fools”||5:01|
|13.||“The Last Hero”||6:42|