Release Date: October 7, 2016
Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur
Some bands deliver on their debut release and hit stronger and harder as their careers grow and age while others taper off quickly with each release. Alter Bridge is one of the bands that fall into the former category, as they delivered on their debut and have seemed to get better with each release. Their latest effort is no different – this is packed with great songs! Disc opener and lead single “Show Me A Leader” opens with a killer riff that grows through the intro, intro the verse and peaks during the chorus and bridge. The vocals are mighty and perfectly suited to the groove of the song. The rhythm section keeps the timing of the song perfect while giving a heavy bottom end. “The Writing On The Wall” continues the barrage of rock riffs and killer coals. The groove of this track feels tribal without losing the rock quotient. Mark Tremonti’s guitar work on this track is some of the best on the disc, but that is a phrase I muttered with each track the first couple times through the collection. “My Champion”” is a cool track that opens with a fun riff that welcomes you in and then hits you with a ‘typical’ Alter Bridge groove, demonstrating how the band has grown while maintaining who they are at their core. Myles Kennedy’s vocals on this song stand out and draw you in. “Cradle To The Grave” allows Tremonti to show off a slightly different side of his playing with a beautiful opening that gains in strength through the intro and into the verse. The guitars and vocals dance tightly throughout the song. “The Side Of Fate” is a beautiful track that allows Myles to sing his ass off without getting all rockstar. The tones of the guitar are rich and complement the vocals on the verse, while the chorus takes over and gives this song momentary punch and the bridges feature some of the best guitar work on the disc. “Crows On A Wire” dials the energy and volume up to 10. The guitars lead the charge, but the vocals take charge and give this song lift. The drum fills and steady percussion from Scott Phillips get the foot tapping instantly. The band chose to close the disc with the title track “The Last Hero” and it pays off. The song nicely wraps up the package by blending the heavy with the not so heavy and giving us one more glimpse at how well Tremonti and Kennedy play off of each other while Marshall and Phillips anchor the track.
“The Other Side” unfolds slowly and seems to steer the disc into a darker direction than most of the thirteen songs on this release, with a chugging riff and heavy bottom end thanks to Brian Marshall’s bass work. The timing is a bit slower and the vocals in a lower than typical register on the verse, with Kennedy allowing his vocals to soar on the chorus. “Poison In Your Veins” comes to life thanks to Scott Phillips heavy handed drumming on the intro, but his skin pounding only grows in intensity as he keeps the song moving underneath the mix. The song seems to grow as it moves between verses, choruses, and the bridge. This catchy track should go over well live. “Losing Patience” is another track that falls on the heavier side, but benefits from the steady rhythm section of Marshall and Phillips as well as Kennedy’s vocals. The chorus draws you in and gets the foot tapping and head banging while Tremonti kills it on guitar. “You Will Be Remembered” is one of my favorite songs on the disc as the lyrics struck me deep and the bands emotional delivery of the musical accompaniment is the perfect combination. The vocals are pure and swirl with the guitars, bass, and drums from open to close, especially on a catchy chorus. “Twilight” opens with a guitar riff that sounds as if it was plucked from the band’s debut release, but that stands to reason, as this disc is as strong and steady as that disc. The riff is cool and seems to set the tone and creates a landscape the rest of the band decorates with their contributions. “Island Of Fools” is more killer bottom end from Marshall’s punishing bass while Tremonti’s licks inject a heavy groove into the vein of this killer rocker.
Tracklisting: Show Me A Leader – The Writing On The Wall – The Other Side – My Champion – Poison In Your Veins – Cradle To The Grave – Losing Patience – The Side Of Fate – You Will Be Remembered – Crows On A Wire – Twilight – Island Of Fools – The Last Hero
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