Alter Bridge – The Last Hero (Napalm)

Genre: Hard Rock

Prepare for the Marmite of Alter Bridge albums. Fans of the band’s early work will be weeping into their Mark Tremonti songbook while those switched on to the band through Myles Kennedy’s collaboration with Slash will find much to love within The Last Hero.

This is an agreeably inclusive release befitting an act about to headline arenas across the UK. It’s the chart-friendly record that perfectly complements Alter Bridge’s stealthy ascension towards mainstream recognition. And it’s a clear statement of intent that the future is far from predictable where this previously conservative collective is concerned.

Given the chance to strike the big home run, an overtly commercial reboot isn’t anything new where rock’s big players are concerned. Def Leppard did it. U2 decided it was necessary. And who can forget Linkin Park’s response to arena domination: stripping away any semblance of their riff-heavy nu-metal to pander to the pop rock crowd.

But Alter Bridge haven’t entirely morphed into an alternate Bridge. Tremonti’s talent for creating melodic hooks is still clear for all to hear and Kennedy can still growl when he wants to. The Writing On The Wall, for example, is built around a big, big chorus that will encourage loyal fans and new converts alike.

Elsewhere My Champion leans on an addictive AC/DC-style intro. before bursting into life and You Will Be Remembered is a genuinely affecting piece of Alter Bridge mastery – a spine-tingling song that stands alongside the best that the band has to offer.

These must be nervous times for Tremonti and Kennedy. The Last Hero is an impeccably produced hard rock classic. But is it the album Alter Bridge fans wanted?

RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Bridging the Gap