The Last Hero (2016)

Alter Bridge

The Perfect Dream of Paul Reed Smith 

He is our ultimate hero without a doubt. Mark Tremonti, alone, or in the company of Myles Kennedy, is one of our favourite 'axes', one of the guitarists in top form, as much technical as creative. He's back, in his own right, to our Jukebox with his 5th record After Bridge, perhaps the best example of melodic metal that we can currently enjoy.  And there is no lack of rivals.

Tremonti is in full swing and doesn't let go of his PRS. In hardly one year he has added a pair of magnificent albums to his solo career and still has had time to compose a tremendous record with his 'official' band. On The Last Hero it's clear who's in charge from the fine picking start to the first song Show Me a Leader.  It's what's called a declaration of principles.

As for Kennedy, he doesn't seem run down by his stint with Slash and as always, winds up singing (and playing- he's no slouch). The rhythm section of Scott Phillips and Brian Marshall with his 5-string Sadowsky is simply sick and almost steals the show from his two famous mates.

Alter Bridge is not just a guitarist with the band singing chorus. It's a 4-speed motor perfectly synchronized to rock, capable of hammering out turbo on The Other Side and its heavy riff, or leaving it in the breeze to caress you in My Champion until you feel exactly what the song tells you to feel.

It all fits, even Myles Kennedy´s guitar, hidden by his trained throat. Their rapport is such that they even share their preferences in guitar makes. They are both hooked on Paul Reed Smith’s guitars. Take, for example, the beautiful Starla 2008 Bigsby with which he led the Conspirators on their last tour with the former G'n'R. His favourites are the Sunburst SC 245 straight from Seymour Duncan's workshop, the Modern Eagle, and especially, the McCarty.

Tremonti, if we trust his own website, is content with his own collection of PRS, a pair of the Mark Tremonti signature model and the SE not less personalised, but more accessible for his fans.

And if we unplug, we also find the same Taylor logotype on both peg boxes. The perfect couple.

For the purest of purists, it's perhaps too perfect. Too friendly for the harder side of rock despite recognising that, at the very least, this record of the month in October, a month full of new songs. Or maybe the problem is that it's just too sophisticated a recording approach, that crosses the line over and over between the hard and the heavy on the one hand, and metal on the other (omitting the post grunge). Labels that, in reality, lead us in the same direction.

These critiques are a reflection of a society disillusioned with its leaders, where there are no heroes, which is the main plot of a record that paradoxically, shows the opposite: that some still remain. All you need to do is cross the bridge.