Category Archives: American hard rock

Review: Alter Bridge, ‘The Last Hero’ 09.10.16

At last.  All of the anticipation, the teaser trailers and the hype have led to this moment.  I have in my hot little hands a copy of the new Alter Bridge album, ‘The Last Hero‘.  The boyfriend bought it for me yesterday afternoon; I left it in my bag, waiting for the right moment in which to reverentially unwrap the cellophane, smell the ‘newness’, read the liner notes and take time to study the whole package … it’s now Sunday; it’s a glorious, sunny, chilly morning and there’s not a sound to be heard except for the birds on the rooftops.  This is the time.  I’ve got my headphones on, I’m sitting back with a cup of tea … so, read on, dear follower, read on.

alter-bridge-the-last-hero-cover

So.  Alter Bridge five is here.  ‘The Last Hero‘ has been eagerly anticipated for months; produced and mixed by Michael ‘Elvis’ Baskette (as well as previously working with Alter Bridge, Baskette has also worked with Tremonti, Slash and Trivium, among many others), it is a 13 track opus (14 tracks if you have the special edition CD) that screams ‘platinum seller’ at the top of its lungs.  This, ladies and gentlemen, is a stunning masterpiece of an album that will uplift, thrill and delight you.  Let’s take a closer look …

Opening track ‘Show Me A Leader’ catapults us straight into the action with a nice guitar lead in. This is a huge song; it has an upbeat, uptempo feel and makes for a pretty thrilling introduction to AB5, making you excited as to what might come next, which is …

‘The Writing On The Wall’ intro has a military feel to it, with some immense drums – there are just layers of sound here that made me want to listen again and again. This is a track with plenty of attitude which sounds quite dark.

Third song ‘The Other Side’ is a pretty sexy track; it has a good, chuggy feel to it and I think it has real crossover appeal to fans of other genres as again, it is quite dark.  There are some naughty sounding vocals from Myles and it’s just a full on, stunning track.  I’ve listened to it five or six times already and it’s a firm favourite; if they don’t play it live in November, I’ll be really disappointed!

‘My Champion’, ‘Poison In Your Veins’, ‘Cradle To The Grave’ and ‘Losing Patience’ are all bangers; any and all of these songs will go over very well live.  They are also unmistakably ‘Alter Bridge’, featuring some nice harmonics. ‘My Champion’ is particularly uplifting.

Eighth offering, ‘This Side of Fate’ is a huge track.  With beautiful vocals and a lovely melodic guitar sound, it’s part ballad and part epic masterpiece. The song has a particularly rousing bridge, which reminded me a tiny bit of early Muse, but the whole thing just soars in your ears, making your heart pound and your fingers tap … it made me a little bit sad when the song came to an end.

The melodic ‘You Will Be Remembered’ brought tears to my eyes as it got me thinking about my Dad – a lovely song which is well followed up by the bruising ‘Crows On A Wire’; taking you straight back into the action with a heavy intro featuring some choice pinch harmonics, it’s another definite favourite of mine already.

‘Twilight’ is a powerful and melodic song that is a pleasure on the ears, with some thoughtful lyrics and again, that big, big sound.  ‘Island Of Fools’ and bonus track ‘Last Of Our Kind’ are two more great tracks and ‘The Last Hero’ is also stunning, with some marvellous vocals.

alter-bridge-band-pic

Alter Bridge (Source: teamrock.com)

To sum up, ‘The Last Hero‘ is pretty much everything I hoped it would be and so much more.  It’s epic and immense.   Baskette has done an amazing job with the production and this album has undoubtedly taken Alter Bridge to the next level.  I would have given it 10 out of 10, but … well, where would be left for them to go with number 6?!

There is no doubt that non-fans of Alter Bridge (which is in itself an alien concept – I mean, who wouldn’t be, right?) will say that there is nothing new in this record, that it sound like, well, Alter Bridge.  If you are a fan and have even one other album, you will agree that it sounds like AB.  But you will also realise that there is so much more to ‘The Last Hero‘; it’s a brilliant, themed journey from start to finish, rather than just a random collection of good songs.

Roll on November – I can’t wait to hear the new material and to be part of the Alter Bridge live experience once again.

Track listing: –

  1. Show Me A Leader
  2. The Writing On The Wall
  3. The Other Side
  4. My Champion
  5. Poison In Your Veins
  6. Cradle To The Grave
  7. Losing Patience
  8. This Side Of Fate
  9. You Will Be Remembered
  10. Crows On A Wire
  11. Twilight
  12. Island Of Fools
  13. The Last Hero
  14. Last Of Our Kind (Bonus Track)

Alter Bridge: –

  • Myles Kennedy – vocals and guitar
  • Brian Marshall – bass
  • Scott ‘Flip’ Phillips – drums
  • Mark Tremonti – guitar and vocals

The Last Hero: –

  • For fans of – Alter Bridge (nobody else sounds quite like them!)
  • Queen of Rock rating – 9.5/10
  • Stand out tracks – Show Me A Leader; The Other Side; This Side Of Fate; Crows On A Wire; Twilight; The Last Hero

Lyric video for ‘Show Me A Leader’ – here

Video (audio) for ‘The Other Side’ – here

Alter Bridge website

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News: Californian rockers Idlewar release debut album ‘Impulse’

Hailing from the hallowed turf of Orange County, the Californian hard rock trio Idlewar have finally unveiled their full length, debut album, ‘Impulse‘. Produced by Idlewar drummer Pete Pagonis and mastered by Brian Lucey (Ghost ‘Meliora‘, Black Keys ‘El Camino‘ and Arctic Monkeys ‘AM‘), the album was released last Friday, 30 September via PHD.

idlewar-album-cover

With forthcoming appearances lined up in November as support to Stone Broken, Idlewar are setting the airwaves abuzz, indeed Classic Rock Magazine have hailed the talented three-piece as ‘immense’.  Here is my humble opinion of the album, for your pleasure …

The album kicks off with ‘Stone In My Heel’; a moody, QOTSA-esque offering that does nothing to ease the listener in gently to the general ambience of this ten track journey.  There aren’t many lyrics and what there is certainly reinforces the title of the song.

Second song ‘Soul’ begins with a funk-tastic riff with some meandering vocals over the top.  This is bound to be a hit in the rock clubs; it has that chuggy, stompy feel to it that nobody will be able to resist and it’s probably one of my favourites for that very reason.

‘Criminal’ is the first track released from ‘Impulse‘ and again, it’s a stompy, attitude laden piece that should translate well live.  Make sure that you check out the video (link below).  ‘All That I’ve Got’ begins with a heavy, de-tuned feel and at first listen, it seems to be a bit of a ballad (how we hate that word).  There are some tidy vocals from James Blake here, even if it might be a bit ponderous until the solo guitar work kicks in at nearly four minutes into the track.

The rest of the album continues in the same vein, with the best of the rest for me being ‘Glory’ (always love a song that starts with strong drums and a dirty riff), ‘Apathy’ for the cool guitar work and a fitting finale, ‘On Our Knees’.  That last track (the second single) is pacy, upbeat and a satisfying last slice to finish off the yummy pie that is ‘Impulse‘.

idlewar-tour-poster

Overall, this is a tidy, accomplished offering from a band who are obviously passionate about music and who are poised on the cusp of good things.  As debut albums go, it’s not a bad start, indeed it is a solid follow up to the ‘Dig In‘ EP.  Did I love it? Well, I thought it to be more of a grower; it’s the sort of album that you will find something different in each time you listen to it.  I would certainly like to check out these gentlemen on stage to see how the music translates in the live experience; unfortunately Planet Rock Radio’s ‘RockStock’ is sold out, however it will be worth heading to a Stone Broken show later this year, where Idlewar will, I’m sure, do a sterling support job.  I have just literally just heard today that The Black Heart, London is sold out … better move fast if you want to catch these guys!

 

Idlewar UK Tour With Stone Broken: –

24th Nov – NORWICH – Brickmakers Arms
25th Nov – SHEFFIELD – The Corporation
26th Nov – LONDON – The Black Heart
28th Nov – BRIGHTON – The Hope And Ruin
29th Nov – NEWCASTLE – The Cluny
30th Nov – EDINBURGH – Bannermans
1st Dec – MANCHESTER – Rebellion
3rd Dec – PLANET ROCKSTOCK (SOLD OUT) – Idlewar only

Tickets: http://www.idlewar.com/event/2016-uk-tour-dates-ticket-links/

 

‘On Our Knees’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA4gdEWra30
‘Criminal’ 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSC96Ge2kbY

 

Track listing: –

  • Stone In My Heel
  • Soul
  • Criminal
  • All That I’ve Got
  • Innocent
  • Glory
  • Apathy
  • Damage
  • Burn
  • On Our Knees

Band: –

James Blake – Vocals & bass guitar
Rick Graham – Guitar
Peter Pagonis – Drums

  • For fans of – QOTSA, Kyuss
  • Review score – 7.5

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Review – Into The Fire EP, ‘Into The Fire’

So, regular readers will remember that I recently introduced you to Into The Fire; a super-group featuring members of SOiL, Evanescence and The Union Underground.  I’ve got my grubby paws on a copy of their self titled EP as promised and here I review it, for your pleasure!

into-the-fire-release-pic

First track ‘Spit You Out’ (also the first video from the band) kicks us straight into the fray and at first listen it sounds pretty modern.  Although Into The Fire have a style all of their own, this is unmistakably a ‘now’ sound. It’s catchy, high on riffage and overall, it’s aurally pleasing.  It’s a good length song that proves to be a good opener for the EP.

Second track ‘From The Medicine’ starts off all atmospheric and moody, however it morphs into a solid modern rock track with some nice vocals and some competent musicianship behind it.  The third and last track is an alternate version of ‘Spit You Out’.

If I’m honest, I would have liked to see a couple more songs on this EP.  The band has a great sound and it’s commercially appealing to a crossover audience; it’s not so heavy that it’s going to alienate a less ‘rock’ audience, however I can see these tracks going over well in rock clubs across the board.  It certainly made me want to get up and dance …

Into The Fire EP pic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ‘Spit You Out’ video is scheduled to be released as part of a special EP bundle, due out on 30 September 2016 through Pavement Entertainment. Bryan Scott engineered, produced and mixed both tracks, with James Murphy having mastered them.  The EP is described as a ‘raw and stripped down rock sound with modern elements’.

Check out the EP trailer here

  • For fans of  – Theory Of A Deadman, Sixx:AM
  • Review score – 8/10

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NEWS – Into The Fire release eponymous debut EP

What do you get if you take one part The Union Underground, two parts SOiL and one part Evanescence and blend it all up in one big musical melting pot?  Well, you get something pretty awesome, let me tell you.

Into The Fire band pic

The concept of Into The Fire was the 2013 brainchild of SOiL’s bassist Tim King, The Union Underground vocalist Bryan Scott and guitarist Adam Zadel, also from SOiL.  Friend and stick man, Will Hunt (Evanescence) completed the line up.

“I was sitting around with Adam one day talking about who would be great to jam with”, states bassist Tim King. “I shot Bryan Scott a text message and Into The Fire was born a day later.”

As Bryan puts it “As soon as Tim sent me the material, I immediately had ideas and started putting vocals down.  The music had the perfect vibe for what I wanted to do.”

Into The Fire EP pic

The first video from the American hard rock quartet, ‘Spit You Out’ is scheduled to be released as part of a special EP bundle, due out on 30 September 2016 through Pavement Entertainment. Bryan Scott engineered, produced and mixed that track, as well as the second release from the EP, ‘From The Medicine’.  Both tracks were mastered by James Murphy and are described as a ‘raw and stripped down rock sound with modern elements’.

Check out the EP trailer here and be sure to keep your eyes peeled as I’ll be reviewing Into The Fire for your pleasure in the not too distant future!

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For media enquiries, contact Rob Town at Stampede Press or visit Stampede Press