The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

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BSC
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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby BSC » Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:37 pm

I've just listened to the album for the first time and have some very brief thoughts. I know it's a very premature opinion, but I think it's cool to document your initial thoughts to look back in the future.

When I listen to a new album, I want to be surprised, I don't want to be able to predict where each song is going to go. My first listen of Fortress floored me, Cry of Achilles, Bleed it Dry, Lover, Calm the Fire, Fortress and Waters Rising all pleasantly surprised me.

I thought Side of Fate was cool, I really loved Island of Fools and the title track had some interesting moments which I'm looking forward to revisiting.

On first listen the album doesn't sound particularly well produced. I'm overwhelmed by the quantity of boring, monotonous choruses. There's some interesting guitars parts weaved into mostly underwhelming songs. I don't feel like the rhythm section have progressed in their playing to make a significant contribution to the first impressions of this album.

I'm not particularly disappointed, my expectations weren't high from the songs I had heard, just a bit underwhelmed. I was hoping that Alter Bridge would reinvent their sound slightly (I don't feel like there's any progression), but it sounds like they've established their market and they know what their market likes. I'm sure the album will grow on me after more focused listens.

Not bad, not particularly great.

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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby AB23 » Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:43 pm

Felypesh wrote:So, in how many hours starts the live stream?


I don't even know what time I'm supposed to be there
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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby alterchris » Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:49 pm

Ok so I've now listened to each song five to six times. So much so that the music was in my head all night while I slept lol.

A few of the songs have really grown on me like Island of Fools and The Last Hero. Others still don't do much for me.

My criteria consist of a simple 2-part score (lyric & melody). Again, this is just my opinion.

1 - Show Me a Leader: Lyric (7/10), Melody (9.5/10). Avg score: 8.25/10

Notes - great intro with a catchy chorus. I can see why this was their first single. Easily the most radio-friendly for the masses.
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2 - The Writing On the Wall: Lyric (7/10), Melody (5.5/10). Avg score: 6.25/10

Notes - this song really does nothing for me. Sounds like a filler or B-side to my ears.
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3 - The Other Side: Lyric (10/10), Melody (8/10). Avg score: 9/10

Notes - melody and lyric match beautifully - both creepy as hell. Nice & catchy riff in the pre-chorus as well as the chorus. Feels like this song could be in a horror movie.
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4 - My Champion: Lyric (7/10), Melody (9/10). Avg score: 8/10

Notes - I'm probably an outlier here in that I actually like this song quite a bit; however, the lyric in the pre-chorus/chorus sounds like it could be in a Katy Perry song. I dig the guitar in the beginning of the song and Mark's little riff to kick off each new verse. I also dig the tone of Myles voice in the pre-chorus.
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5 - Poison In Your Veins: Lyric (7/10), Melody (6.5/10). Avg score: 6.75/10

Notes - not a great song but not a bad song either. Dig the guitar in the verse and Myles voice in this song.
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6 - Cradle To the Grave: Lyric (10/10), Melody (10/10). Avg score: 10/10

Notes - best song on the album in my opinion... and it's not even close. Great intro with some clean Tremonti guitar transitioning into a heavy riff, then back to a really catchy clean guitar riff. Myles growling tone is great in the verse and the lyric/story is fantastic. Chorus melody is unexpected but terrific in itself once it transitions back to "Where (or who) will be my hiding place". Bridge seemed awkward to me at first but after multiple listens I love how this song is put together. This song has that "chill" factor in my opinion.
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7 - Losing Patience: Lyric (7/10), Melody (7/10). Avg score: 7/10

Notes - I really like Mark's guitar work in the verse and love his guitar in the bridge. The melody seems rather bland in spots and better in others. I'll definitely listen to this song to break things up but it won't be a go-to song.
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8 - This Side of Fate: Lyric (10/10), Melody (5.5/10). Avg score: 7.75/10

Notes - many will disagree with me here. The lyric is terrific but the melody, to me, is awkward as hell in the chorus. I love the pace of the song but again the melody just sounds off to my ears. There is plenty of creativity in this song which does make it stand out on it's own. Like many have said it takes you on a journey with unexpected turns. Love Mark's solo.
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9 - You Will Be Remembered: Lyric (9/10), Melody (9.5/10). Avg score: 9.25/10

Notes - this song is melodic all the way through, from the verse to the pre-chorus to the chorus. The message reminds of the same in One by One, but obviously a slower song. Catchy, feel-good tune to break up the harder stuff on this album.
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10 - Crows On a Wire: Lyric (9.5/10), Melody (9.5/10). Avg score: 9.5/10

Notes - love the killer riff at the beginning of the song. Then it get's a bit heavy for my taste prior to the verse, but then it calms down a bit during the verse... I like it. Great chorus. Love the tone from Myles in this song... solo is hard but melodic. I dig how the song ends
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11 - Twilight: Lyric (9/10), Melody (7/10). Avg score: 8/10

Notes - the story told in this song is nice. I like the guitar-work throughout the song. The chorus is pretty good but not overly-great in my opinion. Bridge is cool and of course a terrific solo by Mark in this one.
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12 - Island of Fools: Lyric (9.5/10), Melody (9.5/10). Avg score: 9.5/10

Notes - Love the intro, then it gets a bit heavy for my taste, but then a really catchy guitar riff in the verse. I didn't initially dig the melody in the song until the chorus started... fantastic chorus and it all blends nicely. Love the bridge and you can clearly hear Mark as well. Song ends abruptly like many others on this album but what the hell, great song!
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13 - The Last Hero: Lyric (10/10), Melody (7/10). Avg score: 8/10

Notes - I love the story told in this song. Again, the melody was ok at times and good at times. Parts of the song sounded like a video game to my ears. The bridge, solo, and ending of the song were the best parts in my opinion. I believe this particular song will grow on me over time.
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14 - Last of our Kind: Lyric (8/10), Melody (7/10). Avg score: 7.5/10

Notes - this does sound like the song could have come off of AB III. Stylistically it just sounds like it fits on that particular album. An interesting song but neither great or bad.
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15 - BONUS TRACK - Breathe: Lyric (10/10), Melody (9/10). Avg score: 9.5/10

Notes - it's like I found a time capsule. Hearing Myles voice on this song, you can definitely tell this song came from the ODR era. The song lacks the complicated layers of today's AB music. Myles voice, Tremonti's guitar... man a refreshing song for those who appreciate AB's first record. I'm glad they released this song. Probably one of my favorite from the Best Buy exclusive version of the CD.
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All in all, if AB did what they wanted on this record then good for them. I tend to think that there is a little bit of everything on this album and something for everyone.
Last edited by alterchris on Fri Oct 07, 2016 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby dFhimz » Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:50 pm

I don't have the time to read the 10 new pages that have come out in this thread since this morning but I thought I'd just chime in on the production criticisms. I'm taking an audio recording class and today the lecture was about loudness/dynamic range. We basically learned that over the past couple decades "loudness" has been favored as a means towards selling records because people hear a big loud sound and fall in love with that. So the producer will cut out the transients/peaks until the sound wave is basically a compressed block, then crank up the gain/volume to make it effing loud.

The irony is that the programs we use to listen to music (iTunes, streaming services, YouTube, etc) normalize everything to sound the same, which leads to a lot of music produced like AB being reduced in volume. So basically the dynamic range (aka nuances) are stripped from a track so that it can then be turned into a loud massive sound blob, but it's counteracted by music players lowering the loudness level anyway. So it's basically for nothing. This is the state of the majority of audio production today and it needs to change
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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby Jim » Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:52 pm

Felypesh wrote:So, in how many hours starts the live stream?


https://www.facebook.com/LiveNationTV/

Head over at 4pm EST to catch the guys backstage
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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby Jim » Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:54 pm

@alterchris your opinion on the album is very similar to mine!
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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby alterchris » Fri Oct 07, 2016 4:00 pm

Jim wrote:@alterchris your opinion on the album is very similar to mine!


Amen! Glad I'm not alone.

Cradle To the Grave is such a great song - I sure hope they play this one live!!!
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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby Jaded Rescue » Fri Oct 07, 2016 4:03 pm

dFhimz wrote:I don't have the time to read the 10 new pages that have come out in this thread since this morning but I thought I'd just chime in on the production criticisms. I'm taking an audio recording class and today the lecture was about loudness/dynamic range. We basically learned that over the past couple decades "loudness" has been favored as a means towards selling records because people hear a big loud sound and fall in love with that. So the producer will cut out the transients/peaks until the sound wave is basically a compressed block, then crank up the gain/volume to make it effing loud.

The irony is that the programs we use to listen to music (iTunes, streaming services, YouTube, etc) normalize everything to sound the same, which leads to a lot of music produced like AB being reduced in volume. So basically the dynamic range (aka nuances) are stripped from a track so that it can then be turned into a loud massive sound blob, but it's counteracted by music players lowering the loudness level anyway. So it's basically for nothing. This is the state of the majority of audio production today and it needs to change

Exactly. And this is why I can listen to a "loud" band like AC/DC for two hours without ear fatigue, even if most of their songs sound similar, because this wasn't so much of an issue in the 70s and early 80s. But then I put on The Last Hero and my ears are dead 3-4 songs in.

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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby Jim » Fri Oct 07, 2016 4:05 pm

alterchris wrote:
Jim wrote:@alterchris your opinion on the album is very similar to mine!


Amen! Glad I'm not alone.

Cradle To the Grave is such a great song - I sure hope they play this one live!!!


It's my #1 on the album, always my go to when I listen
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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby AB4Lyfe » Fri Oct 07, 2016 4:20 pm

In the backstage live stream, Mark motioned to the setlist, but they didn't show it in the video. Damn :(
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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby Jim » Fri Oct 07, 2016 4:23 pm

It didn't last as long as I expected it to
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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby AB4Lyfe » Fri Oct 07, 2016 4:27 pm

Jim wrote:It didn't last as long as I expected it to


If I had a nickel...
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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby anguyen92 » Fri Oct 07, 2016 4:28 pm

Well, finished listening to the album. Felt fast as well despite its long length. For me, there are no bad Alter Bridge albums. Just albums that has various degrees of greatness and pretty much albums that I would easily state as the undisputed favorite album of the year. For The Last Hero, that is no exception.

I understand the fair criticisms (the loudness, the multiple Myles vocal layerings, them going for a heavier direction, etc.) that these fair people in these boards has. Yet despite these gripes, I enjoy the album. It felt like they had more of a sense of urgency in these songs and they should have that, given the theme of the album. I will echo that Cradle to the Grave was an immediate first favorite of the album, straight away. Twilight, surprisingly to me, was another favorite. I thought Twilight would be a sappy ballad like All Ends Well (I do like me some sappy ballads like All Ends Well though), but it had the vibe of Make it Right, but more enjoyable to hear. The only gripe was that it ended so sudden. One of the many great qualities of AB (and there are a lot) was that they end their songs strong without any suspense, but Twilight did not have that which just frustrates me, since it was such a strong song to me.

I like how with The Last Hero song, they went straight away with the verses, no great/epic instrumental intro. Just "Can you hear the marching, beating of the drums?......." and I say they once again delivered another solid title track song and another great closing album song. The Last of Our Kind was really good, filling that one AB bonus track song that somehow is more enjoyable than some of the songs in the album. Breathe is all right, I guess. A bit on the short end though, but that's fine.

In the end, I think AB knew their strengths, musically, and filled out what I expected them to do. I don't think I had that feeling where I was like "They didn't do this in a song. Why??????" I guess some production parts could have been tidied up better and maybe they could have not gone too crazy with the multiple Myles vocals, but aside from that, this was just another top-caliber album from AB. I won't bother with the rating and stuff. I just know I'm probably not going to hear another album, this year, that's as enjoyable to me as The Last Hero.

Favorites: Cradle to the Grave, This Side of Fate, Twilight, Island of Fools, and The Last Hero.

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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby Lotha » Fri Oct 07, 2016 4:41 pm

AB4Lyfe wrote:
Jim wrote:It didn't last as long as I expected it to


If I had a nickel...


HAHAHHAAH I burst out laughing at this
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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby MuffinMcFluffin » Fri Oct 07, 2016 4:51 pm

Yup, "wall of sound" describes this perfectly.

You have one of the best singers and one of the best guitarists in the world, yet their pipes and riffs are being hovered over by... layers of other things, even if it's themselves.

This is not how you mix an album. Baskette has to go. Period.

I wish I could say more about the songs, but I can't even hear them! They are behind a bunch of loaded crap!

This is not like ODR. This is not like BB. This is not like AB III. This is not like Fortress. It is its own unique sound, and it putrid.

I think I liked the majority of the songs, though they were mostly one-note, but I honestly just can't tell. I'll have to wait till I play it on my HT system at my house, but I mostly listen to my music in my car. I had no problems with the other albums. None whatsoever.

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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby anguyen92 » Fri Oct 07, 2016 4:58 pm

All right, I'm going to call it now in the future. If AB does make a 6th album, and they do somehow managed to not have Elvis as the producer, the same album problems you guys may have will occur. I'm calling it.

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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby Lotha » Fri Oct 07, 2016 4:59 pm

They may, or may not. Honestly MANY albums in the recent 3-4 years suffer from subpar mixing. Have no idea why, but it's getting frustrating. At least from what I've sampled ofc.
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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby Ubik » Fri Oct 07, 2016 5:02 pm

anguyen92 wrote:Well, finished listening to the album. Felt fast as well despite its long length. For me, there are no bad Alter Bridge albums. Just albums that has various degrees of greatness and pretty much albums that I would easily state as the undisputed favorite album of the year. For The Last Hero, that is no exception.

I understand the fair criticisms (the loudness, the multiple Myles vocal layerings, them going for a heavier direction, etc.) that these fair people in these boards has. Yet despite these gripes, I enjoy the album. It felt like they had more of a sense of urgency in these songs and they should have that, given the theme of the album. I will echo that Cradle to the Grave was an immediate first favorite of the album, straight away. Twilight, surprisingly to me, was another favorite. I thought Twilight would be a sappy ballad like All Ends Well (I do like me some sappy ballads like All Ends Well though), but it had the vibe of Make it Right, but more enjoyable to hear. The only gripe was that it ended so sudden. One of the many great qualities of AB (and there are a lot) was that they end their songs strong without any suspense, but Twilight did not have that which just frustrates me, since it was such a strong song to me.

I like how with The Last Hero song, they went straight away with the verses, no great/epic instrumental intro. Just "Can you hear the marching, beating of the drums?......." and I say they once again delivered another solid title track song and another great closing album song. The Last of Our Kind was really good, filling that one AB bonus track song that somehow is more enjoyable than some of the songs in the album. Breathe is all right, I guess. A bit on the short end though, but that's fine.

In the end, I think AB knew their strengths, musically, and filled out what I expected them to do. I don't think I had that feeling where I was like "They didn't do this in a song. Why??????" I guess some production parts could have been tidied up better and maybe they could have not gone too crazy with the multiple Myles vocals, but aside from that, this was just another top-caliber album from AB. I won't bother with the rating and stuff. I just know I'm probably not going to hear another album, this year, that's as enjoyable to me as The Last Hero.

Favorites: Cradle to the Grave, This Side of Fate, Twilight, Island of Fools, and The Last Hero.

Glad you enjoyed Kev!

Also echo your thoughts about the beginning of the Last Hero, love that it keeps the momentum going from being belted continually over the head by Island of Fools.
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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby Felypesh » Fri Oct 07, 2016 5:04 pm

I'm thinking that the mixing is maybe not the actual problem, the problem is the overload of guitars on songs, I mean come on Alter Bridge has 2 guitars not like 5 at the same fucking time.

Edit: Same with vocals.
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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby MuffinMcFluffin » Fri Oct 07, 2016 5:08 pm

anguyen92 wrote:All right, I'm going to call it now in the future. If AB does make a 6th album, and they do somehow managed to not have Elvis as the producer, the same album problems you guys may have will occur. I'm calling it.

If they do, then I'm going to have a word or two for Alter Bridge.

Felypesh wrote:I'm thinking that the mixing is maybe not the actual problem, the problem is the overload of guitars on songs, I mean come on Alter Bridge has 2 guitars not like 5 at the same fucking time.

Edit: Same with vocals.

To me, that's a part of "mixing." Deciding what to include and what not to.

I apologize if I'm using the incorrect term to describe everything that happens post-production. I mean if they play these songs live, they probably would all sound great.


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