Hopefully if you're a regular reader of all things Alter Bridge, you'll have visited us a few times in the past to catch roundups of guitarist Mark Tremonti's outstanding solo albums, or even to indulge in what it truly means to be part of The AB Nation.
Most recently though, Alter Bridge have released the title of their fifth album, The Last Hero, alongside some awesome superhero-looking artwork and a tracklisting.
Contrasting the apocalyptic look of Fortress and the sublime, tome-like cover of AB III, it's the first time we've seen artwork that could reflect a wider artistic focus on upcoming tours and merchandise. After all, why design what looks to be a 'main character' and not totally run with it? Trivium themed their entire In Waves run off the back of a specific story and concept, and historically it's always worked - just look at Iron Maiden!
Regardless, the artwork is immediately very visually striking, so let's take stock of everything that's going on...
Many times over the years, the band have expressed interest in moving away from repeatedly covering the same personal topics over and over.
In my own interview with guitarist Mark Tremonti, he noted that he "love[s] to write it all personal, but some times you just haven't gone through anything to inspire that. You can't sing about the same thing over and over again."
This comes after singer Myles Kennedy wrote two albums with Slash as well as Alter Bridge's Fortress in quick succession, as after completing such a huge amount of material, he also had to expand his capabilities as a songwriter. This resulted in Fortress' 'Calm the Fire' being directly inspired by racial tensions across the globe, World on Fire's Beneath the Savage Sun delving into the poaching of ivory and hunting of elephants, and The Unholy centring on the abuse of power within the church.
2010's AB III was a personally-influenced tale of Myles' dissolution with the music business told through songs and metaphorical lyrics, and you can bet you bottom dollar both he and Tremonti have crafted an entire story surrounding who (or what) 'The Last Hero' truly is.