Mark Tremonti burst onto the rock scene in the late ’90s as lead guitarist with Creed. His roaring guitar riffs and unique song writing skills quickly gained him recognition with both fans and critics. After the band’s demise, Mark and two other members, Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips, teamed up with Myles Kennedy to become Alter Bridge and achieve world wide success – and I, like many others, am a fan of both bands.
But being the workaholic he is, Mark decided to team up with life long friends Eric Friedman (guitar) and Garret Whitlock (drums) for his solo debut album ‘All I Was’, showcasing his other talent, singing. Wolfgang Van Halen (bass/backing vocals) soon joined them and Tremonti was born. They are about to release their third studio album, ‘Dust’, on April 29 through Fret12 Records.
The heavy guitar riff, thundering drums and Mark’s gravelly vocals on the first track ‘My Last Mistake’ grabs the listener by the balls. It is a far heavier sound than what his fans are used to but metal at it’s best. His passion for his music is unmistakable, as it defies your ears to do nothing but listen, and I can’t help but get carried away with the ride and bang my head as I write this.
The next track, ‘The Cage’ is equally heavy and Whitlock’s double kicks get your heart racing. These musicians are as tight as a badger’s ass and the heavier style really suits Mark’s vocal skills; his range and expression are massive. The forcefulness continues with ‘Once Dead’, another brilliant song full of high energy and angst leaving me wanting more.
The title track, ‘Dust’, allows Mark’s softer side to come the fore as the first verse is a lonely sounding guitar and soulful vocals building into a massive chorus only to mellow back again slightly for the next verse then rise to the crescendo end. A beautiful melodic song and the solo only proves his huge talent as a guitarist. ‘Betray Me’ blasts through the speakers with a high speed tempo and throws it straight into the listener’s face and, of course, ears as he asks the question “How could you betray me?” with such venom, only to calmly tell us that another excuse is not enough and most of us can connect with this. The title gives away the lyrical content of this track. The thundery melodic guitars and in your face drums on ‘Tore My Heart Out’ balance out the vocally heartfelt pain of a break up, which most of us have experienced, as he pleads “Is it too late?” The emptiness of emotion and hurt are eerily apparent in the lyrics.
Anger and aggression pulse through ‘Catching Fire’, in the lyrics and guitars backed by the tremendous bass line and double kicks. I can’t help but feel it rising in my blood as I listen. The influence that Tremonti had in his previous band (Creed) is obvious in ‘Never Wrong’, a song about fighting back against injustice in the world. This track is purely Mark’s unique and obvious style: melodic to the extreme and the complexity of the layers run smoothly within this masterfully composed song. ‘Rising Storm’ is full speed ahead, the rip-roaring solo tears the skin off your eardrums, leaving them bleeding in a pleasurable way. Final track ‘Unable To See’ begins with a beautiful classic style guitar piece: the second guitar and vocals join in as we are told about trust issues; it builds magnificently into a very hope inspiring masterpiece, only to fade back to a soulful, calming climax.
This is an album full of passion, angst, pain and life experience and it only goes to solidify the amazing reputation that Mark Tremonti has gained throughout his career.
My Last Mistake / The Cage/ Once Dead / Dust / Betray Me / Tore My Heart Out / Catching Fire / Never Wrong / Rising Storm / Unable To See
Recommended listening: Betray Me
- ‘Dust’ is released via Fret12 Records on Friday 29 April.
- Tremonti play Download on Sunday 12 June and the Limelight 2 in Belfast on Tuesday 14 January.