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Tremonti – Marching in Time Award winner

Tremonti
Marching in Time
by Mark Machlay at 18 October 2021, 12:49 PM

The unrelenting machine Mark Tremonti has prepared another offering to the never satiated hunger of the metal gods with the fifth release, “Marching in Time” via his solo band TREMONTI. The man has certainly had an interesting career starting out in the mid-90s and early 2000s, riding the wave of the post-grunge movement with the unfairly maligned CREED. As soon as tensions started to build, he began looking for other avenues for a musical outlet and as soon as CREED called it quits for the time being, formed the more alternative metal sounding ALTER BRIDGE with his CREED bandmates asking future vocalist for Slash’s solo project, Myles Kennedy to join them. While Alter Bridge is still going strong, releasing six albums from 2004’s “One Day Remains” to 2019’s “Walk the Sky”, Tremonti has always been a prolific writer and, in my mind, a phenomenal guitar player but I never felt like he could cut loose and really show off his range and ability until his solo work with his aptly named TREMONTI band. Flirting with the idea of speed and thrash metal ever since almost forming a side project with HATEBREED vocalist Jamey Jasta called DOWNSHIFTER in the early 2000s, Tremonti finally found the confidence to jump into that genre and perform lead vocals on top, it’s what I had been waiting for all along.

Alongside former members of SUBMERSED and longtime bandmate Brian Marshall acting as touring bassist, the aptly titled first TREMONTI record “All I Was” was released in 2012 and he finally seemed to achieve that level of heavy, melody and soloing I always envisioned Tremonti could produce. “Cauterize” and “Dust” would follow in 2015 and 2016, both recorded at the same and split so that a better mix of songs could delivered on each. Then came the massively successful concept album “A Dying Machine” in 2016. Now, having a break from his “main” band ALTER BRIDGE and touring in general, TREMONTI returns with “Marching in Time”, paring down the epic conceptual interconnectivity and instead focusing on twelve individual journeys that draw from the current events from the last year to form the basis of each song. The album sees Tremonti continuing to fuse uncompromising thrash-powered fast fretwork, sledgehammer grooves and enlightening melodies to entice just about any metal lover. It is once again produced by long time collaborator Michael “Elvis” Baskette, who has worked with the band exclusively since 2007.

When I first heard CREED’s “My Own Prison” album I was impressed from the beginning but never really dug the singing. I bought ALTER BRIDGE’s first album and enjoyed it but still didn’t think Tremonti hit that creative peak. Then with each TREMONTI solo band release he’s gotten better and better. I enjoyed his previous concept album, but I thought it was a bit bloated and with “Marching in Time” they seem to have gone back to that primal speed metal well with a good mix of groove metal mixed in as well. Both of the first two tracks – “A World Away” and “Now and Forever” – are driving and intense with plenty of melodic hooks with mainstream appeal while being subtly, creatively brilliant. Tremonti himself has a voice similar to ALPHA REV and FLYING COLORS vocalist Casey McPherson which helps to give the song an air of positivity while singing about dour issues like loss and heartbreak. The softer, slower, yet still intense “The Last One of Us” shows the depth of poignancy his voice can hit, but still features one of his signature, intense guitar solos. Similarly, “Not Afraid to Lose” sounds like a good match for typical modern soft-ish rock radio but its intricate and unique structure makes it stand out apart from those typical, banal pieces you may hear on those stations. But, then, he ends it with an absolute banger of an epic with the title track closing in on 8 minutes that straddles so close to prog metal I can clearly hear the John Petrucci influence. Tremonti and his band get better with every release and “Marching in Time” ranks one of the highest in his lengthy catalog for me.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. A World Away
2. Now and Forever
3. If Not for You
4. Thrown Further
5. Let That Be Us
6. The Last One of Us
7. In One Piece
8. Under the Sun
9. Not Afraid to Lose
10. Bleak
11. Would You Kill
12. Marching in Time
Lineup:
Eric Friedman – Rhythm & Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals, Keyboards
Mark Tremonti – Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Lead Vocals
Ryan Bennet – Drums & Percussion
Tanner Keegan – Bass & Backing Vocals
Record Label: Napalm Records
     


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