Thursday, September 6, 2012

Album Review: "All That I Was" by Tremonti

I'm still trying to figure out why I have purchased this album, let alone listened to it. Let me get some things off of my chest before I get to Mark Tremonti's latest project, "All I Was."

I hate Creed and I think Alter Bridge is very average, but that's really a big step in the right direction in my mind. Now, let's go back about twelve years...

In 2000, VH1 released their Creed episode of the wildly popular show, Behind the Music. I watched every episode of the show, so I did see the Creed episode. There were two things about it that really got on my nerves. The first being that VH1 treated the band Creed as thought it was Scott Stapp's solo project instead of a band. Mark Tremonti was the Ray Manzerek to Stapp's Jim Morrison, in that he wrote the vast majority of the music, and Stapp wrote the lyrics and in the Behind the Music, Tremonti had about 45 seconds of face time. The second being that Stapp's parents had more face time than the rest of the band combined. Ok, let's flash back forward to 2012.

So, the band that is, or was, Creed has now become another incarnation of itself and that is Tremonti, though this is Mark Tremonti's solo project and he's written all songs, lyrics, and handles the vocal duties. Eric Friedman playing rhythm guitar and bass on the project and Creed/Alter Bridge dummer, Garrett Whitlock is sitting in his usual stool. Like Naruku from Inuyasha, this band has become another incarnation of itself. Considering I don't like the two other projects, why in the world am I reviewing this one? Strangely enough it goes back to that Behind the Music.

When Scott Stapp was peddling his sob story of his hard upbringing and being kicked out of school, he talked about meeting up with a guitar player who was playing riffs like Metallica. He wasn't into that kind of playing, but that was all he could find, so they hooked up. What I didn't know at the time, is that he wasn't crazy and he did know what Metallica sounded like and that Mark Tremonti wasn't playing that in Creed. Upon reading his interview in Guitar World, Mark Tremonti talked about how this album is a celebration of how metal he always was, and apparently still is.

This album is a non-stop metal tour de force that pays homage to Mark's guitar heroes left and right. Upon cursory listens, I heard the Metallica influence all over this ablum. There are chugging palm muted riffs that are so strong they could pull a fully loaded coal train and just as dark as the coal. Like a coal train, these riffs just chugga chugga without stopping until it's time for the solo. Mark plays searing leads in every track, from soulful and melodic solos to full on face melting shreds. The songwriting really doesn't need to be mentioned, as we've heard countless songs that Mark Tremonti has written over the years that not even haters like me could deride for being poorly written.

The only place where this album gets even a little weak is in the vocals. Can anyone honestly say they didn't expect that at least a little bit though? He sings like he's a guitar player. The vocals are fairly monotone and they don't really add much to the songs. However, they are neither taking anything away from the songs, nor distracting from them. His vocals greatly remind me of the Bruce Kulick solo albums. Like Mark Tremonti,  Bruce is a guitar player by trade and not a vocalist and his solo albums are more about the guitar playing than the vocals, and they are also definitely worth checking out too.

To sum up, this is a very good album by a guitar player who wanted to stretch his wings a bit and play the music he grew up loving without three other guys getting in any changing it up. If you like metal, then you should buy this album and try to catch them on tour.

Genre: Metal
Year: 2012
1) Leave It Alone
2) So You're Afraid
3) Wish You Well
4) Brains
5) The Things I've Seen
6) You Waste Your Time
7) New Way Out
8) Giving Up
9) Proof
10) All I Was
11) Doesn't Matter
12) Decay

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