@planetmosh reviews Cauterize by .@tremontiproject on .@FRET12
Mark Tremonti is in the unusual position of releasing this, only his second solo album, having already sold 40 million records worldwide. As part of Creed and Alter Bridge he has seen massive success and won prestigious awards which recognised him as one of the best guitar players in the world. He will be in the UK this month, including a slot at Download but before that he releases the first of a double shot of albums, Cauterize, on June 8th. It will be followed in the near future by a second album of new material, Dust.
Tremonti has put together a team that is bursting with talent and experience, from his band to his producer. The band is comprised of Tremonti himself on vocals and guitars, Eric “Erock” Friedman on guitars, Garrett Whitlock on drums and Wolfgang van Halen on bass. Both records have been produced by Michael “Elvis” Baskette, who is known for his work with Alter Bridge and Slash. Following tours supporting Tremonti’s debut album All I Was and Alter Bridge’s Fortress writing began in Orlando in 2014. It soon became clear that the body of work that had been created was two albums worth and it was decided it would be cathartic to release all of it. The first ten of those tracks have become Cauterize.
According to Tremonti there are three elements to building a song. Melody is the key, which is then combined with elements of speed metal, and finally the song is completed by the addition of polyrhythms, which give it colour. All of these elements are present throughout the album, at varying levels, and the result is something simultaneously eclectic but coherent. From the frantic speed of opener Radical Change to the stadium rock chorus of Sympathy this album covers the spectrum and is as uplifting as it is exciting. Something that often gets overlooked in Alter Bridge is the fact that Tremonti has a brilliant rock voice. As good as Myles Kennedy is it’s a shame to ignore that so as well as being another chance to hear Tremonti’s phenomenal guitar work it’s good to also hear his voice.
Further to the decision to release two albums in order to “purge” the body of work he’s written, the lyrical content in Cauterize also comes across as an attempt to offload some baggage. There are some fairly dark, negative themes dealt with here. Flying Monkeys is a standout track for me. Everyone will recognise the Wizard of Oz reference, but the song itself is about someone who holds a grudge and can’t move on, someone Tremonti says he doesn’t want to be. It’s one of the catchiest riffs on the album and only gets catchier with repeated listens. First single Another Heart and title track Cauterize go a long way towards reinforcing the cathartic nature of this release. Another Heart speaks of hypocritical people we all know and don’t want to be like, and Cauterize repeats “make us pure again.” Dark Trip reinforces the theme. “It’s hard to tell the moment it went wrong.” The guitar solo in that song is incredible, so dark and brooding, it begs to be played loud. This record seems to be a way for Mark Tremonti to get a lot of things off his mind, and it’ll be interesting to see if Dust follows the same path or shows a progression, having unloaded all the negativity through Cauterize.
Considering the angst in the lyrics this is actually a very enjoyable, uplifting listen. The melodies are strong, the riffs are catchy and as a collection of songs it has a coherence that makes it flow. Tremonti play Download later this month as well as a select few headline shows. This is an album that will play very well live and audiences at those shows are in for a treat.
Tie The Noose