Tremonti - All I Was (2012) Sept 8, 2012 14:15:53 GMT -5
Post by Erik Rupp on Sept 8, 2012 14:15:53 GMT -5
Creed, for an awful lot of people, sure has become a dirty word.
Understandably so. Scott Stapp's wannabe Eddie Vedder vocals can get pretty annoying pretty quickly, making the band's lack of originality a bigger issue than it might be otherwise.
When Creed fell apart the musical core of the band, guitarist Mark Tremonti, bass player Brian Marshall, and drummer Scott Phillips brought in vocalist Myles Kennedy and formed Alter Bridge, which was a noticeable improvement on Creed.
But as Alter Bridge only met with marginal success Creed found itself back in existence, and Kennedy went off to join Slash. The future of Alter Bridge was left hanging.
Meanwhile, back at the BatCave Mark Tremonti was working on an outlet for his more aggressive musical tendencies. This outlet was his first solo album, simply under the name Tremonti, and it is filled with the heavier side of Tremonti's music. AND it features Mark Tremonti on lead vocals as well as guitar.
Which is nice and all, but is it any good?
Yes, it is. How good it is depends on your take on modern Hard Rock.
All I Was falls squarely in the middle between Creed and Avenged Sevenfold's latest album, Nightmare with some bits of Metallica, Black Sabbath, and Testament thrown into the mix for good measure. It's got a fair amount of double-bass drumming from Garrett Whitlock (who tends to overplay just a little here, attempting to match Mike Portnoy's playing on the latest Avenged Sevenfold album, the aforementioned Nightmare), and the songs are filled with heavy riffs and decent vocal melodies. Tremonti's vocals are also fairly good, too - in some respects he's a better singer than Scott Stapp.
The whole thing is very slick, very professional. The mix is HUGE, with an incredibly thick, beefy guitar tone. The downside to that tone is that it sounds just a little too processed and compressed and lacks any real character. Tremonti's vocals are very midrangey, but his voice is pretty strong within that range. His voice has the warmth and character that the guitar tone does not.
But the songs, what about the songs?
Yes, that is the bottom line. How good are the songs?
They're good. Very good. But like Creed they lack originality. They literally sound like Creed trying to compete with the Avenged Sevenfold's of the world. Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing as the songs find a fairly good balance most of the time between heaviness and melody. There aren't any screamo vocals here, which is another positive aspect to the album.
And Tremonti does mix it up quite a bit. From the mid tempo songs like, "Leave It Alone," and, "Giving Up," to the rapid fire tempos of, "So You're Afraid," and, "Wish You Well," to the heavy power ballads like, "The Things I've Seen," and, "New Way Out," the songs are all over the place as far as tempos and moods go.
But there is still a sameness to style and delivery that drags the album down a bit. The mastering job shows the current trend of overcompressing the music for optimal use with ear buds on an MP3 player or iPod. Combine the sameness of style and delivery, the overcompression, and the lack of originality and the album is dragged down from being as good as it could have been. It could have been better for sure.
On the other hand, it could have been a lot worse. All I Was is better than most Creed albums, and is marginally better than the Alter Bridge albums, so that's a good thing.
The songs are all fairly well crafted for the kind of music found on the album, but there is a lack of feeling that holds the whole proceedings back. It feels a little cold and mechanical musically. And vocally Tremonti's fairly middle of the road on everything, even on the heavier tracks. Maybe if he develops a little more confidence to stretch out as a singer, and if he relies less on studio magic to make the album big where it should be more human Mark Tremonti can make that great solo album. He's certainly a very talented guitar player, as Creed and Alter Bridge fans have been saying for years. There is no denying his chops - he is a very, very good player.
Still, the album is listenable and enjoyable if you're in the right mood. It may not be great, but it is good, and that's a good start for a solo career.