Mark Tremonti. It’s hard for me to come up with an original, praiseful comment about this guy. With a track record including millions upon millions of albums sold, a Grammy for Best Rock Song in 2001, and being the lead guitarist of one of the most idolized rock bands in the world, Alter Bridge (not to mention my favorite band), Tremonti steps into the rock ring for round two of his solo project with ‘Cauterize,’ the follow up to 2012’s debut ‘All I Was.’
As many of you know, Tremonti was the driving force behind Creed, a popular band in the 90’s and early 2000’s as lead guitarist and songwriter. I don’t think I need to touch on Creed’s success as they’re a multi-platinum and even diamond artist, but once they’re downfall came after numerous issues with lead singer Scott Stapp, Tremonti and Creed bandmates Scott Phillips and Brian Marshall went on to form the astounding Alter Bridge with singer Myles Kennedy (yeah, that guy who made Marky Mark look bad in the end of the movie Rock Star by coming out of the crowd to sing).
Tremonti has found massive — and continued — success through Alter Bridge, having now released four critically-acclaimed records. (He’s about to start work on a fifth.) Tremonti has stepped up to the mic, singing in addition to performing lead guitar work for the Tremonti Project, a band formed originally with Creed and Alter Bridge bassist Brian Marshall, guitarist Eric Friedman and drummer Garrett Whitlock. For round two, ‘Cauterize’, Brian Marshall took a back seat and Wolfgang Van Halen (yes, Eddie’s son) stepped in as the bassist to help bring this hard-hitting sophomore album to light.
‘Cauterize’ starts with a gut-punch. Tremonti shines with his heavy, speed metal talents that might turn a lighter listener away, or those who aren’t into the classic sounds of 70’s and 80’s guitar-driven music. ‘Cauterize’ starts heavy but can’t resist breaking down into catchy rock-anthem melodies like in the title track or it’s later songs.(We’ve seen this many times from Tremonti before.) His songs loosen their bloody grip just enough to become that somewhat friendly, borderline calming piece strictly do to his remarkable vocal showcase. The album tends to come out from the darkness as it leads on, and finally ends on the track ‘Providence,’ which is a great summation of what the album encompasses.
The rock scene is overlooked by the masses (at least in the U.S.) today because it’s oversaturated with pop and rap, but with songs like ‘Another Heart’ and ‘Sympathy,’ that still have that heavy bite with radio friendly choruses, I can see Tremonti making a splash into the mainstream music scene with this album. Last I checked he was sitting at No. 1 rock album on iTunes and within the top 10 overall, so this wishful thinking might have some credence to it.
Overall, Tremonti’s second album is exactly what you’d expect from him, and I don’t mean that in a way that he hasn’t grown or evolved as an artist. Tremonti comes at you with force and delivers tracks from start to finish that you can emotionally relate to, groove to, and count on to be perfectly crafted for your ears via his legendary musical talents. I’m not someone who likes to give impressions or review a piece of work only to put a score on it, but I’ll say this could turn out to be my favorite rock album of the year. Unless of course, ‘Dust,’ the third album Tremonti has in the pipe releases this year as well and steals the glory.
‘Cauterize’ dropped June 9 on iTunes, so make sure to go check it out for yourself. Support this music legend Mark Tremonti, and he might just show you some love back: He gladly listened to one of my dear friends’ guitar work mere months ago and provided feedback.
What a guy!