Review By Fiona Duignan for MPM
Mark Tremonti, renowned guitarist and song-writer, has blessed music lovers with his fifth album titled ‘Marching In Time’ via Napalm Records.
We are more that familiar with Termonti’s work with bands Alter Bridge and Creed, and his solo band is very much on an equal footing in terms of creativity and originality in the world of hard rock and metal, perhaps even thrash emerging at times.
And this is why it’s brilliant because you can’t really put a clearly defined label on the musical style, the mark of pure genius in my humble (or perhaps not so humble) opinion.
Don’t for a second underestimate his vocals – they are sensational and a perfect match for every song, with consistent, immaculate delivery.
Bass nuts like myself, will be overjoyed with the monstrous, ominous sounds thudding throughout from the very first thump of the strings – pure joy for any decent speakers.
A word of warning though – don’t put your dinner in the oven before you hit play. I burnt mine to a bloody crisp.
‘A World Away’ hooked me in straight away with a dirty bass intro followed swiftly by intense pounding on the drums…it’s no wonder they had to stop for a rest before Mark started to sing.
And what a welcome vocal it is. There are so many layers and tempos in this track and everyone has their moments to shine, showing off the range of skill and diversity, the nasty, sexy bass never letting up. An opening track as powerful as this made me salivate, not just because it’s brilliant but because it’s a sign of what’s to come on the rest of the album. Check out the official live video just released.
Now and Forever: God, these guys love an almighty powerful intro! Insane double kick drum to knock you over, yet still melodic. How do they do it? The breakdown is so damn gnarly, you will be chewing your fingernails until you remember you have to sing.
‘If Not For You’ is less frantic, with intricate fret work and really emotional vocals. This is the beauty of heavy rock married to passion and melody. Check out the video and give yourself plenty of time to listen to it again and again and again.
Be prepared to run when ‘Thrown Further’ blasts into your ears! If you listen to this while walking your dogs, there will be flames coming out of your runners and you just won’t stop. There is so much energy from start to finish and my heart rate went up listening to it. So I played it again.
‘Let That Be Us’ starts with mosh inducing insanity and I would kill to be at a Tremonti gig! There is a pretty epic drum breakdown that sounds like Thor running amok in the clouds – gods beware.
‘The Last One of Us’ leads in with light, bare strings. It’s quite a powerful song to my ears and it’s nice to hear the slightly softer side. The fretwork is not lessened at all, and for me the focus was on the vocals and lyrics. I can imagine this at an unplugged set and how wonderful it would be.
Lyrically ‘In One Piece’ rips out next. It’s quite ominous and it does not bode well for a relationship. Tremonti says that you are his…who can argue with that? We are fans for a reason. ‘Under The Sun’ is the perfect follow up song because it questions the depth of devotion. Or perhaps it doesn’t. The breakdown is musically ominous and there is a complex riff to drive the message home. There is a different vocal style in parts that you can’t ignore.
“Not ashamed of the scares that define me” are the opening words to ‘Not Afraid to Lose’, which sets the tone of the track, and more positive than the previous two songs. It’s poignant and tells us about what devotion and love is and can be. Don’t worry, it’s not mushy or a sob story and every note is a pleasure to hear, with less emphasis on the frantic pace and more on musicality.
‘Bleak’ is exactly what it means, but the song sure as hell is not. The overall riff is positively eerie from start to finish, with an underlying darkness like an episode from American Horror Story. Swiftly followed by ‘Would You Kill’, which asks the most ethical question of morality, not so discretely asked vocally and musically. This song feels like reckless abandonment, challenging the norms of heavy rock with bare breakdowns and twisted riffs that will make you want to turn the lights on full.
Finally, we get to the title track, ‘Marching In Time’. This seven minute song tells a powerful and personal story of becoming a father during the pandemic. Tremonti is speaking from experience here as he became a dad again during these crazy times. A lovely deeper vocal delivery before Tremonti tells his child to be strong and hold onto hope in a cold world, while enshrined in a gnarly riff. There is a lovely gentle breakdown, with a powerful message to us all. Check out the video while you are at it.
This is what hard rock is about – the frenzied love child of metal and melody, worshiped by a master wordsmith. The originality of every single track hits you right in the chest like the fastest train on the planet that just won’t stop. Tremonti knows what he is doing and every time his fingers touch those strings, he delivers majestic performances that consistently compliments the richness of his vocals. We should bow down in deference to his brilliance.
Perhaps Tremonti’s best, ‘Marching In Time’ is ridiculously, off the charts sensational and most definitely, stratospherically recommended!
Marching In Time will be available in the following formats:
2LP Gatefold Black
2LP Gatefold Pink Transparent (Napalm Mailorder Only – limited to 500)
Die-Hard Edition: 2LP Marble Transparent Black + Guitar Pick + Print (Napalm Mailorder Only – limited to 500)
Deluxe Box: Flag, Wristband & More! (Napalm Mailorder Only – limited to 500)
Tremonti will hit the road in advance of the release of ‘Marching In Time’, starting on September 3rd in the USA with longtime friends Sevendust.