To say I’d been looking forward to this would be something of an understatement. To my mind Mark Tremonti is one of the best guitarists of the modern generation. Not only that, his song writing ability is astounding, and from the very first track on this album you know it’s going to be pretty damned good.
This album shows Mark’s heavier side. It’s always been there in the shadows, with both Creed and Alter Bridge having some fairly heavy artillery in their arsenal, but All I Was is Mark unleashed and unrestrained. This is an album that shows off his technical ability, his song writing, and, more importantly, his vocal talents…. This guy can really sing. His voice is pure rock in places and soft and soothing in others. It all combines to produce an album that is extremely diverse.
The most impressive thing for me though is that it hasn’t gone into the “self indulgent wanker” vein (as so many musicians do when they venture into solo territory). This album reminds me a lot of Alice In Chains in places, and that is by no means a bad thing of course. Such is the quality of this album, and Mark’s vocals, and guitar playing, he reminds me very much of Jerry Cantrell at times. Having said that there is no doubt at all that All I Was has it’s own identity.
Given his influence both in Creed and in Alter Bridge you’d think this would be a collection of songs that were more of the same same, but this is absolutely not the case. This album is a lot darker than you may expect, and a LOT heavier. It’s almost thrash in places and that coupled with Mark’s ability to shred the neck of a guitar results in an album that is far removed from either of his “other” bands.
Ok I will admit sometimes you think you might possibly be listening to an Alter Bridge album but, again, the reference is fleeting and dispelled immediately once the vocals kick in.
As a stand alone rock album, this is one of the finest I’ve heard so far this year, I kid you not. As a showcase for Mark’s unquestionable talent, it’s stunning. It’s full of heavy riffs, blistering solos, unforgettable songs, and excellent vocals. It also places a milestone on Mark’s career, cementing him as one of the greatest talents of the new world (as if there was any doubt anyway).
If you don’t get this album, you will be missing out on something VERY special.