Released: Jul 17, 2012
Genre: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Speed Metal
Number Of Tracks: 12
The debut solo album of Mark Tremonti displays the full range of his skill as both a guitarist and vocalist with an intriguing blend of hard rock and speed metal.
All I Was
UG Team, on july 20, 2012 5 of 6 people found this review helpful
Sound: This album has been in the works since 2010, as Mark Tremonti realized he was writing a lot of songs that didn't really fit with either of his two bands Creed and Alter Bridge. Since then it has all been a matter of timing trying to find an opening when his commitments to his bands wouldn't interfere with the recording and release of his solo album. Since founding Creed in 1995 with vocalist Scott Stapp, Mark Tremonti was almost instantly in the spotlight. Creed's debut album was enormously successful and they were the first band to have four singles from a debut album reach #1 on Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Over time relations with the instrumental members of the band and vocalist Scott Stapp broke down which resulted in the band disbanding, who then reformed with a new vocalist, Myles Kennedy, as Alter Bridge in 2004. Alter Bridge's first album received a lot of flack being called a copy of Creed, but they came into their own with the release of their second album, "Blackbird", in 2007. Today that finds Mark Tremonti playing lead guitar for both Alter Bridge and a re-formed Creed. Mark Tremonti found time to release an instructional DVD called "Mark Tremonti: The Sound And The Story" where he teaches parts from the album "Blackbird" as well as some guitar techniques for practice. This is around the same time that Mark Tremonti knew he would be releasing a solo album.
Mark Tremonti launched a website to track the progress of his album in January 2012. Mark Tremonti recruited members of the band Submersed and the Creed bassist, Brian Marshall, as his backing band and provides all the vocals and lead guitar himself. The first single, "You Waste Your Time" was released on May 7, 2012 and within one day had reached #10 on the iTunes Rock Songs Chart. Tremonti released a music video for the same single that released on May 17th. The album actually released on July 17th. The album has 12 tracks and clocks in at approximately 51 minutes. The sound of the album could best be described as modern hard rock mixed with elements of thrash metal. How is this album different from all the other hoards of hard rock releases you ask? Well, I will answer in two parts one, Mark Tremonti's guitar lines are actually interesting and not endlessly repeating, and two, while the songs are catchy you don't feel like the hook is being shoved in your face over and over. The composition is excellent, the tone is excellent, and the drums are like a force driving the music forward. There are a lot of solos on the album, and they are definitely high points in every song. // 9
Lyrics: Mark Tremonti's voice really surprised me as I have listened to a lot of solo projects by guitarists and bassists and when they choose to do the vocals themselves it is almost always a case of trying to enjoy the album despite the vocals, but in the case of Mark Tremonti he pulls off lead vocals like it was second nature to him. The vocals are very well executed and really his delivery reminds me of Myles Kennedy without the trebly quaver in his voice. Mark's voice was one of the biggest surprises for me on the album, and I was truly pleasantly surprised. The lyrics and vocal delivery both go really well with the instrumental part of the songs, without vocals or instruments overpowering each other.
As a sample of the lyrics, I have tried to transcribe some of the lyrics from the single "You Waste Your Time" following: "You should have seen more faces from the start/ beholden to the hate within your heart/ you cast the world aside/ hiding from your burden one more time/ but could it be your efforts were in vain/ could it be your life is full of shame/ you threw it all away/ you let it fall to pieces in today/ you waste your time/ you hide too much don't ever let me find what's in your head/ you ask too much don't let me think who are you/ we will need to take it when you are gone/ we won't embrace the liars very long/ you're afraid to go/ you're afraid to face it when you've lost/ for all the ties were severed when you came/ what if I could mend them once again/ you're afraid to learn/ forced to watch the those bridges as they burn/ yeah yeah/ you waste your time/ you hide too much don't never let me find what you are thinking/ what's in your head/ you ask too much don't let me think who are you". The lyrics are really interesting and seem well thought out and very well put together. We can only speculate on what the song is actually about. // 9
Overall Impression: After a few listens I would definitely fall under the category of "very impressed" with this album. With Mark Tremonti you expect some good guitar work but what you actually get is some really well crafted songs with awesome solos, great vocals, and great arrangements. My favorite songs on the album would have to be "YOu Waste Your Time", "Decay", "Brains" and "Wish You Well". Really, the album is great from start to finish. The closest I have in the way of criticism would have to be that the song "New Way Out" is the weakest song on the album for me, having too much of a polished rock song sound to it, but by the time you get to the solo you forget that because the solo redeems the whole track with its awesomeness. I would absolutely recommend buying this album, whether you are a fan of Creed, Alter Bridge or just thrash metal or hard rock Mark Tremonti isn't just treading on the same familiar ground. This is a very solid album and very impressive for a debut solo album. // 9
All I Was
unregistered, on july 20, 2012 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: This album features all the trademark Tremonti sounds I've come to love over the years-the songwriting prowess, the monster riffing, the catchy melodies and tight musicianship-all turned up to 11. It takes after Alter Bridge, which makes sense given that Tremonti worked with Elvis Baskette to produce the record, but there are no soft, emotive tunes on this record. It's angry, and it's good. Hearing Tremonti take the lead on the microphone for once is a real treat, and he doesn't disappoint. That guitarist has been hiding a tremendous hard rock voice for more than a decade, and it's great to finally hear it unleashed. // 10
Lyrics: Call me a critic, but I've always found Stapp's lyrics pretentious and Kennedy's lyrics cliche. Given the choice between either of those two and Tremonti, I'd take Tremonti. His lyrics aren't works of art, but they seem heartfelt and genuine. The lyrics certainly don't take a backseat to the songwriting here. It sounds like Tremonti crafted each song carefully in all aspects. // 9
Overall Impression: This record far surpasses Creed's last two offerings, and I think it holds up against Alter Bridge as well. With bands like Nickelback and Three Days Grace swarming the hard rock charts, Tremonti's record offers something we see too rarely these days: Heart. Combined with his incredible skills as a guitar player and songwriter, this album is well worth your time and patronage. // 10
All I Was
Shrivel, on july 20, 2012 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: No stranger to hard rock/metal with loads of melody, Mark Tremonti drops his debut solo album on the world and man, does it hit with a heavy boom. Tremonti takes his usual riffs that everyone is familiar with from his work with Alter Bridge and Creed and in the words of Spinal Tap, "turns them up to 11". Every track, save the two slower tunes, is a perfect blend of metal and melody, and will have you testing the limits of your sound system with every turn of the volume knob. This is pure metal with no filler (or obnoxious frontman. Yes, I'm looking at you, Scott Stapp).
The audio quality of this CD is among the best I've heard in the past 20 years. Yeah, like every other modern record these days, it's still compressed all to hell, but somehow the engineer managed to leave just enough headroom to give some much appreciated dynamics. The drums are the biggest surprise here, going deep but also providing amazing speed and punch. There are several places where the double kick drums take you immediately back to the days of Metallica. The engineers and mastering guys deserve huge amounts of praise. // 10
Lyrics: Lyrically, Tremonti delves into the same places he likes to go with his other two bands. Not that this is a bad thing, but you'll get no surprises here. The place you will be surprised is Tremonti's voice. Wow, I knew he could sing, but he SINGS the hell outta this album. He sings alongside Myles Kennedy on a couple tracks on the most recent Alter Bridge album and this offers a nice change of pace, but after hearing his voice in full solo, I get goosebumps thinking about an entire AB album centered around the juxstaposition of his voice in contrast to Myles'. // 8
Overall Impression: Picking a favorite track is tough, in the same way that pcking a favorite AB track is hard. There's NO weak spots. Today, I really dig "Brains", but this may change tomorrow. Top notch musicianship, a lack of ego, brutal guitars, INCREDIBLE drumming, and infectious melody all add up to the best metal album of 2012 and one of the best albums, period, in the last 5 years. // 9
All I Was
TremontiAddict, on july 20, 2012 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: For the first time in his career, guitarist Mark Tremonti (Creed and Alter Bridge), takes front and center stage on his debut solo album "All I Was". This album features Tremonti on lead vocals/lead guitar alongside former Submersed members Eric Friedman (backing vocals/rhythm guitar/bass) and Garrett Whitlock (drums). In all my years of listening to Tremonti's music, "All I Was" stands out as his heaviest effort to date. The intro to "Brains" could possibly be the heaviest section of music Tremonti has ever written.
"All I Was" is made up of musical pieces Mark has written and stored up from over the years, and as a result, this album gives a perfect snapshot of who Mark Tremonti really is as a musician. His love for 80s metal is present in "Wish You Well", his ability to write haunting, clean guitar riffs reminiscent of his early Creed days is present in "The Things I've Seen" and "New Way Out", and his melodic vocal melodies can be found throughout choruses in songs such as "Giving Up" and "Decay". And let's not forget the solos. "Leave It Alone", "So You're Afraid", and "You Waste Your Time" house some of my favorite Tremonti solos of all time. If I had to describe this album in one word, I can only think of one word that does the description justice, "Tremonti". // 9
Lyrics: Lyrically, "All I Was" carries a theme of someone that has been emotionally worn down and betrayed. The opening lyrics of "Leave It Alone" set the tone of the album well. "Throw me aside and I'll leave it alone // So I can bury my own // Tear at this pain, this darkness I've known // This time it has won // Retreat inside until the threat is gone."
My personal favorite lyric comes from the chorus of "Decay". "They said that all we had we've wasted // It's something like decay // You know it won't be long before we've spent all our lives complacent, and isn't that a shame? // We've faded for so long."
Mark Tremonti has always included subject matter in his lyrics that makes me think without being too complex. His lyrics are easily digestible in "All I Was", but they carry a strong meaning at the same time.
Vocally, Mark suits the album very well in his first time behind the microphone as a front man. Tremonti shows he can be an aggressive singer on "Wish You Well" and "Decay", but he also portrays a very soothing voice in "New Way Out" and "The Things I've Seen". Is Mark the best singer I've ever heard on a rock record? No, but he has a pleasant voice to listen to for a hard rock/alternative metal album. It takes a lot of guts for a lead guitarist to throw his voice out to the world after 15 years in the professional spotlight, and I think Mark has a vocal effort to be proud of in his solo album debut. // 9
Overall Impression: Earlier, I mentioned the best word to describe this album is "Tremonti". That remains true, but this album shares similarities to other modern hard rock bands as well. In an earlier UG review I wrote for the album's single, "You Waste Your Time", I gave comparisons to Stone Sour and Five Finger Death Punch. Overall, I think those are both still accurate comparisons. Although Mark isn't as natural a singer as Corey Taylor or Ivan Moody, he still shares their knack for singing soaring melodies over heavy music.
After anticipating this album for somewhere around 18 months, I had high expectations for "All I Was". I feel the first half of the album is where this record really shines in full force. The back half of the album is still good, but it didn't have as many attention grabbing moments as the beginning. Nonetheless, I do think "Decay" is a very strong closer.
If my copy of this CD was lost or stolen, I would definitely buy it again. This album is a strong contender for my favorite album of the year, and I can see it staying in my regular playlist for a long, long time. // 9