Cauterize review by Tremonti

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  • Released: Jun 9, 2015
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (46 votes)
Tremonti: Cauterize
3

Sound — 8
Tremonti was formed in 2012 by Mark Tremonti as a vehicle to record and release the music he was writing that wasn't appropriate for his existing musical projects at the time. While he intially stated that his solo work would be a "thrash metal" project, it has instead turned out to be heavy rock with strong elements of speed metal - not quite crossing the line into the realm of thrash metal. Brian Marshall left the newly formed band in 2012 and was eventually replaced by Wolfgang Van Halen, son of EVH, first just on live dates but eventually declared a full member of the band by Mark Tremonti, who has also praised Wolfgang's prowess on bass several times in interviews. "Cauterize" is the band's second full-length studio release, with 10 tracks that clock in at 44 minutes. The album is being released on the FRET12 label. The first official single from the album is "Another Heart," which was released in March 2015. The second single, "Flying Monkeys," was released in May. According to interviews, the album was recorded simultaneously with another album which will be released, possibly titled "Dust." The release date of "Dust" has not been confirmed.

The album opens up with the track, "Radical Change," which is basically an immediate audio-assault from the second the track begins. The opening lines, "please just one more chance, I've just failed again/ question everything, never understand," caught my interest and show this song (like most of the album) have an introspective quality to the lyrics. "Flying Monkeys" is the second single from the album, and has some of my favorite riffing on the album, which is very heavy on the groove. The title track, "Cauterize," is one of the heaviest tracks on the album and makes me immediately reconsider whether this album could be called thrash metal instead of hard rock. There is some interesting (unconventional) lead guitar work going on with this track, and then the track ends with a clean instrumental outro that wasn't what I expected from Mark Tremonti. "Arm Yourself" is pretty fast and heavy out the gates, and has some interesting wah/ phased stuff used sparingly on the track. Once again, I found myself surprised by a slower passage in "Arm Yourself." "Dark Trip" opens up as a slower, cleaner track - even when the guitars get heavier, the tempo stays pretty slow and the heavy guitars act almost like a drone of distortion as a backdrop to the lyrics and the acoustic lick being played through much of the track.

The lead single, "Another Heart," is a quirky track with some tempo changes going on and some really deep stuff going on with the lyrics on this one. This track has probably the most memorable riff from the album, as well. "Fall Again" is a kind of oddball track, with the opening being some reversed delay before Tremonti's vocals come in with a lot of reverb and a mostly clean strummed guitar. The guitar sound gets heavy and HUGE on this track, with the line "I think I lost my way... you think it is so easy?" sticking with me after the song closed out. "Tie the Noose" opens with some fast, heavy riffing that is more familiar to me as far as what I expect from Mark Tremonti. The guitar solo from "Tie the Noose" is a kind of reminder of what I'm listening to - a phenomenal guitarist's "side" project - which is easy to forget when you hear the songwriting and vocals going on with this album. "Sympathy" is a softer track, relatively speaking, and much more of a vocal track than a guitar track. The album closes out with the track, "Providence," which oddly enough is my favorite track - it isn't what I would have expected as my favorite track going into this album, but I really enjoyed the progression, lyrics and composition on this one. Overall, the album is well-mixed and the material has a lot of variety in it.

Lyrics — 8
Mark Tremonti's vocals are SO much better than on his previous album - he has seriously grown as a vocalist. His actual vocal style reminds me a little bit of Myles Kennedy but without the annoying high pitch whine. The vocal performance is spot on for the album, and the vocal processing used is done in good taste and seems to add value to the songs. Eric Friedman and Wolfgang provide backing vocals, and the fact that they don't really stand out is a good thing on this album, I think. Not saying anything about Wolfgang or Eric Friendman's vocals, only that their backing vocals are only used to add emphasis to vocal lines, etc.

As a sample of the lyrics, here are some from the single, "Another Heart": "It's a shame you sold your lies before God/ What our eyes have seen, or have you forgot/ Where's your values, were they all thrown away/ Where's the reason you will suffer today/ Hard on the brain/ Tear at the walls to find it/ Toss it away/ Find me another heart/ Break the inside/ Hurt in a way you'll like it/ Eager to find/ Find me another heart/ Learn a lesson from the words that you speak/ Feigned forgiveness 'cause the wounds are too deep/ The end's a lonely place and now it is here/ Live your final days alone with your fear." Those are some very introspective lyrics - I wonder if they have anything to do with the drama with Mark's ex-bandmate, Scott Stapp.

Overall Impression — 8
Honestly, the weak point on this album to me is Wolfgang - and I hate saying that because I've been rooting for him, in general. I think he's in a weird predicament where it looks like he got his gig with Van Halen by the band arbitrarily replacing Michael Anthony and he really needs to prove his chops. I think he definitely did that with Van Halen if by no other means than being motivational to his dad and uncle. When I heard live Tremonti recordings with Wolfgang I wasn't impressed, but I thought that was partially because he was coming into songs that had already been completed and recorded by another bassist. What I found with "Cauterize" is that Wolfgang does truly play bass like a rhythm guitarist (as has been said), which unfortunately does a disservice to the music. Moving on, I felt like the album had a lot more sonic variety than I expected, and I found myself impressed with things I wasn't even expecting from Mark Tremonti. A few examples were the deep and introspective nature of the lyrics, some of the softer and slower passages, and the awesome vocal performance. I think this is a serious improvement from his last album, and I look forward to hearing what he does next. I'm patiently awaiting to hear "Dust," or whatever the next album ends up being called.

47 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Patrijz
    Honestly, the weak point on this album to me is Wolfgang[...]
    Really? I actually liked the bass playing on this album, and to me this album feels like more of a 'band effort'. I'm not annoyed by his "rhythm guitarist" style, so maybe it's just a taste thing.
    wulls182
    i agree, id say even Mark has toned down the shredding solos on this album and it seems more a group effort than a tremonti with backing band. I think this will be a great live album (i'll find out tonight!)
    theunforgiven13
    I agree. I thought Wolfgang's bass playing was great, especially on the clean outro of Cauterize for example. No offense to the previous bassist Brian Marshall (who i thought played well on All I Wass ), but I thought Wolfgang was a great addition to Tremonti
    D4CE
    Brian didn't play on All I Was. He just toured with them for a short time. Erock or Mark did the bass on All I Was. Don't remember who did it.
    Spidey93
    Gotta say, I feel so vindicated with his last few albums. I remember, years back, someone asked teenage me who my favourite guitarist was. I'd spend hours a day playing along with Creed's album "Human Clay," because I loved the riffs, so I responded "Mark Tremonti!" The guy laughed and told me that I needed a new favourite guitarist. Over the years, my tastes have broadened considerably, but it is nice to be proven right - Mark Tremonti is one hell of a musician.
    crazysam23_Atax
    I never got why Creed got such a bad rap. Yeah, they did Grunge "too late", but so what? Songs like "My Own Prison" were actually pretty decent for the time.
    RockingCookie
    Tremonti, i think it's safe to say he's one of the best hard-rock guitarists out there at the moment. Man the guy can shred and write monster-riffs. This one will definitely keep me going till the next Alter Bridge album. Oh, and Germany, what happend? Skindred got a full tent at Rock am Ring, but when Tremonti came, almost everybody left... It's a shame cause they were great, but maybe it had something to do with the timetable, cause Rise Against was playing at the mainstage.
    rockerwannabe
    The first cd simply blew me away. Maybe it's asking for too much to be blown away a second time (although AB manages to do that). But after listening to the cd a few times, it really has grown on me. I actually prefer the heavy slow songs to the speedy ones but they are all good. After all, we're talking Mark Tremonti here... his worst stuff is better than 98% of everything else out there.
    Amito
    New album is awesome, as is his debut. He went down a treat on the mainstage at Download Festival yesterday.
    davidtomas.lope
    IMO he has improved as a vocalist but he is not that great as a lead singer as Myles to me. Anyway he is good enough to sing his own stuff! there are some great songs in here!
    crazysam23_Atax
    Yeah, Myles is really better. But Mark's solos work is pretty cool. I like that he has an alternate creative outlet (with actual releases) for stuff that isn't really Alter Bridge material. For example, I don't see a song like "Radical Change" making it onto an Alter Bridge album.
    axeslinger0u812
    I disagree, I think Wolfgang was great on this album, and something about the vocal harmonies during Providence just gets to me. Simple, but perfect. Good album.
    jimmy/jimi
    I'm a huge Tremonti fan, but this album is slightly disappointing. Lyrically its not as strong as All I Was. It's lacking in blistering, emotional solos that All I Was was filled to the brim with. Even Riff wise, I feel the songs are lacking in personality. Sure, the album is probably heavier than All I Was, certainly in places, and mostly due to Garret Whitlocks brutal drumming, but several of the riffs are samey speed metal by numbers type stuff. Mark often speaks of writing different "parts" to songs and fitting them together, and you can really hear that hear, so much so that it sometimes feels disjointed. I also feel the album is altogether bland, particularly dark trip and fall again, and never really gets going or peaks, and then it's over. My faves are Radical Change, Arm Yourself and Another Heart. Tie The Noose also gets a mention, although the riff sounds very similar to disturbed a indestructible to me! Having said all that I still think Tremonti is ahead of the pack in almost every way. His voice has improved and I love the even heavier drumming, but to me this album is just too lacking in signature tremonti solos and catchy riffs for me to be completely satisfied
    MaidenisGOD89
    I agree 100%. This album lacked the intensity that All I Was has guitar-wise. It's still an alright album, but compared to the last one, I was highly disappointed.
    guitarfreak842001
    I absolutely love the new album. Very balanced all around. Like another member mentioned, this album seems to be a more collaborative effort between the members. Its incredible seeing Mark grow as a songwriter through the years. Usually musicians get stuck in ruts and never push themselves, he has not done that. I am also glad he did not do a "All I Was" part 2 or an AB continuation. This guy is going to have quite the legacy when all is said and done.
    Boston-George15
    I consider myself a pretty big Mark Tremonti fan, but I'm not really feeling this album too much. There are a few standout tracks such as Cauterize, Another Heart and Sympathy, but I feel like the rest are sub-par. Maybe they will grow on me.
    JBailey23
    I felt the same way listening to all the audio leaks on youtube last week but I went ahead and bought the album yesterday just to get it. My opinion changed on it quick. It feels more cohesive than "All I Was" to me listening to it front to back.
    lukcuturic97
    Had the same thing man, what I did was just play the album entirely and it kinda grew on me. It's very worth giving a shot!
    vppark2
    Anyone know where I can listen to the full album before buying it? Im in a third world country right now so it isnt easy trying to get it.
    mysticguitar77
    YouTube is streaming the full album, I'm not sure if they'll be blocked in your country though. Full album playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL...
    vppark2
    Yeah, **** me. It's blocked.
    ChaoticKeith
    Use a VPN and then you should be able to listen to it. FlyVPN is free and it will give you an US IP address.
    mysticguitar77
    Got a buddy in the states that has the album and would send you the song files directly? If torrents, iTunes, Youtube, and Spotify aren't working then that's your only bet.
    vppark2
    Im not entirely sure how to go about with the whole VPN thing like the guy below mentioned, so yea, thatd be great man. Just inbox me.
    jman99
    Spotify?
    vppark2
    It's not available here, and if I could, I would pirate it since theres literally no other way for me to listen, but none of the files are connecting. I just cant win.
    JSmith38
    just buy it. you won't regret it.
    vppark2
    Like I said I would, but Thailand doesnt sell CDs like these guys...only stuff that goes international are big name artists, unfortunately. Guess Ill have to wait until Im back in the states, which is still another 3 months. Sigh..
    PRSguitars87
    Providence is such a good song. Would love to see Alter Bridge perform that one live in their set
    davidtomas.lope
    ultimate-guitar guys! don't forget to review the Art of Anarchy album I'm listenin' right now on spotify. There are some good tracks there too!
    Mainer
    So...Have we decided who's on the album cover? Ron Jeremy? Frank Zappa? A wild-haired Freddie Mercury, perhaps? But in all seriousness. It took me a few listens to get into this album after loving to All I Was for three years. A bit disappointed by the solos (or lack thereof), but still a good effort by my favorite musician! And his vocals are so much better on this album. Can't freaking wait to hear Dust!
    richfish23
    Fantastic album from start to finish. Just saw them perform some of the songs live at Download festival and they were flawless, just wish Wolfgang had been there.
    SerpentX
    Really digging this album. His voice is definitely better, and I love the heaviness. Flying Monkeys is a standout for me, just the heavy groove going on gets me every time. The only song that is kinda meh for me is Another Heart. I don't know what it is, I just end up skipping it. Also, I would give both my testicles to have Russell Allen sing Tremonti's solo project stuff! I think they would sound amazing together.
    vppark2
    Why? Symphony X is a completely different band, and their vocalist is wayyy different. Idk...your comment took me off guard in all honesty lol.
    BwareDWare94
    The last thing Mark Tremonti needs to do is allow his solo project to turn into musical masturbation. Cauterize is a very, very positive step forward that will allow this be a legitimate band and not some "come to this corner where I show off how fast I can play" project that only gets an arbitrary glance every now and then. Plus, his vocals need a platform.
    randomhero65
    I read in an interview where his first album was a huge culmination of all his guitar ideas in Creed that were too "hard" for the other members. I loved that album it was raw and he had some ripping solos. He's recently stated that he's not trying to show off any skill, and that he wants his solos to sing and really tell a story. I really loved his first album, and this one is pretty solid, too. Like the others have said, he doesn't have as many solos, but he's really worked on his vocals. I'm excited for his follow up album to Cauterize, Dust, which is already finished.