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Tremonti - Dust (Album Review)

Thursday, 05 May 2016 Written by Simon Ramsay

If you scoff at the saying ‘money can’t buy happiness’, just listen to the music of Mark Tremonti. As a founding member of both multi-million selling post-grunge outfit Creed and arena headliners Alter Bridge, the guitarist is unlikely to plead poverty any time soon. Nevertheless, this latest offering once again finds the tortured guitar hero purging his demons in a maelstrom of brutal, melodic and cathartic heaviness.

‘Dust’ - the third effort from an outfit who started life as a Tremonti solo project before swiftly morphing into a proper band  - was actually written and recorded at the same time as 2015’s ‘Cauterize’. The songs from were divided into two separate records based on which tracks – without adhering to any thematic unity – functioned best as complete bodies of work.

Far from being reheated leftovers, ‘Dust’ matches its predecessor’s menacing class stride for stride,  and although Tremonti’s wheel remains steadfastly free of design modifications, fans who aren’t expecting reinvention will be delighted by these impressively forged tracks and the explosive and cultured fretwork that powers them.

From the ball breaking My Last Mistake to bludgeoning bombardment of Betray Me and eerie Once Dead, the album is built on the kind of ferocious drop-tuned riffage that will give your Take That-loving neighbours nightmares. Both The Cage and Never Wrong spit out electrifying hard rock licks atop a tornado of instrumental belligerence.

No one could ever accuse Alter Bridge of being a soft rock act, but with his side band Tremonti pushes further towards the thrashier end of the grunge-metal spectrum, incorporating the weapons grade bass drumming of Garrett Whitlock alongside Wolfgang Van Halen’s seismic bass to create a pulverising rhythm section.

In spite of that colossal wall of angst Tremonti remains a sucker for melody and dynamism, spicing things up with tempo and mood changes that, along with monster sized hooks, make for a deceptively accessible sound. Take end of days anthem Catching Fire, with its satanic hovercraft intro leading to a classic Metallica sprint and fire-spitting chorus before breaking down and unleashing enough thrashy venom to shatter your eardrums.

His crystal clear, icy vocals also create a sharp tunefulness, and although not as spectacular as Myles Kennedy he’s much more grounded and soulful than Scott Stapp’s over-earnest Eddie Vedder impersonations.  The title track and Unable To See are texturally rich, lighter-waving slices of pain-made-epic, with his emotionally intense and melodic delivery packing a spine-tingling sense of exorcism.

It’s nice to know that after all the success and acclaim Tremonti’s edges haven’t softened.  He may need to shake up this formula in future as there’s a feeling of repetition over the band’s three albums, but for anyone who needs an outlet for heartbreak, misery, betrayal and revenge, ‘Dust’ is the soundtrack to your salvation.

Tremonti Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon June 13 2016 - GLASGOW O2 ABC
Tue June 14 2016 - BELFAST Limelight 2

Click here to compare & buy Tremonti Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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