Overall Score: 10/10 Riffs: 10/10 Lyrics and themes: 10/10 Musicianship: 10/10 Pros: The best Tremonti band have ever sounded | Best elements of all previous efforts come together with some great new aspects Cons: Nothing
Time and time again, we overcome adversity. Humanity’s resilience cannot be denied. It’s in these times of triumph we seek to reflect on the environment we’re in and ourselves as characters. Filling the pool of reflection with their heaviest material to date is Mark Tremonti with his solo band’s fifth album, Marching In Time.
Where 2018’s A Dying Machine unfolded in a fictional reality, Marching In Time exposes the nuances of our own, very real world. Huge blasts of drums and reverberating bass open A World Away. Immediately, we sense a shift towards a more aggressive sound, TREMONTI’s speed metal influences pulsating through the chunky riffs. This sonic representation of breaking out of a life which no longer serves becomes ever present as Tremonti proclaims “this heartless place has held me down”. The solo which follows shatters the glass ceiling, relieving the pressure throughout the song and leaves us riddled with goosebumps.
Tension rules the roost with this incarnation of TREMONTI. Now And Forever’s opening riff is chock full of distorted crunch. The overlaying lick provides a filth unexpected of TREMONTI but one we hope continues. “My once jaded heart has been fortified” sounds dark and chilling across the blooming chorus. Budding sadness explodes into a breakdown which rips our spine through our chest, leaving us exposed to the lusciously rounded solo that pierces our heart.
As the case may always be for TREMONTI, the ghost of ALTER BRIDGE is never far away. Trademark melodic riffs swim through Let That Be Us and the album’s ballad Not Afraid To Lose. Musings of “carry the truth, walk with me” blanket us in ALTER BRIDGE comfort but harsh riffs and chaotic headbanging rhythms give Let That Be Us an edge over TREMONTI’s counterpart. While Not Afraid To Lose languishes in love sick devotion. Mark Tremonti has long been synonymous with evocative music and this not-quite-a-love-song is another example of why that is. Light melodies blossom to acceptance of the “scars that define me”. Excitement of young love fills the air as guitars elevate the song to its peak and holds us in euphoria.
Where acoustic guitars gave us a sense of comfort within the ballad, they also rip it away from us in the following Bleak. An atypical cadence pricks our ears as Tremonti attacks contemptuous souls. A subtle swell sucks us in to a hollowing chorus of an all too human realisation. The verses containing only vocals over a scintillatingly simple guitar riff crawl beneath our skin as Tremonti smirks “you’re turn asunder”. A song as maleficent as this may call for that gut wrenching breakdown, but there is something menacing to the acoustic interlude. “There comes a time where we all break” becomes the alien bursting through our chest a la John Hurt.
This level of exposure leaves us prone to the reflection of the album’s closers. “Some of us bear this weight alone” Tremonti screams over the fast, aggressive riffs of Would You Kill. Composed to promote introspection, the juxtaposition of chanting verses and melodic choruses ask “are you brave when you can’t see tomorrow”. Adrenaline surges within the chug beneath a lighter solo which carries our spiralling thoughts down the seven and a half minute rabbit hole of the title track.
As a whole, Marching In Time is by no means an easy listen. TREMONTI takes your thoughts and turns them on yourself in a place where you seek escapism. It is hollowing where we crave to feel something. At record’s end, when we feel the need to lie on the floor for a few moments, we come to realise this may be TREMONTI’s best work to date. This record is new yet quintessential TREMONTI.
The new TREMONTI album, Marching In Time, is out now on Napalm Records.
Fucking amazing hard rock/heavy album