ALL I WAS
For the last 2 months, I've been slowed down in writing anything based on the fact that I was going through a divorce, which really pretty much fucked up my brain. The last thing I've wanted to do during this time was listen to new music and try to pick through it to figure out the ins and outs of what anyone was trying to say artistically. But like everything else, you have to get back up in the saddle and ride once again. Thankfully, the album I chose to get me back together was this one, ALL I WAS by Alter Bridge/Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti. Why am I thankful, exactly? Well, primarily because this album not only kicks a ton of ass, but it contains the song "The Things I've Seen"; just a masterful song that could have been written directly from the never centers that have feed my brain for seven weeks.
To call it like it is, ALL I WAS is a showcase of a man who's guitar skills are almost universally recognized as extraordinary, and yet is never in any conversation as the best guitarist out there. That, all by itself, is a crime. Tremonti proves on ALL I WAS that he's as good a player as anyone out there today. His riffs and leads on songs like "Brains" are very intense. He has such a flair for the more modern metal sound, and yet there's so much 80s/old school influence in his riffing and his love for pinch harmonics that you can't help but appreciate it if you are a more traditional metal fan. To hear his thick, galloping riffs on "You Waste Your Time", it's easy to see that this guy is far more than a background piece that delivered such memorable for your hatred songs like "My Sacrifice" or "Arms Wide Open". Without question, Tremonti proves to be one of the best in the modern era throughout ALL I WAS.
Interestingly though, Tremonti can also sing...very well. We've all heard so many guitar players step out of their bands and record solo albums that just blow because the vocals are amateurish. That is not the case here. While this reference will probably turn a lot of people off to his sound, he reminds me a lot of a more attitude filled, less cookie cutter version of Nickelback's Chad Kroeger. On a lot of songs, like "New Way Out", Tremonti has almost a hybrid mishmosh sound vocally of Kroeger meeting Darius Rucker; with a depth of soul added to the bridge and the chorus not found anywhere in his more famous other projects. The guy can sing. The guy can play the shit out of his guitar. Mark Tremonti has recorded a great disc for the modern rock/metal fan.
PITRIFF RATING - 91/100 - Having met Tremonti a couple of times, I can tell you he has a passion for the guitar. The guy loves to talk about playing, and you can tell when you speak to him how he's one of those guys that's never satisfied with what he's done. ALL I WAS proves that he's growing as a musician well past what we've heard from him at this point. A very modern rock record with a ton of old school flavor on guitar, ALL I WAS is one of the more pleasing albums to be released this year.