Tremonti / Marching In Time is how to follow a masterpiece
23 September 2021
Tremonti unleash fifth studio album Marching In Time in a climate of uncertainty, disconnect and an incredible longing for brighter days.
Tremonti – Marching In Time (Napalm Records)
Release Date: 24 September 2021
Words: Dany Jones
Mark Tremonti immediately springs to mind when you think of attributes such as incredible talent, focus, drive, determination, resilience, and of somebody you would class as an absolute role model. While it seems a while away that that wide-eyed, ambitious teenager dreamed of shredding his way in the pursuit of dreams of world domination, nowadays, the Tremonti brand has become an unequivocal household name.
Not only has Mark Tremonti established himself as an exemplary leader and motor of internationally acclaimed mega weights of the calibre of Creed, Alter Bridge, and his incrementally prolific self-titled solo project Tremonti, but he has also managed to achieve true royalty status when winning the No. 1 spot as the ultimate guitarist in the 2019 Guitar World Magazine Top 20.
The Tremonti machine is relentless with regular yearly cycling between Alter Bridge and Tremonti releases, let alone occasional side projects during downtime. 2021 marks the year of the Tremonti band and the birth of their fifth studio album.
This time the once familiar ambience and moodiness give way to a newfound rawness, evoking primordial tinges of rock and Metal classics yet maintaining a contemporary and polished sounding production. Needless to say, that Tremonti has always championed the mixing of Thrash with melody and Marching In Time delivers on all fronts.
The album unfolds with the explosive A World Away, already released as a third single. A fantastic opener indeed, with a steady and sleazy pace on the verses and quicker reprise on the choruses, engorging the listener in all of its sheer brutality from the very start. Now And Forever follows as one of those instant songs that certainly call for the classic foot tap/head bob all the way through. Memorable and catchy, the main riff and the breakdown on the outro are simply colossal.
If the epitome of epic is the word, then If Not For You is simply it. One does never tire of hearing Friedman’s high pitched flawless acrobatics on the choruses, while Thrown Further throws us back into the full groove, phat riffs and down tuning loaded with moodier and grunge-tastic tones. The breakdowns are aplenty throughout this album, and this one is particularly sexy.
The departure of drumming extraordinaire Garrett Whitlock has determined a true loss of invaluable assets to this outfit. One could not help but wonder how affected the overall sound would be once the new material was released. However, his successor Ryan Bennett has managed to seamlessly transition by imprinting his very own style and forming a very solid unit with fellow rhythm lord Tanner Keegan, also added to the line-up as the new official bassist.
Bennett superbly shines in the bombastic and fastest track of the album Let That Be Us. The tribal beat on the bridge throws chills so deep down the spine to make you quiver for days while it all gets beautifully finished with a helluva killer solo, courtesy of the master himself. This song is the heaviest of the album and by far the most impressive.
The contemplative The Last One of Us finds a new atmospheric bubble as a litany to Mark’s unborn child, while In One Piece picks up the pace with more riffing galore. Worth of particular mention is also Under The Sun. Melancholic, emotive and incredibly intense in all of its staggering sobriety. Then the inevitable radio-friendly Not Afraid To Lose, whose profound lyrical content elevates the artist to new levels of depth.
The album unwinds with a welcome curveball, where Bleak explores the uncharted territory of the dissonance of Spanish modal undertones. The addition of a nylon string guitar further enhances the dynamics and, once again, the climax of a meaty breakdown on the outro. The controversial Would You Kill certainly lends itself as a contentious topic of conversation, while you couldn’t conceive any other ending if not a progtastic 7+ minute-long odyssey.
Feeling the weight of his newfound fatherhood in times of extreme apprehension, it does not seem coincidental that the artist would want to exit with a song that delivers a powerful message to posterity. Marching In Time is a compendium of heavy and prog, loaded with anguish, darkness and a sense of hopelessness and fatigue about the world we live in, “I am worn, and I am tired,” yet with an equally uplifting message of strength, integrity and resilience “don’t let this cold world change you.” An exemplary lesson indeed to any father speaking to their child.
Stunningly arranged and indelible, it is not a case that it was chosen as a single.
The album Marching in Time is varied and multifaceted. Perhaps to the detriment of the coherence that was readily apparent in Tremonti’s back catalogue, it is rather a compendium of 12 works of art, easily standing alone in their own right, yet offering a perfect balance of groove, tones, heaviness, memorable hooks and, above all, words. It is such diversity that perfectly delivers the various moods and colours of a brutally honest, stark and introspective outlook on the state of the world of today.
If Tremonti’s fourth studio album, A Dying Machine, marked the apex of maturity in terms of a sophisticated and refined sonic search, Marching In Time truly delivers on the accomplishment of the artist as a true songwriter.
Here, Tremonti’s vocal ability reaches new heights, and the focus truly shifts onto the melody and the depth of the lyrics, especially given lines of the likes of “I am not ashamed of the scars that define me.”
A Dying Machine was dubbed the band’s career-defining achievement, and anything that followed would need to be nothing short of extraordinary. Marching In Time is indeed the answer to the question of how to follow a masterpiece.
Marching In Time can be pre-ordered from https://smarturl.it/MarchingInTime
1) A World Away
2) Now and Forever
3) If Not For You
4) Thrown Further
5) Let That Be Us
6) The Last One of Us
7) In One Piece
8) Under The Sun
9) Not Afraid to Lose
11) Would You Kill
12) Marching in Time
Mark Tremonti (Lead Vocals / Guitar)
Eric Friedman (Guitar / Back Vox)
Tanner Keegan (Bass)
Ryan Bennett (Drums)
Michael Elvis Baskette