[ALBUM REVIEW] Tremonti – A Dying Machine


Bringer of War
From the Sky
A Dying Machine
Throw Them to the Lions
Make It Hurt
The First the Last
A Lot Like Sin
The Day When Legions Burned
As the Silence Becomes Me
Take You With Me

Reviewed by Jodi Maree

June 8th, 2018 will go down as the day that one of the most remarkable albums of not only this year but, this decade was released.

A Dying Machine, the fourth studio album by Tremonti – solo project of Alter Bridge and Creed’s Mark Tremonti is a concept album like no other. Fourteen utterly brilliant yet diverse tracks that is to be accompanied by a book to be released in the coming months.

For the uninitiated, Tremonti came together during 2011, and consists of Mark Tremonti on guitar and lead vocals, Garrett Whitlock on drums and Eric Friedman on guitar and backing vocals. And whilst Eric was to be the bands recording bassist Brian Marshall from Alter Bridge was originally set to be their touring bassist. This soon changed when Marshall announced the pending birth of his first born child.  So it was with much excitement that it was announced that Wolfgang Van Halen son of the one and only Eddie Van Halen, was to join as bassist.

Their debut album All I Was was released on July 17th, 2012 and was very well received by both existing fans and new fans alike.

Often solo projects can be very polarizing amongst fans but it seems the combination of fantastic riffs, great vocals (both lead and backing) and exceptionally well written and very likable tracks, made All I Was a fantastic first step into the foray of solo projects.

In a slightly unusual step, all of the tracks for both the second and third albums were recorded at the same time. They were then split and the results were the Cauterize album which was released June 4th, 2015 followed very closely by Dust which was released less than a year later on April 29th, 2016. With each of these albums came a level of progression that floored everyone. It was no surprise that when A Dying Machine was released earlier this month that the progression was again a key factor.

Not only had Mark’s vocals stepped up several notches in both range and quality but his songwriting was fast becoming as much a part of him as his guitar playing.

The album is a concept album, which although not a favorite style of marks has far beyond proven he is a brilliant songwriter. This album does not particularly run in sequence with the story which makes it a little difficult to follow the concept initially.

But once you have listened through several times the story becomes so much more apparent. Essentially it is a semi sci-fi oriented tale with the main character who creates a machine to love him unconditionally. What he did not anticipate was that this love would be relentless and undying and also unable to be stopped. Eventually, the machine would take his life

From the very first track Bringer of War, this album was going to be in your face and addictive. With a fast-paced heavy sound likened to that of Motorhead and Metallica the opening drums command your attention.

With heavy riffs and aggressive lyrics, it just wreaks of power.

From the Sky is next and again has a heavy flat out sound. Mark’s vocals on this take you on a real journey without the need for excessive lyrical content.

The title track A Dying Machine gives the best insight into the overall story without revealing too much. The contrasting vocals portray the two sides perfectly.

The fed up and aggrieved versus the loving and endlessly devoted. The longest track on the album, it provides the listener with a beautiful change of pace with the bridge and then going straight back into the aggressive vocal attack.

Next is one of my personal favorites, Trust. It has this powerful and beautifully complex drumming, and the vocals are simply stunning, both lead and Eric’s sublime backing vocals. The chorus is one that just makes you want to sing and just listen for ‘that’ high note just prior to the end.

With a feisty, frenzied combination of beat and riffs, Throw Them to the Lions is next. It is yet another fast-paced track which expresses the aggression that the lyrics depict.

Make it Hurt is yet another heavy hitter just a powerful emotive smack to the head. It sort of makes you want to smash stuff…. and may also cause erratic driving!!!

Now Traipse was one of the tracks that when I heard it at the listening party in Orlando, stood out to me from the very first listen. Lyrically and vocally excellent with a killer solo, one of those songs you just find replaying in your head when you least expect it.

The First the Last was the other track that struck me straight away. While Ballsy but more melodic it immediately drew so much emotion from me. The vocal harmonies are just perfect and if it doesn’t tug a little on your heartstrings I’d be very surprised.

The sound of A Lot Like Sin takes me back to previous albums a little, with the very typical Tremonti riffage.

By this point in the album, one could be forgiven for thinking to themselves, “Are there any bad tracks at all?” In my opinion, the answer to that is a definitive no.

As you progress through track by track there is diversity yet familiarity. The quality of the songwriting and vocals has clearly come a very long way since the first album.

The Day When Legions Burned is another favorite of fans who like the heavier faster, face-melting style. Yet another track in which the ridiculously underrated Garrett Whitlock excels. A phenomenal drummer, and in my opinion, a perfect fit for this band in so many ways.

A change in pace with As the Silence Becomes Me. Musically divine, and the chorus especially showcases the exquisite vocal harmonies of Eric Friedman on backing vocals. This man is another hugely underrated artist. Not only a ridiculously awesome guitarist in his own right, but he also played bass on the album and works with Mark in many aspects of song composition. An exceptionally humble human being is he, as all of the band are.

And he is not recognized by listeners nearly enough for what he brings to the band. Mark has handpicked perfectly his ‘brothers’ in this band and Garrett and Eric both having formerly played together in a band called Submersed (look them up if you don’t know them already) they have a great chemistry as of course Mark and Eric do from their time together when Mark handpicked Eric to join Creed.

The album closes out with three of the most amazing tracks. The first of which is Take You With Me. With a very different sound to that of any previous undertakings, there is a mildly pop-punk feel to this. Upbeat and cheery and is clearly from early in the story when the love was strong. Lyrically very catchy and yet another stellar vocal performance. So full of energy and is just about my favorite track overall.

Desolation is dark and brooding yet strangely very beautiful. I think this is actually a bit of a hidden gem that will slowly creep up on people as a favorite over time.

Found is the final track and it is an instrumental. To date, it is the only track that seems to have brought about conjecture amongst fans. Many wanted an instrumental with searing guitar solos and rampaging riffs but this is very different, yet very fitting to the story behind the album.

Now clearly I am a massive fan of this band, but even listening to this album with completely impartial ears, it has the potential to seriously crush other contenders for Album of the Year.

Go and give your ears a treat and give it a listen. I am sure there will be more who love this album than who don’t.