Review Summary: Adequate...
It’s not a rarity in today’s music to see the individual members of successful bands branch out and try to do something on their own. More often than not, these efforts are met with trepidation due to the spotty history of such side projects, most of which leaving much to be desired. Yet when Mark Tremonti set out to write an album all by his lonesome, there was a different kind of uneasiness surrounding the release. Tremonti had been such a big part of the writing process of Creed and Alter Bridge throughout the years that it’s hard to believe that this solo project could present anything he had not already displayed with his already solidified bands. Yet with a promise of a much heavier outing, Tremonti set out to prove that he’s not only a riff machine, but also has the finesse to write an intriguing LP.
Overall, the effort turned out to be entirely adequate. Each song is given life by the unsurprisingly strong guitar work from Tremonti, along with an impressive performance from the rest of the band keeping things together. It’s song after song of solid hard rock. Although nothing incredible, Tremonti’s vocals are also strong, showing that his talents do extend beyond the frets. This was all expected though. Nothing in Tremonti’s past indicated anything different from what is presented here. And that’s where a bit of the disappointment lies.
There is nothing here that is heavier than most of Alter Bridge’s material. The heaviness factor, that was the selling point of the album, was greatly exaggerated. Sure, songs like So You’re Afraid and You Waste Your Time have terrific guitar work, they are not anything that would be classified further then the hardest of rock. This presents us with a record that sounds almost identical to its predecessors from an instrumental standpoint. Add on to this the sloppier songwriting resulting from trying to achieve the aforementioned heaviness, such as song-derailing solos and occasional repetitive riffs, and we are left with a product that doesn’t amount to anything more than decent.
That’s not to say this is a bad album by any means. His choruses are catchy, if shallow, and overall the guitar work is fun, exactly what we’ve come to expect from Tremonti. And from the standpoint of a fan of his previous work, we have another fine slab of hard rock from one of the genres strongest guitarists. Just this time we don’t have the chops of Myles Kennedy or (to a much lesser extent) Scott Stapp to really grasp our attention. All I Was is an adequate album of above average hard rock tunes for fans of the genre, nothing more, nothing less.