Mark Tremonti
All I Was


3.5
great

Review

by Austin USER (41 Reviews)
September 11th, 2012 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Hardly the departure from Alter Bridge that was promised, but still a successful solo debut from Tremonti.

My reaction to Mark Tremonti’s announcement of a solo album was a mixed one. While Alter Bridge has allowed him to blossom and really come into his own as a guitar player, the fact that he could still be a part of something mediocre like Full Circle really showed that having Myles Kennedy as a co-songwriter was a big reason for how great his performance was on Blackbird and AB III. There’s a reason I consider myself an Alter Bridge fan before a Tremonti fan or a Kennedy fan: they really bring out the best in each other and are significantly weaker when not working together. A solo album featuring more metal influence and shredding solos was a promising idea but raised the question of whether or not Tremonti had the goods to deliver a consistent effort on his own.

With All I Was, Tremonti has proven that he indeed had enough original ideas to warrant giving a solo album a try. No one really expected this to be a pure balls-to-the-wall metal album despite Tremonti’s claims, but he does push the heaviness farther than he does in Alter Bridge, with most songs being driven by heavy riffs. Although this is still melodic rock music at its core, Tremonti’s thrash metal influence is seen throughout the album, and it should be no surprise for Alter Bridge fans that the songs that utilize it the most are usually highlights on the album.

The real question with Tremonti’s solo album was how well he would handle taking over lead vocals. He proved himself to be a great vocalist in Alter Bridge when he provided that crucial second part to the melody in the chorus of Come To Life and then went on to share the lead on Words Darker Than Their Wings, but lead vocals for a full album is an entirely different task in itself. His voice, while not as distinctive as Myles’, is more than strong enough to carry the album. The Things I’ve Seen is a pretty standard ballad in structure, but Tremonti’s powerful vocal performance lifts it into being one of the highlights. The album makes a great case for giving Tremonti a little more time on the mic in future Alter Bridge albums.

All I Was has all the elements of a great mainstream rock album, and it is, in fact, a great mainstream rock album. The main problem with the album is with Tremonti’s songwriting itself. He doesn’t push himself beyond the barriers of the genre. The balance between heaviness and melody is his bread and butter, and it’s worked wonders in Alter Bridge, but it’s also what holds him back on here. Most of the songs are great on their own (apart from the boring ballad New Way Out), but as a whole All I Was lacks variety, something that becomes more evident in the second half of the album. If Tremonti had pushed the heaviness a bit more like he did with the fast-paced Wish You Well, the darker Brains, and the speed metal breakdown in the title track, he would have had an amazing album that really did distinguish itself from Alter Bridge. But the album’s insistence on being mostly mid-tempo and having the same sort of melodic chorus in every song keeps it from being as good as it could have been.

The biggest disappointment on the album is the soloing. Now, Tremonti certainly still shows that he’s a talented guitarist who can shred and keep it interesting, but with the exception of the lengthy break in opener Leave It Alone he doesn’t do anything out of the box. Given that he’s created solos as epic and lyrical as the ones in Brand New Start and Blackbird, he can certainly do better than the lead work on here suggests. The solos are still very good, but they don’t stack up to most of the solos he’s done in Alter Bridge, which is a shame given that he had room to let loose a little more here and really show his skills.

Yet even with its minor flaws, All I Was is a solid album through and through. With all the disappointments in the last few years of mainstream rock it certainly is better and rocks harder than most other recent releases in the genre. But unsurprisingly, it doesn’t match up with the best that Tremonti can do and has done in Alter Bridge. It also probably won’t change any minds on Tremonti, since although it’s a bit heavier, most of what he does on this album isn’t far from what he’s already been doing in Alter Bridge. Regardless, even if it doesn’t quite demonstrate all he is, Tremonti’s solo debut is still a strong hard rock album that’s definitely worth listening to.

Top Tracks:
All I Was
Wish You Well
Brains
Leave It Alone
The Things I’ve Seen



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Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
September 11th 2012


7421 Comments


Awesome review. I found the LP quite forgettable on my first listen (the vocals are nothing special), but I should probably give it a second chance.

Digging: Dope Body - Lifer

KILL
September 11th 2012


71965 Comments


painfully generic n borin agreed

Digging: Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out

Lakes.
September 11th 2012


28485 Comments


hahahaha

Digging: Scott Walker and Sunn O))) - Soused

Lakes.
September 11th 2012


28485 Comments


MARK BROMONTI

tiesthatbind
September 11th 2012


7378 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks greg. I did find it to be a bit of a grower personally, since it was probably a high 3 my first listen, but I can also understand finding it generic (it is to a point).

sup lakes

Digging: Poets of the Fall - Signs of Life

Lakes.
September 11th 2012


28485 Comments


if i thought ABIII was a 3/5 what would i give this?

KjSwantko
September 11th 2012


9443 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

worse

tiesthatbind
September 11th 2012


7378 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Probably still a 3 at most tbh, I don't see you really getting into this. The title track is my favorite on here, look up that one if you're curious.

tarkus
September 11th 2012


5560 Comments


what kill said

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
September 11th 2012


16455 Comments


Welcome back for your bi-annual visit Ties ; )

Great review. Reminds me of how things used to be in 2010 when I'd log on to read a DT review fresh off the presses by you. Pos'd hard.

Digging: Zella Day - Zella Day

Lakes.
September 11th 2012


28485 Comments


ah, 2010. the memories

pizzamachine
September 11th 2012


12571 Comments


nice review man

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
September 11th 2012


16455 Comments


speaking of memories

pizzamachine sighting

pizzamachine
September 11th 2012


12571 Comments


haha weird I'm the one disappearing now.

Lakes.
September 11th 2012


28485 Comments


i think you should review my new ep so your contributor status isn't revoked pizza ;]

pizzamachine
September 11th 2012


12571 Comments


I don't need to resort to that ;) I'm working on a review right now!

Lakes.
September 11th 2012


28485 Comments


darn it!

nononsense
September 12th 2012


3418 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Are y'all gunna suck each others dicks or what?

JakeStallion
September 12th 2012


398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome review, dude. I liked this album a bit more than you (as my review shows) and I actually quite like New Way Out, but a great review nonetheless.

I saw Tremonti perform last night. It was his first ever show on tour with the band, which is pretty cool. There were a few issues with the sound live, which is kinda expected since its the first show. Some songs had the rhythm guitar completely overpower the lead guitar so the solos were nearly inaudible at times, and the vocals were pretty quiet at some points as well. They had Wolfgang Van Halen playing the songs on bass since Brian Marshall couldn't make it. He played very well, especially for having learned every song not even 24 hours prior. Tremonti and the band did a meet and greet afterwards so I got all their autographs and a picture with Mark himself. Overall it was a pretty sweet concert.

tiesthatbind
September 13th 2012


7378 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks, guys. I'll try to contribute every so often here, maybe make it a little more than a bi-annual visit ;)



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