Tremonti
A Dying Machine


3.0
good

Review

by leku200 USER (1 Reviews)
June 11th, 2018 | 32 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Sometimes to love someone, you got to be a stranger"

Mark Tremonti’s journey as a hard rock guitarist from Creed to Alter Bridge has shaped him technically proficient and tonally distinguished. A Dying Machine marks his fourth album released under his self-titled offshoot project. Upon hearing this newest release, I’m disappointed by a lack of experimental growth and have to conclude Tremonti has hit a peak creatively. I hoped overtime Tremonti would craft a unique, divergent sound from Alter Bridge. While it is a heavier approach, A Dying Machine doesn't surprise me like I wish it would.

My gripes aren't directed towards Tremonti and company's technical prowess however. The guitar playing showcased within A Dying Machine is excellent both rhythmically and melodically. Metal fans should be appeased by razor-sharp riffage and ferocious solos. Tremonti’s staple sound resides within blazing riffs and A Dying Machine contains a masterclass of such (Ex. “Make It Hurt”). You can trace this playing style back to Alter Bridge’s roots, even within their debut album on tracks like “Metalingus”. Follow it further to Creed and even their first album had Tremonti’s distinguishable sound within the riffs of “Unforgiven”.

However, by focusing too heavily on riffs and technical prowess, the chance for experimentation has been choked. Tremonti doesn’t branch out from his skillset, leaving his newest album dry and predictable. The largest factor being song structure. I understand the fallacies in using song structure as a critique, as there are conventions within all artistic expression that help frame the art itself. But A Dying Machine becomes annoyingly predictable, to the point my ears were screaming for any form of variety. The exception being the instrumental from the album-titled song “A Dying Machine,” which I loved. I wish the remainder of that song had continued the story being told instrumentally. Instead it was rudely interrupted by some muttered lyrics that toss listeners back into the pre-chorus.

The lyrics are painfully ambiguous and not in a useful, poetic way. And to clarify, I make this criticism in the context of A Dying Machine being referred to as a “concept album”. That's a cool direction that could play well in Tremonti's favor as a divergence from Alter Bridge. But unfortunately the lyrics lack any essential story building blocks. Where's the characters, sense of place, or vivid language? Instead, we’re treated to a blasé treatment of themes such as war, death, disorientation, finding strength in desperation. We've heard that a hundred times before in this genre, so to stand out the story should have been focal point. Instead the story seems to be dragged behind Tremonti's riffage skills. I’d venture to say the album’s concept was meant to be based on a sci-fi story. Machines taking over mankind, with the trope of juxtaposing a man’s inner nature as represented through the programmed actions of robots. But even the most liberal interpretation of Tremonti’s lyrics will be hard pressed to envision whatever story was attempted.

On the positive side, Tremonti’s vocal performance is solid and fitting to the genre in a similar execution to Corey Taylor’s within Stone Sour’s context. Having a genuine and engaged vocal performance helps carry Tremonti through the otherwise bland lyrics.

The track mixing is also commendable. Tremonti’s signature effect chain can be heard. Heavy phasing (“Throw Them To The Lions”) alongside delicious distortion. Sadly, the bass is often a lost art for hard rock, so I appreciate brief moments on tracks like “Trust” that punctuate the bass line. However, slower songs like “First to Last” were perfect spaces to hook listeners with a melodic or infectious bass line. Instead all we get are mundane, predictable lines enslaved to the root note and downbeat. This may sound somewhat contradictory to my criticism of the bass - but I actually really enjoyed the drums here for their simplicity. Percussion served each song well with catchy yet straight forward grooves, like the driving force behind “The Day When Legions Burned”.

The Bottom Line
With the release of A Dying Machine, Tremonti indicates he’s reached the farthest point of his creative trajectory. While worth pumping into your car for a high energy rock session, this album offers little to the imagination and brings more of the same to fans of previous Tremonti albums and Alter Bridge. If you enjoy the style, it’s more fuel to the fire. If you’re looking for a new take on the hard rock genre, look elsewhere.


(Side note: Tremonti discusses his creative process in writing this album here: http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/mark-tremonti-on-a-dying-machine-i-tried-to-make-the-music-as-dynamic-and-diverse-as-any-album/)


user ratings (152)
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Asura14 (4)
With his first and longer concept album, Tremonti goes a mark above....

Clifgard (4.5)
But oh, what a machine!...



Comments:Add a Comment 
leku200
June 11th 2018


41 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Changed score from 2.5 to 3, better reflects review and further time listening to album as a whole.

tyman128
Staff Reviewer
June 11th 2018


4480 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Although I agree with most of what you said, I think this album as a whole flows wonderfully and is great for what it is. Yes, it doesn't add much to the hard rock genre, but it is an exceptional addition to the genre for me.

Asura14
June 11th 2018


512 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I agree with 50% of what you said (really had to try hard and crunch out this number lol).



I think we can easily deduct a story of love and loss from the lyrics as well as some other hints at what he's talking about but his lyrics are sometimes frustratingly obvious, some might see it as unoriginal I just think they're straight forward just like his heavy melodic riffs and solos. It makes the album concise

CaliggyJack
June 12th 2018


10036 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Fuck what happened, this is shite compared to their previous 3

leku200
June 12th 2018


41 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Instead of attempting to persuade my rating, I focus on sharing disappointment as a fan. I was hoping the talent Tremonti possesses could be used to spearhead a new wave within the genre. This album doesn’t do so.

Those in praise of this album reiterate that it flows well and succeeds as a straightforward hard rock album. I get that. But I'd challenge listeners and fans to apply critical weight to this album in testing for weak spots. It definitely falls apart in too many places. Not enough spice...

tyman128
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2018


4480 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I understand what you're getting at. My rating in all honesty is probably generous, and critically, I would maybe lower it to a 4, possibly 3.5. However, I think the ability for an album to flow is a major positive as it provides an "easy listen" for a fan. Either way, you're ideas and criticism on the album are rightfully so.

IconicShaman
June 12th 2018


7 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Truthfully, my rating will probably drop to a 4 sooner rather than later. But I really enjoyed it on the first few spins, more so than Dust or Cauterize, so that's probably why the rating reflects the way it does for me. Plus I do really enjoy listening to Tremonti's stuff, more so than I have with Alter Bridge OR Creed. The songs hit harder and Mark is a great frontman. Objectively speaking, I'd go with a 3.5-4 at best. It's straight-forward, well produced rock done right.



Oh, and pos'd for a solid, honest review.

Kalopsia
June 12th 2018


3384 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is a solid 4 for me. better than his late two, not as good as his debut.

much better than Last Hero but I think I blame that one Myles more than Mark.

tyman128
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2018


4480 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

After going back through Cauterize and Dust, I do admit to what you said leku about how this could be a disappointment for fans of the previous albums. It's less complex compared to the former albums. However, for me, I personally feel that A Dying Machine was a stronger overall album in terms of sound from all members of the band and the production of the music. Of course, it all comes down to personal taste, but I'll probably be leaving my rating at 4.5.



Pos'd, still a good review nonetheless.

leku200
June 13th 2018


41 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good points. I gotta stand by my score (although completely arbitrary lol) because I think in several years from now, this album isn't something people are going to listen back to...Very meh.

tyman128
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2018


4480 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

No problem!



Definitely agree with what you said about Sputnik offering different viewpoints. I've only been on for a year and just recently became an active user and I've been able to view many different opinions that have also improved my thoughts upon music critically and personally. Hope to read more from you soon on other albums!

tiesthatbind
June 13th 2018


7441 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review. I’m probably a bit more positive on the album but I agree with a lot of this critique. I’m a longtime fan and have liked Tremonti’s formula but it’s starting to lose its luster here. I liked Cauterize and Dust a lot but after that he really needed to switch things up more.

I’d put this above his debut (which has not aged well at all) but lower than the other two.

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2018


18936 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Enjoyable mainstream rock

daysofthunder
June 15th 2018


98 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pretty much agree with everything here. Had some high hopes for this, but it just ends up being a slog when listening from front to back. The lyrics aren't exactly the best in the context of a concept record either. It almost sounds like it was written by someone who isn't a fan of concept albums. (https://youtu.be/mNCv_oVNjtU?t=51s) The heavier tunes are the big highlights though. "Make It Hurt" is a jam.



Have a pos, leku.

Beardog
June 15th 2018


5146 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Agree with the review for sure, nice how you guys have a good discussion about this while having completely different views on this record!

InFlamesWeThrash666
June 15th 2018


10556 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

this is boring af

Toondude10
June 15th 2018


15182 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

correct rating

Harlzenberg
June 19th 2018


3 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

None of his stuff is all that fantastic IMO, I think Fortress was the best album he has been involved with. I agree with a rating of about 3.0 myself on this one. His weakest eponymous album for me. Clearly Tremonti is a very good guitar player, but as he stays stuck in the mainstream hard rock mould (with flourishes of more) I think for me he will hover in the 3.0-3.75 range.

Storm In A Teacup
July 14th 2018


45666 Comments


Fortress was great yes

jmh886
August 1st 2018


2929 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

tremonti's voice is perfect for this kind of stuff. surprised it took him so long in his career to do these albums.



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