Tremonti
A Dying Machine


3.0
good

Review

by leku200 USER (1 Reviews)
June 11th, 2018 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

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

The job of a coroner has always been a morbid curiosity. On one hand, I’m appalled and disgusted that anyone willingly examines a cold, lifeless body for wounds. But at the same time, I’m intrigued by how much information forensic studies can deduce from a dead person. I also see the necessity in catching the victim’s killer, and imagine this sense of urgency inspires coroners to complete their morbid tasks. In much the same way, I feel I owe Tremonti’s newest album a critique of its wounds. It’s difficult to criticize someone’s hard work, especially as a fan of Alter Bridge and Tremonti. His incredible playing inspired me to get into guitar, and his dedication and talent inspired my first steps into music. As they say, it’s better to not meet your heroes - I wish they’d told me this about writing reviews.

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 saddened by a lack of creative growth and have to conclude Tremonti has hit a peak.

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 sickeningly predictable, to the point my ears were screaming for any form of variety. The exception being the instrumental from “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 muttured lyrics that threw me back into the pre-chorus.

Similarly, the lyrics are painfully ambiguous, and not in a poetic way. I say this in the context of A Dying Machine being referred to as a “concept album”. Despite this claim, the lyrics are devoid of any essential story building blocks: characters, sense of place, descriptions, etc. Instead, we’re treated to a blasé treatment of themes such as war, death, disorientation, finding strength in desperation, and dealing with the loss of a pet goldfish (RIP Goldie). I’d venture to say the album’s concept was meant to be based on a sci-fi story. Likely machines taking over mankind, with some kind of juxtaposition of man’s inner nature 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 deliciously perfected distortion, like a cheeseburger with fries (I promise I’m not writing hangry). 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, and instead all we get are mundane lines enslaved to the root note and downbeat. The drums serve each song well with catchy yet straight forward grooves, such as 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 (80)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Luis Goncalves (4.5)
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 10th 2018


16 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
June 11th 2018


668 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

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.

Digging: mewithoutYou - [Untitled]

Asura14
June 11th 2018


70 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

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



On a more serious note tho 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 amazing solos. It makes the album concise just like the ones before but a little extra flavour.



I'll give you this tho, if the next AB album is Last Hero 2 or something in the lines of Dying machine then I'll be disappointed... Because I expect greatness out of Alter Bridge and LH was good but not great and where I want to see Tremonti go all out and not just be "obvious" is in Alter Bridge. His work in these Tremonti albums is fine as it is for me its great fun and this time we have music for days.

Digging: Polyphia - New Levels New Devils

CaliggyJack
June 11th 2018


2227 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

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

leku200
June 12th 2018


16 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 understand this sediment, mentioned in my final words that “If you enjoy the style, it’s more fuel to the fire”. I would challenge listeners and fans to apply critical weight to this album in testing for weak spots. It definitely falls apart in sections, unable to support a 4.5 rating.

tyman128
June 12th 2018


668 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

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


2907 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.

Digging: Coheed and Cambria - The Unheavenly Creatures

tyman128
June 13th 2018


668 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

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


16 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I appreciate the feedback! I understand ya'll viewpoints differing from my own, that's natural for music as subjective art. These discussions are the reason I've mainly used SputnikMusic over the years and prompted to write my first review. Site may be lesser known and the quality can vary pretty wide, but it hosts the best content for delving into variety of opinions.

tyman128
June 13th 2018


668 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

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.

Digging: Riverside - Wasteland

TheNotrap
June 13th 2018


9248 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Enjoyable mainstream rock

Digging: Gorod - Aethra

daysofthunder
June 15th 2018


34 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


2147 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


8421 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

this is boring af

Digging: Sabbat (JPN) - The Dwelling

Toondude10
June 15th 2018


13286 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

correct rating

Digging: Ice Nine Kills - The Silver Scream

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


24068 Comments


Fortress was great yes

jmh886
August 1st 2018


2141 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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