By Phil Ashdown.
Mark Tremonti must be one of the most underrated rock guitarists around at the moment, the quiet man of Metal, with such a great pedigree. It was while on tour with his main band, Alter Bridge, during a pre-show warm up that a riff came to life. This was to become the track A Dying Machine and a seed was planted that would eventually grow into a full concept album, with a companion novel by the same name, written by the man himself with help from award winning author John Shirley.
The album opens with twangy guitar chords and military drums before a crushing opening riff reveals Bringer Of War. This and direct follow up From The Sky not only contain shredding guitars but soaring choruses and melodic harmonies that give depth and variety to the songs. Next track Trust is a real gem, full of emotive guitars and exceptional vocals, a real testament to Tremonti’s skill as a songwriter.
Once again teaming up with producer Michael Baskette who has worked on Tremonti’s previous albums as well as Alter Bridge and Trivium, the overall sound of the album is huge, modern and crisp with heavy power only used when needed. Mark Tremonti’s vocals have never sounded better, surely learning a lot from working alongside Myles Kennedy. The band line-up is completed by Eric Friedman on guitar and bass duties and drummer Garrett Whitlock.
The ballad arrives in the form of The First the Last which could have been written for Alter Bridge with an instant hook that will get inside your brain and not let go. After that brief respite the mid-paced A Lot Like Sin follows with its chugging riffs, The Day When Legions Burn could easily topple tall buildings. The quality continues with all the remaining numbers, with Take Me With You being a particular highlight.
There is very little in Mark Tremonti’s career that hasn’t reached or exceeded expectations which is due in large part to his work ethic, dedication and his ability to just write good songs. A Dying Machine is no exception and sets the bar very high for anything that will follow.
1. Bringer of War
2. From the Sky
3. A Dying Machine
5. Throw Them to the Lions
6. Make It Hurt
8. The First the Last
9. A Lot Like Sin
10. The Day When Legions Burned
11. As The Silence Becomes Me
12. Take You With Me
14. Found (instrumental)
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