Tremonti: All I Was

Grungy stadium rock from the revered guitar god.

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Guitar spods and string geeks rejoice, because Mark Tremonti, cult fret-botherer and consistent victor in muso mag polls of Greatest Guitar Solo, has found a home for songs that wouldn’t quite fit with his alma mater Creed or his current squeeze Alter Bridge.

Roughly translated, that means some hefty axe action is at hand, although thankfully for those casually acquainted with the ouvre, Tremonti also takes lead vocals in a pleasing if not unusual grungy yodel that’s part Weiland, part Hetfield, and ensures that there’s melody between the riffs.

Yet despite Tremonti’s skilful and at times emotive take on it, All I Was occupies a genre that hasn’t moved on materially since Pearl Jam’s Ten laid down its foundation a decade ago. These are essentially stadium rock choruses with added angst. It’s homogenised grunge, really.

He does have vigour, and he’s clearly a highly competent musician. His writing is taut and his playing often exhilarating, especially in the middle of the record, where lead-off single You Waste Your Time is fitted out with a luxury speed-metal riff, followed by some necessary light and shade by New Way Out and the overtly Pearl Jam-influenced Proof.

Jon Hotten

Jon Hotten is an English author and journalist. He is best known for the books Muscle: A Writer's Trip Through a Sport with No Boundaries and The Years of the Locust. In June 2015 he published a novel, My Life And The Beautiful Music (Cape), based on his time in LA in the late 80s reporting on the heavy metal scene. He was a contributor to Kerrang! magazine from 1987–92 and currently contributes to Classic Rock. Hotten is the author of the popular cricket blog, The Old Batsman, and since February 2013 is a frequent contributor to The Cordon cricket blog at Cricinfo. His most recent book, Bat, Ball & Field, was published in 2022.