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.