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Tremonti - A Dying Machine

On June 8, 2018, "Tremonti" released their fifth studio album "A Dying Machine".


This is probably the band's best album, although the writers of these lines think there is a better one...


This is a concept album, which came out in parallel with the publication of a book of the same name, written by Mark Tremonti and author John Shirley.


The book is designed to complete the fabric of the plot story for the listener. The story takes place at the beginning of the next century, in a futuristic world where technology enables a synthesized creation of a human being. This creation is called "Vessel" and it mostly includes human parts, but it is actually a type of Android (as in the movie "Blade Runner") laden with data and features specially selected by its owners called "Primaries". The "Vessels" are created at the request of their owners (the "Primaries"), using human DNA, and are as unique, as humans, but not really ....


Over time, some "Vessels" begin to resist and disobey their owners. Their manufacturer puts out a "recall" for those "Vessels", but this actually motivates them to start a war against their owners. The protagonist of the story is one of those "Vessels", who was created and programmed by his "Primary" to love only him, all to fill a painful void caused following the death of his wife.


Mark Tremonti noted that he has always dreamed of writing a novel, so the work on this album allowed him to "kill two birds" and publish an album with a book. The idea for the plot story started during a warm-up before an "Alter Bridge" performance in Hungary. He started playing a particular chord progression that eventually became the theme song. Mark Tremonti said the plot was just created in his head and continued developing it during the show. He remembers being on stage and the ideas in his head popped up between the songs he played at the show. He could not wait to get back to the locker room to write the song.


Musically this album is a direct sequel to the previous albums, only that Mark Tremonti is only getting better from album to album. We always knew Tremonti was a phenomenal musical talent. We knew he was an excellent guitarist, we knew he was a gifted writer and we even knew he was not a bad singer at all. But on this album, he just surpasses himself, in every, way. In the level of writing (full concept album), in terms of the quality of playing, production and sound, and above all the singing! What a beauty of a voice, just unbelievable what this amazing guitarist can get out of his lungs and it definitely adds to the enjoyment of this side project, which gradually becoming more significant.


So what do we have on this album?


After the "March" drums in the intro of the opening track "Bringer Of War", Tremonti simply storms into a "battle" with a monstrous opening riff and thunderous drums that define the tremendous pace of the war between the "Primaries" and "Vessels". Mark Tremonti's melodic and clean vocals blend in amazingly with the knife-sharp riffs and brutal beat, until it becomes a powerful roar during the chorus.


We have not yet calmed down from the storm of "war" and Termonti is landing a bomb from "sky" on us, with "From The Sky". Termonti's greatness is in the amazing combination of biting riffs and a sweet and melting melody and that's exactly what happens between the verses and the chorus of this song, which instead of including lyrics, includes the war cry "Wow wow wow ....." and we are already addicted ...


And if you thought it could not get any better, then comes the theme song "A Dying Machine" which just breaks down all the bones in our body. We did not just choose this song as an opening song for our first "Face/Off" show we ever aired. Garrett Whitlock's powerful drumming serves as a solid base for Tremonti's sawing riffs, as this song moves in waves of calm and chaos that flow throughout and from there straight into our veins. What a razor-sharp guitar work, what an amazing singing, Tremonti groans, writhes, roars, and, rages as the rhythm section sweats and torments in the face of the musical "roller coaster". And those "little ones" that just crush us. Listen to the sequence of triplets that Whitlock performs intermittently starting at 0:57, just ingenious! The break to the C-ParC-part:57 and the transition between the clean and caressing singing to the angry cries at 4:30 - "Priceless" ....


Then comes "Trust" and changes everything. The atmosphere changes from end to end in a catchy and accessible song, with an addictive chorus. Tremonti takes a more stable and mature approach here, just on the Nu-Metal border, with Eric Friedman's striking and bold bass work and a full and powerful drum sound.


"Throw Them To The Lions" builds the suspense with a mechanical and "distorted" riff that puts us in a frenetic vortex of a sweeping and insane rhythm. Here too, Tremonti knows how to combine speed and power with a catchy melody and it works just fine for him. "Make It Hurt" already shows us an upgrade of the "Tremonti formula", with the melody in the chorus sitting rather on a fast rhythm that forces Termonti's voice to chase after the frantic drum beat.


The acoustic guitar is pulled out for the first time with "Traipse" and the clean and inviting tones in Tremonti's voice flow into hard adrenaline-driven rock rhythms, and they are so stimulating. How much talent does Tremonti have playing the guitar and how beautifully does he run effortlessly between a barrage of riffs and solos with touches of blues. "The First The Last" brings Tremonti back to the acoustic and highlights the immense emotion he has in his exposed singing that describes a feeling of heartbreak and loss. Tremonti proves his greatness as a singer here, with the ability to roar over heavy riffs, but also to lead sharp and eloquent ballads.


"A Lot Like Sin" wakes us from the dream of a better world and brings us back to the heavy and cruel riffs that are served to us on a bed of bubbling drum beats and aggressive singing. "The Day When Legions Burned" increases the tempo close to the level of "Speed" or "Thrash", but Tremonti's clean and melodic singing connects us to a slightly different reality, though not necessarily less powerful. "As Silence Becomes" brings us back again to the acoustic and to the fragile and touching singing of Tremonti, who cries out his heart and tells us that all he wanted was a friend next to him to pass the time with. "Take You With Me" once again picks up the pace with a punk-rock atmosphere, young, lively, and fun so it's not really surprising that this track was chosen to serve as the first single released before the album, probably because it is catchy and friendly.


We are nearing the end with the gloomy and bluesy rhythm of "Desolation" which for some reason also reminds us of the "grunge" atmosphere. The album ends with "Found" an instrumental track with industrial influences, featuring futuristic, mechanical, and ominous sounds on a drum machine rhythm. This track is probably meant to serve as an ending piece to accompany a book or movie, should Tremonti decide to upgrade the concept story into one.


There is no doubt! "A Dying Machine" is the pinnacle of Tremonti's work, so far. The ability to write a full concept album that blends into a book published in parallel, is no small matter. But there still seems to be something missing for this album to reach perfection. Unlike other concept albums like: "2112", "Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory", and "Operation: Mindcrime", the story of the act is not really clear from listening to the album alone. The words are ambiguous, lacking essential facts for understanding the story of the act, characters, place, language, and time, and sometimes the connection between the music and the story itself is not really clear. To upgrade the enjoyment of the album, it is necessary to read the novel written in parallel to the album and this somewhat detracts from the power of this unique achievement of Tremonti.


For Listening: Spotify, Apple Music


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