Marching In Time: Can the Alter Bridge Guitarist put out an Album as Good as his Other Band Member’s This Year?

Possibly controversial opinion to start this one off, Tremoni ruined Alter Bridge. Not the band, but Mark himself. And that also isn’t to say that AB is bad nowadays by any stretch, but Mark has brought so many good riffs and songwriting awesomeness to his side project that I feel AB has taken an audible hit the last couple of albums or so. Now that that is out of the way… Tremonti released its latest album, Marching in Time, last week. I have to admit I haven’t listened to this band as much as I should have as I do love everything that I’ve heard, so this will be the first album by them I’ll be checking out in full. Whether you’re a fan of the band or completely new to them, join me in checking it out!

Opening up the album ‘A World Away’ opens on a huge, heavy riff, setting the tone for the album well. It launches into an EVEN BETTER riff off the back of that one, one of my favourite riffs this year, in fact. I have to admit I’ve never been the biggest fan of Mark’s voice, but the vocal melody kinda following the guitar riff worked well for the verse. My only issue with this song is the chorus though. It’s not bad, but it also isn’t exactly catchy or memorable. I hate saying it, but it was a little weak. Although I have to admit it did grow on me slightly the second time through. It drops down after the second chorus into a pretty beautiful, cleaner guitar riff, building up gradually and pretty damn well into a final chorus. Said chorus is then followed by a fantastic outro filled with a blistering solo or two and that awesome opening riff again, finishing the track off perfectly. Outside of the chorus (that is still growing on me more), it’s an awesome song, and easily makes the playlist!

‘Now and Forever’ opens on another fantastic, heavy riff (see what I mean in my intro yet?); Mark being a riff machine these days. The verse is pretty interesting, the lead guitar contrasting well with Mark’s vocals due to the wah on it. The second half of the verse is less interesting but the heavy riff is still great. The chorus for this song is better than the previous, but still not amazing. I think it’s always been the reason I don’t listen to the band as much as I could, I LOVE the riffs and instrumentation, but the choruses lack the hooks that I hoped for to go along with them. That’s clearly Myles Kennedy’s forte, as his new album is full of them! It does head into an AWESOME breakdown out of the second chorus though, heavy and it had me headbanging something major. It then follows the same structure as the last song, chorus, and then crazy outro with big riffs and soloing. Another great song!

The lead single from the album, ‘If Not For You’, was actually not one of my favourites when I first heard it when it was released. I have to admit, my opinion hasn’t changed much since then. The intro is pretty interesting but outside of that, it feels like a mid-tempo ballad type song. That isn’t a bad thing, and it’s probably a very good idea for the first single off the album, but it just felt a little middle of the road to me.

‘Thrown Further’ has an awesome, pretty inventive guitar riff to open it up, the band exploding in and making it ten times heavier. The riff continues through the verse, keeping the song pretty heavy, before it opens out for the chorus. It’s a pretty decent chorus, better than most on the album so far but still suffers from what I’m going to call ‘The Tremonti Effect’. As expected, everything after the second chorus was awesome, this time a HEAVY, slow riff coming in before the guitar’s dual-solo over the top of it. The transition between that and the final chorus felt a little janky, but that may have just been me. The final guitar solo was then awesome and the closing riff again sent us home on a bang.

It feels redundant at this point to say that a song opens on a good riff, but damn does ‘Let That be Us’ have an amazing one. Unfortunately, the rest of the song didn’t feel much to write home about. The verse was a little meh and the chorus, while feeling bigger than most I have heard so far, just didn’t quite sit right with me for some reason. It drops down pretty nicely out of the second chorus into a stripped-back (but still heavy) chord progression but then builds up pretty similarly to the rest of the songs into a final chorus and outro. It was okay, but the riff was the highlight of the song by far.

‘The Last One of Us’ is a slower ballad, giving off ‘Waters Rising’ vibes with its opening riff and verse. It builds up pretty well and is just generally a pretty beautiful song. It never kicks into a fully heavy gear, the choruses staying pretty low down still and lacks a fair amount of distortion and crazy riffs like the other tracks. It’s a nice change of pace, and paired with the profound lyrics makes for a pretty great track and one that I actually end up playlisting! My only issue is the solo just kind of cuts off and fades away at the end, but it’s a small issue in an otherwise great song!

‘In One Piece’ gets back to the formula again, a fantastic, heavy opening riff and not a great deal else standing out outside of that. The solo was pretty decent but for Mark, it was nothing to massively write home about. All the rest was just kind of there. The same could be said for ‘Under the Sun’. It was a slower track much like ‘Last One…’, but it wasn’t quite up to that same quality and it didn’t have much if anything that immediately stood out to me. I’ll have completely forgotten about the track by the time I finish the album, and it’s a shame!

‘Not Afraid to Lose’ is another good, slower track, better than the previous song but not quite as good as ‘Last One…’. Still, it’s a good song and worth checking out! ‘Bleak’, meanwhile has a pretty cool opening structure, using the verse to build up throughout the entire track (think Megadeth’s ‘Reckoning Day’). It adds a pretty interesting dynamic onto it as it doesn’t immediately burst into a heavy riff, and in turn, it makes the chorus sound MASSIVE and pretty heavy. It’s my favourite chorus on the album, for what it’s worth. This is another good song, being different and interesting enough to stand out from a lot of the rest of the album!

‘Would you Kill’ opens on another nice thrashy riff, reminiscent of the first few tracks of the album. It also comes with the same structure as the first few songs, from the dropdown parts in the middle to the heavy outro with the solo over the top. It does the trope well, better than some of the songs, but is still a little more of the same.

Then we reach the final track and the album’s title track, as well as it being one of the singles from the album. Honestly, this was one of the ones that put a bit of a sour taste in my mouth ahead of the album’s release. Anyone who knows me or reads my reviews knows I’m a sucker for a good ballad (heck, I gushed about one on this very album), so believe me when I say this is kind of a meh ballad. It didn’t go anywhere aside for a fairly average chorus, and at over seven and a half minutes it was VERY long for a slower track that didn’t change things up much. There’s what I assume is a breakdown about halfway through, but it doesn’t last too long before the track drops down for a couple of minutes. The outro wasn’t even that massive, I was expecting an epic ending like all the other songs to finish off the album, but unfortunately not. A whimper at the end of what was otherwise a fairly solid album.

Overall: this was about what I was expecting. Some huge, phat riffs, awesome technical solos, and some powerful vocals. A lot of the songs were damn solid, and there wasn’t a lot of bad stuff or filler at all. However, there was also very little in the way of outstanding, ground-breaking tracks, either. It was a perfectly solid album with a lot of entertaining songs, but nothing to cause me to buzz and rave about it. Just like most of their other albums!

The Score: 6.5/10

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