Tremonti: Cauterize review

With Myles Kennedy currently busy with Slash, guitarist Mark Tremonti was looking for a way to keep busy, so he took the opportunity to get some of his heavier music out of his head and started writing with guitarist Eric Friedman, drummer Garrett Whitlock and bassist Wolfgang Van Halen for what would become his second solo album.

Those sessions yielded 25 songs that Tremonti has cut back to 20 spread over two glorious cds. The first is Cauterize, which is out in June via he and his brother Dan’s own Fret12 Records and the second is Dust, which is due in the not so distant future. Both were produced by Michael ‘Elvis’ Baskette, who Tremonti has worked with in the past, engineered by Jef Moll and mastered by Ted Jensen.

Cauterize finds Tremonti peeling back the layers to expose another facet of his musical soul, tapping into the heavier side of metal he grew up loving and wanting to create himself.

The album is by no means meant to be a part 1, nor is it a Creed or Alter Bridge record and even though Eddie’s son plays bass, it is sure as hell not a Van Halen album.

No dear friends, much like his debut solo album All I Was, this is darkened beast of a different kind altogether, one that has Tremonti once again releasing the inner metal demon that has been lurking just beneath the surface all this time.

The album comes out swinging like an MMA fighter, with the brutal Slayer like riffage of “Radical Change,” a song about facing change and feeling the weight of the world bearing down on you. While the slow brooding groove of “Flying Monkeys” serves as a rally cry for the munchkins to attack the Wizard of Oz.

Songs like title track “Cauterize” and lead single “Another Heart” incorporate the heavier side of Creed and Alter Bridge into even more metallic breakdowns and if it’s breakdowns you like, the one in “Tie The Noose” is so sweet it could cause diabetes.

As heavy as “Arm Yourself” is, it still manages to include all the melodic elements fans have come to expect and those melodic moments continue into “Dark Trip” and “Fall Again,” that could have been on the last Alter Bridge album Fortress.

Saving the very best for last, “Sympathy” is an epic anthem that evokes early Guns ‘N’ Roses and is destined to become one of the defining moments of Tremonti’s 20 year career, much like With Arms Wide Open and closer “Providence” is a slowly building monster, featuring some of Tremonti’s most insidious guitar work to date, that will leave fans begging for more and wondering how long they have to wait for Dust.

Here’s the bottom line. A stunning musical proposition that bites down like a Pit Bull, ripping flesh from bone, leaving a wound that needs to be Cauterized.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Eric Hunker