Mark Tremonti is one of the most celebrated guitarists of his generation. He is mostly known as the guitarist and main songwriter of Creed and Alter Bridge. Metal is one of his main influences and that’s a side of him he never got the chance to incorporate in his two main bands. With both Creed and Alter Bridge on hold for the time being he seized the opportunity to release a solo album under his own name, entitled “All I Was”.
“All I was” is in many aspects a remarkable album. It’s not a typical shred metal album where a guitarists showcases a vast arsenal of guitar wizardry which are only interesting for fellow musicians at the end of the day. This album contains all the heavier songs Tremonti has written over the years which didn’t find their way onto either Alter Bridge or Creed‘s releases. The metal edge of “All I Was” may spook a few Creed fans, but people who can appreciate the heavier songs on “Blackbird” and “AB III” will find that a lot on here to enjoy.
Mark’s fondness for Metallica’s “Master Of Puppets” becomes apparent during the uptempo parts of “So You’re Afraid” and the title track. Especially the guitar solo towards the end of the song has some eerie resemblances to Kirk Hammett’s guitar solos in “Battery” and “Damage Inc”, although Tremonti is way more skilled and versatile in his playing than Hammett will ever be. Another remarkable song is “Wish You Well”, which reminds me of vintage Annihilator. I keep on wondering whether Tremonti is a closet fan of Jeff Water’s guitar playing.
Tracks like “Brains”, “The Things I’ve Seen” and “Doesn’t Matter” have a more familiar Alter Bridge groove and they could have easily been included on either “Blackbird” or “AB III”. These songs are a little more vocal oriented and it’s here that Tremonti shows he can hold his own in the vocal department as well. Tremonti is obviously not a Myles Kennedy or Scott Stapp, but he does a damn fine job as a singer on “All I was”.
“All I Was” is very interesting and a highly enjoyable trip into Mark Tremonti’s heavier side. His guitar playing is as tasteful and emotive as ever and frankly I find the song material on this album more interesting and spirited than the last Alter Bridge album. I sincerely hope that “All I Was” will be the starting point for more solo albums under the Tremonti moniker. Recommended!