Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge fame presents his fourth solo album “A Dying Machine” on Napalm Records. Not only is “A Dying Machine” a concept album, but also a novel which he hopes to release around the same time as the album. One thing you know for sure, the guitar work on “A Dying Machine” is going to be amazing as Tremonti is a very accomplished guitarist. “A Dying Machine” is fourteen songs spanning an hour. Listening to “A Dying Machine” is an investment in time. With it being a concept album, I was loathe to listen to it in order. Sometimes being a “concept album” is too deep and overwhelming, so I wanted to see if I could listen to the album out of order and still enjoy the songs as just songs.
I began with ‘Throw Them to the Lions’. I enjoyed the jaunty pace of the guitars and the otherworldly synthesizers. The lyrics reminded me of Iron Maiden’s high concept songs. ‘Throw Them to the Lions’ is perfect for headbanging and fist pumping. I liked that there was enough repetition with some of the stanzas that you had something solid to grab onto and sing along with. I went to ‘A Lot Like Sin’ next. The track begins with some serious heaviness. For the main portion of the song, the vocals are in a tight range of notes. It’s almost mesmerizing. The chorus is very sing-a-longable. Some of the chord progressions seem very familiar but are very catchy.
The title track ‘A Dying Machine’ has wicked heavy drums. The vocals are accusatory. The overall composition vacillates between being very scary and saccharine sweet; a Dr. Jeckyl / Mr. Hyde. The interplay between the different vocal effects give a sinister feel to the song. Couple this with the lyrics and you’ve got an amazing song that enhances the story yet stands firmly on its own. Next I spun ‘Desolation’. Loved it. It was earthy and soulful. The guitar work was sublime. The vocals and lyrics resonate with the listener on a personal level. This song is most like an Alter Bridge song.
‘Trust’ is the next song I put on. It’s a straight ahead rock and roll song. It’s got a good beat to it and you can dance to it. ‘The First The Last’ begins with a polyphonic guitar notes over repeated half notes. At about a minute in, it becomes an uplifting anthem; very stadium rock. So after listening to six of the fourteen songs out of order I surmised that A Dying Machine has strong enough songs that can be listened to and enjoyed on their own merit. Listening to the tracks in order, A Dying Machine paints a comprehensive picture of love, trust, loss, and destruction. Well done, Mr. Tremonti, well done.