Written by Alex Stojanovic
A World Away
Now & Forever
If Not For You
Let That Be Us
The Last One Of Us
In One Piece
Under The Sun
Not Afraid To Lose
Would You Kill
Marching In Time
Release Date: September 24, 2021
Label: Napalm Records
Mark Tremonti - Lead guitars & lead vocals / Eric Friedman - Rhythm guitars & backing vocals
Tanner Keenan - Bass & backing vocals / Ryan Bennett - Drums
For his fifth album with the Tremonti band, Marching In Time, some things have changed, but others have stayed the same. The biggest thing that stayed the same from the previous albums are the direction, and the producer. With Tremonti, you're obviously going to get melodic hard rock/metal with potent vocal melodies and crunching riffs. Every single Tremonti album has been produced by Michael "Elvis" Baskette, who has also worked with Alter Bridge since Blackbird. The differences this time however, include the addition of Ryan Bennett on drums, replacing longtime drummer Garrett Whitlock, who went to tour with Tremonti's former bandmate Wolfgang Van Halen and his solo band. The opening track "A World Away" seems to be the only track that contains a different musical element, which is a lower tuned guitar, which I don't recall ever hearing on a Tremonti album before.
Now, I hate starting out an album review by talking about the negatives, but I feel that with this album, but this is another one of those times where I have to touch on those first because I feel there's more of them here. Tremonti said in a recent interview that whenever he releases a new record with his solo band, he doesn't want fans to think that it's just another Tremonti album. Well, in all honesty, that's kind of what it feels like at this moment. The direction is the exact same as he took on his last four solo albums, and the production quality is still the same. As I mentioned at the top, Tremonti has worked with Michael "Elvis" Baskette since Alter Bridge's Blackbird album in 2007. Since then, every album he has played on by both Alter Bridge and his solo band, with the exception of Creed's Full Circle album in 2009, has had the same production quality and direction. That's ten records recorded with Baskette, so as a result, I got exactly what I was expecting out of Marching In Time.
It's completely fine if he wants to keep the direction the same, and I understand that Tremonti has a close working relationship with Baskette, and he considers him a fifth member of both Alter Bridge and his solo band, but sticking with the same direction and the same producer for the rest of your career is only going to make future music sound more stale as it's released. I honestly think that Tremonti should either try working with a new producer or try experimenting a bit more for his next release. I know many people are not going to like that I said that, but I don't care. That being said, I honestly didn't find this album to be as enjoyable as I hoped it would be, even after multiple listens. That's not saying that there weren't any strong tracks on here, because there definitely are strong tracks, but given that I knew exactly what to expect, it made for a pretty predictable listen.
That being said, instead of just talking about the negatives, we have to highlight some of the positives. The tracks that stood out for me include "Now & Forever" and "Would You Kill". The former contains what is without a doubt my favourite chorus on the album, and the latter has what I think is the best riff on the album. Other than those tracks, that is about it as far as the highlights go. Even if "A World Away" contains a down-tuned riff, which is different this time around, the track as a whole doesn't have enough support to hold it up. In all honesty, it feels like Tremonti is just taking riffs that he had laying around, and just plastered them into a song with hardly any thought. That doesn't take anything away from his incredible guitar playing and vocal abilities, but I just thought that the songwriting here was very economical, and pretty stale if you ask me.
Highs: "Now & Forever" and "Would You Kill".
Lows: There just simply isn't enough strength in this album to hold it up.
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