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The Whole Damn Thing Has Turned To Dust

Tremonti windowed the release of “Dust” and kept it from Spotify for 4 weeks. This windowing process denies Spotify Premium fans a chance to listen to it. It’s discriminatory . It didn’t make me go out and buy the CD to hear it. I was actually tempted to search for it on the pirate sites to download it, however it just proved too much effort. And to purchase an mp3 just doesn’t come into the equation for me. And then YouTube, the service that pays less had it up.

Anyway, it feels like yesterday that I was listening to “Cauterize”. It was my number 7 for 2015 releases. So here we are almost a year later with “Dust”.

“In the words of the immortal YODA, a solid listen, this album is. An outstanding song, there is not. Intention of Tremonti, was not the hit single.”

It’s how I started my review of “Cauterize” and it still rings true for “Dust”.

Mark Tremonti has shown the world that he was the brains and driving force behind Creed. He kept his career trajectory going with Alter Bridge. In the downtime, he also started his own solo band.

After Creed finished up, he went away and mastered the art of shred. Along with his brother they formed Fret12. It’s a record label, book publisher (you should check out the “The Sound And The Story” specials and the diverse guitarists involved) and an overall one stop shop for all things Tremonti and other projects. His PRS guitars are state of the art and brilliant to play. Trust me on that one as I have one. The PRS through the 5150 is the perfect sound for me.

And via Alter Bridge, Tremonti is filling the void left behind by Led Zeppelin. Myles Kennedy is one of the best vocalists of the modern era ala Robert Plant and Mark Tremonti is a prolific writer and innovator ala Jimmy Page. And the real good musicians always rebuild their careers after their initial success. Jimmy Page did it after “The Yardbirds” and Mark Tremonti continues to do it after “Creed”.

Evan as “Dust” hits the streets, Alter Bridge are recording their next album. The work ethic is high.

“My Last Mistake”
It’s a thrash-a-thon. Like “Cauterize” before it, it’s a speed metal song. The chorus is excellent.

Just like tragedy
Folks line up to see
We forget and the problem’s gone
It just ain’t right to move on

It’s a sick symptom of society where we fail to hold to account, the people responsible for the tragedy. The GFC perps went on college speaking tours and high-five jobs at the financial firms they organised laws to benefit. They escaped unscathed, while the middle class and lower class got their homes foreclosed. Every time there is a shooting there is outrage, however nothing is done after on gun reform.

For all of the laws passed to spy on citizens in the name of terror, not one terrorist act have they stopped. And after each terrorist attack, our privacy and liberties erode a little bit more. The people need to hold to account the people responsible. But we cannot devote the time because the people responsible have us hooked line and sinker. We can’t take time of work because the income means more to us than the cause.

“Once Dead”
It’s another thrash-a-thon speed metal song, with a blast beat groove and a wicked arena rock chorus. It’s a great mix. Garrett Whitlock cements himself as a powerhouse drummer on this one.

We sink like a stone
Once dead once belonged

Sinking like a stone means to fail completely and once dead to me; means, your time is up. So in other words, the lyrics can be paraphrased as;
We have failed in life
And now our time is up

“Tore My Heart Out”
It’s a derivative version of “Dust” but unique enough to be a stand alone. Tremonti thought of changing the title because he didn’t want another song title with “heart” in it. “Another Heart” is on “Cauterize”. And that outro riff is like a crazy train going off the rails.

Show your will and do your part
Or be blind right from the start

“Catching Fire”
There is an interview with Tremonti (I think at whatculture.com) where he states the riff that starts the bridge, he’s had since high school. I dig little insights like that. You just don’t know when the time will come for an idea to blossom into a song.

The whole world’s catching fire again

“Betray Me”
How could you betray me
Remember hope, remember faith, remember trust

Venomous lyrics and sweep picking makes an appearance. Remember Malmsteen. Actually, how many fans of Creed/Alter Bridge, would know of Malmsteen?

“Dust”
But the piece de-resistance like “Providence” from the previous album is “Dust”. In the original track listing, “Dust” was the closer, however it got moved up to track number 4.

It grooves from the opening notes and it’s a song to define a career. The syncopated call and response of the riff and vocals, immediately hook you in.

You can hear the years of practice, the honing of his chops and how he called Shred teachers from the 80’s in Troy Stetina and Michael Angelo Batio to brush up his technique. Even after he sold 30 million plus records with Creed, he still worked at improving.

Tremonti stated that “’Dust’ is about how it feels to watch a close friend lose confidence in you.” And that’s what great songwriting is. Evidence of humanity.

And the Pre-Chorus, is a riff, building up to a Chorus that rocks hard with emotion and groove.

The whole damn thing has turned to dust
The ashes you left to bury us

There are other tracks on the album like;

“Rising Storm”
The song was meant to be called “Lay To Waste” however when Tremonti recorded the song in Garageband, it was called “Rising Storm” and the song title just stuck around.

“Unable To See”
It’s a derivative version of “Waters Rising” from Alter Bridge. The intro is from “The Sound and the Story DVD” and another musical idea that was written 20 plus years ago. Tremonti also stated over at whatculture.com;

“Unable to See” has some of the oldest parts on the entire record. The chorus of that song comes from a pre-chorus of a song I’d written for the One Day Remains record, the first Alter Bridge record, so that’s many years old, so there’s definitely some history scattered throughout.

Still we love to see a smile
But we are wronged by the ones that would never

If you take the relationship perspective to the lyric, it would be that we are surrounded by people who see the glass half empty and if you take a world view perspective, it would be about the terrorists who are trying to turn all of our cities into a desolate wasteland like their home city.

“The Cage”
Is that some chicken-picking going on masquerading as tapping? And the lyrics are very strong, almost venomous.

Take your words, they’re worth nothing, let your evil show

It’s another way to say, that the beliefs of people who try to affect our freedoms and liberties mean nothing to us and whenever their evil shows, they just push us together, something even the best intentioned governments couldn’t do.

“Never Wrong”
It could have been on an Alter Bridge album.

Tremonti is a guitar hero, as good as any of the Eighties shredders. He had multi-platinum success with Creed, an act that was devoid of guitar solos and lumped in with the Nu-Metal, Alternative Rock scene. It brought out the haters, jealous that a person who could shred, didn’t shred. In the end, people live and breathe on the songs they write, not on the guitar solos they write and Tremonti has built a consistent legacy. The pinnacle of his career in my eyes would be when his second act, Alter Bridge played the Wembley Arena. And dont be surprised if Tremonti the band get there as well.

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