The return of Tremonti last year with Cauterize was welcomed with open arms pretty much unanimously. And with the news that there was a second album in the bag recorded in tandem, already entitled Dust, and Alter Bridge about to begin their next assault on the world, it was only a matter of time before we heard Tremonti’s third album.
As the man himself explained last year, Cauterize and Dust essentially serve as a double album, ten tracks apiece and balanced evenly (no balls out shredding one with the other full of ballads). Like its brother, Dust is evenly paced.
However, where Cauterize had the upper hand of running out the gate ready to tear the world asunder, hitting you with the instant gut-punch of knowing that it was a mighty album, Dust is more subtle. It could be because it’d been a few years between the first and second album and now less than a year on, album three is with us. I’ll be honest, I could have lived with Cauterize for another couple of years easily.
I’ve been listening to Dust back and forward for the last couple of weeks and giving it the breaks in between is serving it well. It takes its time to bed in, it’s definitely one which is a grower, most noticeably on its title track. It’s a perfect summation of the album. Starting off relatively tame before growing into itself, it becomes something else entirely by the end. Opening track “My Last Mistake” is similar, starting off extremely tame before hitting the accelerator and aiming for the finish line. But following song “The Cage” pulls no punches from the beginning. Ah, now this is the familiar territory I remember when it comes to Tremonti.
“Never Wrong” is darkly brooding, skulking in the corner but has the essence of something far more sinister lurking underneath. It’s songs like that and “Tore My Heart Out” with its soaring melodies that you can hear the signature sound so prevalent in Alter Bridge but it’s obvious to see why they’ve been held back for Tremonti’s own output: they’re too heavy. And I’m not going to complain about that.
Backing up the man himself is long time friend, Eric Friedman. Adding depth and texture to riffs and licks, it fleshes out the music, adding weight to it. Meanwhile there’s bass guitar supplied by Wolfgang Van Halen. I’m not a fan of his father (Eddie) or his band but Wolfgang has certainly delivered here, showing he’s wasted playing with his dad. However, Tanner Keegan (his touring stand-in) handles the material with ease and I’d love to see what he could bring to the table based on his own merit.
Rounding out the line-up is Garrett Whitlock on drums and he’s done another bang-up job, lending a deft hand where needed. With the full force of his tub-thumping, it gives Tremonti much of their signature sound as Mark channels his thrash and speed metal influences. His own highlight spotlight comes on the final track “Unable to See”, providing a bombastic rhythm and building the song into a crushing finale.
Dust is a brilliant new selection of songs for the Tremonti arsenal and having gone through a dearth of material from the band, it’s great to see them unleash two great albums back to back. If you want to see the songs live, you better make it quick as it’s looking highly likely these will be the only dates before Alter Bridge make their presumably triumphant return.