Renowned Creed and Alter Bridge axe-man Mark Tremonti and co. return with a stellar second album, utilising Tremonti‘s captivating mix of soaring melody and speed metal guitar with a powerful modern twist. ‘Cauterize’ is a record that emanates an undeniable air of authority; Tremonti‘s clear and commanding vocals charge the furious riffs and pounding drums with a palpable force, the choruses are simply enormous, and the desire to roar along almost overwhelming.
Although the songs all pertain to the heavy-meets-harmonious formula, there’s still a decent amount of variety, like the sharp, angry riffs of ‘Tie The Noose’, or the slightly laid-back defiance of closer, ‘Providence’.
‘Sympathy’ is possibly the most intriguing song on the album, acting as the focal point of the light and positive energy of the record. A prominent message of conquering adversity, it’s delightfully uplifting and an appealing feel good track, highlighting just how heavy the rest of ‘Cauterize’ is in its hard, dark, and moody glory.
In contrast to Tremonti‘s 2012 eponymous debut, the band took their time on the pre-production for this album, tearing the tracks apart to create even more dynamic offerings. A prime example is the record’s title-track, with its forceful intro, titanic refrain and mellow, soulful outro.
As can be expected, the guitar work is as mind-blowing as ever. Whether it’s the breakneck shredding, the mind-boggling polyrhythms or the awe-inspiring solos, the virtuosity is a thing to behold, from both Tremonti and rhythm guitarist, Eric Friedman.
It’s not all ferocious speed and thunderous drums; one of the high points of ‘Cauterize’ is the sombre ‘Dark Trip’. Slower, but no less soulful, it culminates in a glorious solo, punctuated by the impressive bass work of Wolfgang Van Halen.
Plain and simple, Tremonti knows how to write rock anthems full of gusto and passion. The oh-so-catchy choruses will leave you wanting more. Fortunately, this is just the first of two albums for the band for 2015; look out for ‘Dust’ in the near future.
‘Cauterize’ is a further enhancement of the winning hard rock blueprint Tremonti has established, infused with a potency and vitality that you just can’t ignore. This is much more than a mere side-project from a Grammy award winning guitarist, this is the upper echelon of hard rock music as we know it.
Written by Ben Hammond