Right off the bat I must confess that as a music fan I was spectacularly late to the Tremonti party. I only really got into Alter Bridge around the time of their last album so it’s fair to say that I missed a hell of a lot. The flipside to this massive oversight on my part however is that over the course of the two years I have discovered some incredible music along with the fact that Mr Mark Tremonti is a seriously talented dude. So as soon as the announcement was made about this record I had to find a way to get a copy to review.
That’s about as much pre-amble as you’re going to get off me on this one because I need to get into this album. Cauterize is an absolute beast. There is little doubt that Tremonti has got better and better with age and the result is a quite brilliant record. There are all kinds of influences, styles and more mega choruses than you can shake a badass musical stick at.
Track number one Radical Change isn’t so much an opening track as a hard hitting declaration of intent. The opening speed metal style riff just crushes everything in its way and will leave a warm feeling in the heart of every Tremonti fan; this is exactly what the doctor ordered. The chorus is so so big; all I can hear in my head is thousands of people singing that hook at festivals and rock shows across the world this summer. It really is that good. Flying Monkeys is slower and a hell of a lot more imposing and while it’s maybe not as instant as the opener it’s still a great track. The riffs have got a kind of crunching, gritty quality which gives the song a darker feel.
The intro the album’s title track Cauterize is an all-out assault. The drums hit so hard they feel like they are about to break you in half. The contrast between a speed metal thundering style and the slower more melodic moments means that this one definitely keeps you on your toes for the entirety. It even closes with a slow, melodic and beautifully atmospheric guitar solo for good measure. The brilliantly break-neck Arm Yourself is another seriously high point on the album. I love the way that the track is put together, the chorus once again is awesome, the guitar work equally so and the drums rain down like a military bombardment. Heavy rock and metal doesn’t get much better than this.
The verses on Dark Trip are a more stripped back affair which really pushes Temonti’s vocal to the forefront. (A vocal which is seriously underrated in my opinion) The guitar solo soars higher than anything you thought was humanly possible as the track slides brilliantly into lead single Another Heart. This is the first track that I heard off the album and if anything in context with the rest of the record it sounds even better now than it did then. All of the Tremonti hallmarks of thundering mesmeric riffs, searing solos and a stadium worthy chorus are all in full effect on what is probably my favourite track.
Fall Again is the only track on the album that I would describe as skip-able. It just feels like the band are going through the motions a little bit with the slower tempo making it feel like the song is dragging. The rest of the album is beyond stellar in my book but I’m not big on this track. Thankfully Tie The Noose is a return to form, the band had a moment to catch their breath and now they are back with a vengeance. Tremonti throws everything into his vocal and the sheer passion of this one is more than enough to make an impact.
The final couple of tracks Sympathy and Providence are slower and more melodic showing that there is so much more to Tremonti than just powerful all conquering riffs. Sympathy is led by a lighter rolling drumbeat as the vocal does all of the heavy lifting. The chorus is everything that a rock chorus should be and this track will be incredible live, of that I have no doubt. The only word that I’ve got for final tune Providence is ‘epic.’ It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, styles and towering guitar solos. If you’re going to close your album properly you might as well go all out right? It’s such a good finish, it really is.
The way that this album ebbs and flows through its varied and at times frankly breath-taking musical journey really is something to behold. It slows down and picks back up in all of the right places and apart from Fall Again every track stands up on its own merit. As you would expect the guitar work is out of the very top drawer but all round, every member of the band excels.
For any heavy rock and metal fans out there Cauterize is an absolute must. You won’t hear many better albums this year I can promise you that.