Creed and Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti is at it again, this time enlisting the help of guitarist Eric “Erock” Friedman, drummer Garrett Whitlock, and bassist Wolfgang Van Halen. Following up his first solo album All I Was, this new outing explodes with jackhammer rhythms and dense orchestration. Tremonti’s drama-queen vocals careen throughout with progressive earmarks weaving between thrash metal and hard-hitting melodic metal grooves.

Produced by Michael “Elvis” Baskette, “Radical Change” sets the tone for everything to follow, mixing rhythmic brutality with melody and genre-approved dynamics. The title track unleashes serious bass-and-drum interplay and complex guitar-chordal work and riffs.

Cauterize is full of epic, stadium-friendly compositions and overwrought personal drama. Bombastically theatrical songs like “Another Heart” and “Tie The Noose” play up the genre’s predictable penchant for lightening-fast double-bass-drum blasts and distorted guitar layers.

Tremonti presents his A game with short, thematic, tightly constructed solos using a variety of throaty guitar tones. The anthemic “Sympathy” departs from the prog-metal format with a more mainstream composition that echoes radio-friendly U2.

The album may have a whole lotta chuggin’ goin’ on, but Tremonti delivers a perfect modern metal product.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s September ’15 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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