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Monday, 23 July 2012

Reviews: Tremonti, Hellyeah, Periphery

Tremonti: All I Was (FRET12)

We all know how good the Alter Bridge/Creed guitarist is when it comes to six strings as he is both the main creative force behind both bands and also gives them the stunning riffs that the bands are famous for. However what becomes evident from his first solo album is that he is also a great singer as well as a guitar genius. This album has come at a time when Alter Bridge singer Myles is currently touring with the Slash and Creed singer Scott Stapp is also touring as a solo artist so it make sense for Tremonti to release this album now to exorcise some of the thrash and speed metal influences that were slowly creeping into Alter Bridge. This album starts off simple enough with Leave It Alone which is a Tremonti standard heavy anthemic track with some great solo's that would have fitted nicely on ABIII. However it is from here that the album puts its foot on the gas as the next few tracks pick up the pace by a huge margin with So You're AfraidWish You Well and Brains becoming full on thrash tracks filled with razor sharp riffs and face melting solo's. The middle of the album becomes more like Alter Bridge with a New Way Out which is a bombastic ballad on a par with Creed's One Last Breath before the metal kicks in again with Giving Up. This is heavier than both of Tremonti's day jobs and with the help of drummer Garrett Whitlock (who provides some serious blast beats) and Creed rhythm guitarist Eric Friedman (who plays both guitar and bass) Tremonti has created a beast of an album that shows why he is revered among guitarists (and also now surely among singers as well!)  8/10

Hellyeah: Band Of Brothers (ElevenSeven)

Hellyeah are and will always be the band of Vinnie Paul Abbot and because of that it will always be touched with a little bit of what might have been. But on the last two albums Hellyeah have been developed their own unique aggressive Southern Metal sound with songs based on hard living, southern bonhomie and good ol' rock n roll. On this third album very little has changed since Stampede the band still infuse the Pantera groove metal with country and blues, however this album does seem to up the volume and heaviness to Pantera/Damageplan levels. Guitarists Gregg Tribbett (of Mudvayne) and Tomcat bring the heavy riffs and solo's to the proceedings but it's the sledgehammer drumming of Vinnie and the groove laden bass of (Ex-Damageplan and Ozzy) bassman Bobzilla that bring the signature sound that Vinnie helped to create. As for the songs Rage/Burn has a heavy Walk-like riff before turning into a machine gun crescendo. The title track is a heavy tribute the bond this band and Drink Drank Drunk show that no-one can out do a Southerner at their favourite pastime. Chad Grey (also of Mudvayne) brings the anger in his vocals changing from a country croon on Between You And Nowhere to a snarl on Dig Myself A Hole. This is a solid album that doesn't do the band any harm as it continues to plough the furrow they have created but it doesn't do much new either. Grab a beer (or a Black Tooth Grin) and listen loud. 7/10

Periphery: Periphery II This Time It's Personal (Roadrunner)

Seeing as they are one of the originators of the Djent genre I was anticipating what Periphery would do next. I did think that their debut was a bit of a music explosion not taking it's foot off the gas until the middle of the album and there is really only so much down tuned palm muting and technical riffage that you can listen before it all gets a bit too much. On this album they have exercised one key ingredient: restraint. This is not their debut the songs are more structured the playing while technical is not oppressive and they now have some excellent melody as well (touring with Dream Theater must have paid off). They have also moved away from the whole Djent tag as they are no longer Mesuggah copyists but a fully-fledged progressive metal band in their own right. Mainman guitarist Misha Mansoor provides his technical playing on every song (he really is a genius) as well adding the superb programming and syths aided by his guitarist partner in crime Jake Bowen. With third guitarist Mark Holcomb the band have thick guitar sound that is well suited to the technical style of the band. The production from Masoor and bassist Adam Getgood is modern clean and provides the album with its technical edge. Spencer Soleto's vocals have improved and range from clean crooning to powerful scream. This album also has numerous guests with the most high profile being John Pertucci on Erised and Guthrie Govan providing his jazz licks to Have A Blast. This a good album and one that has lifted Periphery out of their Djent tag for good. 8/10

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