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(Fret12 Records)
Release Date: 29th April 2016

Luke 'Loki' Milne

Luke Loki Milne


Displaying a high level of musicianship stemming from a broad professional history, American guitarist Mark Tremonti's recent break into solo work has undoubtedly won the hearts of the rock-loving public. Warping faint threads of familiarity with the thick taint of his own individual creative flair, the resulting blend has offered fans of his previous work an intense, sometimes dark and entirely captivating listening experience.

I had the pleasure of wrapping my ears around Tremonti's third studio album 'Dust' a little ahead of its scheduled release.

'Dust' announces its arrival with unashamed lashes of musical bite and vigor. The intense energy of 'My Last Mistake', 'The Cage' and 'Once Dead' set the scene with vivid energies, a nod to the driving forces behind 'Cauterize' and 'All I Was'. Signifying another exercise in the gritty guitar work with thick and satisfying vocal melodies, these opening tracks embody everything we've come to love in Tremonti's solo work. 'The Cage' draws particular attention thanks to an exciting, guitar-driven opening and a broad, atmospheric chorus.

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Right off the bat, it's evident that the ex-Creed and current Alter Bridge guitarist has no intention of falling away from the spotlight any time soon, and this release comes less than a year after 'Cauterize'. It's an impressive leap from the three year gap lying between his debut release and its successor, and I will confess that I had my concerns.

Would this signify a slightly weaker or "rushed" presentation? Would the album consist of little more than "offal" tracks not quite good enough to fit onto 'Cauterize'? Breaking into the opening content of 'Dust', I can see that this simply isn't the case; as much care and attention has gone into this release as the previous two, and it really shows by the slick presentation and gripping content... even in just the opening 5-10 minutes.

Dropping into calmer waters, the album's title track flexes a more relaxed tone, giving Tremonti's vocal chords a chance to really stretch into the foreground. While the more agitated tracks that precede it seem to focus on a foreground painted with an energised guitar presence, it's tracks like these (along with closing track 'Unable To See') that really show the strength and flexibility of Tremonti's telltale vocal tone and presence. It's a welcome companion to the instrumental backdrop, and the vocal work displayed throughout 'Dust' is better than ever.

The tension rises once more, soaring into 'Betray Me', 'Tore My Heart Out' and 'Catching Fire'. Here I find myself singing along in no time to satisfying, simple-yet-sticky chorus melodies, whacking my palms down onto my knees and keeping time with the drone of chuggy chord progressions and driving percussive work. If there's one thing I can say about Tremonti's previous releases it's that they're great fun to listen to.

'Dust' is no exception to this rule, as each individual track has been painted with a slightly different yet highly memorable palette, complete with its own set of sticking points and attributes. Feeling like the complete pieces of a larger puzzle, the assortment of tracks presented here contribute to a much broader and more interactive listening experience. Sure, you can download the odd track to throw into a playlist if you wish, but the album as a whole offers enough animation to entertain from start to finish, dipping and weaving into a broad spectrum of musical grounds.

As 'Dust' draws to a close with 'Never Wrong', 'Rising Storm' and 'Unable To See', I find myself smiling broadly and reaching over to cue up the album once more from the top, ready to plunge myself once more into the fray. It's worth pointing out that there aren't that many albums out there that can make me do this.

Closing Comments? I've been listening to Tremonti's back catalogue alongside this release, and 'Dust' clearly draws upon the experience of it's predecessors to support itself while daring to take yet another step forward into deeper waters. The arc of progression in Tremonti's style is evident when comparing his latest release to his previous work, yet his unique and colourful style has fast become a much-loved trademark of his solo material.

I for one mark 'Dust' as a strong and highly enjoyable release, and feel that any self-respecting guitar geek or alt-rock fan would be a fool to miss out on this one. Tremonti will be performing at this year's Download Festival, and I'm most definitely going to be tearing up the crowd, saluting the live performance of his new release with some neck-snappingly aggressive headbanging. Come join me, yeah?

Track Listing

1. My Last Mistake
2. The Cagev 3. Once Dead
4. Dust
5. Betray Me
6. Tore My Heart Out
7. Catching Fire
8. Never Wrong
9. Rising Storm
10. Unable To See

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It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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