The "Cauterize" Listener Review Thread - post yours here!

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DCooper727
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Re: The "Cauterize" Listener Review Thread - post yours here

Postby DCooper727 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:43 am

Cauterize Review:

This was my most anticipated release of 2015 other than Steven Wilson's "Hand. Cannot. Erase.", so I was ecstatic when I picked up the album on launch. However, there are a number of issues that made me feel that Cauterize doesn't hold up to All I Was in a few areas.

-Rehashed lyrics and song structures
I've been noticing this pattern with Mark's work for awhile now, but it is painfully obvious on Cauterize.

-Pop metal
There are some great gems on Cauterize, but I was surprised at how poppy a very large majority of the songs are. All I Was had really brooding and heavy songs with some burners thrown into the mix, but instead Cauterize opts mainly for poppy burners.

From here on, I will proceed with a breakdown of each song. Reminder: this is only my opinion and I can pretty much guarantee that I will be in a very small minority regarding the quality of this album.

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Radical Change: This one starts out fairly well and the chorus provides the listener with a taste of Tremonti's seemingly magical increase in vocal ability. However, the song is quite predictable and only provides a nice change up with the bridge and its solo, which I suspect isn't even Mark but Erock instead based on how raw and bluesy the tone/vibrato is. I know a lot of you are saying this solo is erratic and chaotic, but in my opinion the solo is a very nice change of pace to prevent further stagnation in the song. I wish I could say the same for the solo in the end of the song, which you can tell without a doubt is Mark, but the solo goes from very fitting to shredwank (this is a harsh word but I cannot think of a nicer one that conveys the same meaning) right in the end. Overall, the song is pretty decent and I think the bridge saves it from being overly repetitive. 3/5

Flying Monkeys: I really, really love a big majority of this song. The main riff, verses and chorus are pretty outstanding: The riff is chunky and makes you want to groove, and the verses only complement that feature. I like the bridge as well, but the transition from the chorus to the bridge is really jarring and could have maybe been done better. The rest of the bridge is pretty phenomenal, though. I have to rate it a 3/5 due to the song adhering to the same structure and it not having many interesting dynamics.

Cauterize: I haven't liked this one since we heard the live iteration. The riff is brutally heavy and then it just turns into a very radio rock song when the verses and chorus hits. The parts themselves are great on their own, but in conjunction I just do not like them. Unlike the previous two tracks, the bridge doesn't really save this song. However, there is a part of this song that screams brilliance, which is the outro. I actually frowned when I heard it because it feels like such a wasted opportunity to me; it's a beautiful piece and I wish it had not been stuck on the end of this track. 2/5

Arm Yourself: This is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The vocal melody is quite unpredictable and fits very well with the main riff. The chorus still maintains its metalness and is catchy at the same time. The bridge is easily the highlight of the song with Mark's vocals and features one of his most creative solos I've heard to date; the solo itself is something I expect in a prog based song due to how fluid and connected it is. I generally dislike very short songs, but the length to this song actually helps with the quality: it doesn't get too boring and doesn't overstay its welcome. It does follow the same structure, but due to how well it flows and the length, the structure does more good than harm. If you like metal, this is probably the most metal/thrased based song on Cauterize. 4/5

Dark Trip: This is one of the best songs Mark has ever written. I cannot say enough about how good this song is. It's really, really fucking good. The song starts out with a very different type of intro and feel that we've grown used to with Mark's writing. The vocal melody in the verses is quite good and the chorus is really special, in my opinion that is; I know some users here weren't sure about it, but I think it's brilliant. The bridge/solo section is really awe inspiring and features one of Mark's greatest solos to date (if it's Mark and not Eric playing it, that is). Dark Trip is just a really special song, and you can hear it if you listen. 5/5

Another Heart: This is a horse that's been beaten to death. Another Heart is one of the most lackluster songs on the album. It seems as if it were written solely for the radio. 1/5

Fall Again: This song really shows how much Mark has grown as a vocalist, but that's all I can really say for the song. Otherwise, it may be the most boring song on the album. It's not bad, but it just drags on and on. I can't remember any memorable moments from the song other than good lyrical content in the first verse and the volume swells. 2/5

Tie the Noose: I cannot tell if I like this song or not. The lyrics and vocal melody are pretty great, and the chorus retains its metalness while simultaneously being groove worthy. However, the song is very, very short and suffers from a monotonous structure. Tremonti's vocals really shine on this track and that helps raise the quality a bit for me. However, the solo is seemingly shredwank and feels kind of rushed to me. Basically if you remember the extended version of Proof where Mark said he shortened the solo due to it being too shredish, this is a similar. The intro of the solo is actually the same pattern that the ending of the Proof solo has. There just isn't really enough going on in the song to make it interesting, but it is nevertheless a fun listen due to the vocal melody. 2/5

Sympathy: I don't really think I could say anything bad about this song; it features some outstanding lyrics and utterly amazing vocal talent. This song will likely cause some people's eyes to water, and if so, that is a sign of a really great track. Tremonti should be very proud of this song, because it is fucking amazing. 4/5

Providence: Some of you felt the song was rushed, but I don't really get that vibe at all. The vocal melody is great in every sense and Mark's vocals are on point. I think my favorite part of the song comes from what the song is about, so it makes the song that much more special to me. I noticed that Mark pulled out a trick that he used on Waters Rising, which is that the first chorus is cut in half and then is full length in the second chorus. I like that because it's a great way to introduce variety to a chorus and helps prevent monotony. The bridge features amazing gang vocals from the guys and the solo is pretty good to boot. My favorite part of the song comes immediately after in the form of a really cool vocal effect where the vocals are completely panned to the left and right respectively with all 3 voices layered on top of each other. This track and Dark Trip are the best songs on the album in my opinion. 4/5 (This track does not sound like Blackbird, what is wrong with some of you?)

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Lyrical quality: Like I said above, Tremonti often resuses multiple phrases in his songs. It's not to the point that each song sounds the same, but it's very noticeable. However, the album does show some growth in the lyrical department on some tracks.

Examples of my favorite lyrics:

Cauterize: The verses and the bridge.

Arm Yourself: The verses and the chorus (minus the I throw a curse line). The lyrics in the bridge are kind of ehh, but how he sings them is great.

Dark Trip: The chorus in this track is particularly strong to me because of the repetitive use of the "...my home" at the end of each line. The chorus itself is already strong due to the pain behind it, but how he repeats that part really drives it in that someone betrayed him quite badly. Repetition can be an effective tool in writing when done well, and I think Dark Trip's chorus is a good example of that.

Fall Again: I liked one line of this song a whole lot, which was this one: "We'll show with great honor, how surely we break." I'm quite partial to that line and it is an example of some of the small but brilliant lyrical tidbits that are on this album.

Sympathy: This one has the highest quality of lyrical content on the album I think. There are some really incredible lines that just really pull at your heartstrings, such as these:
"When I take my final stand//I will proudly face the end" & "Led by the light I always fail to reach//How it calls, how it pleads, how it shines." Pretty much every lyric in the song is great, but these stick out the most to me.

Providence: Pretty much all of it, it's just all good.

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Solos:

I'm not going to do a breakdown of each track, but will just say that I really liked how different most of them are from Tremo's usual solos. I enjoyed how chaotic some were and I also enjoyed that blues solo in Dark Trip. Shit was intense.

Overall, the album is pretty good and I have been listening to it nonstop because I do love Tremonti's work despite this review seeming like I'm bashing the shit out of it. My words may seem harsh, but it's just how I think about songs when I listen to them. Song structure and dynamics are the most important things to me musically and I really think Mark could improve in those areas.

TL;DR: Prog music has ruined me. Feel free to ignore my opinion.
Last edited by DCooper727 on Wed Jun 17, 2015 2:34 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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austinjhnsn
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Re: The "Cauterize" Listener Review Thread - post yours here

Postby austinjhnsn » Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:49 am

That was a really damn good review, even though i dont agree with a couple parts, a lot of good points! Dark Trip and Providence are really quite special songs. I liked the lyric part. Thanks for that nice review DCooper!
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Re: The "Cauterize" Listener Review Thread - post yours here

Postby DCooper727 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:09 pm

Thanks man. I debated posting it because I know people here are giving it almost unanimous praise but decided to do it any way because I had already spent like two hours writing it.

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Re: The "Cauterize" Listener Review Thread - post yours here

Postby austinjhnsn » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:39 pm

Well its a well written review, definitely worth it to share your thoughts, even if they arent praising the album 100%! and your favorite part of Providence is mine as well, i love that eerie vibe.
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Re: The "Cauterize" Listener Review Thread - post yours here

Postby BSC » Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:59 pm

I agree with a lot of your review. Although I think Cauterize is much better than All I Was, despite my criticisms, just because I have such a low opinion of All I Was. I particularly agree with 'prog music has ruined me', I'm not a massive prog rock listener, but since getting into bands like Porcupine Tree, The Pineapple Thief or Steven Wilson, and metal bands with more prog rock tendencies, Tremonti's work has been doing less and less for me. I just don't get excited by music where I can predict what's going to happen, and whilst Cauterize has a few surprises, it just doesn't float my boat too much.

Creed were one of the first rock bands I got into, my tastes have changed dramatically since then, so I guess it's no surprise that Tremonti's songwriting has gotten a bit stale for me, although I've enjoyed Cauterize, loved Fortress and I anticipate AB's next release.
Last edited by BSC on Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The "Cauterize" Listener Review Thread - post yours here

Postby Dolo » Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:26 pm

BSC wrote:I agree with a lot of your review. Although I think Cauterize is much better than All I Was, despite my criticisms, just because I have such a low opinion of All I Was. I particularly agree with 'prog music has ruined me', I'm not a massive prog rock listener, but since getting into bands like Porcupine Tree, The Pineapple Thief or Steven Wilson, and metal bands with more prog rock tendencies, Tremonti's work has been doing less and less for me. I just don't get excited by music where I can predict what's going to happen, and whilst Cauterize has a few surprises, it just float my boat.

Creed were one of the first rock bands I got into, my tastes have changed dramatically since then, so I guess it's no surprise that Tremonti's songwriting has gotten a bit stale for me, although I loved Fortress and I anticipate AB's next release.



My thoughts exactly. Cauterize is a great album even if it is not really innovative.

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Re: The "Cauterize" Listener Review Thread - post yours here

Postby DCooper727 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:34 pm

BSC wrote:I just don't get excited by music where I can predict what's going to happen


This is why the bridges in Mark's work excite me so much. If you look through most of his work, the bridges are ALWAYS where he is unconstrained in his writing and he just lets loose.

Edit: When I said it does not hold up to AIW, I should have specifically stated that I meant so as a metal album. Cauterize has very few actual heavy metal tracks whereas AIW had a good bit more.

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Postby Andy92 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:07 pm

But you still know a bridge is coming. The songwriting formula still stays about the same regardless of what music is used to fill it in. I'm not saying it makes the music bad, but it does get predictable after a while. This is why I can't listen to a few artists over and over again like I used to.
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Re: The "Cauterize" Listener Review Thread - post yours here

Postby DCooper727 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:02 pm

If the bridge/solos were not there, the song would suffer immensely due to the structure being verse/chorus/verse/chorus with nothing in-between. With most verses and choruses, as soon as you hear them once you know what they're going to sound like for the rest of the song, and bridges are basically what I look forward to take a break from them.

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Postby Timotheus » Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:09 pm

What annoys me the most about the v/c/v/c/b/c structure is that 3rd chorus. I think it's such an uninspiring way to end a song. A lot of times it works, but it can be so boring, especially when the bridge is better than the chorus.
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Postby Andy92 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:30 pm

That's why Slip to the Void is my favorite song right with Blackbird. They only do the chorus twice, and I think that's their least repetitive song.
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Re: The "Cauterize" Listener Review Thread - post yours here

Postby DCooper727 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:00 pm

I agree 100% with you on Slip to the Void. Always been one of my favorite songs due to how the structure is; definitely one of AB's more dynamic songs.

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Postby fix » Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:46 am

^ Same. Tremonti and Alter Bridge are one of the few bands I can listen to and still like despite the song structures being kind of 'fixed' and unoriginal (prog/metal ruined it for me as well ;)). Somehow the music makes it up for me. But when they break out of it (Blackbird, Slip, Cry of Achilles, Providence) magic happens.

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Postby Altered » Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:41 pm

I've heard a lot of people mention of Progressive tastes ruining the album for them. If I had any advice, don't let other music interfere with what it is. Enjoy it for what it is. I believe Mark has stated multiple times that he loves adding progressive elements to his music with keeping some sort of structure. Heck if you compare it to bands like Monuments, Tesseract, Skyharbor, and Periphany, it will seem very bland and straight forward. Compared to his influences and peers within the same genre he is way ahead though of the game. Personally I can't stop listening to it and I am a HUGE Prog-Metal fan.

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Re: The "Cauterize" Listener Review Thread - post yours here

Postby Timotheus » Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:01 pm

I love complexity in music and I think it needs to be there, but I don't think complexity should be the norm. On the contrary, simpleness is often more honest and emotive. I'm a big prog fan, but it's usually the "simple" moments in prog that give me chills. That's why I'm into a lot of pop as well.

Originality still is important though, and an entire album build around the same structures can be quite boring. On this album it doesn't really bother me because mostly all of it sounds natural to me, but you won't see me listening to this album on a daily basis, because that would bore the shit out of me.
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Postby phatnonphatness » Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:08 pm

I'm cooling on Cauterize. While I think there are some great songs, I don't think it's a great overall album. Some of the ideas just feel a bit half-baked to me.

I get the feeling between Cauterize and Dust there'll be a solid 11 - 12 songs that would make one really high-quality record.

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Postby austin. » Sat Jun 20, 2015 12:35 am

Kinda sharing the same sentiment as the last poster....

Same thing happened with Fortress.

Album was awesome at first. But now, I find myself listening to Radical Change, Cauterize, Another Heart, Sympathy, and Providence only. Skipping the others in between...

I dunno.

Maybe All I Was is more innovative

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Postby Ubik » Sat Jun 20, 2015 7:52 pm

phatnonphatness wrote:I'm cooling on Cauterize. While I think there are some great songs, I don't think it's a great overall album. Some of the ideas just feel a bit half-baked to me.

I get the feeling between Cauterize and Dust there'll be a solid 11 - 12 songs that would make one really high-quality record.

I've been wondering that since it came out. But then that's also got to be taken into account with the album sales, Dust potentially doubling the take of what would otherwise be a single album. Which is fine as long as it doesn't become a Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and before you know it everything's getting bifurcated. Then The Hobbit happens... :shifty
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Re: The "Cauterize" Listener Review Thread - post yours here

Postby erv » Wed Jul 15, 2015 4:29 am

So a while in, listening to the album a lot, I've come to appreciate the album immensely. The songs on this album are actually really, really good.

This one is a classic for me. And don't think cauterize or another heart are any less of a song just because we heard them a lot before getting the album. Another heart is a brilliant song, and will be under appreciated by some but hopefully rediscovered in the long term.

This record has grown on me and is finding its way to a very special place in my book. It's one of those records that make you go "question mark" at first, which is usually a sign of a great record that will last. Top stuff.

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Re: The "Cauterize" Listener Review Thread - post yours here

Postby AHart96 » Wed Oct 07, 2015 10:31 pm

Going back to this a couple months later, I would change my ratings a little bit. I've REALLY grown to love Arm Yourslef after initially not being a huge fan. This is how I would rate the album now:

1. Providence
2. Radical Change
3. Arm Yourself

4. Cauterize
5. Sympathy

6. Flying Monkeys
7. Another Heart
8. Dark Trip

9. Fall Again




10. Tie the Noose

Dying for Dust, hoping it's a pretty early 2016 release
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