With a thunderous bang, Tommy Marz comes roaring back to the world of rock and roll with his latest release, Bringing Alpha.

After playing for over a decade with his rock band GoToZero, Tommy Marz recorded his first solo album a few years ago which he intended to be a one-time creative experience. Quite often, pop artists will have a desire to record a rock n’ roll album after years of recording pop records. But with Marz, it was the other way around. After years of writing, performing and recording predominately rock music, Marz decided to take a softer approach with his first solo album Rival.

Marz’s cover of George Michael’s “Faith” spawned a video that went on to gain over a hundred thousand views on YouTube and received placements on cable networks, such as NBC and MTV. Marz thought there was a market for that style of music and decided to record a follow-up album: Play. Listen. Rewind. Repeat. The 2013 record contained the single, “A Kid in the 1980’s,” and placed at #17 in the SDC Radio Networks top songs of that same year.

Now, along with two members of GoToZero, Jason Tucker, and Chris Alef, Marz is ready to return to his Rock and Roll roots. Collectively known as the Tommy Marz Band, they have been hard at work putting the finishing touches on their newest album, Bringing Alpha, which has the melodic sensitivity fans have come to expect but with an overall harder rock sound.

The album:TommyMarzBand-BringingAlpha-AlbumCover 

We start with “Born To Follow,” and if this song wasn’t written by one of the nineties grunge acts, it certainly sounds like it was. Pure old-school alt-rock that stomps and thrashes. It has a distinctly dark feeling overall, certainly not a song of happiness by any stretch, but it still left one feeling euphoric, if only for the nineties music lover in them. True, it’s a retro feeling song, but no less powerful for that.

“Road To Nowhere” comes next. It starts out quicker than “Born To Follow,” but then with a three-hit drum accent, the song slows tempo even below the previous track stomping around just like an elephant in a field of grass. One hears the anger in this song, much more than the previous track, and it feels aggressive as hell. Not nearly the throwback feeling of the first song, it nonetheless has a distinctly grunge-rock feel as well.

“Space In Time” is much more up-tempo than either of the previous tunes, and this time stays up there. Much groovier and hoppy than we’ve heard up to this point and the ride-cymbal accents really make the verses sing, not to mention the superb harmonies throughout. During the chorus, we are introduced for the first time to Marz’s growly new vocal style, and this will not be the last we hear of it, either. The highlight is the extra-long chorus accent piece during the second chorus where Marz screams “Coming Home!” A powerful sounding song making it a definite highlight.

 

Another departure from what’s expected, Marz takes a whispery, nasty whisper for the verses in “Room With A View.” A slinky and mean feeling tune, lots of fun to listen to. Intriguing is the bass guitar during the bridge and solo. It sort of cascades up and down like hills on a roller coaster.

“One Big Rush” comes out of the gates screaming. Literally. Here again, Marz has completely abandoned the pop influences of his earlier sound and goes balls-out full-on slap-you-in-the-face rock (with maybe a brief pause to masquerade as a circus announcer). About halfway through, Marz descends into a bouncy bridge with some of the best harmonies you’ve heard. Captivating. Then comes the solo that just shrieks and soars. I only wish the outro was longer.

“Super Overload” is a song to ponder, and ponder one does. It’s at times sludgy and dark, poppy and light, and captivating musically. Marz goes from a stoner-rock intro guitar with weirdly melodic vocals over it to one of the most euphoric choruses you’ve heard. One can almost feel the ‘super overload’ just letting that chorus melody wash all over them. The solo comes in after the bridge, and it’s fairly simple and musical, carrying its own individual melody over the stoner riff, then goes back into a third chorus, but changes up the vocal melody’s meter a bit, emphasizing the first line more.

No idea whom this song is about but pretty much all the anger Marz has is brought front and center on “Common In Disguise.” Over top, a great bouncy bass guitar melody, Marz berates this person (or people?) and gives them what’s coming to them. Rage and hostility don’t make an appearance here, as Marz’s anger is very tightly controlled, almost methodic, and he even pauses during the bridge to try to sweet talk some sense into them. This song, like so many others on the record, is somewhat shorter than what one expects. An extra chorus or something after it would have been a nice added touch.

“Star” is a song Marz has had out for some time now which the band even filmed a music video for. Although not exactly new, it remains one of the standout tracks on the album. It was smart for Marz to include it on this album even though it was previously released as a single. This song is very easy to embrace. It has an amazing groove to it and the guitar work is some of the best on the record. The bass guitar, when it drops an octave for the verse, just carries the song along, and with that noodling flange guitar on top, it’s icing on the cake. The half tempo last chorus complete with harmonies, not only makes this musical and enjoyable but a great radio rock tune as well.

“Chasing The Tiger” is a bit of an anomaly. Upon hearing “One Big Rush,” one might think they had been exposed to the extreme end of Marz’s songwriting breadth, but this one breaks the mold. Like nothing else on the record, “Chasing The Tiger” closes the album out with a surprisingly unique feel. It’s at once jamming and pulsing, and at the same time coming at you from odd angles, yet nothing competes with the guitar riff during the chorus. A beautiful end to a much-too-short record.

Eschewing the previously explored territories of pop, Marz turned his songwriting to heavier, meatier rock and roll, and brought the entire attitude that comes with it. Although every song on this album is a keeper, definite stand-out tracks are “Space In Time” and “Star” for their wonderful pop sensibilities and rock which Marz blends together in perfect unison, and also “One Big Rush” and “Chasing The Tiger” for breaking the mold of typical hard rock and grunge tropes. These last two mentioned songs are definitely the heaviest tunes on the album. They are surprising yet familiar, all at the same time.

Not sure if credit goes to the recording studio, the producer, the mixer, or even just to the band themselves, but Bringing Alpha has a great sound to it. You can hear every individual instrument distinctly clear while blended together perfectly with Marz’s vocals. Whoever sat behind the board for this recording definitely knows how to bring out the best in this band. There isn’t a second of beta on this record anywhere. And just like an alpha, the record comes in hard and kicks you around a bit, then leaves you lying on the floor wanting more (though whether it’s for mercy or for more, we’ll leave it up to you to decide).

Photo by Christopher Bjornberg

Photo by Christopher Bjornberg

Tommy Marz Band
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About The Author

Erik's interest in music began at an early age. In high school, he was the co-host of the underground metal show the Social Mutilation Hour, on 89.5 WAHS, under the name of Neurotik Erik. During this period of his life, he independently promoted shows under the name of Ding Dong Ditch Productions. Erik would rent out local VFW Halls, use space at Oakland Community College Auburn Hills Campus, or simply throw basement parties around the Detroit area. While at college at Ferris State University, he became head of the student run organization, Entertainment Unlimited, and continued to promote shows, but on a larger scale. He also helped start an underground magazine, 'Outpunk', where he interviewed bands and wrote music reviews. Additionally, Erik joined the staff at the Ferris State University Torch and wrote on a larger scale.

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