CD Review of Anthems for the Damned by Filter
Recommended if you like
Nine Inch Nails, Stone Temple Pilots, Switchfoot
Label
Pulse
Filter:
Anthems for the Damned

Reviewed by R. David Smola

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R
ichard Patrick is taking aim at everything that concerns him. The environment, the war, the world in general alarms him; so, as a cathartic exercise, he dusts off Filter after a five-plus year hiatus and gives his fans Anthems for the Damned. The lyrics are damning, but not as blunt and ferocious as Ministry has been with the Bush administration. Patrick is no fan, but he offers his dissension with a little more poetry. It is easy to figure out and occasionally blatant, but well crafted with a bit left for your imagination. Filter has never really been about sunshine and candy canes, but Anthems is a dark, politically charged record that at the very end offers just a tiny sliver of hope.

Filter’s sound has evolved from industrial to an alternative/hard rock which incorporates elements of industrial. There are little traces of grunge, metal, and even an ambient moment or two, but the record is hard enough to rock with some hooks along the way. Anthems’ sound is more akin to 2002’s The Amalgamut then to Short Bus, Filter’s 1995 debut. It is more adventurous, more evolved and covers more musical terrain than past efforts. 

Filter

This is by far the best vocal performance that Patrick has offered in his career, with Filter or his other work. He sings (and screams when necessary) with desperation and conviction, adding and subtracting voltage as necessary. On Short Bus, he established that he could scream. With Anthems, he has matured into a versatile lead singer, phrasing things to complement the music and lyrical content. His voice is right out in front, not hidden behind modulators or gadgets. During “Cold (Anthem for the Damned)” and “Lie After Lie,” he pushes himself to the very end of his range -- and pulls it off. “Only You” is a complete contrast, with bare-bones vocals accompanied by a subtle drum track and acoustic guitar. 

There are some trademark Filter moments within Anthems, including the chugging bass, the layered harmonies, and the sonic blasts of sound, especially as the songs enter the choruses. The album is truly enhanced by the presence of guitar slinger John 5 (Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson) and drum freak Josh Freese (Nine Inch Nails and a boatload of studio work). The songs are truly within the Filter structure, but these two musicians really rip the material up and provide the perfect complement for Patrick’s vocals. 5 and Freese are distinctive musicians, and they make a good record even better. Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit, who Patrick worked with on an aborted project called the Damning Well, also contributes guitar work to the record, and is featured on “In Dreams.”

Filter is Richard Patrick, and if he can continue to put out interesting work like this, it doesn’t matter what he calls it – it’ll just be damn good.

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