Filter [reviews]
Updated by Draconina on 12/07/2010 11:54
The Trouble With Angels [Deluxe Version] |Rocket Science/Nuclear Blast, 2010|

CD1: 01. The Inevitable Relapse, 02. Drug Boy, 03. Absentee Father, 04. No Love, 05. No Re-Entry, 06. Down With Me, 07. Catch A Falling Knife, 08. The Trouble With Angels, 09. Clouds, 10. Fades Like A Photograph (Dead Angel)
CD2: 01. The Inevitable Relapse (Clayton Worbeck Mix), 02. Drowning, 03. Shot From The Sun, 04. My Life Before, 05. Plume

How is it that Filter, such an industrial rock musical icon was rated only one and a half gears by an industrial rock orientated magazine? Should I have given an additional half for the tits of Carmen Electra who starred in the newest Filter video? Nope, sorry. I have been choosing very good albums to review in Fabryka Magazine recently, so I have a chance to vent on this album now ;)

The news about the upcoming Filter album was shaped and ignited by the band itself. Filter themselves compared the new album content to the legendary sound of the Short Bus LP (which in fact had one legendary song on it "Hey Man Nice Shot" and a few very good, dirty, guitar driven tracks). Oldschool fans of Filter were hoping the band would have fresh and meaningful input which would dominate industrial rock music once again in a similar fashion to their success in 1995. In fact, there is a saying that goes... "Hope often blinks at a fool". This has indeed come true for those who got fooled by the final effect of The Trouble With Angles. In a manner seemingly not benumbed, the album continues to be promoted as the answer to Short Bus to this moment. There is a list of channels involved in this forged promotion that include all sorts of fans, magazines, journalists, bloggers, social networks and live shows that have benefited from their association with the band under one condition - they must write positively about the album. Certainly, Fabryka Magazine will be overlooked due to an honest review.

Filter has engaged with many famous names during the making of this album. The artwork designer, Deborah Norcross, did a few artworks for Filter in the past, as well as designed artwork for Armageddon Dildos, Guns'n'Roses and Porno For Pyros. The album was produced by Bob Marlette whom also produced for Black Sabbath, 2wo and Halford, Alice Cooper, Saliva, Ill Nino. The mastering was done by Ted Jensen who has worked for The Who, Diana Ross, Disturbed, Korn, Slipknot, Grace Jones, Delerium, Robert Palmer, Styx and Ratt. The programming is the work of Brian Liesegang who is known for collaborating with Skrew, Filter, 13 Mg., Nine Inch Nails and Prick. Finally, there are the rampant titties of Carmen Electra, who starred in the video for "No Love" and who is also Rob Patterson's (guitarist for Filter and Otep) real life fiancee.

The Trouble With Angels LP sounds as if it has no spine. It is flat and mere in comparison to the bands potential. I was hoping (again!) to find many interesting songs on the album. I found myself playing a track after track and loosing my patience after the first couple of minutes of every song. Most of the songs began in an aggressive way, but they stopped being at all interesting after a minute or two. Perhaps the musicians couldn't continue to find their angst and originality. Filter's attempt to involve listeners into what has been advertised and promised as "Short Bus like atmospheres" reminds me the efforts of an impotent male trying to hype a less than average woman into taking him home from the bar.

I understand that Filter's goal was to tease listeners, but those edgy atmospheres only happened at the beginning of the songs and simply never came back. Moreover, a promotional single named "The Inevitable Relapse" includes the same trendy auto-tune processors that are used so often in modern pop music and have become popularized by Fergie, Cher and Rhianna.
It doesn't really matter how well Richard Patrick professionally screams in some of the songs if the subsequent music isn't supported by wall of guitars, bass and drums like it used to be in famous Filter tracks such as "Hey Man Nice Shot" or "Columind".

The truth is, the bands music has always been filled with very moody atmospheres. This is noticeable on every one of their albums where aggressive arrangements co-exist with soppy songs. This new album definitely has a bunch of songs that one can occasionally listen to, but would perhaps be better suited for commercial radio stations. However, it was not a fair statement to compare this album to Short Bus in an effort to invigorate the attention of oldschool Filter fans. The Trouble With Angels is not what I would consider as industrial rock music. In fact, it is a polar opposite to how it was announced and promoted by the band. Let's not use buzzwords to ignite an interest if they bear no relation to what they were said to be. Stylistically, The Trouble With Angles is closer to what I would classify as alternative rock music. Filter should have known this and promoted it as such.

There are however many professional guitar riffs that are smoothly synchronized with the bass in a few songs such as "Drug Boy" and "Absentee Father", but over-lyrical vocal layers ruin the arrangements very quickly as can be heard in "No Love" or "Down With Me". If you imagine the main song structures without the guitars, bass and drums, you'll hear how many pop music arrangements have been used; thus exposed... Way too much.

This album was published in two versions; the alternate version contains an additional five songs as well as a remix by Clayton Worbeck (Stayte, Revolting Cocks). Clayton used a bit of groove, disco and industrial rock atmospheres that actually sound kind of cool. The other tracks remind me of typical love songs with simulated violins in the background, with exception to "Shot From The Sun".
Indeed, it seems there is "No Re-Entry" when it comes to classifying Filter as industrial rock again. Gentlemen, take a serious dose of cocaine or speed the next time please.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, 12/04/2010. Proofreading: Scott M. Owens. Must not be used for promotional or commercial purposes. See a Legal Note for the copyrights below)
Anthems for the Damned |Pulse, 2008|

1. Soldiers of Misfortune, 2. What's Next, 3. The Wake, 4. Cold (Anthem for the Damned), 5. Hatred Is Contagious, 6. Lie After Lie, 7. Kill the Day, 8. The Take, 9. I Keep Flowers Around, 10. In Dreams, 11. Only You, 12. Can Stop This

A long awaited album by an American band Filter brought the vibe which could be an attempt to reconcile their achievements of the 90s [when they become popular on the industrial rock scene] with the tune of the last two albums.

Richard Patrick found the band after he had left Nine Inch Nails to release 3 full albums, then in between a hiatus of Filter had been a lead singer for a rock project Army of Anyone but also cooperated with The Damning Well team. Both Brian Liesegang and Matt Walker supported the live shows of Billy Corgan's (Smashing Pumpkins) solo project.

Patrick knows very well what to do to return on the scene in a good style. He realizes the visual appearance of the band is one of the most important acts to draw people's attention. Thus the official website was reunited, biography and discography entries updated in many online catalogues, the interaction with the fans launched (signing the new CDs in music stores, playing on festivals). Also their Myspace profile was set up which was followed by Filter's spring 2008 appearance at the Operation Myspace show played for the American soldiers stationed in Iraq. The idea the album is dedicated to the American soldiers comes out looking at the CD artwork with a dark sky, sun rays flashing, a part of a desert and an American Army helmet put on a rifle stuck in sand. A symbol of the finished or suspended war however not clear if successful finally (the dark clouds).

Let's back to music. As I mentioned before, there is a variety of moods on the album recalling either Filter's stuff with its predatory vocals and aggressive guitar riffs (What's Next, The Take and a total hit In Dreams) or rock ballads like The Wake (Creed-like vocals), Cold (Anthem for the Damned), Hatred Is Contagious, Lie After Lie, Kill the Day or an instrumental Can Stop This.

Anthems for the Damned doesn't surprise, I mean I can't pin to anything because the tracks are well built, supported by easy going tunes and naturalness fruited into songs great when listened while traveling. It doesn’t matter if you are on the plane over Lake Michigan or driving a big track across hot and deserted Arizona area or got stuck in a traffic jam of glittering and noisy Seattle.

I mentioned the only American places on purpose because Filter's music is the American through and through. I really doubt if such music could be written in Europe for instance.
Plus Patrick's vocal sounds still typical, dirty, nasal, well controlled, once used in a warm way the other time screamed aloud. He definitely can sing what has a great meaning for rock music based on guitars. Practically Anthems for the Damned is supported by vocals-guitar-bass parts with the drums moderated what removes pushy dynamics for the easy flowing guitar riffs.

The album definitely stands far from industrial music and should be classified in other categories. At the same time it's a very valuable release which should give you a lot of fun!

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, 07/02/2008. Proofreading: Scott M. Owens. Must not be used for promotional or commercial purposes. See a Legal Note for the copyrights below)
Short Bus |Reprise Records, 1994|

Hey Man Nice Shot, Dose, Under, Spent, Take Another, Stuck In Here, It's Over, Gerbil, White Like That, Consider This, So Cool

Robert Patrick did his best in Terminator movie and his not less known brother Richard leads Filter band after leaving Nine Inch Nails. Both bands made a career in the 90's, when industrial rock gained people's attention. Filter songs are softer, well arranged, ready to be played in any alternative radio show. Filter's Hey Man Nice Shot kept was a top rated song at many of alternative charts and the videoclip was played often on the TV. Lots of punk spirit, rock energy and industrial coolness. (NINa, 2002)

Title Of A Record |WEA/Warner Bros, 1999|

Sand, Welcome To The Fold, Captain Bligh, It's Gonna Kill Me, The Best Things, Take A Picture, Skinny, I Will Lead You, Cancer, I'm Not The Only One, Miss Blue

Impetus and brake. Such a pattern lasts 'till the very end of the record. Cute vocals turns too predatory shouts and the tempo pumps the beats. As examples: It's Gonna Kill Me (the best!), Welcome To The Fold, I Will Lead You. Take A Picture it's a song torturing a long time on VIVA II TV charts. Filter makes ballads either nice or mawkish. This one is nice ;) Cancer song it's a very typical song as for the band, can't stop saying aloud "Yes! It's Filter!". And Miss Blue, an accoustic song about love disappointment.(NINa, 2002)

Amalgamut |Warner Bros, 2002|

You Walk Away, American Cliche, Where Do We Go From Here, Columind, The Missing, The Only Way (Is The Wrong Way), My Long Walk To Jail, So I Quit, God Damn Me, It Can Never Be The Same, World Today, The 4th

The album begins in a very nice way - lots of guitars. Then we get a refrain and it sounds like another STP clone. Similar melodies. Then American Cliche comes and kills! :)) The same solutions used in I Will Lead You known from Title of a Record. I see an image of huge track driving on a high speed through a crowded city every time I listen to this song. Columnid is a sharp song but The Missing is a ballad too much. The best hot song on this record is So I Quit - the wall of guitars, fast tempo, characteristic Patrick's screams. Nice rhythm and drums in It Can Never Be The Same. World Today sounds strange, sounds like a remix or a new point in Filter's history, we'll see. The 4th finishes Amalgamut in a mysterious way... (NINa, 2004)

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