Filter – Crazy Eyes

…Backed by a brutal, punishing band… and a massive fan base, Filter is set to release their best collection since, dare I say, Short Bus…

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Richard Patrick is from my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio so I’m a little biased when it comes to projects he is involved with. Mr. Patrick waited in the wings as a touring member of Nine Inch Nails cutting his teeth during the formative Pretty Hate Machine and Broken years before forming Filter in 1993.

He rode the success of the roaring “Hey Man Nice Shot” on Short Bus to pop-stardom on “Take a Picture” from Title of Record, to one of my go-to’s on a rainy day, “Where do We Go From Here”, on The Amalgamut. All three of those songs and records carving a distinct sound that rides the blade of industrial, metal, and pop.  “Where Do We Go From Here” has become a mainstay on one of many driving mixes where I do my best impression of Mr. Patrick, but I end up sounding like someone is grabbing my balls with gardening tool.

After The Amalgamut Filter and Richard Patrick, went on hiatus popping up briefly to work with the DeLeo Brothers of Stone Temple Pilots fame until 2008 when Filter picked up again, with a new lineup and a harder sound. From them on, albums including Anthem For the Damned, The Trouble with Angels, and The Sun Comes out Tonight have cemented Filters legacy. Even earning them props from Patrick’s former colleagues in Nine Inch Nails.

When their 7th studio album Crazy Eyes was announced I did a little dance and turned it up to 11. Backed by a brutal, punishing band, collaborations with Title of Record producer Ben Grosse, and a massive fan base, Filter is set to release their best collection since, dare I say, Short Bus. There seems to be a renewed focus on this record and is one of few from recent memory you can play from front to back without a significant loss in artistic value. The record opens with “Mother E” what Patrick calls the “heaviest song I’ve ever written”, a slow building Filter classic straight from the depths of what feels like the corners of an HP Lovecraft story. Hard hitting “Pride Flag” is a driving, heart pounding, burner best listened to with the windows down offering stark views on current social events in the US with the thoughtful lyric “push away thoughts of hate, pages from an ancient faith”.

Filter's Richard Patrick - photo by Myriam Santos
Filter’s Richard Patrick – photo by Myriam Santos

The lead single off the record is the ever-catchy “Take me to Heaven”, which Richard Patrick has said was about his father’s death. While the somber mood of the lyrics to the song are present, one can’t help but shake their hips to the danceable energy.

“Welcome to the Suck (Destiny Not Luck)” slows down the vibe of the record but not the intensity with the focus on Patrick’s shrilling voice and an obnoxious sound design providing an otherworldly landscape. The later tracks on the record including “Head of Fire, “Tremors”, and “Your Bullets” are three of the hardest hitting on the album all must be listened to at maximum volume.

I read somewhere that Filter let their fans listen to demos in real time and chime in with opinions on certain songs. I find that level of comfort intriguing. Sounds like it might open portals to worlds most bands won’t venture, but Filter and Patrick are moving in the right direction, staying honest to the music, the fans, and themselves. Crazy Eyes is a damn fine record.

Brian Furman

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