Filter – [Album]

Friday, 30 May 2008

Any of those familiar with Filter’s history will find the title of the band’s new album ironic. Discarded by Trent Reznor and told its services would no longer be required as the touring band for Nine Inch Nails over a decade ago, the band found success briefly in the post-grunge Nineties before nu metal wiped the slate clean. After that happened, Filter’s future was placed into question again when singer Richard Patrick left to pursue other musical endeavors. Those projects didn’t go very far – Army Of Anyone was K.I.A. before they even shipped out. Now Patrick has tucked tail and run back to Filter hoping to establish itself on the nostalgia ticket.

Except that the album is a release by Filter in name only; Richard Patrick is the only returning member and the rest of the band consists of a who’s who of alt-rock outsiders and dispossessed hired guns.

Make no mistake, the instrumental performances outsourced for Anthems for the Damned aren’t in dispute. The pedigrees and performances by these contractors are often phenomenal. Quick perusal of the album’s liner notes shows that the album was filled out by the likes of John 5 (ex-Marilyn Manson and current Rob Zombie henchman), Josh Freese (fill-in drummer extraordinaire for bands too numerous to mention) and Wes Borland (ex-Limp Bizkit, Big Dumb Face) but, other than the ball-busting “What’s Next” (co-written by John 5), this album could have just as easily been called Anthems BY the Damned. The songs are generally weak and lifeless here as competent professionalism replaces danger and good writing all along the way and while sometimes even bad writing can be memorable, songs including “Soldiers Of Misfortune” and “Cold” slide through like a foul and greased  evacuation. Still other songs like “Kill The Day,” “Hatred Is Contagious” and “Only You” sound like throwaways from Army Of Anyone and “The Take” tries to reclaim the frenzy of “Hey Man Nice Shot” but only manages to inadvertently showcase how poorly Richard Patrick’s voice has aged. Where once Patrick was possessed of a mind-boggling range, the best he can do now is croaking and rasping like alt-rock’s answer to both Phil Collins and Rod Stewart.

With this album ostensibly guaranteed to tank in spectacular fashion, all that remains now is for Patrick to move on to something else. Again. Except what’s left? It sounds petty, but if Anthems for the Damned is any indication, the best  thing Richard Patrick could do for himself is announce retirement. Better that than stay at the party even longer and depreciate his stock further.

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