Words By: Gerrod Harris
Release Date: April 8th, 2016 via Wind-up Records
Frontman Richard Patrick, the mastermind behind Filter, has spent the past year working on the group’s latest release, Crazy Eyes, an album which evokes similar vibes of Filter’s early work, specifically their 1995 debut, Short Bus.
The lead single, “Take Me To Heaven”, is exceptionally good. Driven by a club beat on steroids, the song builds through an energetic verse to an anthem of a chorus. The song is an excellent example of how Filter manages to walk a line between the heavy and often chaotic rock along with bouncy and fun beats and rhythms. It is likely this balance which they maintain which has allowed for them to remain unique among many of the greats from the 90’s who veered off into a singular direction. “Pride Flag” is yet another great example of a song that while coated in Patrick’s aggressive vocal work, seems to take more from the pop vein.
From the very beginning, with the opening track, “Mother E”, Crazy Eyes launches the listener into the fray of Filter’s aggressively charged industrial rock. Patrick’s voice is incredibly powerful, crisp, and shows little sign of age. From the throaty howls of “Mother E” to the lengthy sustained notes of “Welcome To The Suck (Destiny Not Luck)”, Patrick not only demonstrates a wide range of tonal quality, but he also sounds determined, fiery, and full of conviction. Patrick is a freight train with a voice that is an unrelenting furry. It is really the most explosive tracks across the record which shines the brightest. Songs of the likes of “The City Of Blinding Riots”, “Kid Blue From The Short Bus, Drunk Bunk”, and “Your Bullets” draw on a heaviness, while still embracing the electronic elements which made Filter unique. The closing track, “(Can’t She See) Head Of Fire, Pt. 2”, while an opposite direction from the aggression of the rest of the album, makes for an exceptionally raw and emotionally charged ballad, featuring a toned down Patrick and a steel string acoustic; however it could have been further explored as the first half of the track is the actual song, which fades into echoes and a light electronic soundscape for the final half.
Overall, Crazy Eyes is an excellent record which harkens back to Filter’s roots as one of the pioneers of the industrial rock genre. If you’re a fan of Filter’s early records, such as alternative rock classics of Short Bus and Title Of Record, or other early industrial gems like Nine Inch Nails’ Pretty Hate Machine and Broken, both of which Patrick played guitar on, then you will love Crazy Eyes. This is a record that, while giving a feeling of nostalgia to the early genre, still feels fresh and modern in its ability to fuse electronic and hard rock elements together in a way that still sounds unique and exciting. The strength of Crazy Eyes rests in Patrick’s ability to evoke light tones of nostalgia while adding in thick layers of innovating elements stemming from hard rock, metal, and punk influences, to create a modern rock album which stands out as much for its quality as much as its ability to not only straddle a number of styles. This is a record which has found balance between what can be called vintage- a clear nod to their roots- while still moving forward into new territory. Crazy Eyes is an excellent example of what forms modern industrial rock can take. Unfortunately, most assume the genre peaked in the 90’s and failed to translate well into the 2000’s and onward, but Filter prove just the opposite. Through fiery textures and solid song writing, Crazy Eyes is an album equally as innovative as it is nostalgic of the band’s classic material and could very well be the record that Filter needs to return to the spotlight as the refined hard rock veterans that they are.
Filter, along with show openers Orgy, will be performing at The Opera House on April 24th.
1: Mother E
2: Nothing In My Hands
3: Pride Flag
4: The City Of Blinding Riots
5: Take Me To Heaven
6: Welcome To The Suck (Destiny Not Luck)
7: Head Of Fire
9: Kid Blue From The Short Bus, Drunk Bunk
10: Your Bullets
11: Under The Tongue
12: (Can’t She See) Head Of Fire, Pt. 2