Review: Filter – Crazy Eyes

Therapy? once famously sang… “The world is fucked…and so am I” And that was back in the nineties when the world seemed a much calmer place to be. Sure, there were still idiots a plenty, and atrocities left right and centre, but in general, the vast majority of us adopted the “meh” attitude to life. Fast forward a few decades, and what have you got?… ISIS, Donald Trump, The Syrian refugee crisis, Donald Trump, race riots galore, Dylan Roof, and yet again Donald Trump. The current climate is perfect for artists and musicians to just simply vent. Richard Patrick vents on Filter’s new album ‘Crazy Eyes’, in fact, he vents a lot. ’Crazy Eyes’ has a lot of anger on it, ferocious in places, but yet offering hope in others (especially on ‘Pride Flag’). It’s a deep, atmospheric, and on occasions painful album to listen to. Patrick is hurting, but with great hurt comes great art (or some other shitty inspirational quote that everyone loves to share on Facebook), but in doing so, Patrick has produced his finest moment since Filter crashed onto the scene with ‘Short Bus’ in 1995. ‘Mother E’ opens up the album with an unhinged Patrick uttering the same line over and over again…
I’ve got my reasons and my reasons are sound…
Beginning with a whisper until it reaches it’s climax with a chilling scream, before all hell breaks loose with an old school Industrial Metal pounding jackhammer of a beat. Listen to it on a pair of cans and you’ll pick up all the little nuances in the background. His whispers are deranged, and singing from the perspective of a mass shooter has an unsettling effect. Like a great deal of the album, the guitars are in the background, with a return to more electronica and programming, which means when the guitars from Oumi Kapila do come crashing in, they are mind blowing. The Nine Inch Nails influences creep in on ‘Nothing In My Hands’, which is perhaps the best song that Trent Reznor never wrote. The bass and drums are skull crushing, and there is a great sing-out-loud chorus throughout. Brutal, yet catchy at the same time. As Reznor and NIN move away from a more traditional Industrial sound with each album, it’s great to hear a track such as this. ‘Pride Flag’ is one of the few moments on the album where there is a glimmer of hope for the future. A real uptempo energetic track, with an uplifting and defiant message about the recent legalisation of same sex marriage in America. Kapila nails his solos, and the drumming at the end from Chris Reeve is incredible. ’City Of Blinding Riots’ is a mix of pulsing electronic dance beats, with ear splitting screams from Patrick. Inspired by the recent race riots in Ferguson and Baltimore, it’s a mind-fuck of a song, that’s for sure. ’Take Me To Heaven’ is the most radio friendly song on the album, catchy as hell in places, but still retaining enough bite to scare any unsuspecting listeners that dialled into the wrong station. ’Welcome To The Suck (Destiny Not Luck)’ is a gloomy and emotionally charged few minutes that has a great vocal performance from Patrick and the song stays with you some time after. ‘Crazy Eyes’ has some very heavy, and powerful moments, such as the Alice In Chains-like ‘Head Of Fire’, the pit-inciting frantic speed of ‘Tremors’, or the punkish ‘Kid Blue From The Short Bus, Drunk Bunk’, but for me the most memorable moments are when the album closes out with the instrumental ‘Under The Tongue’, followed by ‘(Can’t She See) Head Of Fire Pt.2’, a six minute long dream sequence of guitars and drums that slowly build to a crescendo, which even though the vocals are basically just howls and moans from Patrick, would be intense on the live stage. Special mention goes to the mesmeric drumming from Chris Reeve throughout this track from the left field. ’(Can’t She See) Head Of Fire PT2’ opens with an almost ballad-like acoustic guitar and some spacey vocals from Patrick, before the keyboards come in with a trippy vibe, which seems a perfect ending to such an angry, and sometimes bleak, album. Hey, that’s the way that the world is now, so fucking deal with it.
A great statement of intent from Richard Patrick and Filter. ’Crazy Eyes’ is out now, and the band are embarking on their ‘Make America Hate Again’ Tour very soon (see what they did there !?). The Hate part disappears when they hit Europe in the Summer for the ‘Make Europe Great Again’ tour which also features Combichrist on the bill. Dates can be found on their website. Review by Dave Stott
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