When Cleveland, Ohio-born Industrial Metal/Post Grunge veterans Filter unleashed their full-length debut Short Bus (1995) and it's corresponding first single “Hey Man Nice Shot”, the future seemed impossibly bright for the group's co-founders Richard Patrick and Brian Liesegang. This was further reinforced with the release of their 'Take A Picture”-fueled sophomore effort Title Of Record (1999). However, following the long-overdue release of the The Amalgamut (2002), the group became dormant after Patrick canceled the main supporting tour to enter a rehabilitation facility and, upon emerging newly sober, joined forces with Stone Temple Pilots alumni Dean and Robert DeLeo in Army Of Anyone. Fortunately for all parties involved, the group would re-emerge with the ingenious Anthems For The Damned (2008) and The Sun Comes Out Tonight (2013), ultimately paving the way for the mighty Crazy Eyes (2016), the group's most potent, thoroughly memorable effort to date.
On the stellar Crazy Eyes (2016), an expertly assembled twelve song collection of deftly-executed Industrial Rock, each track, beginning with the sociopolitical modus operandi “Nothing In My Hands” and the pulsating, Electronica-infused “The City Of Blinding Riots”, immediately commands the rapt and undivided attention of all parties involved, myself most definitely included. Wisely distancing themselves from the would-be crème de la crème of their few legitimate contemporaries, the group effortlessly fires on all cylinders early and often by pounding their few unsuspecting oppress into an almost hypnotic submission. Definitively proving that some groups do actually improve with age, the ensuing onslaught swaggers with a tangible veteran presence (for the uninitiated, Patrick was briefly featured on the 1989 Nine Inch Nails debut Pretty Hate Machine and contributed as a live member prior to the release of The Downward Spiral) reminiscent of the group's most agog adventures.
Continuing with the relentlessly pummeling first single “Take Me To Heaven” and the awkwardly-titled--albeit highly-effective--tirade “Welcome To The Suck (Destiny Not Luck)”, the newly-revamped combination of vocalist/guitarist Richard Patrick, guitarist Oumi Kapila, bassist Ashley Dzerigian (Adam Lambert, CeeLo Green, ex-Money Mark) and drummer Chris Reeve steamrolls ahead with a truly sickening ease. Effectively reaffirming their well-deserved status as co-Godfathers of the Industrial Rock genre, the group wastes precious little time driving home each key focal point with the seething lyrical and compostional ferociousness that has personified much of their Gold and multi-Platinum career trajectories. Boldly engulfing the proverbial average listener amid an exceedingly airtight barrage of soaring vocals, blistering fretwork and imaginatively punishing rhythms, the quartet 'delivers the goods' without, believe it or not, overwhelming the proverbial average listener.
Arguably the improbably long-running group's most fully effective post-Title Of Record effort to date, other standouts, including the scathing, emotionally-charged lament “Kid Blue From The Short Bus Drunk Bunk” and the acoustic-tinged, equally impressive closer “(Can't She See) Head Of Fire, Part 2”, offer further evidence in support of their unabashed lyrical and compositional prowess. Emblazoned throughout by Grammy-nominated Brian Virtue (Audioslave, Hawthorne Heights, Korn), the tonalities at the epicenter of Crazy Eyes are as razor-sharp as they are thoroughly satisfying. Although it seems unlikely that the group will re-ascend to the dizzying heights of international acclaim, with the group now rapidly approaching the twenty-fifth (!) anniversary of the previously-mentioned Short Bus (and, not surprisingly, with their artistic influence remaining at an unnervingly all-time high), will rekindle interest in their discography and further bolster their legion of uniquely fixated fans.
You're still not convinced? While those unfamiliar with the group's previous works may find my incessant admiration for their efforts precariously approaching a quasi-'fanboi'/'otaku' plateau, you'll ultimately only have yourself to blame for not wholeheartedly embracing their often frenetic, multi-dimensional offerings. Even if you find yourself less-than-enthralled with the group's ever-morphing line-up (after the protracted departure of Liesegang, Patrick has remained as the group's sole consistency), the majority--if not all--of the decidedly ear-pleasing wares contained herein are, without a doubt, among the very finest recorded moments in their already notoriously storied history. As a result, if you've once again found yourself in search of a refreshingly forthright alternative to the painfully mindless din and clatter that so is so often the mainstream, then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane counter-irritants for what it is that ails you. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
Crazy Eyes (2016)
The Sun Comes Out Tonight (2013)
The Trouble With Angels (2010)
Anthems For The Damned (2008)
The Amalgamut (2002)
Title Of Record (1999)
Short Bus (1995)
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