October 3, 2002

Test Spin: Filter

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What do you do when you’re part of a former industrial rock band that hasn’t released an album since 1999? Write songs about every national tragedy that’s occurred in the past three years of course. At least, that’s what Filter’s Richard Patrick and Co. have decided to do on the band’s latest release, The Amalgamut.

The album starts off with the hard-rocker “You Walk Away,” the typical relationship-gone-awry track, in which Patrick’s voice ranges from high-pitched whine to a deeper Layne Stayley-wannabe sound. The majority of The Amalgamut, though, serves as Patrick’s commentary on American society. “The Missing” is a soft rock song that tries to make a statement about the terrorist attacks of September 11th, but the lyrics seem almost too trite to make any kind of an impact. “You love to be cruel/ I’m not a good tool/ ‘Cause you love to be cruel,” Patrick sings, and it’s unclear whether he is directing his rants towards George Bush or Osama Bin Laden. Heavy guitars and near incoherent screams dominate “Columind” (possibly the worst title for a song ever), apparently written for Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the two teenagers behind the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School. Patrick shouts, “What do you think you got done here kid?/ Did you reach your killing goal?” and then proclaims that “we won’t care when it’s all over,” in another of his attempts to make his opinions known.

The Amalgamut follows Filter’s trend of becoming lighter and less industrial with each consecutive album. While there are some songs reminiscent of 1995’s “Hey Man Nice Shot” from the CD Short Bus, most of the tracks are more melodic and crafted to fit in on mainstream rock radio.

Archived article by Ariel Ronneburger