"Anthems for the Damned" (Pulse; 2008)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton


Filter's new CD had me scratching my head as I listened to track one, "Soldiers of Misfortune." This doesn't sound like Filter, I found myself thinking, it sounds like U2! It isn't a bad track, it just doesn't sound anything like "Hey, Man, Nice Shot," the song I automatically think of whenever I think of Filter.

But then track two, "What's Next," comes along and it sounds more like the Filter I was most familiar with: it's a strong hard pop tune with driving guitars, haunting vocals, and a slight industrial edge. Most of the album is more of the same (especially on "The Take") with the occasional return to that U2-ish sound. I'm familiar with Filter but no expert so maybe I've just forgotten that side of their music; however, "Anthems of the Damn" surprised me throughout with its smooth vocals and undeniably radio friendly melodies.

After a year of being hammered by the band's aforementioned "Hey, Man, Nice Shot" (as seen in the Iron Man film trailers), I expected something a little harder and heavier here. Instead, "Anthems of the Damned" is a milder but still surprisingly listenable collection of more mature tunes -- in both execution and theme -- than previous Filter CDs.

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"Title of Record" (Reprise; 1999)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers


Filter hit it big with a song about suicide entitled "Hey Man, Nice Shot" from their debut CD, “Short Bus.” Many thought that the song was penned about Kurt Cobain but, in reality, it was more aimed (for lack of a better word) at a politician named Budd Dwyer who committed suicide at a press conference while cameras rolled. With such an upheaval of notoriety, one could just cash in on the single and be added to a Trivial Pursuit card. Filter, however are more talented than that.

“Title Of Record” is their sophomore effort and Richard Patrick (who is one full half of Filter) toured with the earliest clan of NIN and he brings his teeth gnashing attitude and smooth vocal style to the forefront of industrial metal. The guitar is buzzing in many parts; "Title of Record" is not solo driven but it held my attention. The most recognizable single would be “Take A Picture”. It's melodic and radio friendly. Hey, every band needs at least one hook for radio listeners.

"Title Of Record," despite its plain name, is very much what you would want from a band that combines elements of NIN and industrial rock. Although it was recorded in 1999, it still sounds fresh today because of the layers put into each track. Some songs have a quiet style with whispering lyrics and then blasting guitar and drums crescendo. The record does slow down towards the end but that’s my only complaint. 

The best tracks are “Welcome To The Fold,” “The Best Things,” “Take A Picture,” and “I Will Lead You.”

Filter: Richard Patrick - vocals, guitars, bass, programming; Geno Lenardo - guitars, bass, chorale sitar, mandolin, programming; Steven Gillis - live drums and percussion; Frank Cavanagh - bass.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2008 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 13 May 2024 14:45:21 -0400.