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The Amalgamut

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004

The Amalgamut is exactly what you would have come to expect from Filter by now. Whether Richard Patrick has become too accustomed to the comfort of his rock 'n' roll lifestyle, or too indebted to his record company to take any risks in changing his sound, the end result is that he has once again made the same record - shall we say Title of Record II - without any artistic leap forward. A slick production sheen glosses up the sludge riffing, huge drums propel the tracks, and sequencers loop sound effects to add bleak industrial nuances to the mix.

It would seem that Mr. Patrick has done some serious meditating, or soul searching if you will, since his last opus. To hear him tell it, "I called the record The Amalgamut because I took a trip across the country and started to realize that everything in America is somewhat different, but very similar at the same time… America is truly becoming the land that is a melting pot, and within this melting pot there is an immense amount of diversity." This internal reflection must surely have been caught on tape on "You Walk Away", because if Patrick wasn't sitting Indian style mid-séance and channeling Layne Staley - except where the duly noted falsetto vocal harmonies enter - then I would truly be creeped out over the notion of the walking dead making an in-studio appearance. But then again, maybe this explains the voice speaking in tongues over the bloated eight-minute album closer "The 4th". It's unfortunate that this filler track is the most distinguished song on the album sonically, seeing how it is the only one to forgo the wall o' guitar treatment and search for a bit expression elsewhere. It's a ballsy move, and one hell of a nutcracker.

Where the lack of balls really stands out on The Amalgamut is in its radio ready pop songs. Like Title of Record's "Take My Picture", every third track or so brushes the dust off the old acoustic guitar, but never fails to bedizen the tracks with ample amounts of distortion as evidenced by the choruses of "Where Do We Go From Here", "The Only Way (Is The Wrong Way)", and "God Damn Me". These songs also place more emphasis on the lyrics, making the lackluster end rhyming more apparent. Further evidence of Patrick's lack of stones lies in the fact that this album will also be released with all those uncouth and socially unacceptable swear words removed. 'Sides, who needs to hear any more of that man's potty mouth in this beautiful land of the free? What's he got to be so angry about? The cherry on top of the sundae being the simple fact that the review copy I received was the "clean" version. Negative points Reprise, did you really think that a fifteen year old would be reviewing the album, or that Patrick was the next Eminem?

Filter's selling point is their consistency. If you were a fan of the first two records, then you are still going to be a fan once you hear The Amalgamut. If you can manage to remove your head from the album, then Filter still possesses the same amount of rock your ass thump that they have always had. And who could resist the patriotic themes that lace the elixir. "Whenever anyone asks me what my heritage is… I proudly say that I am 13th generation American. So please go out there and live your lives and remember that you're all free and that we're all Amalgamuts."" On the other hand, if you need some academia in your lyrics, some innovative tonality in your music, and some otherworldly production to cap it off, it would be best to turn your back on this record, saddle up, and ride on off into the sunset.

Reviewed by Mark Skipper
Mark Skipper currently resides in Nashville, TN where he can be found skipping shows, drinking Guinness, making bad home recordings, and complaining about how much music sucks these days.

See other reviews by Mark Skipper



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