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Filtering the past

Filter - Anthems For The Damned
(Pulse Records)
2 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: May 23, 2008

Review by Tony Bonyata

The ability to absorb, process and, in the best of cases, mentally store new music for any length of time is a tricky endeavor these days. With the speed-of-light delivery of hundreds of new bands via the Internet on a daily basis, and fickle tastemakers hungry to put new - often just slightly above average - artists on a pedestal one day only to knock them down the next, it's getting harder and harder to hold people's attention spans for very long when it comes to new music.

After a lengthy five-year hiatus the rock band Filter are either unaware of this fact or, perhaps, with a damn-the-torpedoes mentality have just released their fourth full-length effort, Anthems For The Damned. While much of this twelve-song collection is filled with muscular. industrial-fueled hard rock, it also sounds as if it's locked in the amber of post-grunge '90s alt-rock, which is probably a good thing if you're still wearing that old flannel shirt, cut-off army pants and Doc Marten boots.

Despite the pummeling, breakneck rhythms ("The Take"), melodic arena-friendly rock ("Cold (Anthem For The Damned)" and "Kill The Day"), edgy hard-rock ("What's Next") and powerful vocals from frontman Richard Patrick, by day's end it all comes off sounding like a cross between Alice In Chains and Soundgarden (when they were positioning themselves for more commercial success with alt-rock radio friendly fare).

While the majority of this album has its fists clenched and teeth bared, it ends with a whimper with the obligatory ('hey, we're hard rockers with a sensitive side too') ballad "Only You," and finally with the ambient soundscape piece "Can Stop This," which is interesting enough, if not an odd addition to an otherwise slightly above average attempt at reclaiming the glory days of their youth.

Filter - "Soldiers Of Misfortune" video

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