Anthems For The Damned


Fontana, 2008

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Imagining Filter making a protest record is as laughable as it is scary. When a group like Filter, whose music is nothing more than a fun alternative to the brooding, more tedious manifestations of industrial music, starts becoming socially conscious and damn serious for the entire length of an album, it means disaster. Although they have tried being socially conscious on previous records (“Cancer” from Title Of Record and “Columind” and “The Missing” from The Amalgamut), dedicating an entire record to it, complete with a showy album title and very obvious cheesy album cover, is a tad indulgent. Rock music doesn’t need another Bono.

And for the good of mankind, the world doesn’t get one. Anthems For The Damnedmy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 could’ve turned into the self-absorbed, melodramatic sob-fest that was eMOTIVe, another protest album, by A Perfect Circle, who falls in the same vein as Filter. But despite the heavy theme looming like a dark cloud throughout Anthems, Richard Patrick and associates have kept it pretty light and unburdened on the face of it. This album sounds every bit like classic Filter: exciting, upbeat, and extremely accessible. Never in the album does Patrick let his protestor-emotions outshine his musical prowess. Patrick personally might be on a mission, but he has still kept things basic on the record.

This means the guitars are big, showy, and delectable; the drums are meaty, and the tunes are sharp. Even the ballads, despite the passionate themes, do not drip with any extreme sentiment. The kingpin song of the album, “Soldiers Of Misfortune,” has a healthy dose of emotion thanks to Patrick’s contemplative vocals, which nevertheless don’t go too overboard for listeners who really don’t care for Patrick’s efforts of remonstration; at the same time, this track does come across as earnest enough for someone who is searching for a deeper meaning in the music.

There are many great numbers that make this a fine album, namely “Soldiers Of Misfortune,” “Kill The Day,” “What’s Next,” (which is reminiscent of “Captain Bligh” from Title Of Record with its nasal high-pitched chorus and a similar riff), and the brilliant closing eulogy “Only You” and what seems like its extended other half, the tripped-out ambient instrumental “Can Stop This.”

Although Anthems can be a thoughtful and meaningful record, and even though the words “George Bush is fucking us up” (“What’s Next”) doesn’t sound as annoyingly emo when Patrick sings it, what makes this disc a worthwhile listen is not its profundity, but its hooks, drums, and wholesome industrial-pop goodness. The “war” theme is commendable, but ironically, the album is more enjoyable when it is kept in mind that there isn’t much to Filter than its superb music.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2008 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Fontana, and is used for informational purposes only.