Sound — 8
After a stint in rehab and a go at the side project Army of Anyone, Richard Patrick has returned to his home base in Filter, which could now be called The Richard Patrick Show. As the only original member left in Filter, Patrick takes the opportunity to ponder everything from addiction to the Iraqi war on his new record Anthems For The Damned, all the while dabbling in a sound that is a cross between both of his bands. Hey Man, Nice Shot was Filter's first song to garner ample airplay and peak listeners' interest, and that driving, industrial sound does make appearances a few times on the record. You'll actually find that Patrick might be a tad fonder of the style used on the band's other hit, Take A Picture. This album is full of low-key, pensive tracks, and for the most part Patrick and his new bandmates do a solid job of tackling them. If there's one thing that has remained unchanged, it's Patrick's vocal strength. Regardless of how he has matured or grown as an artist, Patrick can still belt out some killer rock lines -- and in the next moment deliver a heartfelt ballad. If you're a fan of those extremes, then you'll probably be receptive to the genre-hopping Anthems For The Damned, and the opening track is a great indication of the surprises you'll get along the way. Soldiers Of Misfortune is definitely not what you might expect from Filter, mainly because it sounds more like a U2 song at times. It's not a bad track and Patrick wails on the chorus, but it really never feels like an all-out rock song. John 5 was a key collaborator on Anthems For The Damned, and not surprisingly his guest tracks are among the most memorable. What's Next comes closest to the powerhouse Hey Man, Nice Shot, with an excellent, high energy riff starting everything off. It's one of the strongest tracks (if not the strongest) on the entire album, and it would have been great if Patrick ventured into that territory a little more. John 5's other contribution The Take is the most metal of the bunch, but it's actually somewhat of a disappointment. The riffs are fantastic, but the core songwriting is repetitive and they never go anywhere new or original in the track. Besides What's Next and The Take, the album is fairly empty in terms of songs that lean toward the metal genre. Anthems For The Damned features guest artists Josh Freese and Wes Borland as well, but the main attraction is Patrick. The new album is obviously his baby, and he freely delves into ballads, soundscapes, and softer rock tracks. That softer material is often memorable and usually features a big chorus (In Dreams deserves to be a hit single for this reason), but it's hard to say whether all Filter fans will embrace the dip in energy.
Lyrics — 8
As the CD cover might indicate, Patrick has gotten a little political on Anthems For The Damned. The opening track Soldiers of Misfortune is pretty straightforward with lines such as, I'd like to wake up from this dream; Can't we learn from history; Why's it such a mystery; I'd like to wake up from this dream. That particular song is not necessarily profound, but thankfully the album is not an overly preachy one, either. The political messages are kept to a minimum, and instead Patrick delivers songs that deal more with his personal emotions. There not quite as raw and angry as a few years back, but Patrick probably has a pretty different perspective after his time in rehab.
Overall Impression — 8
Considering that Richard Patrick took charge of the majority of the record, Anthems For The Damned is a credit to his creativity. He has a keen sense of when to build a song to a climax, and very rarely is there a big chorus missing on a track. There are a few tracks like Kill The Day that just seem a waste of space, and some of us still might miss the Hey Man, Nice Shot days, but for the most part the newest version of Filter has delivered an album of single-worthy material that should please fans.