Sound — 8
Bring up the band Filter as a topic of conversation with some of today's die-hard listeners and the almost forgotten single "Take A Picture" will come up as subject number one. Society adores latching onto 90s' rock gems with soft, heartwarming innards, but is it a shame to solely associate an artist with a song that was released almost 11 years ago? The Trouble With Angels says "yes". Swaying away from the jangly guitar dancing with spacey vocals, the Cleveland rock band emphasize their fifth-disc as a comeback album, taking industrial rock and smothering it in acidic chord anthems and rocket-fueled screeches. The transition from verse to chorus runs smooth with charismatic drumming backing gritty dirt-in-my-nails riffs ("Absentee Father", "Down With Me") that would put a smile on your creepy, grunge-loving uncle. "Catch A Falling Knife" opens with grime, launches into a crash of frenzied instruments and after easing into your conscience, it takes it's collar off for just a second, before easing back into it's comfort zone. The addition of guitarist Rob Patterson (Otep, Korn) and indie bassist Phil Buckman contribute a lot to the album's production, making Anthems For The Damned a rough release. Such a loud and clear sound makes one wonder why Filter aren't touring with other industrial heavyweights, but the answer to that speculation is clear when you trace the record back to the frontman.
Lyrics — 6
"When I wake up, I can't stay up, there's no time for hope / Mr. Hung-out, Mr. Torn-up looking for the phone" sneers lead vocalist Richard Patrick on the opener "The Inveitable Relapse", doing his best Trent Reznor impression with a pen. The songwriting wrapped in industrial rock is a highlight of The Trouble With Angels but the trouble with the way Patrick presents his work is the main conflict. There's imagination, there's an attempt to be a true artist, but there's a trap door right underneath his feet. Instead of providing a definition for the band of himself as a singer, Patrick pitches two characters voices against each other throughout the entire release. As an example, "No Love" showcases the vocalist releasing his loyality to Chino Moreno and Deftones while swerving into power-tripped wails Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows would applaud (all of this occurs without a seatbelt on). Patrick shows no signs of slowing down the tribute-night spectacle, latching onto a complex voice hybrid that erases whatever voice you remember associating with Filter. The alternative rock faithful may not mind, but playing copy-cat isn't exactly the way you want to assist your new found sound.
Overall Impression — 6
Deftones' release earlier this year strapped you into a rollercoaster with no brakes and even though some want to believe Filter do that with their latest album, it's not true whatsoever. The Trouble With Angels points out all the right angles the band took to restablish themselves but it also highlights their music's negative aspects with a bright, pink neon marker. Despite the confidence discovered in turning up the volume knob, a brash solution would be to threaten Richard Patrick's position but even that's an unnecessary thing to do at this point in time. Especially since this is Filter's second attempt at making a comeback album.