Sound — 8
After 2008's politically charged 'Anthems for the Damned', Filter's intense frontman Richard Patrick promised a return to the more hard-edged, angst-ridden darkness of their finest works 'Short Bus' and 'Title of Record'. And indeed, '...Angels' is a real revelation, Patrick's jet engine growl fiercely screeching as the bass is pummeled over some furious drum beats. However, pleasingly, Filter always know not to be too heavy, and the shards of melody that bounce between the isolated bass lines give the album a vaguely Deftones - 'Diamond Eyes' quality.
Lyrics — 10
Lyrically, Patrick is admirably the equivalent of a method actor - dark moments from his past are remembered in the form of song, and perhaps these memories give him the power to sing with such vehement rage and simmering anger. '...Angels' throws the baby out with the bathwater lyrically, especially on the album's finest track, 'Catch A Falling Knife', where Patrick states 'I have spent my life in here / in your home, but my hell.' And 'Mom and Dad, what happened? / I woke up and you were missing.' Suburban frustrations and dark family matters have frequently cropped up in Patrick's work, but the beauty is the ambigious nature of the songs, as they leave enough guesswork to provide multiple meanings. 'Absentee Father', 'No Love' and the title track could all be to do with dark relationships or perhaps a higher power, but Patrick's gift is to let the listener in on the record, and let them read the interpretation. When he's at his most direct, though, on the gob-smacking '...Knife', it's almost beautiful.
Overall Impression — 8
Fans of Filter will be not be disappointed, as the three strong openers - '...Relapse', 'Drug Boy' and 'Absentee Father' - all hark back to the heady days of 'Hey Man Nice Shot', particularly '...Relapse's' isolated bassline and diamond hard riffwork. It's also evident Patrick couldn't have made a record as powerful as this back in 2008, as he simply wasn't this confident. His bullishness shines through the emotionally draining lyrics, the fiery guitars and the pounding drums. The band have stretched themselves to make an album that not only smacks in the face, it gives your neck a good throttling.