Preview - Filter @ Slim's (4/13/16) and "Crazy Eyes" album review!

Kevin Keating
Filter's Richard Patrick (Photo: Myriam Santos)
Richard Patrick's Filter is hitting the road next week, and kicking off their tour at Slim's on April 13th in support of the release of their seventh studio album, Crazy Eyes. Joining Patrick & co. on tour will be Orgy, Vampires Everywhere, and Death Valley High. At the time of this writing, tickets are still available and can be found here.

Crazy Eyes Album Cover
Crazy Eyes (iTunes) is due out April 8th and if you're a fan of early Filter -- I'm talking about the Short Bus (iTunes)Almagamut (iTunes) era Filter -- then you'll love this album. If however, you're like me, and thought The Sun Comes Out Tonight (iTunes) was one of Richard's best albums, then you'll be somewhat disappointed, but I'll still recommend adding Crazy Eyes to your collection. Overall, I'm giving it a solid B-rating. There are certainly strong tracks as I've noted below, but I'm a such a big fan of the last album that I just didn't think Crazy Eyes was quite as versatile, nor a showcase of Richard's true talents, compared to The Sun Comes Out Tonight -- which I personally think is one of the most underrated rock albums released in 2013.

For potentially a limited time, you can stream the entire album from Filter's official SoundCloud account and I've included it below. Keep scrolling down for my full review of the album and let me know in the comments section what you think I've got right, and what you think I've got wrong!

Crazy Eyes, funded through a PledgeMusic campaign and released on Wind-Up Records, sees (no pun intended) Richard embracing his earlier heavier guitar playing, synths, and screaming, but with topical and sometimes very political overtones throughout. The album's first track, "Mother E", at its core is a repetitive droning beat layered with uninspired lyrics "I've got my reasons and my reasons are sound." For me, this might be the weakest track on the album, so I'm not quite sure why he led the album with it. But in his defense, Richard recently wrote to his PledgeMusic backers:
This track is for the old school industrial fans…
“Mother E” is the heaviest song I’ve ever written. We’ve seen people in the U.S. be as cruel as they possibly can be in the last few years. What is this phenomenon? I’d never intentionally go out and hurt someone. I can’t understand that mentality. My art is the only way I can communicate. We know what insanity looks like and what it is, but what does it sound like? “Mother E” is what I think it sounds like.
Insanity indeed. The ferociousness of "Mother E" luckily leads into one of the stronger tracks on the album, "Nothing In My Hands." This one has Richard softly, nearly whispering, verses before breaking out into his trademark screaming choruses "There's nothing in my hands, I told you, just what I've got". I can't help but to think that this song derived from the various police incidents across the US in 2015.

"Pride Flag" carries the torch lit by "Nothing in My Hands", with lyrics such as "Now that the battle's won, I think the time has come, push away, all the hate, pages from an ancient faith." Another strong track with Richard bouncing between vulnerable vocals and his signature screaming.

"City of Binding Riots" has strong roots with classic industrial tracks and I can't help to think of Nine Inch Nails 'Burn' when listening to this track. Plenty of programmed synths in this one, if not somewhat repetitive.

"Take Me to Heaven" follows -- which I'm sure you're you've already heard if you've read this far. The first single off the album is relatively catchy. I dig the song, but can't stand the actors in the video -- they're just too artificial for me.

"Welcome to the Suck (Destiny Not Luck)" finds Richard's softer side with what starts out as a ballad, but quickly builds into a chorus of his subtle screams. This is probably the most dynamic track on the album, with Richard seamlessly showing his vulnerable side mixed with his passionate raspy screams. One of the highlights of the new album.

"Head of Fire" is another highlight of the album for me. It's got a great bass line, with sparse instrumentation surrounding Richards vocals throughout -- and more classic industrial noise sprinkled in for good measure.

The eighth track on the album, "Tremors", is probably my favorite of all the new tracks. The faster tempo of the song highlights a great drum beat, and Richard's vocals really shine on this one. It's too bad it's eight tracks deep on the album. Hopefully, this will be a single at some point soon.

"Kid Blue from the Short Bus, Drunk Bus" is another that I could do without on the album. To me, it comes across as more of a punk rock tune, and didn't really fit the sound of the album. But that's just my $.02.

"Your Bullets" is another one of the stronger tracks on the album and personally, rivals "Tremors". It's got plenty of infused industrial noise, but also features Richard largely singing throughout the song. Great heavy guitar riffs and bass line. Great song.

"Under the Tongue" is an excellent six-minute-plus instrumental track that ebbs and flows with great drums, strong guitars, and epic synths. Richard treats his vocals as another instrument and drones in and out throughout the song.

"(Can't She See) Head of Fire, Part 2" feels like an ethereal reprise that closes the album nicely.

Overall, a good album. Not one of my favorites, but one that definitely harkens back to the classic industrial era where you'll be able to hear contemporary influences such as KMFDM, NIN, and Ministry.

Be sure to pick it up when it's released on April 8th and catch them on tour when they come to your town. We'll be seeing them when they kick off their tour in San Francisco next week @ Slim's on April 13th!

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