‘Crazy Eyes’ is a worthy successor to the best of Filter’s early material.
Label: Spinefarm Records
Released: 8th April 2016
Though still best known for their platinum-selling debut ‘Short Bus’, Richard Patrick’s Filter have been delivering solid post-grunge and industrial rock records in fits and starts for twenty years now. ‘Crazy Eyes’, their seventh record, is described by Patrick as “new industrial”, though it’s hard to see what that is in relation to. The opening track, ‘Mother E’, is more 90s in approach, and certainly brutal enough, but for the most part ‘Crazy Eyes’ is too sonically coherent to suggest a major departure – either from track to track, or from Filter’s extensive back-catalogue.
There’s a strong case to be made in fact that ‘Crazy Eyes’ is actually the spiritual successor to ‘Short Bus’; the tracks are lean and muscular, with plenty of – to the modern ear, anyway – retro electronic effects, and there’s both evidence of the strong melodies that grabbed radio listeners back in the day, as well as the vocal histrionics that make Filter, well, Filter. Combine these facts, and there’s almost a glut of potential single material on the album. Besides the actual singles like radio-friendly ‘Take Me To Heaven’, there’s the downtempo melodic chorus of ‘Pride Flag’, stomping, NIN-like powerhouse ‘Nothing In My Hands’, Soundgarden-like ‘Head of Fire’ and quintessentially Filter catchy metallic riffs of ‘Your Bullets’ all vying for the listener’s attention.
For a band that never became world-beatingly huge, nor threw in the towel, it’s quite surprising both that Filter are still going, and that they should have a, ahem, quality filter in place even after all these years. ‘Crazy Eyes’ is a worthy successor to the best of their early material and even manages a couple of surprises along the way. Alex Lynham