Filter Expand The Fold On Epic Crazy Eyes (Album Review)

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Filter has always been an important band to me. Imagine if you will a world without the interwebs, where you can’t immediately identify a song from a new band you never heard of in a microsecond. The year was 1995 and Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight was about to be released in theaters. The commercial shown on televisions across America featured a kickass new Ministry song. Or so I thought. The soundtrack (Released late in 1994) was released and the Ministry song on it was not that song from the commercials. Hell, the song wasn’t even in the movie itself (And I stayed through the credits to make sure)! Luckily, the scream and bass line from that mystery song was so immediately recognizable that when I heard it on my local radio station I had found the band. The band, of course, was Filter. And I coveted that first album and patiently waited for 4 months from discovering them until the release of Short Bus in April of 1995. Needless to say, it was a long wait.

Short Bus was a pretty important record at the time and since then, Filter has persevered and made even more important records. That said, Crazy Eyes might be the most important Filter album ever recorded.

Let that statement sit with you for a bit. Let it marinate in your headspace for awhile. Still with us? Now let’s dissect…

Produced by mastermind/vocalist/front man Richard Patrick, Crazy Eyes is a sonic rollercoaster through Filter’s rich history. It has some of the heaviest, catchiest, and just down and dirtiest Filter material yet. From the opening of “Mother E” and Patrick’s barely contained aggression hidden in a whisper that builds to that uncanny scream, Crazy Eyes is immediately recognizable as not only a really heavy Filter album, but also a pretty strange one with it’s electro intricacies.

“Nothing In My Hands” is like Short Bus for the modern age with touches of Title Of Record. Think the supersized anthemic chorus from “Welcome To The Fold” sandwiched between some “Dose”-style verses and beats. Then comes “Pride Flag” which has some of the coolest, most intricate guitar work ever in a Filter jam.

“Take Me To Heaven” sounds like no other Filter single/song ever….almost a grunge resurgence. Remember when you first heard STP’s “Vasoline” from Purple and thought:”Who the fuck is this band?” Let’s be honest, that song was no “Sex Type Thing” or “Plush”. It was great, sure, but left you wondering what the rest of that now classic sophomore album was going to end up sounding like. Much like that song, “Take Me To Heaven” is not indicative of the album as a whole but woven into the thick tapestry of the record fits like a glove. Written right after Patrick’s father passed away, it’s also one of the most honest and raw Filter tracks because of that immediacy of expunged emotions.

But back to the weird.

It’s surreal at points. Like a remix album with bits pieced together yet it feels totally organic. “City of Blinding Lights” in particular is a shining example of that. Visceral and earnest, it’s a little like the now classic “(Can’t You) Trip Like I Do” mixed with the Daft Punk Tron:Legacy score. “Welcome To The Suck”, on the other hand, ventures to the world of The Terminator and is an industrial-metal behemoth.

Crazy Eyes has its share of “classic” Filter moments as well. “Kid Blue From The Short Bus, Drunk Bus”” has a breakdown similar to the massive wall of riffage from “It’s Gonna Kill Me” from TOR but nastier. “Your Bullets” is an instantly recognizable Filter anthem. You know what I’m talking about! That bang you over head with guitars and a driving beat with Patrick’s swoon building to a huge chorus.

Add an epic instrumental to the mix (“Under The Tongue”) that’s almost a fully realized “Sand” at moments, a spiritual journey at others and you have the most perfect Filter album to date.

Crazy Eyes is out through Wind-Up Records on April 8th. Pre-orders are currently available through Pledgemusic. To find out more and where you can catch Filter on tour this spring with Orgy, head on over here and here.

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