Filter - The Amalgamut (Warner)
Filter have always had a mountain to climb. They've lived for the past few years in the shadows of the monolithic force of nature that is Nine Inch Nails. Until now, they haven't had the tools to reach those heights. At last it's all coming together.
With the menacing guitars and hammerblow drumming of opening tracks 'You walk away' and 'American cliché', Filter strategically set up base camp before setting out to conquer avalanches of noise and crevasses of deep bass. The wonder is that, with the blizzard of sound raging around them, they still manage to emerge with powerful songs such as 'The Missing' and 'My long walk to jail'.
It's a tribute to the band's newfound vision and determination that they know just when to slow down and rest with meaningful rock ballads without missing the opportunity to forge ahead with some of their patented techno metal. This is the sound of a band that feel for the first time that they're really going in the right direction and that they will eventually get where they want to be.
Even if the occasional pointless piece of industrial sound trips them up along the way; even if they still need to refine their technique a little (the drippy 'God Damn Me' just doesn't fit on this record), at least now Filter can see the top of that mountain. Maybe some day their flag will adorn its tip. but for the moment they're taking their fans on one hell of a fascinating journey.