June 12, 2013
Record Reactions: Filter – The Sun Comes Out Tonight
Here is where my youth betrays me. Filter, an industrial rock group from Cleveland, was a band before I was even born. So, I may not be able to accurately or justly describe Filter or their most recent record’s relative or impact. But I’ll try my best to judge based solely on what I hear.
First, let me start off by saying there is some good here. Filter are obviously proficient enough musicians and songwriters to hold their own and create original music. Their use of industrial-style electronics and synths, when done well, can be interesting. And they don’t always have to shine in head-slamming power numbers. Oddly enough, some of the more sincere moments on this album come when Filter is exploring their more pop-oriented side. I don’t mind the ballad-jam Surprise on the third track, mostly because Filter doesn’t overstep their boundaries and try to melt everything off the walls. Here the electronics are used minimally and tastefully. First You Break It is the same way. Elsewhere, on This Finger’s For You and Burn It, the heavy, synthesized bass actually gives the track an edge. Much like the thrust of modern dubstep and bass music, here the industrial pads and sounds actually give the song new life.
And the voice of lead singer Richard Patrick did grow with me throughout the record. When I first heard him sing, his voice sounded a little bit thin and lacking in power, but as the record progressed it seemed to fit in better with the songs. He can grind it, but also isn’t a bad clean vocalist. He even shows off some chops on It’s My Time and It’s Just You.
Still though, the majority of these songs just melt into the same power-chord heavy, chugging goop. There’s not much I can hear to differentiate, for example, It’s Got To Be Right Now from Self Inflicted. And when Filter mixes in slower, cleaner songs, it feels just a bit out of place. All of the momentum built up on Take That Knife Out Of My Back slams to a screeching halt when a piano ballad kicks in with It’s My Time.
Filter’s struggles with their electronic elements remind me a bit of the post-hardcore band Asking Alexandria. They’re a decent metal core band in their own right, but where they start to rub listeners the wrong way is when they start shoehorning synthesizers and techno influences into their tunes. Many complain that it just doesn’t fit, at least when it’s done without taste.
I don’t know Filter’s history all that well, and maybe their industrial elements are what have separated them from the pack throughout the years. And I’m sure a lot of inspiration is owed to Trent Reznor and the Nine Inch Nails crew. But here, the whole formula feels a bit tired, repetitive, and a little bland.
The other downside to this record is that it goes on quite a few tracks too long. This wouldn’t be a problem if every single song was bringing something new to the table. But this isn’t the case on The Sun Comes Out Tonight, and it shows towards the tail end of the album.
Filter has been around for a long time, 20 years! So it’d be ridiculous not to award them congratulations where they are due. In a genre I’m not extremely familiar with, in a time before I was conscious, they very well may have contributed much to the world of music. But from where I’m sitting, in 2013, it still seems that the music they have put out here is tired, unoriginal, and maybe even a bit outdated. And history or not, that doesn’t make for a great rock record.
Favorite Tracks: Surprise, This Finger’s For You
Least Favorite Track: What Do You Say
Remember these reviews are just my opinion, and that little number up there really doesn’t mean much! Have you heard this record? What did you think? Do you agree with me? If you would like to let me know your opinion, you can hit me up on my email, or tweet at me @RobinCopple1. I’m dying to know what you think!
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on the flip side! Stay tuned.
Image Credit: Filter