It was a good day when I got the new Filter CD in the mail. I was on my way to cover a fashion event and had a long drive ahead. Thankfully, this arrived right on time so I had something good to listen to. I had previewed the first single “The Inevitable Relapse” months ago and knew immediately that this album was going to be good. A few weeks later I received the link to steam The Trouble With Angels but, unfortunately, I got interrupted a million times so I never had a chance to listen to the album in its entirety. Plus, you really can’t get a good feel for an album from crappy computer speakers. You need to experience it in full blown stereo, which was another reason why I was thrilled to have the physical recording.
I am a Filter fan but I’ll admit the last two albums weren’t up to par. However, I am happy to report that Filter is back with a vengeance, and The Trouble With Angels does not disappoint. It’s a return to form. A return to the band’s roots. A return to the gritty industrial tinged sound that fans fell in love with the minute the thundering bass line of “Hey Man Nice Shot” hit the airwaves. In short, Angeles takes the heavy aggressiveness of ‘Short Bus’ and meshes it with ‘Title of Record’s’ big choruses.
Filter’s fifth release takes the listener on an intense creative journey, and Richard Patrick wastes no time getting down to business with the lead track “The Inevitable Relapse”. The song explodes with a raw energy and gets the record off to a solid start. The huge grooves, menacing riffs, and industrial undertones of “Drug Boy” are a great follow up. Hot on its heels is “Absentee Father” – a track that boasts a pulverizing infectious beat and a unique, abstract guitar solo. By now it’s quite obvious that the band is dedicated to taking it to the next level.
The rest of the tracks bring things down a notch as the raw riffs, heavy grooves, and aggressive vocals are paired with infectious melodies, tight arrangements, and a polished production. The lyrics are more personal as Patrick tackles his demons and unveils suppressed memories. “No Re-entry” is a mellow, emotionally driven tune that gets its edge from Patrick’s high end rasp. “No Love” pulsates with tribal drums while scolding riffs mesh with textured sounds and “Catch a Falling Knife” centers around abrasive drums and pillaging riffs. The disc ends on a somber note with “Fades Like a Photograph (Dead Angel);” while not mighty in sound it is a powerful closer. The Trouble With Angels is a majestic hard rockin’ album that delivers on all accounts. The songs resonate with you long after the record is over.