I possibly anticipated this record too much, despite being sort of underwhelmed initially by Oddfellows. (And I’d say I’ve come to like it, as I did on my first listens, but I haven’t listened to it in forever.) There are things about this record that just aren’t completely working for me right now – it sounds like Tomahawk, but like a bit of a pale imitation at times.
As usual, there are no shortage of weird Denison riffs. He’s certainly still full of ideas of how to play guitar (rhythm in particular) in a way that few others do. I’m not sure they’re consistently interesting, but they’re certainly different.
And there’s some level of hooks from Patton but they don’t seem as catchy or immediate, as they are on the other non-Anonymous albums.
The sound is great, as it always is. This is a band that understands record production and that’s very apparent.
I think the thing that most underwhelms so far is actually Patton himself – he sounds older and less versatile. Maybe this is age, maybe this is the material, maybe this is something else. (I noticed it on the Ninja Turtles song too.) And voices change as they age, which isn’t his fault. But he only occasionally tackles his full range (both in terms of octaves and styles) on this record, and the whole thing feels quite restrained, both for this band and his entire oeuvre. And I’m wondering if I would like it more if Patton sold it better.
Of course, this is Denison’s band, and so whatever ambivalence I’m feeling about this record I may eventually track back to a lack of truly great material from him (despite his playing). (If you don’t know their process – especially if you’re one of those people who thinks the vocalist does everything – Denison writes riffs and sends them to Patton who adds vocal melodies and other stuff, and then they record. But I don’t know when the other two guys involve themselves, since everything is done remotely.)
Right now, I want to like this more than I do, because this is my favourite alternative metal band of the 21st century. But something isn’t clicking enough, whether it’s the material or Patton’s restrained performance. Some parts remind me of classic (non-Anonymous) Tomahawk, but not enough of it works for me yet. I think I need to spend some time with the whole discography and see how I feel after that.
6/10 I guess