Some things just mix well -- milk and chocolate syrup, casseroles and of 10 different kinds of vegetables, chicken and cream of anything, to name a few. For those non-English majors, these are all amalgams, or combinations of diverse parts.
Filter's latest album, The Amalgamut, attempts such a mixture -- but fails to cook up anything appetizing. Frontman Richard Patrick wants to bring new elements into the band's mix by introducing a broader range of songs.
The band diverges from its 1999 release, Title of Record, adding more pop than rock and more slow tunes than hard-hitting melodies. The move away from straight electronica and toward acoustic rock on The Amalgamut is a welcome change from the bombarding beats and brash screams of the group's past style.
Don't worry, Filter fans, there are still songs that are reminiscent of the old days. Half of the tracks could still cause a few riots. But the numbers that shy away from Nine Inch Nail-like fury make the album work.
Truly unique sounds are few and far between on the album. A dull, monotonous guitar strumming dominates the verses of most songs. If variety was the band's goal, this would be a step backward. But remarkably, some of the softer music still manages to catch the ear.