It has been 18 years since Filter shot to prominence on the back of ‘Hey Man, Nice Shot’, a track added to the soundtrack of Demon Knight. From then, the band have undergone lineup changes so extensive that singer Richard Patrick remains the only founding member. ‘The Sun Comes Out Tonight’ is the band’s sixth effort, and is without a doubt, a very good Filter album.
The album opens strongly, the one-two punch of ‘We Hate It When You Get What You Want’ and ‘What Do You Say’ exercising an enthusiastic stomp. When Patrick steps up to bellow the first choruses, eyebrows raise… this is actually good, head-nodding rock music, produced to a high standard.
Unfortunately, just when the adrenaline starts to pump, the album’s pace drops with the radio-friendly ‘Surprise’. Acoustic guitar driven, the song is easy on the ears, but after the excitement of the opening chorus’ call of ‘Sit yourself down motherfucker‘, the excitement drains quickly.
Fortunately, ‘Watch The Sun Come Out Tonight’ and ‘It’s Got To Be Right Now’ reclaim the pace, with Patrick finding enough gravel in his throat to punch through verses and choruses alike. The former sees effects laden vocals over the guitar work provide an excellent contrast and the latter is another solid rock song, though less remarkable than ‘Watch The Sun…’.
The recruitment of Jonathan Radtke, formerly of Kill Hannah, is an excellent decision by Patrick, and the guitar work feels grittier and darker for it. His influence is pronounced throughout, the guitar work underpinning the likes of ‘Self-Inflicted’ – the album’s strongest track – is excellent. The song develops through dark undercurrents before exploding into the strongest chorus on ‘The Sun Comes Out Tonight’.
The rest of the record plays out with varying levels of light and shade, and ‘Take That Knife Out Of My Back’ arrives as a late highlight. Starting out broody, dark and deliberate, it arrives at the perfect moment to provide contrast to the rockier tracks, before allowing Patrick to unleash another excellent vocal performance with yet another anthemic chorus.
While repressing the industrial tendencies that have become synonymous with their music, on this record, Filter still retain some of the electronic-induced swagger that has characterised their career. Fans of the dark side of industrial rock and metal’s coin will find it too lightweight to compete with their peers, but rock fans will lap this album up.
This is an excellent Filter album, though not a lot more. In an age where bands have to work harder to impress, this is simply a statement of what they have always been capable of, and unfortunately not much more.
Reviewer: David Straw