Although Filter's Title of Record was a creative step forward, Richard Patrick described the album's recording process as an exigent one, where everyone constantly butted heads. To the band's surprise, when they began working on The Amalgamut two years later, they encountered the exact opposite. The band, along with longtime producer Ben Grosse, felt the most open and creative they had in years. With two successful releases and two years of solid touring behind them, Filter allowed themselves the freedom to write and record new material at their own pace. After embarking on a cross-country road trip with his acoustic guitar and witnessing the September 11th terrorist attacks and Columbine High School shootings on television with the rest of America, Richard Patrick poured his inspiration into some of his most sincere and revealing material to date. Lyrically, Patrick is honest and unembarrassed throughout the album. Whether he's shaming the two teenage assailants responsible for the Columbine massacre on "Columind," pondering how commonplace school violence has become on "American Cliché," or coming to a religious crossroads while confronting the 9/11 attacks on "The Missing," Patrick never compensates his views for popular acceptance or political correctness. Musically, the band delivers hook after hook on a bed of strong songwriting. Richard Patrick found his voice on Title of Record. On The Amalgamut, he takes his singing to the next level, frequently adding embellishments and showcasing his broadened vocal range. Mixing soft-rockers like "The Only Way (Is the Wrong Way)" and "God Damn Me" with the harder fare of "Columind" and "So I Quit," the album cleverly incorporates the best of what Short Bus and Title of Record each had to offer. The album's first single, "Where Do We Go From Here," picks up where "Take a Picture" left off, adding a gritty bridge and a soaring rock chorus. Filter further probes world and relationship issues on songs like the Deftones-tinged "Never Be the Same" and the Thom Yorke-meets-Deep Forest jam "World Today." In the end, the resulting sound is that of an updated and improved Filter, and The Amalgamut proves that there's much more to the band than "Hey Man, Nice Shot." In fact, as their discography continues to grow, the track that launched their career is impressively becoming one of their least definitive.
The Amalgamut Review
by Don Kline