Tomahawk
Anonymous


4.0
excellent

Review

by Andrew H. EMERITUS
June 16th, 2007 | 43 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Duane Denison, Mike Patton and John Stanier put together a record of Native American songs and pull it off admirably in arguably the best Tomahawk to date.

Anyone familiar with Mike Patton and his various projects knows that he can get a little crazy. In the last couple of years, he has released everything from pop music (albeit Patton-esque pop music) to a spastic tribute to cartoon music. In this decade, he's worked with everyone from avant-garde wacko John Zorn to Norah Jones to Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo to Bjork to math-metal pioneers The Dillinger Escape Plan, just to name a few. He runs a record label (Ipecac) that is home to such diverse acts as Isis, Dalek, The Locust and Hella, and he's a full-time member of more bands than just about anyone else in music.

Tomahawk is Patton's project with ex-Jesus Lizard guitarist Duane Denison and ex-Helmet and current Battles drummer John Stanier. Ex-Cows and Melvins bassist Kevin Rutmanis was also involved in the band for the period of their first two albums, Tomahawk and Mit Gas. With these two records, Tomahawk proved themselves to be exceptional at producing quality modern rock with a few added bells and whistles. Tomahawk are one of Patton's more accessible groups, and that is undoubtedly due to the fact that Tomahawk is actually more Duane Denison's project than it is Patton's, though to say that Patton takes a backseat would be a gross misrepresentation of his role. So why all the background on Patton when it's really Denison's project? Mainly because it's important to note his growing influence on Tomahawk since their inception. The group's last album, Mit Gas, had Patton's exerting a greater presence on its 11 tracks than he did on its predecessor, which led to a more noisy and layered take on the group's already unique brand of modern rock.

Just how much influence Patton has had on this record is extremely debatable. While his presence is a vital part of the group's sound, the album's 13 cuts feel like a natural progression for Tomahawk, with each group member taking a more equal role in the ideas of each track while the record still feels like it's Duane's project. That's not to say that Anonymous' ideas are predictable, or even to be expected. No, this is true progression; advancing the band's vision while not forsaking the past and always keeping the listener guessing.

Anonymous is a very conceptually interesting release; each of its 13 songs are reinterpreted versions of some of the darker, more obscure instances of Native American tribal music discovered in early 20th century books that Denison found in his research for the album. The record's title references those who contributed to each song throughout history but have remained uncredited. Denison really seems to have done his homework with the songs, as each one sounds very much as you'd expect Native American music to sound, all while being heavily Tomahawk-flavoured. Vocally, Patton is up to his usual eclectic tricks and he adds tasteful samples on a number of Anonymous' tunes. It's tempting to say that Denison's guitar work is the real highlight of the album due to his varied and unique presence on every single song, but truthfully, of the band's three members, there are no standouts. Tracks such as "Song of Victory" show that the band are certainly not beginners and are not afraid to throw in some crazy rhythms to make songs interesting. In any case, Denison's guitar is seriously riveting and just as, if not more interesting than his work on Tomahawk and Mit Gas. John Stanier's drumming is typically powerful and complements the arrangements to perfection. His approach captures the tribal feel of the songs and he is extremely precise without exception.

Opener "War Song" sounds like it could have been extracted from the Fantomas release Delirium Cordia and ends with a well-placed rain sample. "War Song" is followed by the first of a pair, "Mescal Rite 1", which sounds like a more aggressive song that could have come from the Pocahontas soundtrack. "Red Fox" is probably the most reminiscent of earlier Tomahawk material and features a dark, hard rocking but spacey atmosphere (previously seen in tracks such as "Captain Midnight") with some deep vocals from Patton, as well as Denison's incredible guitar, which switches between heavily distorted power chords and precise clean doubling of Patton's vocal melody. Stanier's presence is also vital, contributing to the tribal feel with some hard-hitting but atmospheric drum sounds. "Cradle Song" is quite possibly the creepiest lullaby type track ever recorded (with the exception of the Fantomas' take on the Rosemary's Baby theme), while "Antelope Ceremony" is about as much fun as is humanly possible. Closer "Long Long Weary Day" is a solo Denison piece that doesn't sound like the rest of the record, but nonetheless makes for a very pleasant finishing track.

Anonymous cements Tomahawk's position as one of the most interesting rock bands of the decade and is arguably their best release to date. While some fans may prefer the group's earlier work, Anonymous is a far more unique record and Tomahawk are to be applauded for trying something so different and pulling it off so well. Much like Stanier's other notable release of the year; Battles' Mirrored, Anonymous is truly a record with very few peers. One can only hope that the band continues their level of quality and originality and don't fall into the trap of repeating themselves as Patton's Fantomas did with their last release. As it is, the various members of Tomahawk can safely consider Anonymous to be one of the best records that any of them have ever been involved in.

Pros
Highly unique sound
Fantastic performance from all members
Great variation of songs that stick to the album's theme

Cons
Less accessible than previous efforts
If you don't like one song, you probably won't like the rest

Recommended Tracks
Red Fox
Cradle Song
Omaha Dance

Final Rating: 4/5



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Cravinov13
June 16th 2007


3854 Comments


Yay for Mike Patton. Put a track list up.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
June 16th 2007


2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I can't, my internet won't let me through to edit it here. It's so annoying when someone adds an album and doesn't put any of the information with it. Anyway, I'll need one of the mods to do it.

metalicajaymz
June 16th 2007


8 Comments


this album is a piece of shit. I respect your opinion obvz but calling this a natural progression for any band is a bizarre call. For a band trying to supposedly pay tribute to these songs, most of it comes off as more of a mockery. Truly unenjoyable.

MeowMeow
June 16th 2007


662 Comments


I need this. Mit Gas was great. Coolios review too.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
June 16th 2007


2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album is a piece of ****. I respect your opinion obvz but calling this a natural progression for any band is a bizarre call. For a band trying to supposedly pay tribute to these songs, most of it comes off as more of a mockery. Truly unenjoyable.


Weird.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
June 16th 2007


2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Spat.

MeowMeow
June 16th 2007


662 Comments


Listening to the stream for the third time now. This is truly addicting imo. I don't think it quite surpasses Mit Gas. Then again, this is entirely different from MG.

niobium
June 16th 2007


238 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

When Patton is typical Patton, the album really takes a downfall. Like his Fantomas vocals that don't need to be everywhere. Red Fox is completely sexy though. This is a pretty standalone album, don't compare with the other ones.

Very good review, this is a Denison project more than anything. Patton recorded the vocals completely different than when Denison and Stanier (awesome drummer) recorded the music. Not to mention the writing of.

spillane
June 16th 2007


85 Comments


i agree

this is truly addicting

br3ad_man
Emeritus
June 16th 2007


2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

When Patton is typical Patton, the album really takes a downfall.


Yeah, I'd agree with that, the more Patton-esque moments are the weaker parts.

Stalusk
June 17th 2007


90 Comments


Really good review. Too many artists/bands stay in the same place for years but at least a band like Tomahawk are attempting something different and totally unique.

antihippy
June 17th 2007


696 Comments


haven't had time to really digest this album yet.

niobium
June 17th 2007


238 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Really good review. Too many artists/bands stay in the same place for years but at least a band like Tomahawk are attempting something different and totally unique.

Too bad Patton tries to do this consciously almost every album. It doesn't take away from Anonymous... too much.

denboy
June 18th 2007


85 Comments


This quickly became my favorite Tomahawk album

Prince of Darkness
June 20th 2007


186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love this album!!

Doppelganger
June 23rd 2007


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Crow Dance is the greatest Tomahawk song to date.

maneva
June 29th 2007


22 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

awesome album, tomahawk's probably my favorite living patton band at the moment.

Blueboy37
July 5th 2007


2 Comments


Is this a joke? This is absolutely atrocious!

byrkee
July 5th 2007


80 Comments


ive only heard their last album and captain midnight is their only good song, but its really good.This Message Edited On 07.05.07

ValiumMan
July 5th 2007


493 Comments


Really good album.
I have no idea why they put the most inaccessible stuff right at the beginning though. Patton's probably still trying to prove how "indie" and "anti-mainstream" he is...



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