Filter – The Amalgamut (20th Anniversary Vinyl Review)

Back in 1995 a band by the name of Filter emerged onto the Hard Rock scene in a big way with their Industrial tingling hit single “Hey Man Nice Shot.” A song that turned people into the new entity known as Filter, few at the time might have known that the main force behind the band was Richard Patrick; a touring guitarist of Nine Inch Nails from 1989 to 1993. Knowing there was something more inside, Patrick decided to leave Nine Inch Nails to forge his own path, and thus came 1995’s Short Bus; a successful debut album anchored by the aforementioned “Hey Man Nice Shot.”

A solid beginning for Filter, four years later in 1999, they returned with the massively successful Title of Record. A truly powerful album which broke the band more into the mainstream, and crossed them over even into a Pop territory with the mega hit “Take a Picture,” Title of Record was a defining Hard Rock album as the world entered the 2000s. From here, a lot had happened in a three span… most obviously the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. A cultural turning point in America, as well as the rest of the world, many Rock albums released after these events had a different feel to them. Naturally, Patrick and Filter were also affected, and in 2002 released their third album The Amalgamut.

Now, The Amalgamut’s artistic direction was certainly not all a result of September 11, 2011… there was plenty more going on within Patrick’s own life. For one, he was going through his own personal struggles with addiction, which resulted in some extremely thoughtful lyrics content entwined around the new songs. Second, Patrick’s own observations of the commercialization of America had reached a peak, and as a result, he let that frustration boil over into the music.

These factors all in mind, when The Amalgamut hit in July of 2002, a fanbase which had accumulated from Short Bus to Title of Record were itching to hear what Filter would offer next. Unfortunately, The Amalgamut was not nearly as commercially successful as the prior releases… but does this mean it was not up to par? The answer is absolutely not, in fact, those who took the time to dig into The Amalgamut could argue that it is their favorite Filter record, even twenty years since its release. That is why it is exciting to see that on March 31, 2023 Craft Recordings will release a special 20th anniversary vinyl of the underappreciated Filter album.

Coming as a 2-LP set, it marks the first time ever The Amalgamut is pressed to vinyl. That in mind, the package is quite beautiful, because it has a deluxe gatefold jacket which features each of the track lyrics. Something that may not be a big deal for some, for others, this really adds to the overall presentation as you prepare your escape into the music. For many, the music of The Amalgamut is nothing new, because they have been listening to these songs for twenty years. However, strangely enough, hearing them on vinyl is like a new experience as you hear standout songs such as “You Walk Away,” “American Cliché,” and “Where Do We Go from Here.” Speaking of “Where Do We Go from Here,” it might be a very self-reflective song for Patrick, but for many, it also feels very reflective of their post-September 11th feelings surrounding the uncertainty of the world. 

Beyond these few mentioned songs, other memorable moments on this album include “Columind,” the sleek “The Only Way (Is the Wrong Way),” and the unforgettable “My Long Walk to Jail.” Although, it would be unjust to simply focus on these particular tracks, because the album as a whole is very solid. There are moments of hope, hopelessness, anger, insightful observations, plus darkness and light. 

The Amalgamut may have been a turning point in Richard Patrick’s life as he battled his own demons, but it does not take away from the fact that this album was and still is extremely impressive. For some The Amalgamut is representative of a very anxious time in the world. It was a time where many even wondered if any of us will ever see tomorrow. So, you could say The Amalgamut was an important piece of therapy as some guided their way through a sea of emotions.

All these attributes considered, the vinyl pressing of this album sounds spectacular and Craft Recordings only help encapsulate the importance of this Filter record despite its lack of initial commercial success. An essential addition to any Filter fan’s collection, Cryptic Rock gives the 20th anniversary vinyl release of The Amalgamut 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

Filter – The Amalgamut 20th anniversary LP / Craft Recordings

Purchase the 20th Anniversary Filter – The Amalgamut vinyl here 


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