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Boomkat Product Review:
There never fails to be huge anticipation for a Mike Patton related release in these parts, and Mike Patton along with Duane Denison and Battles/Helmet stick wielder John Stanier under the Tomahawk guise? Well that's even more exciting, and on their third full-length release they've lost none of their visceral energy or indeed their humour.
'Anonymous' is apparently inspired by 19th Century Native American material, which is a statement that truly sends shivers down my spine. Don't get me wrong, I've nothing against world music, but the re-appropriation of sounds so often goes horribly wrong. Occasionally it can be done incredibly well, but more often than not we end up with something that sounds borderline offensive and incredibly heavy handed. Luckily when left in the hands of the (at times) God-like Mike Patton you should know he's gonna make damn sure this happens the right way, and although 'Anonymous' occasionally goes a little too tribal for its own good, for the most part we end up with some genuinely unusual and well handled pieces of music. I say music because it would be hard to attach a specific genre to these tracks any more, at one time Tomahawk would have been branded metal, and that may still be true at times, but we've got so much more in the mix here and as they take and decompose these Native American forms we're only very infrequently left with something even close to rock music. Don't get me wrong, the instrumentation is intact - Denison's distorted electric guitars and Stanier's pummelling drumming pitted against THAT voice, but the way it all slots together is somewhat dislocated from standard forms. Occasionally we even drift into haunted American folk music ('Cradle Song') and occasionally into industrial electronics ('Omaha Dance') but the willingness to experiment sets 'Anonymous' into a place all of its own. No doubt Patton fans will already want this no matter what I say about it but trust me, it's worth a much closer look. It's not going to appeal to everyone out there - you've got to have a certain tolerance for rabid chanting, to say the least, but give it time and it will reveal wondrous bounty.