Released: 2013, Ipecac
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Mike Patton is a busy man, a very busy man with one hell of a discography. Between the often funky alternative metal of Faith No More, the pure experimental craziness of Mr Bungle, the crushing heaviness of Fantomas and the grooving but unpredictable trip hop of Peeping Tom sits Tomahawk, The Patton project that everyone can get into. I really mean that, this is a rock supergroup that just works.
Anyone a little confused by 2007's release Anonymous, (which saw the band take a massive step in a different direction with ambient guitars, big tribal drums and Native American chants) will be be pleased to hear this stripped down record has all the quality and the signature sound that Tomahawk gave us with the self titled album and 2003's brilliant Mit Gas.
With bass duties this time falling to long serving Mr Bungle member and Fantomas man Trevor Dunn the band have again delivered the big choruses, that compelling dark sound and an all round eclectic album.
This release is again not without its theme though, its honest. Oddfellows is Tomahawk locked in a room making a rock record like rock bands of old; everything's on show.
From the very start you can tell its going to be an interesting listen. Album opener Oddfellows greets you with this dirty sludgy drum beat, in drops the guitar and bass with unusual topsy turvy riffs and I'm already thinking, damn, haven't heard something like this in a while. That's the best part of this album, every song has its own sound.
The openness of this raw live style pushes the band to both extremes, giving us an album that goes from the frantic punk rock energy of South Paw and single Stone Letter to the sparse dark tunes of A Thousand Eyes and I Can Almost See Them. You'll also find a return to those big power-house choruses with tracks like the brilliant White Hats/Black Hats and Choke Neck.
A personal highlight has to be I.O.U, the band allows for the subtle use of piano and electronic drums to build up the song bit by bit, with eerie choir background vocals and spacey guitars adding to the tune's crescendo with massive payoff. Speaking of which, it has to be said, plain and simple: Mike. Patton. Sounds. Fantastic. The vocals go from growled snarls to massive notes in an instant and it just sounds amazing, nothing less than you'd expect from one of the most versatile vocalists in music today.
Stepping back and looking at the album as a whole, Tomahawk have put out a really good record here, some may not find it quite as impressive as the massive sound of Mit Gas, but I don't think that was ever the intention, this is a walkthrough of Tomahawk's signature sound stripped back to its core, with every member's own history and influence shining through. Credit to them for giving us a record reportedly recorded in six days that on numerous occasions will leave you saying "cool, didn't see that one coming".
The year's off to a good start, and Tomahawk are definitely on form.
Review by Jonno Lloyd