The last time Filter — the epic-sounding industrial maelstrom fronted by Richard Patrick — released a new album was more than five years ago, with the band's third studio offering, 2002's The Amalgamut. After that, Patrick spent time sorting out various personal issues and later teamed up with ex-Stone Temple Pilots Dean and Robert DeLeo to form Army of Anyone. That band, now on hiatus, released its self-titled debut last year, and Patrick said he'd love to "do more records with them in the future."
But while many people may have assumed Filter were long dead and very-much buried, Patrick claims that's not the case and never has been. In fact, not once during these last five years has Patrick ever given up on Filter — instead, he's been working on songs off and on for about four years now. And he thinks the tracks he's come up with — around 25 in all — take Filter's anthemic style to a whole new level.
"I'm not straying from that classic Filter sound," Patrick told MTV News in his first interview since announcing Filter's return earlier this month. "But, because I'm a little older and a little wiser, [the sound has] definitely evolved. The first two or three songs are just straight-up industrial powerhouses, and then it goes into the huge-sounding stuff that people are kind of familiar with."
Patrick said it was playing old Filter material during live sets with Army of Anyone that convinced him that the band had to be resurrected.
"But this is not a comeback," he clarified. "Filter's my legacy. It's just like Al Jourgensen with Ministry. This is something I took very seriously, something I quit Nine Inch Nails to do, and it has allowed me so much freedom as an artist. I would never turn my back on the thing that has always been the #1 thing in my life. And the core fans that I have, they're expecting a great record. I knew I'd have to return with the goods, and I'm absolutely convinced that that's what I have with this record."
Titled Anthems for the Damned, Filter's fourth effort could be in stores as soon as late March, Patrick said. The rocker tracked the entire LP in about two weeks, with producer Josh Abraham (Slayer, Velvet Revolver) behind the boards. Patrick also called on several of his musician buddies to assist with Anthems, including ex-Limp Bizkit/ current Black Light Burns guitarist Wes Borland, and hired-gun drummer Josh Freese (A Perfect Circle, NIN).
Filter's fourth opus will also feature former Marilyn Manson/ Rob Zombie guitarist John 5, who wrote two of the album's tracks with Patrick and Borland.
"I started mingling with L.A.'s people, and John was someone I've known for years," Patrick explained. "I met him through Manson, and in May, I called him and said, 'Let's do a Filter record,' and he was like, 'Absolutely.' He came over, and we worked a few songs out. With Filter, there's a formula — a structure. There's a certain amount of things you have to know, and John sort of instantly knew what I needed and wanted for the record. It's the magic of collaboration."
Patrick also revealed that Anthems for the Damned is a highly political venture.
"I'm having a look around, as a person, and I look at us humans and I just think, 'What are we going to tell people? How are we going to explain ourselves in 100 years when the planet's f---ed up and you can't repair it?' " said Patrick, who added that he and his wife are expecting their first child, a daughter, in February. "Every song is just so anthemic; it just has this hugeness to it, that I was just like, 'These are anthems for the damned.'
"We are guilty — all of us — between the war in Iraq and the environment," he continued. "We're damned, if we don't fix this. With this record, I'm just throwing my hands up in the air, going, 'I guess we're just going to f--- this sh-- up, and ruin the planet.' It's a little less optimistic and more inspired by frustration and anger toward what we're doing. It comes from a way darker place, and it's heavy — the first three songs are really heavy, and I'm proud of that. I miss that in music. I don't want to pigeonhole myself, but it's almost like a heavy U2 record."