Published on May 7th, 2007 | by The Monarch0
Tomahawk — Anonymous
I just got my hot little hands on Tomahawk’s soon to be released third album which is entitled ‘Anonymous’. Firstly I just want to say that this personally ranks right up there with my favorite Patton work.
The album is completely different to the previous two and if it weren’t for Patton’s distinctive vocals you’d almost swear it was a completely different band. Now a three-piece comprising of Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr Bungle, Fantomas, Lovage, Peeping Tom and 47,000 other bands), Duane Denison (Jesus Lizard, Hank Williams III) and John Stanier (Helmet) the band finally dig into their namesake and come up with a very Native American themed album. The best way I can describe it is: “Mike Patton gets hit on the head, suddenly decides he’s an Indian, and runs off completely nude into the woods and goes on a five week spirit journey.”
The album is more Denison’s baby than it is Patton’s though. The story goes that while on tour with Hank Williams III, Denison found himself watching bands on Indian Reservations. Rather than seeing a band performing music of their true past they played a more Country-Blues style. Denison began researching more into Native American music, he came across a book dating back to the early 20th Century containing transcripts and lyrics of songs with names such as “Totem,” “Mescal Rite 1,” “Song of Victory” which Tomahawk have converted into song and adding their own touch.
The album itself has a very natural and earthy sound to it, a lot less metal-sounding than their previous releases but very heavy in places still. It has a real spooky and aggressive vibe to it.
The opening track “War Song” is a brooding instrumental which makes way into “Mescal Rite 1” which features some amazing vocals by Patton and at times what to me sounds almost like a Chinese sounding violin. “Ghost Dance” follows and has a very traditional sound, something you can easily imagine a tribe of Indians singing at the burial of a fallen comrade. The track features some fantastic drumming which has an obvious military sound to it.
“Red Fox” is what happens when Native Americans run into Mr Bungle. The vocals are the most Bungle-esque in years but the music doesn’t stray from the album theme.
“Antelope Ceremony” is quite possibly the happiest song I have ever heard in my life. Just a simple little guitar riff with Patton singing along to the same melody, this just brings images to mind of a family who are very happy the hunting party has brought back a lovely feed of Antelope for dinner.
“Song of Victory” seems to be just as it name says, celebrating victory. It’s only a short song but still really fun and catchy. Infact the entire album is extremely catchy and melodic.
“Totem” is probably the heaviest song on the album, this mixes the Tomahawk of old with the new theme perfectly. It’s the most intimidating song on the album and just oozes with powerful awesomeness, extremely atmospheric. It’s one of the few songs on the album with clear English lyrics as most of the album is Patton chanting in what my guess is the traditional Native American language.
The last song on the album, “Long, Long Weary Day” breaks the theme of the album. It’s instrumental and very soft, almost like a lullaby with a country twinge but it seems to act as a “back to reality” sort of song.
You know when you’ve just seen an amazing movie and you’re so wrapped up in it you forget the outside world even exists, and then the credits roll and suddenly you realise you have a life, kids, a dog and bills at home but still have a smile on your face from the previous two hours? Well that is this song. All in all this is a very different sounding Tomahawk to what we have previously heard though it’s a very welcome change.