The third studio album from Alternative rockers, Filter, came with immense pressure to deliver after their first two records (Short Bus and Title of Record) both went platinum. The band was also battling with lineup changes, lead vocalist/band leader Richard Patrick’s addictions, and a record label wanting Filter to deliver the goods with another hit. The Amalgamut found moderate success due in large part to the lead single “Where Do We Go From Here,” and “The Only Way (Is The Wrong Way)” getting a prominent placement in a Hummer commercial. Recently reissued on a beautiful gatefold double LP set, and making its debut on vinyl for the first time via Craft Recordings, Filter’s third album gets its moment in the limelight.
The Amalgamut’s themes range from Richard Patrick’s battles with addiction (“My Long Walk To Jail,” “God Damn Me”) to more worldly themes that are still prevalent in today’s society like “Columind,” written about the tragic school shooting at Columbine High School. The second, and final single to be released from the set, “American Cliche” tows the line between how tragedies can be prevented with political action, yet that seems to be a standstill each time a new act of senseless violence emerges. In many ways, Filter grew up a lot during the writing and recording of this LP that embraces a hard-nosed rock approach to these songs that leave a glimmer of hope to others going through their own addictions and struggles.
The back half of the album features a few depressing themes found on raucous tracks like “So I Quit” and the reflective “It Can Never Be The Same.” What stands out to me while re-listening to this album with fresh ears today is the crisp production by Richard Patrick and Ben Grosse (with some co-produced tracks by Rae DiLeo and Geno Lenardo) who are able to bring the soul out of these songs to create a blueprint of how to navigate through the darkest times in our lives.
The vinyl packaging on this Craft Recordings set is vibrant, with full-color printed inner sleeves housing the two discs that are evenly spaced out to ensure the best audio quality possible on this half-speed mastered set. The album’s lyrics are printed on the inner part of the gatefold packaging, and features some liner notes on the bottom edge. It’s hard to believe this album is nearly 21 years old, as these hard-hitting songs still pack plenty of punch and purpose behind them.