Never one to rest on his most successful band’s laurels, Mike Patton’s post Faith No More career has traversed a series of bands and musical styles. From Mr. Bungle to Fantomas .to his current outfit Tomahawk, his creativy seems to edge in a new, more adventurous direction with each new release.
On Anonymous, the third CD from Patton’s latest project, Tomahawk, and the first to coincides with the band name. Anonymous is a loosely connected series of compositions inspired by Native American tribal chants. The songs are imbued with hints of doom metal and menacing horror movie soundtrack theme music. Patton’s guitarist Duane Denison, inspired by the Native American bands he saw while on tour with Hank Williams III, researched the American Indian music that is the basis for Anonymous.
Patton contributed his vocals, samples and production work in San Francisco, while Denison and drummer John Stanier recorded in a Nashville studio.
War Chant, which begins the CD, is part horror movie theme, part ominous chant that gives way to a thunderous close. It’s something you don’t want to listen to in the dark.
Mescal Rite I has a chugging metal intro that leads into a chant with a guttural clap and burn rhythm buoyed by bright percussion Ghost Dance sounds more contemplative and gets its power from booming bass drums. There’s some of the patented Faith No More herky-jerky tempos added to Red Fox. Anonymous may sound a little repetitive at times to the mainstream listener, but the more seasoned music fan will find the varied vocal and percussive layering impressive.
While many rock musicians are enamored of Native American music, very few of them can render a modern interpretation of the real thing as skillfully Tomahawk do on Anonymous. Patton has always been known for his earthiness and ability to get to the root of a musical thought. Anyone who remembers his anti-MTV, anti Guns ‘N’ Roses tirades from the ‘90s knows of his disdain for artifice. With Anonymous, Patton and Tomahawk expand their musical eclecticism and pay respectful homage to Native American culture.