Tomahawk: Self-titled (Ipecac)

January, 2002

With Tomahawk, Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, and Fantômas alum Mike Patton demonstrates once again that he's not a normal child.

Like Fantômas, Tomahawk is one of Patton's supergroups, consisting of bassist Kevin Rutmanis (Melvins, the Cows), guitarist Duane Denison (The Jesus Lizard, Cargo Cult), and drummer John Stanier (Helmet). If you're familiar with Fantômas or Mr. Bungle, be warned that it would be a mistake to expect the same experimentation here: unlike those projects, there's conventional song structure, choruses, lyrics here; more importantly, the album can be contextualized and perhaps even comprehended. It's not the radical break from contemporary indie rock that we've come to expect from Patton.

Tomahawk is truly a composite of the bands from which it draws its members. Some songs are more like one of the bands than another, while others don't seem to reflect any of the members' previous work. It's a must have for fans of any of these musicians. Indie rock fans who like their guitar on the noisy side and their rhythm with driving but strange signatures will dig this. Interestingly, Patton, often lauded in the past for having one of the most powerful vocal ranges in rock, still refuses to use it in the way critics would like. Bless him.



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