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Shadow Music Review by
Trent Zelazny
Ipecac Recordings
ASIN: B00005QX0C
List Price: $16.98

There's nothing more irritating than some nut ball who feels it's all right to post signs on your bathroom window. Example: the other day a cup from a Shell gas station managed to find its way into my back yard (yes, that's back yard, folks), which is surrounded by a ten-foot-high fence. Seeing as how it's mid-November and fairly cold I haven't been spending much time out there, nor is the view from my kitchen or bathroom (the only two rooms with windows out to the back yard) very good.

Arriving home at my designated time, the first thing I did was kick off my shoes and throw on a CD by a band called TOMAHAWK. An awesome amalgam of Mike Patton (MR. BUNGLE, FAITH NO MORE), Kevin Rutmanis (THE MELVINS), Duane Denison (THE JESUS LIZARD, HANK WILLIAMS III), and John Stanier (HELMET). Released about a year ago, it's no surprise to me that I didn't know about it until only recently, given that I usually live a very sheltered life, not getting out much, not watching TV or listening to the radio or reading the newspapers or other periodicals. Hearing something like TOMAHAWK makes me sad of the aforementioned fact. Not that they're going to get much radio play or be mentioned on a TV commercial for Best Buy as their hot sale of the week; but it's my own damn fault that I don't find treats like this in life more often. If not for my friend Matt, I'd still be saying, "Huh?" rather than writing this long-winded piece. So, thanks, Matt. Thanks for helping me yammer.

The packaging, reminiscent of a cardboard box and garnishing a western turn-of-the-century-style print of, you got it, a tomahawk, is as enigmatic at first glance as the music you get when you finally put the CD into your player and press Play. My biggest problem with the package itself is that there is next to nothing on the inside. No liner notes, lyrics, writing credits, or much of anything else. The only good this does for this otherwise near-perfect album is make it that much more of a mystery. So, for that…kudos, boys. Kudos.

Okay, now the music-awesome. From Track One, "Flashback", clear through to the end, "Narcosis", this album does what most bands and musicians wish they could do, but only a few are chosen to actually succeed at. They bend, twist, love and fuck with nearly every possible genre, defying the intimidating and stupid law written sometime in the past twenty years or so that states everything has already been done. The only thing TOMAHAWK sounds like other than TOMAHAWK is the occasional jump into a style one member of the band or another had already originated before. And at least for Patton, this is probably the straightest stuff he's done in a long time. Example: "Pop 1", my personal favorite, opens immediately reminding me of FAITH NO MORE, a sound Patton is mostly responsible for creating in the first place. Of course this only lasts a few seconds, then it's the MELVIN-man's bass. From there, it's pure TOMAHAWK. Other tracks that stand out: "Jockstrap" rocks like hell with an almost nuclear-invasion-alarm-style guitar. "Laredo" with its hardcore chant of "The cat's in the bag and the bag's in the river!" "Cul de Sac", the pseudo ballad is beautiful and reminds me of just about every pleasant experience I ever had on a hallucinogenic. "Point and Click" lets us know immediately, "They're scumbags / they're fag hags." This album is flawless from pretty much every angle. And there's no real reason to mention it, since it's a given, but Mike Patton's vocal talents are absolutely phenomenal, and this album displays them perfectly.

I can't recommend it enough. If you buy it and are not completely satisfied, you should have no problem selling it to a friend with a little more sense.

So anyway, after a finely brewed cup of coffee and a damn satisfying "listening-experience," it was time for a relieving visit to my small yet cozy bathroom with the poor view of my back yard. As Little Trent made a streamline for the 21st-century chamber pot, I noticed a piece of college-ruled paper stuck to the outside of my window with the irritated message written poorly in black indelible marker:


Yes, I'm sure it was necessary for them to look over that ten-foot fence that secures my privacy in the first place, and I'm sure it was even more necessary for them to trespass into my back yard and post a stick-up-the-ass note on my bathroom window. Had I been in the state of mind I was in when I first got home I would have gone over to my neighbor's house and chewed their ass until they didn't have any left. But I had just experienced a musical celebration of the impossible and was in a terrific mood. I had just listened to TOMAHAWK. So I just threw the cup over the fence into their yard and decided to give this album a well earned five skulls.

This review copyright 2002 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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