on 8 November 2004
A super-group of the loosest kind, Tomahawk are the brainchild of Duane Denison, former guitarist of grunge pioneers The Jesus Lizard. On drums is John Stanier, from Helmet, bassist is Kevin Rutmanis, the Melvins mentalist and on vocals/keys is Mike Patton. Anyone unfamiliar with Mr Patton's work post-FNM could do far worse than start here. Easily the most 'conventional' work he has put his name to for quite some time, tomahawk is a more traditional take on rock than Patton is normally associated with. This is not to say it is unoriginal. Far from it, it isn't going to produce a smash top 10 hit that's for sure. It's a madcap album, littered with Patton's unimitable vocals, ranging from heavy breathing psycho grunting- "Sir yes sir" to crooning- "Point and click", and in "Sweet smell of success" we hear Patton at his most deranged and awesome. The voice is still there that's for sure. However, it is Denison who adds the subtle touches that compliment Patton's atmospheric keys. Stanier and Rutmanis add a tight rhythm section which allow Denison and Patton to flourish. Lyrically this as obscure, sinister and intriguing as ever- "The cat's in the bag and the bag's in the river" being a notable example from the manic Laredo. An excellent debut album from some of alternative music's unsung heroes. Unlike anything else you will hear, but for Patton beginners a most welcome start.
on 7 November 2001
Bought this album on the promise that it actually contained songs (unlike fantomas) and had an abundance of ideas (like faith no more). As a massive faith no more fan i have been repeatedly diappointed with Mike Patton's musical output since the fall of faith no more. Ok, maybe i don't 'get' fantomas, or perhaps i'll 'grow into' mr. bungle, but the reality is i own albums by both these bands, and they're crap.So i was overjoyed when i bought tomahawk to find it's actually very good. The atmospheric keyboards that inspired a lot of faith no more's sound are intact and add some surreal sonics, along with patton's trademark noises, both of which add to the overall effect. Incidently, this album is utterly deranged, dark and disturbing, like 'angel dust' era faith.. crossed with lo -fi type alt. rock guitars. But don't be fooled - it's as conventional as Patton gets, which, as any patton fan will know, does not mean any hit singles or pop packaged chorus', just a vast imagination,unexpected key changes, nt at any point does the album do what you might expect, but it is precisely this which makes it well worth a listen.
on 27 March 2015
People coming across this album are no doubt fans of (in my opinion) the greatest and most versatile vocalist in modern rock and metal - Mike Patton, and while our wait for Faith No More's 'Sol Invictus' is getting painfully close, I decided to check out this album having already heard their back catalogue.
The sound of this band is quite difficult to define, it morphs from odd, jazzy chords to Tom Morello-esque weird sounds to some quite heavy - but not overtly distorted riffs, whatever it is, it isn't 'traditional' and is definitely a unique and weird sound. Tomahawk has generally been labelled alternative or experimental rock/metal and that's probably a fair account.
The album length is how a good rock record should be, most tracks are under four minutes (apart from two) and just about over 40 minutes, this isn't an over the top indulgent prog album, its short, sharp, strange and gets straight to its twisted point ... whatever that may be!
My favourite tracks are the creepy and frantic 'God Hates A Coward,' the bouncing groovy 'Jockstrap,' opener 'Flashback' and 'POP 1.'
Whilst the riffs probably aren't everyone's cup of tea, Patton's vocal range is simply astonishing. From a quickfire, skat vocals barrage whilst wearing a gas mask to high pitched screams, to rhythmic breathing sounds ... I struggle to think of anything vocally he can't do!
Though this is a great album and has many surreal highlights, it doesn't quite top 'Mit Gas' in my opinion which is my favourite Tomahawk album. It is not as accessible as Faith No More, not as heavy as Mr. Bungle or as fringe or inaccessible as Fantomas (but is pretty far out). That said, any fans of Mike Patton's weird greatness should make this album a must buy on their list.
on 8 November 2001
The styles of songs on this album are very diverse and ranging from straight gritty rock, to claustraphobic lounge music. It's dark and edgy at times but always compelling listening. Mike (Faith No More) Patton's vocals are sublime!!!!
on 1 December 2006
There seems little need to wax lyrical about the cult status of Mike Patton anymore - he's becoming so famous for his sublime vocal talents, production prowess and eclectic tastes without many people actually hearing his work that he's becoming infamous. For those who don't, won't or can't stomach Patton's more experimental side, Tomahawk is heralded as a return to the more song-oriented Faith No More material. In other words more traditional song structures with discernible progressions and actual words that are sung. Duane Denison is the real architect behind Tomahawk, and whilst his song writing here doesn't radically break new ground, it is better than anything else you'll here in this genre. And with a rhythm section comprised of one Melvin and one Helmet we're talking about solid creative performers here. But the real excitement here, as if you couldn't guess already, is Patton. Patton still growls, tenors, hollers, screams and barks through each song, but it's the lyrics and vocal melodies that surprise by their standard. Patton is best when he's cocky and camp in the same breath, and he frequently does both all throughout songs with often uncomfortably dark subject matter. Flashback has him grinding through a chorus of "did they make you wear a dress did they?" whilst Pop 1 erupts into a cacophonous "this beat will win me a Grammy" scream. Add that the superb 101 North is the best song you will ever hear about car-jacking. What truly makes the record though is the production - something Patton doesn't get enough credit for. The subtle touches and inventive use of sampling throughout breathes new depth into each song. The sound is beautifully crisp and you will often find yourself listening to how the album sounds rather than the songs themselves - a ral sign of good production. All in all Tomahawk greatly enhances the reputations of everyone involved - no small feat considering the talent on offer.
on 12 January 2003
A must for anybody who delights in the manic works of Mike Patton. This record is easily the best he has made for some time. Full of melodies to rival anything he did with Faith No More, but much darker and more ominous. Duane Denison's awesome alt rock guitars mix easily with Pattons keyboard meanderings, and these are built over a solid grinding rythym section featuring ex-helmet skinsman John Stanier.
From start to finish you'll be sucked into the soundscapes, and find yourself a little on edge once the tense experience has come to an end.
Scary.........scary brilliant that is.
on 27 May 2002
A very diverse, atmospheric and exciting album.
While not as original or inventive as Mr. Bungle, this album still is a very original take on "straight" rock. Soothing in places (Point and Click, Sweet Smell of Success), haunting and atmospheric (basically every song) and exciting (Flashback, Jockstrap, Laredo, God Hates A Coward, POP1). See this band live. SEE THIS BAND LIVE.
on 23 October 2006
The band's sound could be explained so very crudely, but it would insult the material. It isn't as simple as late Faith No More and recent Fantômas mixed in with some Jesus Lizard guitar; it stands to reason that there are going to be traces of these due to the band members (each member has been in at least one respectful band before joining together for the making of Tomahawk), but they have a great sound and it deserves recognition as being something original.
Sharp and to the point, the band is confident and precise. Amazingly technical rhythms are constantly weaving in and out - whether it's through the drums or (more likely) in the vocals and so sometimes sets a challenge to the listener to simply hum along.
Of course the focus of attention will be on the front man, Mike Patton. He has had his fingers in a lot of pies for several years and just recently is he going for a record with what seems like a band a year. There are many who still have problems with his direction since Faith No More imploded and then the set-up of his new experimental band, Fantômas, which sent many Patton fans' lives into turmoil due to it being so frenzied and unfriendly - especially those who prefer lyrics to mad jabbers and screams...
Tomahawk is yet another new sounding outfit, though easier to digest than anything Patton has been involved in post-Faith No More. This is easily one of the most intense and finest albums of the year for many reasons that are best left unsaid, for fear of digging a hole.
on 18 December 2012
If you are new to Tomahawk this is a good place to start. Some great metal grooves and rythmic timings and a few more sedate tracks. I like them all.
I'm a big fan of Mike Patton and his arrangement, production and experimental tendancies but if you've only arrived here because you're a fan of Faith no More you won't be disappointed!
By now you either know who Tomahawk are, or you don't. Given the increasingly marginalised nature of the media, it's more and more difficult for bands not only to get publicity, but for established bands to maintain their public profile. Even massive bands like REM, Depeche Mode, and The Cure, are now deemed retro and past it by the programmers who desperately claw to the last bits of their influence and relevance, and who deem pale retreads of bands-that-werent-very-good-in-the-first-place the next big thing.
And so "new" bands featuring members of once big and brilliant bands have to struggle twice as hard. Without a chance of being hailed as new, and being judged largely on past glories, if you were too young then, or didn't believe the hype, they'll have no chance now. And this is problem Tomahawk face. They're good. They're very good. But they're also past their youth, and have to rely on little more than the Internet and large tours of small places to spread the word.
Firstly some names for you. Faith No More. The Melvins. Helmet. The Jesus Lizard. These are the bands the people in Tomahawk used to be in. And it's a blatant turn to the styles they used to forge. Instead of the bizarre, semi-incoherent, leftfield brilliance of Fantomas and Mr. Bungle, Mike Patton guides Tomahawk, one of three bands that he's a member of, to the traditional riff-verse-chorus style that Faith No More excelled at, through his second all-new studio album of the year (and - including Mr. Bungle's earliest work - the 19th album he's made since 1987). Though to describe anything he's recorded as conventional or traditional just doesn't seem right.
The wit and style which runs through Patton's previous work is here in abundance. Lyrically he's never been better with such nuggets as the Britneybaiting 'This beat could win me a grammy!', as "Laredo"s infectious 'The cats in the bag and the bags in the river'. He promised a return to the style of Faith No More, and he's right. It's easily the most conventional album he's made in the past five years. With discernable lyrics! Choruses! And Proper Songs!
If you know what Faith No More, or Mr. Bungle, or Fantomas, sound like, then you know what kind of ballpark Tomahawk play in and you'll also then know that you'll like it if you ever get the chance to hear it. With one of the best vocalists (to call him a 'singer' does him an injustice) currently recording, and a trio of musical visionaries behind him, as well as a return to the kind of style he left behind in 1995, Tomahawk are an acquired taste, but a good one.
Supercatchy, earstretching vocals, dark lyrics rich in black humour, swathes of crunchy guitars, and some of the most unusual rhythms to be played by human hands since time began all juggle for dominance in this no-doubt-to-be-critically-and-commercially-ignored work. Just you watch. In a few years time this will be hailed as an under-rated, (and under-selling) work of a genius.