Tomahawk - Tonic Immobility review


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Band: Tomahawk
Album: Tonic Immobility
Release date: March 2021

01. SHHH!
02. Valentine Shine
03. Predators And Scavengers
04. Doomsday Fatigue
05. Business Casual
06. Tattoo Zero
07. Fatback
08. Howlie
09. Eureka
10. Sidewinder
11. Recoil
12. Dog Eat Dog

After bringing Mr. Bungle back to life, it was time for Tomahawk to wake up from its eight-year-long nap.

Tomahawk might not be as well known as the other Patton projects akin to Faith No More, Mr. Bungle or even Fantômas. Soundwise, Tomahawk is a weirder Faith No More, a more streamlined Mr. Bungle, but with a supergroup-ier structure akin to Fantômas. And just like half of those, it finds Mike Patton teaming up with Trevor Dunn. But the supergroup nature comes from them being joined by Duane Denison
of The Jesus Lizard on guitars and John Stanier of Battles and Helmet on drums. So how does this extra Patton reunion fare?

Well, if you may remember that Oddfellows had a bit of a lukewarm reception because it didn't stack up to the oddity (ironic given the album title) of previous Tomahawk releases, you probably would find the same issues with Tonic Immobility. This is also a bit more alternative than experimental, though gliding the border between the two, just like it glides more towards the rock side than the metal one, and with more than three decades of Patton craziness, some of the charm has worn off. But goddamn, this one sounds so much like the late 90s groovy experimental alt rock days, and even if there is some hint of aging in Patton's voice, he can still deliver a fantastic performance. However due to how restrained it is, it's often Denison and Dunn that relatively impress more.

Even though the album is more restrained, I find that there's a very clear balance between going all out, finding a thick groove, and building atmosphere, and all of it is enhanced by the chemistry that these lads have in common. Each brings their own sense of groove and off-kilter atmosphere as building blocks to continuously create and release tension. And indeed Tonic Immobility's greatest strength is ironically how mobile the album is in continuously shifting that tension, finding ways to create straining atmospheres and explosive grooves equally as competent.

It may not be as vital as some of their previous stuff, or as their other projects, but I sure hope it won't take eight more years to hear these musicians together again, as much as I hope that Fantômas is next on the Patton reunions schedule.


Written on 02.04.2021 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.

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