Tomahawk Mit Gas

[Ipecac; 2003]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: indie rock, noise rock
Others: Mr. Bungle, Faith No More, Fantomas, Helmet

There is no better feeling than running into an old friend, especially if you haven’t seen that person in a very long time. In the summer of 1992, I was a teenager in love. I was in love with anger, unhappiness, frustration, irritation, etc;  yes, ladies and gentlemen, I was a teenager!  While everyone was blinded by the success of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, I excluded myself from the norm and dove directly into the abyss. The only person to save me from plummeting to disaster was Mike Patton.

In 1992 Faith No More released Angel Dust, a post-MTV friendly “Epic” album that took the spotlight completely off of them. This strategy by FNM gained tremendous respect from fans of the true sound that they had established. They had been exposed as a rap-rock band, but their musical approach was much more than that. Angel Dust was flawless; it took FNM’s simple formula and turned into a gut-wrenching, monstrous tale. So I immediately started diving into anything that was related to Mike Patton and Co. and found Mr. Bungle’s self-title album. This album was horrifying beyond all comprehension but appealed to my need for individuality. Overall, I had found a true and dedicated friend in Mike Patton because he knew my anguish and suffering. But I grew up as time went on, and my relationship with Mike Patton dissipated to nothing but music headlines and below par album releases.

Mike Patton has made himself a household name in indie rock.  He has collaborated with everyone under the sun, created his own record label with Ipecac Records, and has been providing vocals for groups like Fantomas, Lovage and most recently, Tomahawk. At first, I was going to neglect Mike Patton again, passing up on the release of Tomahawk’s Mit Gas, but I decided to dive in and give my old friend a chance. 

Mit Gas is exactly where Angel Dust left off. Ten years later, I have newfound hope in Mike Patton’s ability to perform. Not that Mike Patton himself has ever been ordinary or disappointing in the past, but he has surrounded himself with the appropriate collaborators in Tomahawk. Bringing members from renowned groups such as Helmet, The Jesus Lizard and The Melvins, Mike Patton has assembled a supergroup with so much musical depth and precision. The twisted metal accompanied with a splash of freshly painted electro-funk is the perfect complement to Mike Patton’s bass-induced, hushed howls and squeals. There is no mainstream appeal to this outfit; their first single “Rape This Day” is bass thumping mixed with down-tempo verses, pursued with raging guitar and an up-tempo chorus sung with Mike Patton authority and flare. Much more superior than their original self-titled release, Mit Gas showcases Tomahawk as a powerful, poignant and prevailing band in today’s indie rock.

As the summer of 2003 approaches, I am reunited with an old friend again. But this time around Mike Patton does not have to heal any teenage ailments. All he has done is made me appreciate where he is coming from and where he is headed with Tomahawk. Perhaps Tomahawk is one of Patton’s ever-occurring side projects, but let’s hope he keeps this one afloat for little while longer before he dives into something new.

1. Birdsong
2. Rape this day
3. You can't win
4. Mayday
5. Rotgut
6. Capt. Midnight
7. Disastre natural
8. When the stars begin to fall
9. Harelip
10. Harlem clowns
11. Aktion F1413