Album review: Tomahawk – Tonic Immobility

Mike Patton-fronted jam crew Tomahawk continue to move forward on Tonic Immobility...

Album review: Tomahawk – Tonic Immobility
Angela Davey

There’s a term for what musicians use to house their creative ideas that don’t quite fit the bill for their day-to-day bands. Usually it’s “side project”. However, when your day-to-day bands are Faith No More, Helmet and The Jesus Lizard, that term elevates itself to “supergroup”, and rightly so. For 20 years, Tomahawk has acted as an outlet for Mike Patton, Duane Denison, Trevor Dunn and John Stanier to push their already universally expansive musical boundaries to new and unusual limits. Tonic Immobility is their fifth instalment of experimental sonic weirdness and the first we’ve heard from them as a collective in seven years.

Each member’s influence is placed front and centre in equal measure, allowing for 40 minutes of pure, undiluted chaos to ensue. Tomahawk continuously shift gears in both pace and dynamic with each and every song, ranging from bouncy Clutch/Melvins-sounding hybrid chugs, to gritty Alice in Chains-style grunge, all the way to the audial equivalent of a full scale orchestra falling endlessly down a spiral staircase. This is an album that’s compelling and will leave you hanging onto your headphones to see what’s coming next. Of course, it's helped massively by the fact that Mike has the type of voice that could recite a bus timetable and make it seem genuinely interesting.

The only downside to this record is that because it’s so diverse, when played from start to finish, the flow isn’t particularly polished and it’s a little disjointed in places. Although when the only gripe is as insignificant as “it would work well when chucked on shuffle” then you know you’re onto a winner.

Verdict: 4/5

For Fans Of : Primus, Mr. Bungle, Fantômas

Tonic Immobility is released on March 26 via Ipecac.

READ THIS: I love you, Mike Patton

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