Raucous noise, epic tunes and maximum weirdness? Tomahawk‘s Tonic Immobility has got it covered

Mike Patton’s deranged provocateurs Tomahawk are in prime form on their first album in eight years, Tonic Immobility

Tomahawk – Tonic Immobility album sleeve
(Image: © Ipecac)

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‘You got some new teeth, got some new fuckin’ silver hair.’ Is this an insult from Mike Patton? A compliment? A metaphor for shitting in a hairdryer? Whatever it means, it’s one of the Faith No More/Mr. Bungle/insert-band-here frontman’s abundant zingers spattered across Tomahawk’s fifth full-length.

And it just so happens that this is their most immediate, raucous record to date – even more than 2013’s Oddfellows. Sure, you still have weird stuff like Eureka, dripping with tension à la Color Out Of Space’s earthy synth soundtrack, but mainly, Tomahawk are here to rock. Or ‘rawk’,if you’re one of those people.

This isn’t Clutch, by any means – Mike’s deranged, schoolchild screaming on Howlie pooh-poohs any casual listening in the car – but Trevor Dunn’s bass, Duane Denison’s six-strings and John Stanier’s drums all stretch into a trampoline for whatever their singer feels like hopping into.

From there, take your pick. Spaghetti Western apocalypse tunes: Doomsday Fatigue. Riffs harbouring singalongs so dunderheadedly huge they conjure images of a spurting GWAR jizz-cock: Dog Eat Dog. Spiralling, early-Mastodon fretwork parrying croons against hardcore jabbing: Tattoo Zero.

And as good as the band are, the selling point will always be Mike Patton. His cutting indictment of corporate America through Business Casual is full-on Electric Six in its abstract mundanity, ‘Let your gut sag to the love shack’ sounding like something he’d scrawl on a used tissue when someone asks for his number. His subtle command over Sidewinder’s nonchalant, A Perfect Circle-esque piano swivels on a penny before diving into a percussive pocket deeper, heavier than most metal bands in these pages.

If you just fancy the hits, stick with Faith No More. But if you want premium Patton, his band playing from the heart rather than to the crowd, then Tonic Immobility’s your poison. Bottoms up.

Alec Chillingworth

Alec is a longtime contributor with first-class BA Honours in English with Creative Writing, and has worked for Metal Hammer since 2014. Over the years, he's written for Noisey, Stereoboard, uDiscoverMusic, and the good ship Hammer, interviewing major bands like Slipknot, Rammstein, and Tenacious D (plus some black metal bands your cool uncle might know). He's read Ulysses thrice, and it got worse each time.