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Tomahawk (album)

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Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 30, 2001
GenreAlternative rock,[1] experimental rock,[1] hard rock,[2] post-hardcore,[3] alternative metal,[4] country rock[5]
ProducerJoe Funderburk
Tomahawk chronology
Mit Gas

Tomahawk is the debut studio album by American experimental rock band Tomahawk. Recorded after a meeting between vocalist Mike Patton and guitarist Duane Denison, the album features members of Faith No More, The Jesus Lizard, Helmet and Melvins. The band toured with Tool in support of the record.

Released on October 30, 2001, through Patton's record label Ipecac Recordings, Tomahawk has received positive attention from critics, with most appraisals drawing attention to the versatility of Patton's vocals. The album charted in both Australia and the United States, reaching a peak of number 20 in the Billboard Independent Albums countdown.


For Tomahawk, the band is composed of Mike Patton, vocalist for Faith No More and Mr. Bungle; Duane Denison, guitarist for The Jesus Lizard; Kevin Rutmanis, bass player for Melvins; and John Stanier, drummer for Helmet.[6] Patton and Denison met in 2000 at a Mr. Bungle concert in Nashville, Tennessee, and began exchanging music. From there, the two began to jam together with a view to releasing an album.[7] In a 2016 interview, Duane Denison stated "I wrote the basic tunes on my own (on a 4-track) and sent the cassettes (this was '99 -2000) to Mike, who then added vocals and samples for me to listen to. I think it took about a year altogether. We tracked and mixed live, altogether, in Nashville."[8]

The band hired Joe Funderburk to produce the album; Funderburk had previously worked with Emmylou Harris and The Judds.[6] The album was released through Ipecac Recordings, the record label owned by Patton and Greg Werckman.[9][10] Ipecac is also home to Rutmanis' band Melvins,[10] whose vocalist and guitarist Buzz Osborne had previously collaborated with Patton as a member of Fantômas.[11] It was recorded in Nashville during mid-2001. Denison reflected "Being in Nashville seemed to bring out the worst in everyone--excessive drinking, anxiety, fighting, etc.....that's the chemistry!".[8]

Mike Patton performing with Tomahawk in a gas mask in 2002, with John Stanier playing drums in the background.

Patton described the new group as "the closest thing to a rock band I've been involved with for a while".[12] Regarding their name, Denison stated "It’s the kind of name an average kid says, “Hey TOMAHAWK is coming to town.” It sounds like it would be this hard, aggressive, typical nu metal band... and we’re not. There's some hard rock to it, but it's not typical. It's not wall to wall big riffs and kicking riffs. It's varied and the name can be deceiving."[13]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[4]
Boston Herald3/4 stars[2]
Drowned in Sound8/10[14]

Tomahawk was released on October 30, 2001.[4] The album was supported by a tour in which the band supported Tool; however, Tool's fans were unreceptive to Tomahawk and frequently booed their performances.[15]

Writing for AllMusic, Blake Butler rated Tomahawk four stars out of five, describing the album as "moody, violent, beautiful, sarcastic, vomitive, silly [and] heartstopping".[4] Butler praised Patton's versatility, calling the vocalist "a complete and utter musical visionary, and a mind-blowing and standard-warping genius".[4] Pitchfork's Luke Buckman award the album a rating of 7 out of 10, similarly highlighting Patton's vocals as exemplary. Buckman called Patton "one of the greatest male vocalists around today"; and felt that "Flashback" and "Cul de Sac" were among the album's best songs.[5] Mark Reed of Drowned in Sound rated the album 8 out of 10, noting the "wit" and "style" of the songwriting.[14] Reed felt that the album was among the most conventional of those recorded by Patton, but still described it as featuring "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".[14]

Writing for the Boston Herald, Butch Lazorchak rated Tomahawk three stars out of four, finding that it "makes mincemeat out of the new-metal Johnny-come-latelies".[2] Lazorchak described the album as having "an updated '70s hard rock approach that echoes Blue Öyster Cult at its sinister best", and found the opening song "Flashback" to be a "head-crushing pleasure".[2] Reviewing a leg of the album's supporting tour for The Irish Times, Peter Crawley felt that "Sir Yes Sir" was a highlight of the album, due to Patton's "dark utterings" and Rutmanis' "drilling bassline".[16] Writing for CMJ New Music Monthly, Dana Buoniconti compared the album to the soundtracks of David Lynch's film and television work—specifically likening "Honeymoon" and "Sweet Smell of Success" to the Twin Peaks theme. Buoniconti found Tomahawk to be "unsettling and unwholesome", but "thoroughly appealing".[17]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Tomahawk (Mike Patton, Duane Denison, Kevin Rutmanis and John Stanier).

2."101 North"5:13
3."Point and Click"3:09
4."God Hates a Coward"2:39
5."POP 1"3:25
6."Sweet Smell of Success"3:41
7."Sir Yes Sir"2:09
9."Cul de Sac"1:44
Total length:42:19
2."God Hates a Coward (Excerpt)"1:56


Chart performance[edit]

Tomahawk reached its highest chart position on the United States Independent Albums chart, reaching a peak position of 20 and spending two weeks in that chart.[19] It also reached a peak of 31 in that country's Top Heatseekers chart.[4] It spent one week in the Australian ARIA Charts, reaching number 37.[20]

Country Chart Peak
Australia ARIA Charts 37 [20]
United States Independent Albums 20 [19]
Top Heatseekers 31 [4]


  1. ^ a b "sfmconsulting". Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Lazorchak, Butch (November 18, 2001). "Lynne's Latest Softens Edges". Boston Herald. Archived from the original on June 10, 2014. Retrieved August 27, 2012. (subscription required)
  3. ^ "Show Preview: Tomahawk at Wonder Ballroom". 18 February 2013. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Butler, Blake. "Tomahawk - Tomahawk: Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. AllRovi. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c Buckman, Luke (November 14, 2001). "Tomahawk - Tomahawk". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Prato, Greg. "Tomahawk - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. AllRovi. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  7. ^ DeRogatis, Jim (November 2, 2001). "Super Models: New Bands Show That Supergroups Can Get It Right". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on June 10, 2014. Retrieved August 27, 2001. (subscription required)
  8. ^ a b "TOMAHAWK - 15 Years Duane Denison Interview". Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  9. ^ "About Ipecac Recordings". Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  10. ^ a b Downs, David (January 17, 2007). "Orinda's Noise Vomitorium | Music | Oakland, Berkeley & the Bay Area". East Bay Express. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  11. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Fantômas - Music Biography and Discography". AllMusic. AllRovi. Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  12. ^ Mallon, Tom (October 2001). "Patton Pending". CMJ New Music Monthly. CMJ (97): 66. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
  13. ^ "Tomahawk Interview (2002) - Buddyhead". 24 June 2016. Archived from the original on 24 June 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2017.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  14. ^ a b c Reed, Mark (November 17, 2001). "Tomahawk - Tomahawk / Releases". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  15. ^ Hreha, Scott (May 1, 2003). "Tomahawk: Mit Gas | Album Reviews". Pitchfork. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
  16. ^ Crawley, Peter (March 15, 2002). "Tomahawk; The Ambassador, Dublin". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on March 28, 2015. Retrieved August 27, 2012. (subscription required)
  17. ^ Buoniconti, Dana (February 2002). "Best New Music". CMJ New Music Monthly. CMJ (99): 64. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
  18. ^ "Tomahawk – Tomahawk: Credits". AllMusic. AllRovi. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  19. ^ a b "Tomahawk - Tomahawk". Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  20. ^ a b " - Tomahawk - Tomahawk". Retrieved August 27, 2012.

External links[edit]