VOX Issue June 1997

VOX Issue June 1997


Faith No More: even better than "The Real Thing

9 out of 10

by Jerry Ewing

BLOODY HELL. You're only two songs into Faith No More's cheekily titled sixth studio album and they're already getting lippy. But not without just cause- because the traits that propelled them to the forefront of the alternative metal scene in the early 90s, traits that were sadly lacking in 95's abrasive and unfriendly " King For A Day......Fool For A lifetime," have returned with a leery, louder, fucking wierder than the rest, and "Album Of The Year" finds them returning to these idiosyncratic strengths. They dredge up gigantic swatches of melody from the sort of netherworld other bands wouldn't dream of looking into. There's an immense sonic power that allows them to cut to the core with an accuracy that Johnny-come-latelys like Korn and White Zombie can't hope to achieve. That ability they once had- to step effortlessly from placid sweetness to frenetic, frenzied fury, and back again, within a simple chord change-is back. And, perhaps, most importantly, so is the warped sense of humour made their groundbreaking LP, " The Real Thing," so appealing in the first place. This is the grand plan to which "Album Of The Year" has been built. this revitalised approach as any. The former is a searing blast propelled by new guitatarist John Hudson, embellished with an uptempo melodic twist, framing Mike Patton's trademark bellow. The latter opts for a much mellower approach, before assuming epic proportions with a forboding lurch.

Yet " Album Of The Year" isn't just about two songs. It's the most consistently successful set that the San Franciscan band has conjured up since 1989. Memorable choruses explode out of nowhere. From within the slow building "Ashes To Ashes" rises one that finds Patton in top -rock god form. From the hulking bassline of " Last Cup Of Sorrow " belches another.

But this isn't a case of FNM simply returning to what they do best. Their sense of quirk remains unabated, whether they're leading the hushed, acoustic melody of "Helpless" to it's alarming conclusion with Patton's tortured cries of "help.....help....," or the juxtaposing punk rush of "Got That Feeling" with the soulful pop of "She Loves Me Not."

Mike Patton's restoration as a frontman of genius proportions is key to this record's success, but more importantly, this is a return to the form for the whole band as they finally manage to exorcise the spectre of the long-departed Jim Martin.

So " Album Of The Year," is it?

Well, it's sure to be up there among the frontrunners.

Thanks to Musser.

Source: Musser
© 1995-2001,2011-2012 Stefan Negele