Addicted to Noise 1995
Faith No More
King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime
Rating: Not So Hot
Send Faith No More Back To The Lake
By Davoud Kermanijoud
Back in 1986 when Faith No More kicked out original singer Chuck Moseley and replaced him with Mr. Bungle's Mike Patton, their sound evolved and their popularity as an "alternative" band soared. This was when there was still something to be an alternative to, and Faith No More's "thrash/metal band with a keyboard player" image made them quite unique. They were one of the only "hard" bands that could actually integrate keyboards into their sound and pull it off.
Nine years later, the band has once again taken a left turn. But this time it seems that the Faith No More juggernaut, which had been erratically driving in the proverbial ditch next to the road of popular music, has sobered up, been given a new driver and has re-entered the flow of traffic. Five years since the height of their popularity--remember "Epic" off The Real Thing?--Faith No More have kicked out founding member, guitarist and metalhead Jim Martin and temporarily replaced him with Bungle guitar man Trey Spruance for the recording of King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime.
While the addition of a second Mr. Bungle member may draw a new crowd towards the band, the loss of Jim Martin and the significant change in their sound is hard to overlook. With a few exceptions, gone are most of the keyboard parts played by Roddy Bottum, and ex-heartthrob Mike Patton's once crooning vocal style has mutated into mostly unintelligible howls and screams.
Certainly 1992's Angel Dust needed to be different from The Real Thing to succeed. One would expect the same of King for a Day. Unfortunately, the majority of King for a Day is little more than a poor rehash of Angel Dust sans keyboards.
King for a Day's opening track, "Get Out" sounds like a cover of a Jesus Lizard song, incorporating only a strong rhythm and unmelodic guitar as background for Patton's cries. They try several ballad-core songs; all are simply annoying. Songs like "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies" are filled with cryptic nonsensical lyrics, but where Patton was once seen as a charming eccentric, his idiosyncrasies now seem contrived. Faith No More now seem mired in clich=E9, just another hard rock band in a post-Nirvana world.
Of course not all the tracks are predictable and boring. Take "Cuckoo for Caca." With it's slightly-more-complicated-than-your-average-metal- song rhythm, it's reminiscent of a Mr. Bungle number, yet still retains some classic Faith No More hooks (including a keyboard track!).
Yet these moments are few. For the most part, Faith No More's sound has failed to evolve. Like the great dinosaurs of the past who are now extinct, metal bands must change and adapt to new surroundings or they will eventually atrophy and die. Not choosing the humility of death by breaking up, Faith No More has essentially devolved and crawled back to the anonymity and safety of the great Primordial Lake, home to many of rock's reluctant dinosaurs, where they will eventually, thankfully, be eaten by a shark or large snake.
Thanks to Anish Kejariwal.