Faith No More has a new record. Remember Faith No More? They had that video with an exploding piano. The hand with the eyeball. Green paint flying everywhere and fish flopping around. That guy with the flying V and long hair looks heavy as fuck but is the singer wearing a Cosby sweater? You weren’t sure if they were rap, alternative or metal. Just that they were good. Or at least cool.
For some reason, people seem surprised that for their next record Angel Dust they went in a more avant garde direction. All the signs were there that while this band had a timeless hit with “Epic”, they were not the type of group you could categorize in a neat little folder. Drums, guitar, and singing were about as clearly as you could categorize Faith No More. And even that might be off. The lead single off of Angel Dust made it clear that it had become Mike Patton‘s band and subsequently one of my favorites.
After that they became, in my expert opinion, boring. Maybe it was the quitting/dismissal of Jim Martin. Or just hype, drugs and ego. Hard to say. But few were surprised when they just sort of vanished.
It was a chance meeting at Roddy Bottom‘s wedding where Mike Bordin and Mike Patton had an awkward exchange that brought the band back together. Slowly but surely that day lead to them recording their first album in 18 years. Sol Invictus translates into unconquered sun and marks the return of one of my favorite singers to the band he got his break with. It’s been a while since I’ve done a “virgin ears” review. Why not now?
Track 1. “Sol Invictus”. Title track starts with my favorite singer (one of anyway) talking and not singing. Pretty heavy. It would be a good song while the credits role for my horror movie.
Track 2. “Superhero”. Alt rock heavy. Guitar more than keyboard is encouraging as that’s the part of FNM I prefer. Mike Patton is a voice I never get sick of. Almost punky at the beginning with the GO GO GO. Lyrically it’s a satirical look at how we seem to go out of our way to crown heroes. And maybe how our leaders need to be restrained from themselves. Fuck I don’t know. It’s a pretty cool song.
Track 3. “Sunny Side Up”. I’ll be your leprechaun. So they have totally abandoned any recognized song structure. In other words. They are themselves.
Track 4. “Separation Anxiety”. I like this song a lot. FNM has the ability at times to make a song out of nothing. There are sprinkles of so many parts of this band. File this under songs to crash your car to.
Track 5. “Cone Of Shame”. Finally a title that is, well, Faith No More-esque. And much like “Separation Anxiety” is NOT about my cat. If you ever thought to yourself “I wonder if Faith No More feels pressure to write hit songs” this should clear any doubt that… no. They don’t. Which is a win because this song is awesome.
Track 6. “Rise And Fall”. A song that starts with some upbeat melody?
Track 7. “Black Friday”. This was written for a soundtrack of a movie taking place in the America desert. It had to be. It’s the perfect soundtrack to any non-dialogue scene that takes place in the outskirts of Phoenix or near Joshua Tree.
Track 8. “Motherfucker”. With a name like that it has to be good. Or vulgar. Right? Sadly more Mike Patton talking instead of singing. Still I like this. I just want to hear him sing more. But yes. This song is good and vulgar. If this is art then it’s my kind of art.
Track 9. “Matador”. Ok things are starting to get weird. Funny right? Aside from that hilarious joke, every song on here seems to be a soundtrack type of tune of some sort. Creating a mood. Telling a loose story. Leading the listener (viewer) down a path.
Track 10. “From The Dead”. Of course, it’s a little fucked up. Not a typical album ender. Acoustic guitar with full band accompaniment while Mike Patton sings “welcome home, my friend”. A lot of saturation in the vocals make it hard to make out the lyrics, but it sounds like some sort of story of a hero’s welcome. Maybe ironically as it harkens to “Superhero”. Quite good.
This is a great record. But if you’re looking for “Epic” part 2 or an album resembling The Real Thing then you will be disappointed. But if you want something closer to “Midlife Crisis”. If you just enjoy hearing this band. This is a brilliant return to form. It’s not for everyone but doesn’t that describe Faith No More?
Normally when I like a record this much I tell you to buy it (through the Decibel Geek Amazon link of course) but for this record, if you are on the fence, get off. This ain’t for you.