Sol Invictus Returns Faith No More To Their Lofty Perch
Faith No More never really received the due they should have during their height.
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After years of honing their craft with first-singer Chuck Mosely, and then gaining acclaim with genre-refining Mike Patton, Faith No More found themselves a comfortable niche that helped spawn a rabid fan base with little critical acclaim. This shunning of the masses gave the band mad street cred, and paved the way for genre-defining heavyweights such as System of a Down, Incubus, and 311 with similar metal leanings, however, finding ways to work in funk, R&B, and other eclectic tastes.
One would be hard-pressed to find rock n roll kids weaned on the 90’s not citing Angel Dust as a turning point, even if it wasn’t initially accepted. They moved through genres with ease, even devouring cover songs along the way. How incredible was their cover of the Commodores “Easy”? How amazing was the Bee Gees cover of “I Started a Joke”? Faith No More made these songs better, even if they were tongue in cheek, distilled in irony….
Which is what makes their new album Sol Invictus such a milestone. Not all bands are welcomed back to the landscape, Faith No More, however, were sorely missed. There is a glaring hole in rock music that this band fills, whether they like it or not. A form of authenticity that is, and has been, gone…. not misplaced or mistaken, but gone…I believe it to be the lasting effects of the punk ethos….the “I love what I do more than what you think about it” mindset.
And this album is classic Faith No More, the members all original from their 1997 record Album of the Year; It’s energetic, it’s melodic, it’s heavy, it’s funky, it’s avant garde…. There is no other band that could sound like this with so many excellent tracks…. standouts include the first song on the record “Sol Invictus”; beginning with a tender piano until Patton’s lounge singer on LSD croon chimes in.
“Superhero” is a call and return featuring Patton’s acrobatic vocals. An unearthly scream and growl all over the song. Roddy Bottum’s beautiful piano featured over an obnoxious amount of noise.
“Rise of the Fall” would have fit nicely on Angel Dust with it’s Latin sprinkled verse, catchy chorus, and temp changes of which drummer Mike Bordin excels at.
“Black Friday” is a serious pop-song….For some reason it reminded me of Leonard Cohen’s Natural Born Killer Soundtrack offerings, or a Quentin Tarantino end of movie credits tune. I wanted to listen to this song while driving in the desert, clapping my hands along with Patton as we drove under the dirty, dusty sunset. That’s all I’m going to say about it, you’ll just have to listen to it.
“Motherfucker” is a slow riser that really showcases Patton’s rare ability to switch from menacing whisper to room sized chorus with ease.
“Matador” is an anthemic sing-along. Bill Gould using his bass to create a swimming foundation. Jon Hudson’s guitar work is also exceptional.I would argue that this is the best song on the record.
I need to add that the band sounds amazing in their own right. They are cohesive, on point, working as a unit, and bounce off each other naturally… along with Patton and his trademark – non-trademark sound using his voice as an unearthly instrument (see Bjork’s album Medulla for more). Even if you don’t know his direction, you certainly know it’s him. If their recent flurry of late night television performances is any indication, Faith No More are more than prepared to take on another generation and fill that gap currently in rock music hopefully for the foreseeable future, and we should be ready to let them.
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