When I heard there would be a new Faith No More album in 2015, I got pretty excited. New music from one of my favorites for the first time in 18 years? Sign me up. I was 21 when Album Of The Year was released. I am now 39, and music has changed dramatically. These days, you would be hard pressed to find a band that can throw five or six genres into a pot, stir it up, reduce it down, and feed you a delicious musical entrée. Faith No More were gold seal chefs back in the day. Angel Dust is one of my top ten albums of all time, and never gets cycled from my iPod playlist. These were the reasons that I was afraid a new FNM album would feel out-of-place in today’s auditory landscape. Could they be the funk/metal/alternative/experimental kings they were 2 decades ago? Edgy, creative, but still accessible? I really hoped so. They deserve to be heralded and discovered by a new generation of listeners. So the year went by. Two singles were released; Motherfucker and Superhero, two tasty appetizers to hold us over until the main course was served up on the 19th of May. I bought the album, listened to it 3 or 4 times ( a really short run time of just under 40 min), took a breath and smiled. Faith No More has returned, and they are still amazing all these years later. Here are my thoughts on each track…
Sol Invictus (2:37) – This song is perfect to kick off the album. Almost has the feel of a war cry. Each instrument fits, creating almost dream like imagery.
Superhero (5:15) – This song is an example of why I love this band. Aggressive, but beautifully arranged, and Mike Patton really shows off his incredible range. “Leader of men – get back in your cage”. Indeed!
Sunny Side Up (2:59) – This one harkens back to “RV”, the track from Angel Dust. Greasy, yet there is something uplifting here. The chorus hooked me right away. Maybe my favorite off the album.
Separation Anxiety (3:44) – A chugging, eerie track that bursts into a huge chorus. Mike Patton’s frantic lyrics and vocals are perfect.
Cone of Shame (4:40) – Plays of like an inner dialogue from an old Spaghetti western. Probably the most “rock” song on the album.
Rise of the Fall (4:09) – This is where keyboard player Roddy Bottum shines. Only this band could pull off a synth hook that sounds like your be in a French bistro, and not only have it fit, but make the song sound like it would not be complete without it. Great track.
Black Friday (3:19) – A little folk dance number done FNM style. Seems like it could be an ode to the American tradition of mall riots and over spending that takes place on the day after U.S. Thanksgiving.
Motherfucker (3:33) – This was sort of released as the first single for Sol Invictus. Starts out very minimalist, then swirls into a beautiful shit storm, then back down to a dull roar.
Matador (6:09) – This one reminds me a lot of an early song by Alice Cooper called Steven. A lush and haunting song, perfectly placed near the end of album. The longest song on the record and easily the most epic.
From The Dead (3:06) – Mike Patton’s lyrics make this one sound like an ode to Faith No More’s resurgence and return “From The Dead”. A beautiful song to end Sol Invictus, complete with nice harmonizing and some slide guitar.
To be honest, anyone of these songs would have fit in perfectly with anyone of FNM’s albums. The band sounds great, but Patton is the star of the show. His voice is an instrument all unto its own. His voice is still incredible, this band is still incredible, and they have not changed at all. And that my friends, is a good thing.
Sol Invictus * Reclamation Records / Ipecac * Vulcan Studios Oakland, CA * Produced by Billy Gould