The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
From The Archive: Faith No More – Angel Dust
Faith No More, a band that needs no introduction as their name is very well known in the music industry. They’ve been hailed as one of the most influential rock bands of the late 80s and early 90s, while also being a major influence for many of todays alternative rock/metal bands. Whereas their first two albums, We Care A Lot and Introduce Yourself saw the band combining elements of funk, hip hop, alternative rock, punk and even a touch of avant-garde, it wasn’t until their original vocalist, Chuck Mosley was replaced by Mike Patton that the band began to take shape and evolve their sound.
The first release with Patton at the helm was their 1989 album, The Real Thing, which was both highly successful and also launched the band into the mainstream media. However, their follow up and fourth studio album Angel Dust, was something of a different beast all together. While the album contains trademark characteristics from past releases, it’s much more evident that Patton had more of an impact/influence on the bands overall sound this time around. Before writing even began on Angel Dust, Faith No More took a year and half break, in which Patton spent time with his other band, Mr. Bungle, and if you’re at all familiar with Mr. Bungle you know that’s quite a different outlet for Patton musically. And upon listening to Angel Dust, you can pick up on some of the comparisons that are strewn about the bands thirteen tracks and clearly see the direction Faith No More are headed in.
Angel Dust is a departure from The Real Thing and pretty much both of the Mosley fronted albums, as there’s more focus on a serious tone, but meshed within are moments of sporadic outbursts. What’s noticeable right away are the vocals, as Patton has completely topped himself on Angel Dust and went all out. His antics as a vocalist are legendary, with him able to expand his range from insane falsetto, loud bass singing, grunting, rapping, to just plain wackiness and inhuman shrieks, he is one of the most able vocalists to ever set foot on this planet. So much has been said of his abilities as a vocalist and most who have heard him already know it’s true, so I won’t waste time hammering it into your heads again.
Musically, the rest of the band is impressively up to par with Patton, with their sound being more mature and less poppy. Gone are the antics and childish nature of past releases. The rhythm section combo of Billy Gould and Mike Bordin are both at the top of their game on Angel Dust, sparking the record with their mastery of a flurry of genres. Gould is at his best providing the funk, most notably the opening bassline to “Land of Sunshine” in which Patton welcomes the listener in with tongue-in-cheek lyrics and maniacal laughter. This is one of those Mr. Bungle moments that makes it’s way into the album. Long time guitarist Jim Martin delivers amazing riffs in the style of metal, funk and groove while his solos on such tracks as “Land of Sunshine” and “Everything’s Ruined” just further show the talents he has as a guitarist. Now even though The Real Thing had it’s share of riffs, on Angel Dust they find themselves much more technical and full of life. Unfortunately though, this was the final studio album with Jim Martin, as he left the band due to reasons unknown, although some believe it was due to the direction the band was going in.
Faith No More – “Land of Sunshine”
Out of the thirteen tracks there are plenty of stand outs, such as “Land of Sunshine”, “Caffeine”, “Midlife Crisis” and “A Small Victory”, and besides them being amazing songs, they also show the bands willingness to experiment with their sound. Mixed in with those tracks are some oddballs, such as “RV”, which is mainly Patton assuming the role of a middle aged man loathing his life and just mumbling his lyrics. It offers very little in terms of being a track you might revisit, but it’s good for a laugh. “Be Aggressive” features a chorus of cheergirls singing “BE AGGRESSIVE..BEEE AGGRESSIVE” and then literally spelling it out letter by letter; B-E A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E”. The song is about oral sex, and while most enjoy receiving it, listening to a song about it, doesn’t quite compare. Then we come to the most extreme song on the album, “Jizzlobber”, with it’s death metal-esque sound and pure chaotic chorus that is reminiscent of his later work on the EP he did with The Dillinger Escape Plan. As if the music wasn’t out of control enough, Pattons deranged and high-pitched shrills just take the song to a whole new level. One of my favorites and is a fitting end to the album, even though the instrumental track, “Midnight Cowboy” is the actual closer of the album, I tend to leave off with “Jizzlobber”.
Angel Dust saw Faith No More taking a different route with their sound and the outcome is an album that is both experimental and mature, which to music lovers, is a real treat. Its become one of my all-time favorite albums, and to this day, it still holds its own with todays music/bands. Last summer I fortunate enough to see them for their reunion show in NY, which was something of a dream, one I thought would never come true. I was lucky enough to witness them live, albeit without Jim Martin, but I won’t complain, as it was one of the best performances I thought I would never get to see.
Faith No More – “Jizzlobber”