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  • Writer's pictureFaith No More Followers

Kerrang! | June 1997


Liam Sheils

AN ENIGMA wrapped in a mystery inside a conundrum. 

By turns brilliant, frustrating and bloody awful, Faith No More are an almost uniquely mercurial talent. We were first introduced by 'We Care A Lot', which still stands alongside 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' and not much else as possibly the most cataclysmically significant four minutes of rock music from the last two decades. A couple of years later, 'The Real Thing' brought with it a new singer, a bigger sound and a massive breakthrough. It made an awful lot of rock stars unemployed and unemployable. 'Angel Dust' arrived in '92. Weird, in a word, with moments of unalloyed genius and moments of nothing at all. 

Rather like the last one, 'King For A Day... Fool For A Lifetime', in fact, where stripped-down hardcore tussled violently with avant-garde silliness. 

It's been a long, strange ride, for sure, and Faith No More have f**ked with us all along the way; witness the deadpan reading of The Commodores' 'Easy', the ousting of metal icon Jim Martin, Mike Patton's unbearable Mr Bungle offshoot. Now, with new guitarist John Hudson on board - their fourth in as many years - Faith No More are back to f**k with us some more.

'Album Of The Year' holds no quick fixes and no instant hits. 'Collision' is first out of the traps; jerking, jarring, hard-hitting metal overload. It jumps around like a frog on a hot plate, never letting you settle, giving you no clues where it's going, and setting the mood perfectly for the rest of the album. 'Stripsearch' is next, a supremely atmospheric chunk of sci-fi funk that succeeds despite the lack of any discernible chorus because it sounds just fantastic. Young Gods producer Roll Mosimann has worked his usual magic here, 'Album Of The Year' sounding so good that even if there wasn't a sniff of a decent melody anywhere (which is always a risk with Faith No More) you'd still come back to it time and time again to marvel at the full-blooded luxuriance of the thing. Happily, the wondrous 'Last Cup Ot Sorrow', with its relentless riff offset beautifully by a delicate cowbell effect, more than makes up for any deficit in tunes elsewhere. And the weeping 'She Loves Me Not' hits the target with Roddy Bottum's piano, Mike Patton's broken heart, and not a lot else. And then there's the stuttering 'Mouth To Mouth', all bare, percussive antagonism, which sounds just like a left-over form the 'Introduce Yourself sessions; 'Helpless' brings in a new flavour for Faith No More by sitting on top of a lilting acoustic strum; and album closer 'Pristina' crashes in with a series of guitar eruptions before opening out into a melodic plateau that is reminiscent of The Smashing Pumpkins at their shimmering, psychedelic best. It's hard work in places, certainly, but you don't buy into Faith No More expecting Bon Jovi - 'Paths Of Glory' is going to take months to make any sense, and 'Home Sick Home' is plain old bollocks. Maybe not album of the year then, but undoubtedly a strong contender. And an unexpectedly forceful 'hello' from an act many thought were all washed up. 

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