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  • Writer's pictureFaith No More Followers

Kerrang! | June 6th 1992 | Issue 395

Don Kaye

I CAN'T quite figure out how I feel about the new Faith No More album. It's been driving me schizophrenic, and slowly I've realised why: the album is possessed of a personality disorder, of sorts, which undermines its potential greatness. On 'The Real Thing', FNM reached a peak of immensely infectious pop songs in Metallic, often twisted jackets of sound and attitude. The result was so refreshing that they started a whole goddamn trend. I have no doubt that now, FNM want to avoid starting or following any new trends. The problem is that 'Angel Dust' catches the band unsure of whether they want to concentrate on great songs or quirkiness. 

A lot of 'Angel Dust' is hjt-or-miss. 'Be Aggressive' is a punchy, anthemic groove-rocker with a kinky cheerleader chorus and chunky, bad-ass guitar work. 'Small Victory' features an absolutely beautiful melody line from gyitarist Jim Martin and wistful vocals from Mike Patton. It's a powerful gem of a rock song and, like 'Be Aggressive', one of the hits. 

The misses are painfully pointless: the Tom Waits imitation on 'RV and the ultimately mundane noisefests that drag down the last quarter of the album, 'Crack Hitler' and 'Jizzlobber'. These are tracks that go so out of their way to be weird that they lose sight of strong arrangements or texture and just wallow in their own damage. Likewise, 'Malpractice' seems like a bunch of ominous riffs thrown together for little more than shock effect. 

There's still plenty to recommend on 'Angel Dust', however, including Roddy Bottum's rich, trademark keyboards which add welcome depth even to the weaker songs. Patton continues to don multiple disguises and finds a wider range, although he sometimes goes too much off in the deep end for his own good. 

In fact, the individual musicians all deliver stand-out performances. Faith No More must be applauded for being one of the most innovative rock bands of the past decade, and for their unrelenting quest to be as diverse and unique as possible. They also deserve kudos for not taking the easy way out this time by knocking off another 'Epic'. Nevertheless, even the groundbreakers hit rough spots. This is just one that Faith No More will doubtless overcome.

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