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King For A Day Fool For A Lifetime 25 - critical Review

Faith No More released their fifth studio album King For A Day Fool For A Lifetime Twenty five years ago in March 1995.

Faith No More's album King For A Day Fool For A Lifetime did initially not find the same critical acclaim as it's predecessor when it was released in 1995. It received mixed reviews but has has since become revered by fans and critics alike. Here are a collection of reviews from major music publications all over the world.

Kerrang! | February 1995 | KKKKK

Keep The Faith! by Jason Arnopp

Bay Area 'hangers produce their most eclectic album ever! Heaviosity reigns as the spectre of Big Jim is banished!

FAITH NO More are a one-off. When guitarist Big Jim Martin left, we wondered if that magic chemistry had been lost forever. Not so. 'King For A Day...' is a work of utterly twisted genius.

'Get Out' has you bamboozled from the start - an up-tempo baby with unorthodox structures. The bastard smashes through your front door and makes off with the candlesticks before you can hear what the f**k Mike Patton's yelling about. Then first single 'Digging The Grave' rears up, and it sounds like Therapy? jamming with Anthrax. What's become of that trademark Bill Gould/Mike Bordin fat-bass-and-drums stuff? Answer: Faith No More have reinvented themselves.

1992's 'Angel Dust' was an oddball affair which grew like fungus with time. But it was the sound of a band making the most out of inter-band tension. 'King...' is the sound of rebirth.

New guitarist Trey Spruance (since replaced by Dean Menta) was clearly a part of the song-writing, and shows a good ear for subtlety on the supercool 'Evidence', giving Roddy Bottum's keys a chance to breathe (or the first time. 'Ricochet' shows off the San Franciscans' inherent knack for dynamics, while 'Star AD' is a Disco Jazz freak-out with sexy sax, and 'The Velvet Hammer' offers the LP's most sober moment. 'Cuckoo For Caca'? It's that reliable track on a Faith No More disc when they go completely fish-mad and Bottum plugs in his Apocalyptic Church Organ Of Death! Actually, 'King...' features more spaz-fits than usual: witness Patton's shrieks on the brilliant 'Ugly In The Morning'! Didn't we expect this mania after his PE teacher-on-crack performance at '93's Phoenix Festival?

The album's second half gets even stranger, as 'What A Day', 'The Gentle Art of Making Enemies' and 'Acoustic Groove (Recall)' spin your mind; Patton switching styles more than ever. He can be Jello Biafra, Leonard Cohen, the wobble-throated Patton we knew on 'The Real Thing', or the spawn of Satan. Last track 'Just A Man' fools the listener into thinking it doesn't have a chorus, before serving up one of the album's best. So, what’s the album's best refrain? Probably ‘Take This Bottle', seeing Patton back in his whisky-throated Country persona. If FNM had written '...Bottle' three years ago, they wouldn't have had to cover The Commodores' 'Easy'.

Faith No More have created an album to keep them interested on the next mega-tour. If not sane...

RAW Magazine | March 1995

4.5 out of 5

It's never boring with Faith No More. Only they would sack somebody as popular as 'Big Sick Ugly' Jim Martin and appoint a replacement without thinking to ask him whether or not he likes touring, but that's the nature of the beast. Although the five some's last album, 'Angel Dust', smacked of eccentricity for eccentricity's sake, at least it proved that the incredible success of 'The Real Thing' was no fluke, and that they had something of genuine interest to say.

'King For A Day ...' isn't as elaborate as its predecessor and, as an entire body of work, transpires to be less heavy than '... Dust' or '... Thing' - although it does have plenty of individual moments of gut-wrenching intensity. The pacy, rhythmic 'Get Out' is a rousing opener, blasting in and straight out again in two minutes and 14 seconds; no fuss or flab, just Mike Patton's inimitable bellow and some fiery guitar. The guitars, keyboards and dense backing vocals mesh together magnificently during 'Ricochet', before 'Evidence' steps down several gears, Patton crooning delicately over Roddy Bottum's entrancing keyboard work and a guitar that laps at the listener's earlobes like a wave on a Pacific island. Mmmm ... soothing. Unlike 'The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies', which features a crisp, driving riff that Metallica would be proud of. 'Star A.D.' is also pretty off-the wait, incorporating a delicious silver toned guitar, what sounds like the horn section from hell and some bizarre jungle chants. But, unbelievably, it works! If 'Star...' is a little on the strange side, 'Cuckoo For Caca' is absolutely f**king deranged. A bone-crunching riff gives way to some insane hollering during the verses, then to totally unintelligible gibbering at the chorus. And later, during 'Ugly In The Morning', Patton escalates into even more unfeasibly lunatic bouts of shouting, working himself up into a lather over a crazy, spiralling riff. Having seemingly reached the zenith of insanity, the band quietly retreat within their straight jacket for 'Caralho Voador', which sees Patton mumbling gently in Portuguese to some lounge lizard organ accompaniment. 'Digging The Grave' is probably far more what FNM fans crave, adding a hint of melody to the usual primal ferocity. Likewise, 'What A Day', which could almost be a an outtake from 'The Real Thing'. However, crammed in-between this pair comes 'Take This Bottle', a dirge-like ditty that would threaten even Pearl Jam on the Gloom-o-meter. So thank heavens for the deliciously sedate title track, which is best described by its ; working title of 'Acoustic Groove', but which features a lead vocal that sounds like that bald pillock from Right Said Fred! 'The Last To Know' also holds back on the throttle, giving!

Trey Spruance the room for some chunky guitar chords, and even to rip out a Hendrix-style solo. Indeed, the closing track, 'Just A Man', shows how Jim Martin's departure has realty . allowed the band to stretch out. Brilliantly structured, with nary a power chord in sight, it's one of the band's finest moments. So FNM survive Big Jim's departure and emerge an equally angry, but certainly a better disciplined unit. Did anyone expect  any different?!

Rolling Stone | June 1996

Al Weisel In 1989, just as morning in America was turning into the morning after, Faith No More released The Real Thing. Featuring the unlikely hit 'Epic' ("You want it all, but you can't have it"), the album perfectly summed up the era of discontent that was dawning. That genre-morphing collection seamlessly fused punk, heavy metal and progressive rock with soul and rap and was a harbinger of alternative music to come from the likes of Pearl Jam, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nine Inch Nails. But like Gorbachev, Faith No More was subsumed by the revolution they helped make possible. Their follow-up, Angel Dust, a wildly uneven, self-consciously odd album, was a huge disappointment. Saying King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime is not as disjointed as Angel Dust is like saying Eve was not as fractured as Sybil because she had fewer personalities. From the Spandau Ballet-like blue-eyed soul of 'Star A.D.' to the thrash metal of 'Ugly in the Morning' to the Latin rhythms of 'Caralho Voador' (on which singer Mike Patton coos in Portuguese à la João Gilberto), the album is almost desperately eclectic. The Real Thing's genre hopping was effortless. Despite the loss of guitarist Jim Martin (his replacement, Trey Spruance, a more conventional, less interesting metal guitarist, left the band after recording this album) and a number of weak cuts like the campy 'Just a Man' and the dreadfully silly 'Cuckoo for Caca' ("Being good gets you stuff/Being stuff gets you good"), Faith No More's brilliance does shine through at moments. Among the best cuts are 'Ricochet,' a portentous anthem reminiscent of 'Epic'; 'Digging the Grave,' which has a grungy feel that isn't completely ruined by Patton's histrionic screaming; 'Take This Bottle,' a country alchy ballad worthy of George Jones; and 'King for a Day,' a haunting reverie anchored by Roddy Bottum's atmospheric keyboards. One hopes that that last song's moving chorus – "Don't let me die with this silly look in my eyes" – doesn't prove to be Faith No More's epitaph.

Metal Hammer | March 1995 Menacing by Pippa Lang Faith No More. as we know, have no problems with inhibitions. In fact. it's become their privilege to take risks. but how does any band gain maturity if, at the time, they need to retain that sense of reckless adolescence? Hear 'King For A Day...Fool For A Lifetime' and you might just grasp the method. On this, the Jim Martin-less FNM have almost reached an indefinable peak when a band becomes a slave to its own eclectic talents because it's too easy not to. Although there's something disappointing about the first two tracks - 'Get Out' is straightforward, rapid-fire FNM heaviness, 'Ricochet' a predictable FNM clone start with the smooth, smoochy in its own right? This venture into the outer limits of FNM's musicality disturbing to say the least - if you thought 'I'm Easy' was a one-off, you were wrong! But disturbing is what FNM are, and there's plenty to feed the deranged brain, whilst also realising that the band have become almost too smart for their own good. They are probably capable of anything. Although 'King For A Day.. .Fool For A Lifetime' may not be as ugly as 'Angel Dust', there is always Mike Patton's penchant for gibbering lunacy. When he goes for it, he goes for it in fine. ahem, angel dust for 'Cuckoo For Caca'. On tracks like this and the totteringly mad 'Ugly In The Morning' (and, as a reference point, most of 'Angel Dust'), Patton turns into a non-repentant, almost cruel and wholly malevolent child. But unlike 'Angel Dust', there is much more to 'King For A Day..' than that. So FNM have retained their inimitable sense of mischief, but the ease with which they pivot from one genre to the next boasts a maturity that they may not have been able to achieve with Jim Martin. Would Martin, for example, have approved of the smooth Mehicano pastiche this is 'Caralho Voador', with Patton's sexy-in-a-cabaret sort-of-way vocals? Or the smoochy 'Just A Man'? Probably not. It appears that Patton, in particular, has spread his wings magnificently since Martin's departure, turning from Tom Waits into Warren Zevon - from the blackest white voice you've ever heard into the smoothest crooner this side of Engelbert Humperdinck. Martin would probably have wholeheartedly supported the syrupy, Sabbath-esque 'The Last To Know' and the almost Queensrychian drama of 'Digging The Dirt'. But both these two, excellent in their FNM styling that they are, are not the band's that collective brain of theirs, how could they possibly sit still? With a vocalist who will end up being compared to Ozzy Osbourne and Tom Waits in eccentricity, and a musicality that's fast turning them into recognised 'musos', FNM are of serious interest not just to our genre, but to all genres.

NME | February 1995

Shit Sandwich by Ted Kessler

Imagine friends, that you are Mike Patton or Roddy Bottum. It is 18 months since you last played live, nearly three years since your last album, the well crafted though strained 'Angel Dust'. You've made a new record at last, you've shed your group's least appealing feature (some accolade in FNM!), irksome guitarist Big Jim Martin, but still you can't get it up for the group.

You'd rather, if you're Mike, be hanging out with your new missus - you always were the hardest to pin down to FNM anyway and now it really is a labour of love.

If you're Roddy, well, you were way out there when the rest of the group made 'King', strung out, tied up and only making the barest contribution, so you don't feel that much of an attachment to Faith No More at the moment, you'd rather be doing things with your other group, Star 69. Which must be weird because it was your way with an askew tune that blasted FNM out past their more doughy contemporaries in the first place. And now they're just a group you're probably only going to be playing with.

So what rose-tinted specs must you don each morn to find purpose in your work when you're as jaded as the two core members of Faith No More? How close to extinction must you be before actually realising that hauling a record as lame and half-arsed as 'King' around the world is the final act you perform as a group?

For there's no escaping the stench of last-gasp lucre and contractual obligations that hangs over FNM's fifth album. This is a nasty, vitriolic record made by angry men - but angry primarily at themselves. Angry at themselves for having to make another record with each other, angry at the way they've turned what once made them stand out in dramatic relief from the stodge of the likes of living Colour into cliche. On much of ‘King’ they merely sound like a parody of themselves.

You know this because a couple of times they pull their finger out and remind us of the lateral FNM thinking that made them so ace (remember how threatening they made The Commodores ‘Easy’ sound?). 'Evidence' is an eerie, laid-back piano motif that sounds like the kind of thing serial killers unwind with at the end of a long day. “I didn't feel a thing/You didn't mean a thing," moans Patton through the chorus, softly reminding you why you're glad you're not his neighbour.

And on the closing ‘Just A Man' they broaden the scope even further to embrace a huge soul sound with sweeping strings and chunky backing vocals. Sure, close your eyes and you're involved in one of Kari Wallinger's nightmares, but that’s the kind of place FNM work best: terrorising the mainstream.

These slackers do not sustain this level of imagination throughout, unfortunately opting to merely pound away at a trashy, operatic approximation of their former metal glories. ‘Ugly In The Morning' and 'Cuckoo For Caca' steam eyes shut, head down in that direction with the first single, ‘Digging The Grave' is an ugly flailing squall garbles nothing very loudly. And let’s be honest Mr Billy Gould, even you must be sick of those super-fast, twiddly bass contortions now.

Ultimately, 'King For A Day...' is the sound of a group shrugging and asking, grumpily, "Will this do?". They're not sure why they've made it or what you're supposed to do with it, but, hey, it's finished now: wanna buy it? The only justice to be had for this flagrant waste of talent Is when imagining how bored they're going to be with these songs after six months on the road. Heh heh heh.

Spin Magazine |  May 1995

Jonathan Gold

6 out of 10

What seems like several thousand years ago, before Lolla-palooza, in the days when Kurt Cobain was probably still working out Kiss songs on his guitar, Faith No More was the king of "alternative" rock. It was SPIN's Artist of the Year toward the end of the palaeolithic age, a genre-busting post-punk art-rock band whose music veered abruptly between Rush, Metallica, and Devo. And though it's hit 'Epic' may sound tame after a few years of Beck and the 69 Boyz, at the time, it may have been the rawest single to break into Billboard's top five. But it's last album, Angel Dust, kind of tanked, and its last hit, a rather too faithful rendition of the Commodores' 'Easy,' nudged the group over to a cramped corner of VH-1-land.

On King For A Day, though, the band reinvents itself with a deftness last seen when the Red Hot Chili Peppers signed on producer Rick Rubin and learned to write a hook. Faith No More let go lemuresque guitarist Jim Martin and temporarily picked up Trey Spruance from singer Mike Patton's side project, Mr. Bungle. It abandoned long-time producer Matt Wallace in favour of Andy Wallace (who mixed Slayer's Reign In Blood and Nirvana's Nevermind), and the album's sound has the burnished, jackhammer-sheathed-in-a-lubricated-condom presence of Wallace's best work.

Patton has finally abandoned his adenoidal Dickies whine for a more nuanced Jello Biafra-as-Tom Jones thing, which works better than you might think. Though the music still careens from genre to genre as casually as most bands go from chord to chord--there's a song here for every radio format, and you may grow to despise the "Sukiyaki"-flavoured blue-eyed-soul song 'Just a Man' --King for a Day is never less than coherent, which is more than you can say for Primus. On a few songs, Faith No More may be the first band to surgically join the Bay Area speed-metal crunch chords of bands such as Metallica and Testament with the kind of simply pop melodies Mariah Carey might feel comfortable singing. On parts of King for a Day, Faith No More does for speed metal what REO Speedwagon did for the regular kind of metal more than 20 years ago. And I mean that, I guess, as a compliment.

Raw Magazine| September 1995

Who's Fooling Who by Neil Jeffries

Is this mad or what? Five months after the original album release, London Records are re-releasing 'King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime' - plus four B-sides and five, six-minute interviews, one with each band member - as a boxed set of seven 7" EPs...

Cynics (and there are always cynics at times like these) would have to say that this is an unlikely way to attract new Faith No More fans and so the potential customers are almost certainly the people who already purchased one of the normal formats as well as the single B-sides. And what about those fans and collectors who want the interviews, but can't play vinyl? London Records should and do - know that even for rock fans, vinyl is an increasingly unpopular minority medium to collect.

But rather than race on up to the moral high ground and spit fire and brimstone down on

London Records, let's retrace the story of the music.

'King For A Day...' (first reviewed in RAW 170) is easily in terms of songwriting and performance - Faith No More's best album. Although it may be less Instantly appealing than their 1989 breakthrough, 'The Real Thing', it is surely destined to be recognised as far superior. If all was fair in the world of rock 'n' roll, it would already be a massive hit. But it ain't. It has sold okay in the UK and Germany, but pretty much stiffed in the States. How come?

Perhaps FNM fans were so disappointed by the uncomfortably varied highs and tows of their last album - the angst-ridden 'Angel Dust', made as much as an antidote to 'The Real Thing' as a natural followup - that they didn't trust its eventual successor.

Perhaps they were put off by the change in line-up, but FNM knew they had to improve or implode. Getting rid of guitarist Jim Martin prevented the latter and the hiring of guitarist Trey Spruance to record the album signalled the former. His playing on 'King For A Day...' added a new dimension to Faith No More's already eclectic sound. His subsequent refusal to commit to touring and his replacement with Dean Menta (who worked only on the B-sides that are now part of this package) was a strange step forward - even in the Twin Peaks-like world of Faith No More. But 'strange' is what floats their boats and besides - amidst all this smokescreen sat the album itself, awaiting and deserving serious attention.

It has to be said, this bizarre new format doesn't make it any easier, with the running order completely revamped and interrupted by interviews and less worthy tracks (especially 'I Wanna F**k Myself’) but then who, in all honesty, will bother to play all seven discs one after the other anyway?

The cynics are, of course, right. This is purely an exercise in marketing, hoping the fans'

devotion stretches to wanting to hear Bill Gould conclude that the album is "like a cabinet" or Patton talk sensibly - honest! about how individual ideas "get raped" by the rest of the band.

Roddy is thoughtful, deep and intelligent, Mike Bordin is irrepressibly enthusiastic, while Dean Menta tells the best story: But the truth is that the interviewer follows a predictable line of questioning and the answers will quickly pale in their interest. Of much more lasting value would be a discussion of why London didn't flex its marketing muscle a little more effectively five months ago and make the original album the hit it so richly deserves to be.

Access Magazine | 1995

4 out of 5 Tim Henderson

The exit of fun-loving socialite guitarist 'Big Sick Ugly' Jim Martin last year left a neutral yet staggering Faith No More with all guards down and a silence within the ranks. Alongside the rather bizarre follow-up (Angel Dust) to the band's cross-over revelation--1989's The Real Thing--the band had seen (and looked forward to seeing) brighter days. Martin has since been replaced by former Mr. Bungle axe man Trey Spruance (who recorded King...then left) and more recently, ex roadie Dean Menta, who's prepared to take FNM's long-overdue tour commitments to the hilt. King is the record FNM had to make. Focused, tender, crushing and emotionally straining. From the instant gems 'Ricochet' and 'Caralho Voador'[??] to the underlying humour of 'Take This Bottle' and pounding 'Ugly in the Morning', King is assured to land FNM back on their feet. Apart from front-man Mike Patton's annoying tantrum-shrieks, the band has rounded off the edges of extremity that made them a household name with 'Epic'. Well-executed and long-winded leaves the listener a hearty chunk to chew on, but the ensuing digestion is assured to please the palate.

Sputnik | 2007

4 out of 5

In short King For A Day... Fool For A Lifetime is an excellent album. It is by no means perfect, but Faith No More were one of the greatest left field rock acts of the 90's and this album is one of their very best. I would aim this one at the discerning rock/metal fan wanting to try something different, most of the album leans towards a straight rock/metal sound in comparison to much of their other work but the branching off into other genres along with the blending of sincerity and absurdity make for some strange turns. This is a band that has the ability to open doors musically for people.

All Music

Greg Prato

3.5 out of 5

Long-time Faith No More guitarist Jim Martin split from the band under less-than-amicable circumstances in 1994. Consequently, the group hired Trey Spruance (the guitarist from Mike Patton's other band, Mr. Bungle) to handle six-string duties for 1995's King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime. While it wasn't exactly the mind-bending masterpiece that 1992's Angel Dust was, it was easily their most musically straightforward album and was another challenging, exceptional release. As on Angel Dust, Patton truly shines on vocals, as he tackles any genre put in front of him -- romantic love songs (the soulful smooth funk of 'Evidence'), bile-spitting rants of hate ('The Gentle Art of Making Enemies'), cacophonous freak-outs ('Ugly in the Morning'), gospel (the light-hearted album closer, 'Just a Man'), and breezy pop ('Caralho Voador'). But there was also plenty of FNM's signature heavy sound to go around -- the furious opener 'Get Out,' 'Ricochet,' 'Cuckoo for Caca,' 'Digging the Grave,' 'The Last to Know,' and the almost progressive title track. While Spruance did a masterful job of filling in the shoes of an integral founding member, he abruptly split from the band himself on the eve of the album's ensuing worldwide tour (replaced by roadie Dean Menta).

King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime remains one of Faith No More's underrated releases.

Ultimate Guitar | 2008

9.5 out of 10

Overall, this album finds a nice middle ground between Angel Dust and Album of the Year. Although it could never live up to the intensity of Angel Dust, this album is a lot more approachable and doesn't disappoint. If this was to be looked upon as the usual rock album, it would sound disastrous. But the experimental talent of Faith No More has shown us over the years about how risky and unique an album can afford to be and still have the intensity. This was the Faith No More album that has gotten me into their music, and from a musician point of view, this album (along with other FNM albums) goes to prove how a band can synchronise and synthesise awesome and unique music. If my copy was stolen, I would happily purchase another one, because FNM is something no one should miss. Thanks for reading.

Livewire | May 1995

Resembling no other fantastical FNM opus, King For A Day is nevertheless a return of sorts to conventionally instrumentalised rock songs, back to (oxymoronic) prog-funk basics, chugging guitars, manic grooves, melody-pegging keys, swirling and thrashing smartly beneath a suave, unsettled and stellar Mike Patton performance. And suave is definitely the set-up on such smarmy, r&b-tinged complex-ballads as Take This Bottle, Just A Man and the melancholic title track, songs that are easy to love, that drink-ability carrying into the itchy, perky, bombastic rock numbers too, solidifying a record with an intellectual but toned-down character, peaceable agitation, busy buzz on neurotic simmer. The crazy professors have hatched an enigmatic one here, in remission from the insanity of ANGEL DUST, rediscovering THE REAL THING, but sawing off the edges to load up the layers, a kind of world-weary loungy maturity when mellow and introspective, which is nearly half the record. And when heavy, the band moshes on pins and needles, churning out the decibels only inches from Anthrax, finding punk-funk that manifests itself as sturdy face-flung-forward songs. Executive summary: artists off-the-rails harnessing the mania for something altogether rational.

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