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  • Writer's pictureFaith No More Followers

Q | June 1992


Peter Kane

Nobody could accuse Faith No More of having had an easy ride. Formed as long ago as 1982, the San Francisco quintet were going precisely nowhere for a good five years until the caustic, lurching attack of We Care A Lot began to attract attention, especially in Europe. Everybody agreed they sounded pretty damned heavy without quite deciding on a convenient pigeon hole. Funk metal?

That'll do, even if it's now a little wide of the mark. But just when fortune seemed finally set to rise, out went charismatic vocalist Chuck Mosley, and in stepped a brattish, all Californian boy called Mike Patton. It could have been back to square one. Instead the decision was vindicated by 1989's The Real Thing, an album of unnerving power that eventually went on to sell by the million, thanks initially to word of mouth before the band's endless capacity for covering the globe and the two gargantuan singles, Epic and From Out Of Nowhere, took over. Angel Dust is just that bit bigger and better than what they've managed before.

A lot of water has flowed under the bridge in the last three years -not least the coming of Nirvana-but as Metallica have more than proved, there's still bags of room at the top for exponents of machine drilled fusillades of bulking great noise. If that alone is the yardstick. Faith No More need have no fears.

Caffeine and Smaller And Smaller offer the most obvious homage to those masters of the mega dirge  and thrash, while Malpractice leans more to hardcore slaughter. Elsewhere, though they stalk a terrain that is now recognisably their own. The thunderous chords, looping bass and psychotic keyboards of land Of Sunshine, Kindergarten and Midlife Crisis have Fatten babbling away persuasively, almost against the momentum of the songs. The lyrical niceties may be buried in the sheer density of the mix but this hardly matters as the Juggernaut rolls impressively on.

Patton, in fact, earns his keep throughout, whether it's the crunchy rapping of Be Aggressive, the straighter delivery required on Everything's Ruined and Small Victory or even an unlikely Tom Waits bar-stool mumble on something called RV. Of the 13 tracks on offer, only Crack Hitler fails to really gel, leaving the wistful theme from Midnight Cowboy to sign off the set in perhaps the most incongruous way imaginable, especially after the extra strengthen Jizzlobber has gone about its bludgeoning business. If Faith No More were once one of those bands to be cared for more in principle than in the cold light of day, Angel Dust finally lays that ghost to rest. This is tightly constructed noise on the grand scale that bellies its simple metal calling. It's loud, it's aggressive and, like any rock record worth its salt, it excites at the most instinctive level. Their time has surely come.

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