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  • Writer's pictureFaith No More Followers

Q | March 1995


Faith No More: nasty, brutish and short.


King For A Day... Fool For A Lifetime

David Sinclair

Emerging from the grunge earthquake which swallowed up Living Colour and Anthrax, Faith No More find themselves in a tricky position. Since their last LP, Angel Dust, was released in 1992, contemporaries such as Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Primus have gone ballistic, while debut albums by Stone Temple Pilots and Rage Against The Machine have stretched the heavy rock envelope in opposite directions. Not big enough to ignore such developments (a la Metallica), Faith No More thus enter their fifteenth year competing for attention with a new breed of alternative rock n' roll warrior.

"Sometimes a good way to make music is to treat it like revenge," singer Mike Patton has remarked of the songs on King For A Day … Fool For A Lifetime and, as in the past, much of this album sounds like the work of men with brutish urges to exorcise. "Happy birthday fucker/Blow that candle out, we're gonna kick you," Patton sings with sinister relish over the complex, pounding riff of The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies.

Elsewhere, a grunge-ish strand of self-loathing is indulged to the hilt on Ugly In The Morning, during which Patton screams at the top of his voice "Don't look at me, I'm ugly in the morning" over and over again until he's practically gargling in his own phlegm.

While no one is expecting (or wishing) to hear the voice of reason from Faith No More, some of these histrionics now sound a bit old hat, as do the balled-fist, bullet-fast riffs that tend to accompany them. They still do it well enough, but it's a seam of extremist, oddball metal that has been mined to exhaustion.

Much better are the tracks which branch out in different directions: Evidence, with its superfly wah-wah funk rhythm and piano motif; Star A.D. a jazzy swinger with a neat saxophone solo; Caralho Voador with its Latinate rhythm and spoken-word lyric in Portuguese, and King For A Day, a tale of fear and loathing on the rock'n'roll party circuit, with a seductive acoustic guitar and strings intro. Best of all is Take This Bottle, a sort of country-metal lament with the finest chorus on the album, and a vulnerable, human quality that is the perfect antidote to the psychotic level of intensity maintained elsewhere.

Dyed-in-the-wool Faith No More fans should find plenty to get excited about here. And even though extending that appeal to embrace a broader audience may still prove problematic, this is one old band that is not content to let the grass grow under its feet.

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