Here’s today’s early raft of reviews have a strong Australian accent.
Leading Australian newspaper has a concise but 4/5 review:
“Sol Invictus is musically focused and concise, striking on a moody palette of darker atmospheres, thrash outbreaks, dramatic piano and the ferocious power of Mike Patton’s vocals. Long-time fans may bemoan the lack of an easy-listening pop ballad and the extreme schizophrenia, but the pay-offs are powerful fare like the erratic jazz-pop of Sunny Side Up, the hallucinogenic From the Dead and Mother—-er’s soaring, parting-of-the-clouds chorus. Seems like they haven’t missed a beat.
And leading Australian music site awards the album 8/10, saying:
“Sol Invictus translates as “unconquered sun” and in typical FNM fashion they’ve cleverly twisted that into “son” and the spirit of individuality and enthusiasm (see the cover art) that still pervades a young person’s formative years. The album conveys that via Patton’s border-of-insanity lyrics and the restless musicality that conveys both claustrophobia and unbridled passion. They are still kicking against the pricks and the socio-political machine but they’ve done it in a way that doesn’t sound like grown men re-enacting their long shorts and askew baseball cap years.”
“The expectation was there for a good return to form from a band that always followed their muse no matter how much it threatened to derail their commercial potential. The reality is they’ve far exceeded that with Sol Invictus, an album that in its finest moments matches the best of their golden years. Rock isn’t dead, it sometimes just needs time to regroup and rejuvenate.”
Staying in Australia, Tone Deaf give the album their Hit or Shit and opt for Hit overall. I don’t get their criticism of the first half of the album as I think Side A is the better side but here’s their overall verdict:
“It’s hard to fault a new Faith No More record based on the fact that Faith No More would have to try pretty hard to release something lackluster. Luckily for fans, the band have seamlessly returned into their groove, and delivered a record that is not only an acceptable return to form, but also a genuinely great release by their standards.
With the exception of a few less-memorable tracks towards the beginning, Sol Invictus is a worthy addition into Faith No More’s catalogue, as well as an incredibly solid Alternative Rock album in general. Even after almost 18 years of inactivity, Faith No More remain a fully-fledged creative force. Welcome home, indeed.”
About.com award Sol Invictus 4.5/5 in a lengthy review, concluding:
““Matador” is brilliant and is as strong as anything the band has accomplished. Haunting melodies blend with a building chord progression before exploding into a grandiose addictive chorus. Patton’s voice is emotional and incredibly powerful. Bassist Billy Gould and drummer Mike Bordin provide the perfect backdrop and lock into a hypnotic groove. The chorus finds the band at their best as it drives into your cortex refusing to leave.
A huge advantage of Sol Invictus is the fact there isn’t a minute of wasted space. Clocking in at under 40 minutes it is easy to consume and dive into the complex material they compose. The music world needs a band like Faith No More to push its boundaries and comfort levels.
Sol Invictus is a gigantic achievement as it can easily sit alongside the rest of their brilliant catalog. This is a reformation that wasn’t forced or done strictly for financial reasons. This sounds like a group of guys who wanted to continue to play together and it shows in the creativity of the material.”
Ghost Cult magazine also go into detail in their review and award 9/10:
“‘Separation Anxiety’ is the heaviest track on Sol Invictus and certainly if you are the type of person that pines for the first three FNM albums, this is the song that will resonate with you the most. ‘Cone of Shame’ is wildly dynamic and strange, but also driving and melodious. Patton shows off the most of his insane vocal ability here too. The perfect blend of all of the rollicking elements of the band you want in one track.
Although Billy Gould, who produced the album (except for Patton’s vocals) is always seen as a driving force of the band and definitive mouthpiece, Roddy Bottum’s keyboards dominate this album. All of his weird 80s synth-pop craziness, mixed with his deft jazzbo piano stylings are ever-present in songs such as the torchy ‘Rise of the Fall’, the sinister yet beautiful ‘Matador’ and elsewhere.”
Two leading Norwegian newspapers have also had their say.
Dagbladet laud the record:
“To accentuate a single cut is however a little vain. All the songs speak to each other and therefore so that “Sol Invictus” should be heard in its entirety for maximum effect.” They also describe the record as “40 intense and effective minutes” and state that “Faith No More are not in the habit of writing the same record twice.”
Aftenposten‘s review is headlined: “Faith No More: searching, mysterious and sexy” and add.
“From the creepy, angry riff of “Separation Anxiety” via Americana-themed “Black Friday” to uptempo-pop ballad “From The Dead”, the whole is the sound of a rock band trying to be a rock band…[Faith No More like] “Queens Of The Stone Age through the last decade, searching, mysterious and sexy rock bands that know the rule book so thoroughly that they know exactly when it is best to break the rules”.
The popular German music site laut.de gives Sol invictus 4/5 and give a lot of praise to Mike Bordin and Bill Gould in particular: Of Mike B, they state: “His heavy grooves, a healthy mix of the powerful and the accentuated shape the sound design of FNM more than strings.”
And Musikexpress.de gives the album 4.5/5 and states:
“Patton croons and croaks, barks and roars. His talents are nowhere better off than in this band. The tracks here are inspired mainly by the band’s own discography: “Sunny Side Up” is as funky as “Evidence”, “Cone Of Shame” takes off where “Home Sick Home” stopped, and “Separation Anxiety” is reminiscent of the dark moments of Angel Dust. That is also the downside: Sol Invictus adds to the recent work nothing new. But who knows: Maybe Faith No More are just warming up again. If anyone is capable, it is them.”