Sol Invictus reviews

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1712, 2015

Faith No More score big in Kerrang! end of year lists

December 17th, 2015|Faith No More, News, Sol Invictus reviews|0 Comments

Faith No More’s Sol Invictus features prominently in Kerrang!’s magazine and staff end-of-year lists.

Sol Invictus has been picked at number 5 in the metal magazine’s albums of the year list, with Bring Me the Horizon as number one. The mag states:

“Any band can get back together. But only the great ones do something with a reunion beyond nostalgia.”

Superhero features at number 11 in the magazine’s songs of the year list, while Sunny Side Up makes it at number 8 in the Videos of the Year.

IMG_6333 kerrangvideos

And naturally FNM also features prominently in the magazine’s rundown of their writers’ lists.
Sol Invictus is number 9 in editor James McMahon’s rankings, while deputy editor George Garner has Sol Invictus at 5. Art editor Steve Beech has SI at 2 in his list and features editor Sam Coare slots it in at 6. Picture editor Scarlet Borg gives Sol Invictus her album of the year nod, stating:

“I love the FNM album so much because I never thought they’d record another album, let alone tour it. They were the soundtrack to my 20’s and for five old blokes they rock like a motherfucker. Oh, and Mike Patton is a genius.”

James Hingle has FNM at 2 and Ryan Cooper at 9. Freelancer James McKinnon also selects Sol Invictus as number one on his list:

““We knew from reunion tours that Faith No More could still talk the talk, but Sol Invictus proved they could still walk the walk of a powerful creative unit. More than a sign of life, it’s a full blood transfusion of bristling and innovative tunes as authentically twisted as anything they’ve ever done. For that reason it’s not just 2015’s best comeback record, but maybe its best record full stop.”

 

 

3007, 2015

Faith No More get rave preview in New York Times

July 30th, 2015|Faith No More, News, Sol Invictus reviews|0 Comments

Faith No More play (the theatre) at the iconic Madison Square Garden on Wednesday 5 August – and they have just got another laudatory write-up in The New York Times.

The Times says:

“Empty rituals, trinkets and fossils,” Mike Patton gargles within the first half-minute of “Sol Invictus” (Reclamation/Ipecac), a rattlingly vital new album by Faith No More. He’s taking aim at religious trappings but maybe also disarming the pomp around, say, a cult-heroic rock band in the midst of an unlikely reunion…Startlingly, “Sol Invictus” feels like more than a reboot; it has genuine ambition, and a growly sense of purpose. Whatever Mr. Patton has to say about rituals, it’s bound to be interesting when Faith No More plays its first-ever show at Madison Square Garden.”

3006, 2015

Links for a day 183: Superhero honour, behind the scenes and more

June 30th, 2015|Faith No More, Links for a day, News, Sol Invictus reviews|2 Comments

Here’s our round-up of what’s been happening over the past few days while the rest of the music media have been belatedly catching up with the Faith No More Foo Fighter’s snippet.

Superhero number 2 in What Culture list

The list in question is their 10 Best Hard Rock And Heavy Metal Songs Of 2015 (So Far) rundown and Superhero comes in at number 2. Here is some of what they say:

“One of the most mature and meticulously stitched together hard rock songs of the year for a band whose iconic status has only been extended further with the genre defying Sol Invictus.”

Sol Invictus in Rolling Stone album of the year list

Another list.  Rolling Stone has published its clickbaitish albums of the year so far list – in June. They say: “It’s nearly half over, but the year of the dueling streaming services has already given us plenty of reasons to press play. Mumford went electric, Dylan went Rat Pack and Mark Ronson went to the top of the charts. D’Angelo made a huge impact on 2015 with his bold return (after 14 years without a new album), which was followed by comeback LPs from Faith No More (after 18 years) and the Sonics (49 years). And of course there has been no shortage of newcomers — indie wordsmith Courtney Barnett, hip-hop’s giddy Rae Sremmurd, high-concept dance crew Future Brown — turned heads as well. Here’s the best of 2015’s first six months.”
And on Sol Invictus, they re-iterate:

“Sol Invictus, the band’s first record since 1997’s underrated Album of the Year, offers newer, better versions of Faith No More’s formula: spaghetti-Western guitars (“Cone of Shame”), proggy keyboard drama (“Matador”) and tons of vocal contortions from lead singer Mike Patton (“Rise of the Fall”).”

Insightful Niccolò Antonietti interview

If you have been at any of the Faith No More shows this summer, chances are you will have spotted among the white-clad crew bearded monitoring engineer Niccolò Antonietti. He has given an insightful interview to ZioGiorgio, which gives a look behind the scenes on the technical aspects of putting together the Faith No More live experience.

Here are some choice cuts:

“I had the chance to work as monitor engineer for Mike Patton’s parallel project “Mondo Cane”. I must have done a good job because after the concert Mike Patton asked me if I wanted to work with them till the end of the tour as their official monitor engineer. From then on it was like a snowball effect. Mike Patton asked me to work with Faith No More and then with Tomahawk, and then, with the help of their sound engineer, I also started to work with Primal Scream. I then decided to move across to London and work here.”

“We did “Download” in Donington (UK) last week, where we had only half an hour for stage changeover, with 10 minutes taken up to changeover from the previous group. This year we had a completely white stage, including white carpeting, so another ten minutes were for stage set-up, and so in the remaining ten minutes you need people on the stage that know what they’re doing.”

Yoga and the No Worries hotel in Finland

Mike P and Roddy lead the crowd in some yoga instruction and arrange a date at the No Worries hotel at Provinssirock.

Burton snowboard winners

The winners of those wonderful Burton Faith No More snowboards met the band in Sweden at the weekend. Anneli Grotterød, Steve Murphy and Felix Seifert were the winners.

Read more here (via @mariadollyfnm)

Refused hitch a ride

As reported by UpRoxx and elsewhere, Faith No More offered a plane ride to reunited Swedish punks The Refused to Provinssirock.

Late, late Antiquiet Sol Invictus review

There is a lot to be said in this age of immediate gratification and instant evaluation to let an album soak in and wash over you and I’ll assume that’s why Antiquiet have waited about six weeks before passing judgement on Sol Invictus.The review is worth waiting for as they say:
“I won’t go into any trite soapboxing about whether or not this is an acceptable “comeback album” or what Faith No More may or may not have had to prove to anyone, whether they did or did not succeed in doing so, or any of all that obvious blogger bullshit. But what I do feel is safe to say, and re-affirmed by this album, is that Faith No More is still very much a force to be reckoned with, and one of the most powerful bands still working.”

1506, 2015

Two glowing reviews for Faith No More Glasgow show from mainstream UK press

June 15th, 2015|Faith No More, News, Sol Invictus reviews, Tour dates|3 Comments

Reviewers were out in force last night for Faith No More’s show at the O2 Academy in Glasgow. Here are two from the mainstream Scottish and UK press.

Daily Telegraph

“The volume was punishing, the lighting restless and intense. When Patton sang into a distorted microphone made from a taxi radio, shouted into a loudhailer or just opened his throat and screamed down the mic it was a physically affecting experience, the sound combining with the monolithic noise of the band and the aggressive pulsing lights to produce a head-ringing sensory overload.

It was disorientating noise terror, but was as likely to be followed by their cover of the pop soul classic Easy Like Sunday Morning or an easy listening version of Midlife Crisis as it was by yet another aural assault.”

The Herald

“Sol Invictus itself provided evidence they’ve not blunted their ideas, with a playfulness around sturdy rock structures, including some pop undertones on a rousing Superhero. The noise was consistently furious, with the rhythm section of Mike Bordin and Billy Gould propulsive, but that quirkier nature delivered an added spark, including an ear-splitting Midlife Crisis that casually, effortlessly, dropped in a snippet of Boz Scaggs tune Lowdown halfway through. The Academy, and Glasgow, may not see better this year.”

2805, 2015

SOL INVICTUS REVIEW: Finally a review from Ireland and its a corker – 4/5 from State

May 28th, 2015|Faith No More, News, Sol Invictus reviews|0 Comments

The Irish media with the honorable exception of Metal Ireland has heretofore ignored the  release of Sol Invictus but leading music site State has now posted a lengthy and positive review.

The give the album 4/5 and State state:

“The things is that they’re just unique, no one else really sounds like FNM, and all the Black Sabbath cover versions in the world can’t hide the fact that they can’t help but sound like themselves. Their peculiar chemistry is exactly what I wanted from this record. Sneering, sardonic, loud, hyperactive, unable to stick in any one musical rut. And Patton, he’s still weird, he’s still angry, even if he’s not. He’s still got it. They all do. Thank god.”

The full review is well worth a read.

2605, 2015

Expert interview #5: Ben Hopkins (Clash magazine)

May 26th, 2015|Faith No More, Interviews, News, Sol Invictus reviews|0 Comments

Ben Hopkins is a freelancer writer, primarily of music biogs for Warner Music but also of film and music articles for a variety of publications primarily Clash, where is he also film editor. He wrote the Complete Guide to Faith No More for Clash and has also written for Monocle and Record Collector among others. Ben is the latest Faith No More expert to kindly answer some questions from us on the band’s new album Sol Invictus.

1/ You have written the complete guide to FNM. How does the new album stack up?

Before hearing it, my main thought was simply: please don’t suck. It’s a slow burner – there isn’t anything as immediate as From Out of Nowhere or Ashes To Ashes. At the same time, there aren’t many extreme stylistic transitions from song-to-song like with Digging The Grave and Take This Bottle or She Loves Me Not and Got That Feeling. Yet many of the songs – Sunny Side Up, Rise of the Fall and Black Friday – have a little of both of those extremes within them.

Atmospherically, it strikes me as being closest to Introduce Yourself. It’s hard to pinpoint why – partially because Sol Invictus has plenty of almost repetitious rhythmic grooves like that album did, but also because the lyrics to several songs on both albums read like transcripts to a series of particularly unpleasant psychiatric examinations. For all their obvious differences, Mike Patton and Chuck Mosley share a fondness for a darkly enigmatic turn of phrase.

FNM always seem to evolve from album and to album, and that’s again true here. It’ll take more time to judge, but I’d currently rate Sol Invictus as the band’s second most consistent album after Angel Dust.

2/ Do you think Faith No More have proved that they remain relevant in 2015?

I think the concept of relevance in music is a misnomer: an undefinable excuse to discredit something on an ad hoc basis for no substantial reason. If we’re talking about relevance to a younger audience, then they have to a degree – in the UK at least, the festivals they’ve played since the 2009 comeback and some of the media that has supported them should help to create a healthy following amongst people just getting into music.

That said, people that have been into the band since way back and are strolling ominously towards their own midlife crises – or at least, those who discovered them just as they were imploding last time around – will surely remain the dominant demographic of their fanbase.

3/ What is your favourite song on the album and why?

Initially it was Separation Anxiety, which would be obvious given that stylistically it isn’t too far from Caffeine, The World is Yours or the heavier mid-paced tracks on King For A Day. Then it was Cone of Shame for the full Patton vocal spectrum from menacing whispers to random yelping. Now it’s Matador, which manages to cram most of the band’s best attributes into one song.

 

4/ Faith No More have gotten a bit of a bad rap for spawning the worst excesses of nu-metal. What is your take on that?

I’d be surprised if any band really considered in advance what influence they’d have over those that followed them. Similarly, those nu-metal bands would just as likely be influenced by FNM’s contemporaries who were also doing something inventive from a base of aggressive guitar music – throughout that period you had Nine Inch Nails, Primus, Tool, Rage Against The Machine, Helmet, Jane’s Addiction, Ministry and doubtless many others that I’ve forgotten about.

That said nu-metal isn’t automatically a bad thing, but the majority of genre would inevitably take influences from the aforementioned bands and either streamline them for a sound with more commercial crossover potential, or dumb it down to the lowest common denominator. Neither of those approaches are necessarily appealing if you’re used to Angel Dust or King For A Day, but each to their own.

Simply aping FNM would be tricky for most bands given the band’s apparent collective love of doing the contradictory (and what other bands would rotate their guitarists like Spinal Tap did with their drummers?), as well as most vocalists’ inability to match Patton’s versatility.

5/ What are the more positive influences that Faith No More’s music continues to have?

For bands, they set an example that you can maintain your own path and still have a certain amount of success. For fans, their eclecticism offered a gateway into a wider variety of music.
And I managed to write all of that without a single reference to Mr. Bungle.

 

2305, 2015

SOL INVICTUS REVIEW: ABC gives 4/5 review

May 23rd, 2015|Faith No More, News, Sol Invictus reviews|3 Comments

A pretty much glowing review from the US broadcaster ABC even if their potted history is odd. They say:

Here, the band is back in full force, wide awake and ready to dominate. Mike Patton is in top vocal form seesawing from low growls to operatic yelps — although, for the most part, he pretty much sticks to the former, giving the album a metallic bit of menace. The opening title track sounds like Tom Waits in spots, as does “Motherf*****.”

At its core, “Sol Invictus” is a muscular beast that bounces from the heavy riffing of “Separation Anxiety” to the bellowing pop of “From the Dead.” It should come as no surprise to any past fans that this band maintains its eclecticism. After all, this is the same group that delivered the Red Hot Chili Peppers-esque “Epic,” and then, a few years later, dropped a very straight-ahead, loyal cover of the Commodores’ classic “Easy.”

2205, 2015

Links for a Day…(vol. 176): Bill Gould video; Maor Applebaum; Metal Hammer cover; Classic Rock on Wiltern show and more

May 22nd, 2015|Faith No More, Interviews, Links for a day, News|15 Comments

Bill Gould speaks to For Bass Players Only

An interesting video interview from Bill for For Bass Players Only in which he speaks about starting playing and especially his partnership with Mike Bordin.
(via @fnm4ever)

Metal Hammer cover

What a cover! Faith No More will again grace the cover of Metal Hammer for its new issue which goes on sale on Tuesday.

We’ll have details on the story when it is published.

Maor Applebaum on Sol Invictus

PMC speakers have put out a media release featuring some interesting quotes from Maor Appelbaum, who mastered the album:

Mastering engineer and musician Maor Appelbaum says the clarity delivered by his PMC monitors helped make a complex project much faster and more enjoyable.

“Sol Invictus is a collection of very different songs that work like scene changes within a movie,” he explains. “While each song has to work on its own, it also needs to work as part of the whole project.

“In order to achieve a cohesive effect, I used quite a big mastering set up, which included two analogue compressors, two analogue EQs and various digital compressors, limiters and de-essers. The monitoring was critical and I was very pleased with the clarity and precision of my PMC speakers, especially when I was playing tracks at high volume. They give incredibly detailed sound, which makes the reviewing process much faster – and they are not fatiguing at all so, if I need to, I can spend longer in front of them without feeling tired.”

Classic Rock gives rave review for Faith No More at Wiltern

We’ve been concentrating only on album reviews lately but here’s an excellent live review from Classic Rock/Metal Hammer/Team Rock:

Frontman Mike Patton is wearing some sort of bondage harness that tugs at his nostrils and cheeks, contorting his face. And they open with a new song entitled Motherfucker, slow building and weirder than a furries convention on acid. They follow that with the colossal From Out Of Nowhere. So much for magic and madness.
…If there’s a complaint it’s that the Wiltern always sounds muffled, with excellent views of the backs of peoples’ heads, but even that is solved when the entire crowd sings along to Midlife Crisis. Not known to be easily impressed, Patton gives a nod of approval, acknowledging one of those special nights, and perhaps that we’d forgotten Faith No More could be so good. We won’t forget again in a hurry.

Metal Hammer Hungary feature

This is a great in-depth feature in the Hungarian version of Metal Hammer from Faith No More fan Máté Sándor. Here is Máté’s own summary in English. (Thanks Máté):

“I try to analyse the music, the artwork of the album, and the meaning of some lyrics. How I see this great masterpiece. I write about that its not to easy make a new album after 18 years, but Faith No More give a fantastic answer to the doubters. The title of the article is Sunshine from the Grave. I analyse every song. Mike Patton said in a Chilean interview: when he makes music, its like he’s watching a movie. And if he watches a movie, its like he hearing some music. So that’s why I wrote about my visual vision about Sol Invictus songs. I analyse the marketing strategy, and the potential continuation in the future.”

Diffuser ranks Faith No More’s albums

We’ll come back to this in a separate post but here’s Diffuser’s very readable ranking of Faith No More’s seven albums from worst to first. Not the high placing for Sol Invictus.

Distorted Sound review

UK rock and metal site Distorted Sound has given Sol Invictus a 9/10 review. They conclude:

“Matador, one of the finest tracks to be on Sol Invictus and one of the most ambitious that the band have written to date. Chilling, funky, everything in between, and everything you can expect and want from a FAITH NO MORE track.

A stunning closure to the beginning of FAITH NO MORE’s return, From the Dead sets the perfect feeling for a track that leaves everyone remembering exactly what it was they missed about this band and why Sol Invictus is more than just a comeback record, it is the sort of past that none of us mind digging up.

With excellent experimentation, superb vocals, beautiful music and incredible production, Sol Invictus is the perfect way to walk back into a room and remember that some things, we should not let go of and FAITH NO MORE is one of them.”

2205, 2015

Expert interviews #4: Phil Weller (Manchester Rocks, The Sludgelord)

May 22nd, 2015|Faith No More, News, Sol Invictus reviews|1 Comment

Phil Weller gave on the best early reviews of Faith No More’s Sol Invictus for the Sludgelord site – “All you really need to know is this: ‘Sol Invictus’ sounds like Faith No More and no one else. It’s diverse, thrilling” – and he is our latest expert interviewee. Phil is a freelance music and sports journalist and the founder and editor of the excellent Manchester Rocks site (which also reviewed Sol Invictus recently). He has also written for Metal Hammer and Echoes and Dust and plays guitar in the prog metal band Prognosis.

 

1/ You reviewed the new album Sol Invictus for The Sludgelord – what is your overall verdict on the band’s return?

In terms of their return I think that, considering just how long it’s been since Album of the Year and the fact that they’ve been reunited for six years now, you couldn’t really ask for more. The album covers a huge spectrum of different sounds and textures – as we’ve come to expect from them – and I strongly expect the majority of FNM fans to be delighted with the record. Personally I love the contrast of dark songs like Separation Anxiety, Motherfucker and Cone of Shame with more upbeat songs like Sunny Side Up. As an album it ticked all the right boxes for me.

2/ When did you first hear the album? Is receiving a preview so early normal practice? Did that help in that Sol Invictus seems to be an album that requires some immersion?

I’ve had the album for about a month now I think, it’s perhaps a little earlier than is normal practice but the general idea is to have the reviews helping promote the release date of an album. So the earlier the better in many ways.

I would agree that it’s a very complex album, there’s a lot of stuff going on, lots of minor details all over the place that, with more listens you do notice more, but at the same time the album clicked with me straight from the off. I had the biggest grin on my face when I first heard it; it didn’t take any time to grow on me. But the more I immerse myself in the album the more you appreciate the nuances; it gives you the opportunity to focus on a different instrument or detail. I think that’s one thing that makes the record so fun for me because every time you listen to it you discover another little Easter egg rather than everything coming at you in the first instance.

3/ You mentioned in that review that Faith No More remain unpredictable and that it is a record only FNM could have made. What makes them so unique and why has no one successfully followed in their footsteps?

That’s a tough one. I mean, they’re special in my eyes because they don’t really fit into any particular movement or scene; they’re very eccentric in the mixing of styles they use. Because of that, it’s impossible to predict where they’re going to go. If you listen to the opening song of every FNM album for instance, they all start with a great big bang with lots of guitars and energy but Sol Invictus is the complete opposite of that. It starts really delicately, really slowly. You’d think after so long out of the limelight as far as new muisc is concerned they’d need a gung-ho opening but the fact they didn’t fall back on that exemplifies just how unpredictable they can be.

I think the reason that no one has successfully followed in their footsteps is because either no one wants to or no one can. If you look at the other bands around them back in the 90s – Soundgarden, Alice In Chains etc. – they’re bands that are copied a lot nowadays. But I don’t think FNM have ever really had a signature sound which is replicable, I think FNM are FNM through Patton’s voice and the duality of the keyboards and guitars, through the personalities and mind-sets behind the music rather than what is actually being played.

Maybe I’m wrong here but, as influential as FNM have been, I don’t really think there’s a band that you could look at and place a dominant and direct corellation.

4/ So-called nostalgia acts including Faith No More dominate the lineup for Download and other festivals. How should older acts and up and coming bands co-exist?

This is a subject I could talk a long while about. As much as FNM are a nostalgia act, they haven’t been half as present as the likes of Metallica, Maiden and Slipknot on festival bills, particularly the headline slot. I think the problem is that nowadays festival organisers seem less willing to book what would be a ‘risky’ headliner like Avenged Sevenfold at Download last year was perceived to be. In reality, Avenged are a band with a huge following and are very well established – they’re hardly a ‘new’ band anymore – and I think the risk pulled off. Just as I think it will with Muse this year. Having a band like Metallica at your festival guarantees ticket sales but it doesn’t help nurture the longevity of metal’s elite as such. Bands only get to the stature of ‘festival headline worthy’ if they’re given a chance to prove themselves in the first place, just as it is with football, rugby or whatever, you’ve gotta give these up and coming talent big games to shown they can do it before people view them as worthy of a first team place. I’d love to see bands like Lamb of God, Machine Head, Mastodon and so on offered higher billing, alongside the older more established bands. Like you say, they have to co-exist. Metallica won’t be around forever so you could argue they should headline more while they’re still around but there can’t be a gap in size when they do call it a day, you want your Lamb of God’s, Five Finger Death Punches or whatever ready to step in their shoes.


I actually think Download are doing this well at the moment. This year for instance they’ve got Slipknot, one of the world’s biggest metal bands, Kiss, one of the world’s biggest rock bands and Muse who are a bit of a curveball. It’s a good balance and then you have bands like A Day To Remember given a big slot which should, just as Avenged did when they played under System of a Down in 2011, help nurture them to be ready to take the headline slot as the band grows that little bit more over time. I’m not a fan of A Day To Remember, but it’s great to see young bands given a bit more limelight.

Bloodstock are also great at this, with Machine Head, Lamb of God, Rob Zombie and Trivium all being given their first outdoor UK festival headline slots.

5/ You seem to be a fan of the band. Was it difficult to be impartial in your review or is that second-nature for you now as a writer?

I’d say it’s second nature now. One thing I have noticed is that, the more I review, the more albums I hear and the more gigs I see it becomes harder to impress me because I’ve seen much of what that particular band has on offer before.

I notice a lot of people’s first reviews are very superlative almost just because they’re excited to be writing about rock music, and as time goes on they become more balanced with their reviews. Let’s just hope that in 10 years’ time I’m not some miserable bugger repeating the line “music was much better back in my day.”

But yeah, I’m a fan of the band for sure. Sometimes you end up looking at a new album by a band you love through rose tinted spectacles which can kind of blind you in terms of taking negatives from an album, but I work hard to remain impartial.

6/ Do you think Faith No More are under-appreciated or misunderstood in the UK mainstream media? When the 80s and 90s are being fetishised we get grunge, Britpop, Madchester, Smiths, Cure, Stone Roses etc but FNM seem forgotten – any idea why?


Good question. Personally I’d maybe say it was down to the fact they are such a difficult band to pigeonhole. With the Stone Roses there was a whole explosion of the Hacienda scene around them and that was the same with Slipknot, Korn and so on with Nu-Metal. But FNM have never really fit into a category or specific movement – and writers and fans alike love to organise things into neat, easily understandable piles – and so they were maybe forgotten out a little bit more. It’s like having a load of toy cars in one pile, a load of toy soldiers in another then that one action figure on his own in the corner who gets neglected a little bit.

But at the same time that’s what a lot of people seem to be appealed by. It’s the same with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, no one sounds like them, they just are the Chillis. But no one forgets a truly great and truly original band and I think they’re reunion has sort of hammered that home. They’ve returned, found themselves a whole new fan base who weren’t around that first time as well as pre-existing fans or people who were aware of them in the 90s view them with a fresh perspective. I think Sol Invictus is definitely an album that should see them get a hell of a lot more credit.

7/ Is Sol Invictus one of your albums of the year?

I don’t know how many albums a year I hear, it’s scary to think of it really, but this is definitely one of, if not the stand out album of the year so far. It’s just so classy, so catchy, so intelligent. Like I said, there’s no one who sounds like FNM and that’s what makes them so special. It will take something ridiculously good to convince me that 2015 will see a better album. But time will tell. Mutoid Man, Royal Thunder and Wild Throne are on fine form right now.

 

 

2205, 2015

REVIEW: Germany’s Der Spiegel hails Sol Invictus as a “masterpiece”

May 22nd, 2015|Faith No More, News, Sol Invictus reviews|0 Comments

Leading German magazine Der Spiegel recently gave Sol Invictus a brilliant 9.5/10 review. The review is written by the editor of Spex – who also did that wonderful double review of the Faith No More album and Blur’s Magic Whip – Torsten Groß and we’re very fortunate that the brilliant Mira has provided expert translation in English for us.

In May 1997 FNM performed at Berlin’s SO36. They looked tired and listless, obviously disliked each other even though dressed in uniformed suits. The title of the album that the show was promoting seemed even more ridiculous against this background than it was anyway: ‘Album of the Year’ – which then wasn’t the album of the year but the Californian’s swansong. In 1998 it was over, singer Mike Patton suggested to please shoot him if he was to play with Faith No More ever again.

11 years later it happened to be that Patton and drummer Mike Bordin met again at Roddy Bottum’s wedding. They wallowed in nostalgia – and suddenly from 2009 on Faith No More played a couple of shows every once in a while. Parallel to this rapprochement the musicians secretly started recording a new album about two years ago. Gould and Bottum had a couple of ideas, Patton reportedly needed to be convinced on a night out drinking.

You would believe it, because of all it was hard to see Patton as part of Faith No More again. While Bill Gould struggled through the years, Patton made clear that his interpretation of crossover had more to do with John Zorn than with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, with more and more crazy and in parts unlovable projects, sometimes even tainted with a pinch of arrogance. Patton is a top singer who covers the entire range from softly seducing crooning to hysterical metal shouting – and enjoys showing it off.

The romantic fairytale of a band whose total is greater then the sum of their parts seems to be coming true now. ‘Sol Invictus’ shows once again that only Gould and Bottum are able to handle Patton’s expressive talent and give it a concise frame. In the remoteness of Gould’s studio, FNM, together with guitarist Jon Hudson – predecessor Jim Martin breeds award-winning pumpkins today and didn’t bother to take part – reflected on their core virtues, without a label, producer or management. The only weakness of the old Faith No More was them, in some sort of a post-pubertal attitude, insisting on not meeting any expectations.

Now they managed to incorporate this anarchic stance into an album which turns out to be astonishingly homogeneous despite its vast stylistic bandwidth. From the sinister title song to the final chord of “From the Dead”, not a single tone is out of position. “Superhero” is a mangy angry bastard, “Cone of Shame” a dynamic shuffle with a ghost train-like middle part, “Black Friday” an easy western ballad, “Matador” finally serves as an example of everything Faith No More are and always were. A kind of a mini rock opera, an indie version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” so to speak. Mike Patton nags, shouts and purrs, he whispers and crows, seduces the listener to finally spit him out with ease. A masterpiece, nothing less. (9,5/10, Torsten Groß)

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