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Faith No More seamlessly blended metal, hip-hop, alternative rock and funk, creating some of the most groundbreaking albums of the 80’s and 90’s.
Before recruiting vocal powerhouse Mike Patton, the band was fronted by Chuck Mosley. His brattish delivery was perfectly suited for We Care A Lot (from the 1985 album of the same). It’s an acidic take on the self-congratulatory nature of charity events like Live Aid:
We care a lot
About you people
About your guns
About the wars you’re fighting
Gee that looks like fun!
Faith No More’s pre-breakup release Album of the Year was a mixed bag, but lead track Collision is a juggernaut of a tune, with Mike Patton’s mighty bellow riding a dinosaur stomping riff.
The band were determined to break new ground on their 1992 album Angel Dust. The most experimental track is Malpractice. It’s a horror show of a tune about a woman addicted to plastic surgery. The songs lurches from thrash metal riffing to serene string samples making for a disorienting listen:
The crowd roars
They’ve ruined and repaired me
The rest you know
The hands removed the bad thing
Faith No More’s album King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime, featured guitar work for Trey Spruance, recruited from Patton’s Avant-garde metal band Mr. Bungle, and his off-kilter riffs fit the band perfectly. Enemies is a prime example, with Patton mocking cutthroat corporate culture:
Your day has finally come –
So wear the hat and do the dance
And let the suit keep wearing you.
This year you’ll sit and take it
And you will like it –
It’s the gentle art of making enemies
Ugly In The Morning (also from the King From A Day album) is a darkly comic tune with discordant riffing and Patton at his most vocally and lyrically unhinged:
I know how piggy feels
He starves without missing a meal
Look in the mirror.
Don’t look at me I’m ugly in the morning!
Our last selection from King For A Day is a strident anthem that would be staunchly euphoric if not for Patton’s sly lyrics, which resonate with anyone with a sick sense of humor:
It’s always funny until someone gets hurt…And then it’s just hilarious!
Faith No More’s Everything’s Ruined (from the album Angel Dust) features the band at their most majestic. Keyboardist Roddy Bottum’s cinematic piano figures align perfectly with one of Patton’s best vocal performances. The lyrics are evocatively enigmatic:
And he spent himself
Would not listen to us
But when he lost his appetite
He lost his weight in friends
Epic is one of the first notable fusions of hip-hop and metal. It’s also a strong showcase of the band’s talents: Patton’s mix of rapping and strident vocals, Bottum’s haunting keyboards, Billy Gould’s seismic bass slapping and Mike Bordin’s pounding drums mesh perfectly.
However, the MVP goes to former guitarist Jim Martin thanks to his killer riff and widescreen solo.
Faith No More are known for their left-of-center covers, but their take on The Commodore’s Easy is surprisingly reverent. The band plays it straight to sublime effect.
Fans expecting an Epic Part 2 were left scratching their heads on the band’s 1992 album Angel Dust. The band jettisoned rap-rock, hell-bent on subverting rock conventions with mad scientist intensity. Producer Matt Wallace’s opulent production was also an about face to the Grunge aesthetic popular at the time.
Lead single Midlife Crisis has a dark charm that frames Patton’s sly lyrics mocking baby-boomer navel-gazing:
What an inheritance
The salt and the Kleenex
Bending my pinky back
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