(9/10) There are some bands that play good music and there are some bands that almost turn the known upside down by creating an own style. Faith No More is one of those bands.
My first touch point with the iconic quintet was end of the 80's when they released their third album "The real thing", followed by the fantastic live release "Live at the Brixtion Academy". The music was just mind-blowing since it was something new, something thrilling. I couldn't place Faith No More's music into any scheme. The way how the guys merged styles of hip-hop, rock and metal music was unique at that time - and it still is. Songs like "Epic", "From out of nowhere" and "We care a lot" became classics in rock music. Those tunes have been the base for a new genre that is crossover - in the widest meaning of the word.
In 1998, after having released their "Album of the year" longplayer, the band decided to disband. A sad moment for each rock fan. The band members started/continued with several projects - good ones, but those never came close to what the guys achieved with Faith No More.
In 2008 there was some first gossiping that the band would come together again for playing some shows in the "Album of the year" line-up. They did perform on several big festivals but the future of the band was still unsure.
Overtime things got more clear and it seemed that the guys have started to write new songs. "Motherfucker", a first new song, was performed live when the band opened for Black Sabbath in London.
In the meantime we are in 2015 and the unexpected became real - we can welcome a new album from the rock music dinosaur. "Sol invicitus" has been recorded by the line-up that also did 18 years ago the last studio record called "Album of the year". And even though this was such a long time inbetween the new longplayer feels like a seemless continuation of where they stopped with the predecessor.
In total "Sol invictus" comes with 10 new songs. The album is another milestone and it is 100% Faith No More.
The start is the title track, a silent piano-based number that has a dark vibe. A good beginning. Things get a bit more rocking with "Superhero". A typical Faith No More guitar riff is the base for the song and Mike Patton's vocals are covering everything - from melodic vocal lines to crazy shouts. The performance of this guy is just excellent.
The trip continues with "Sunny side up" that also belongs also to the more relaxed tunes on the album. Esp. the verse is a more quiet one before the chorus makes the track to a very intense one. "Seperation anxiety" is a grooving track with a rhythm that slowly creeps into your brain. The bassline is irresistable.
"Cone of shame" starts with a slow pace before it explodes towards the end while the following "Rise of the fall" is an almost reggae-based tune that builds up along the way. In the second third the song gets pretty heavy and Patton can show again his vocal range before the number returns to the beginning pattern.
"Black friday" kicks-ass with it's acoustic sections that reminded me to the Pixies. The country expression makes the track weird, what makes it special and entertaining too.
"Motherfucker" is the next tune on "Sol invictus". This tune feels like a journey back to the earlier times and the mix between hip-hip, metal and rock is the main characteristic of this highlight. For me one of the best pieces on the album and a well chosen first single release. There can't be no more Faith No More than this.
With "Matador" the band shows again the softer side with piano, a dominant bassline and excellent vocals. Having heard this song means also 'coming closer to the end'. There is one more track to go. "From the dead" is the closer, rounding off a highly entertaining album that is closer to discs like "Album of the year" than to "The real thing". But it's still 100% Faith No More what you get and the longplayer can easily live up to the expectations - at least to mine.
The only downer on this (almost) perfect release is the running time. With not even 40 minutes the record became rather short. A bit more Faith No More would have been very welcome. But on the other hand 40 min. of new Faith No More material is far better than nothing.
"Sol invictus" became the strong and dynamic album I was hoping for. It's full of excellent songs, all reflecting the bands trademarks.
... and now stop reading this review and get your copy of this musical milestone.
- Sol Invictus
- Sunny Side Up
- Separation Anxiety
- Cone of Shame
- Rise of the Fall
- Black Friday
- From the Dead
Label: Reclamation/Ipecac Records
Genre: Alternative Metal