Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Faith No More - Sol Invictus (2015)

Genre - Alternative Rock / Alternative Metal
Label - Independent Release
Track listing:
01 - Sol Invictus
02 - Superhero
03 - Sunny Side Up
04 - Separation Anxiety
05 - Cone Of Shame
06 - Rise Of The Fall
07 - Black Friday
08 - Motherfucker
09 - Matador
10 - From The Dead
11 - Superhero Battaglia (bonus track)

Now I have to admit to that fact that I have never really been a huge Faith No More fan, sure I liked some of the singles and the odd album track, but they never really blew me away, so it was quite an interesting experience listening to their new album, their first new release in eighteen years!
"Sol Invictus" continues the past decade’s trend of comeback albums that manage not to damage the reunited band’s legacy (for example albums from the reunited Skin, Van Halen, Living Colour, Black Sabbath).  Indeed, if this album had been released in 1999 as a direct follow-up to 1997’s Album of the Year, no one would have batted an eye.
"Sol Invictus" features the recording lineup of, singer Mike Patton, bass player Bill Gould, drummer Mike Bordin, Roddy Bottum (keys) and guitarist John Hudson.
Producing the album themselves, there's no gloss and no conventions. These guys have the benefit of road wear and multiple side venues (Mike Patton, especially) to give them a new perspective.
Better yet, they have unrestricted freedom to do as they please and allow the songs to take them wherever they choose, without having to force them to conform to some AOR exec's ideals.
Slinking into the album with Roddy Bottum's mellow piano passages and Mike Bordin's modified march, one feels instant gratification as soon as Mike Patton threads his voice into the title track. First Patton half-grunts and half-whispers, then rises up to the smooth crooning octaves that's given him mass appeal.
He reverts to snarl mode on the politically-charged, jumpy "Superhero", which grows in intensity as Hudson and Gould slam their instruments with the same vigour they left in this band the first time. Bottum's cascading keys on the song's sullen choruses hit such a nerve the listener is apt to weep with joy by their gorgeousness. With Mike Patton's overdubbed screams and 'leader of men' mantras, along with Hudson's raking guitars in the final stanzas, this is, without a doubt, Faith No More restored
Patton scats his way through the slow-jiving verses of "Sunny Side Up" and scream-sings the choruses with the maniacal glee his followers have come to expect. A funky transition from the guitar pushes into a flirt with pop, but a massive anti-pop finale opens up the band's airspace for Gould's encumbering bass knocks on "Separation Anxiety".
Appropriately dense, Gould's bass lines on the verses of "Separation Anxiety" shoves everything down around the listener until the song erupts into an orgasm of broiling funk-metal and rocks the hell out the remainder of the ride.
 "Cone of Shame" is one of the most experimental pieces Faith No More's yet written, and the payoff for the skulking weirdness leading off the track is another explosion of Rock excellence.
This one is sure to play like a climax onstage, as the song hits a stupendous apex where Patton heaves at least a quarter of his vocal arsenal amidst the thumping bellicosity around him.
Brilliantly dabbling with reggae on "Rise of the Fall", the song morphs into a warped mix of samba, cha-cha and a sliver shorn from a Danny Elfman score. The continuously-evolving nature of the track (which will remind listeners of MR. BUNGLE along the way) again gives Mike Patton opportunity to layer the thing with a jubilantly twisted gaggle of voices. Those alone are enough to disseminate, much less the chattering maracas and accordions spilled into the song.
"Black Friday" afterwards rides a gusty acoustic melody and heaving tempo, with echoing handclaps and pounding guitars dumped into the mix. The songs hits loud, head banging crescendos but never abandons its savoury glide.
Rap-scatting through the hilarious "Motherfucker", Mike Patton has assured himself and Faith No More an instant chant-along to last them an easy two decades further, depending on how long this second ride is intended to go.
Ditto for the mini-epic "Matador" (jokingly told to audiences long ago it was a cover), likely to go down as one of the band's finest hours and certainly one the most ambitious song Faith No More's ever written.
Considering this album had little odds of coming about years ago, well worth the wait for "Sol Invictus". It's a brand new beginning with a brand new vibe that's still Faith No More in soul.
It's not heavy as before but more mellow, yet one thing is for sure: Faith No More still is the more courageous, innovative, crazy genre-breaker band out there.
And in some ways, "Sol Invictus" is the most mind-blowing performance under the Faith No More moniker. As the closing number asserts, Faith No More is back from the dead, thank God.
Do yourself a favour and try some refreshing music, this one delivers it in spades.

Well worth checking out

Rating - 9/10

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