So much more than just another ‘alt-rock’ or ‘metal’ band Faith No More could pack influences into music so tightly I would have no other choice but to call it ‘genre skipping.’ Crazy as that sounds they do it in individual songs. Funk, hip hop, metal, and even easy listening soft rock balladry naturally bounce around so well you’ld think they were a basketball.
Add that to the fact that Mike Patton is the best living rock vocalist on the planet (seriously, he has a vocal range that stretches six octaves) and you have a powerful explanation as to why music fans are salivating at the mere thought of a new Faith No More record.
Eighteen years between records and Faith No More not only picks up from where they left off, but do it as if both a love letter to fans and kiss off to anyone else. In fact, the feel of Sol Invictus is far more reminiscent of Angel Dust than the commercially lauded The Real Thing. The result is an album that just seems to go in whatever direction the wind is blowing at any given moment. Which isn’t to say that Faith No More lets anything get away from them, but rather that the transitions seem natural.
The title track opens with a bit of a circus atmosphere before breaking off into atmospheric melody. “Superhero” takes medal riffs and builds them towards a climatic cliff that is followed by the sinister “Sunny Side Up” which comes off as the proclamations of a narcissist. Characters are littered throughout Sol Invictus creating a type of epic short story one might imagine as the work of Flannery O’Connor or Richard Bachman. Listening to “Black Friday” as it describes living in the “age of the mercenary” comes with the realization that hope is a matter of perspective. Faith No More may not have created a pop masterpiece, but they have made a record that tells dark stories of broken people in vivid sonic colours. Sol Invictus is an album that stays with you long after the needle has lifted, and compelling enough to keep you up long after your head hits the pillow.
For you fans of vinyl, Faith No More have given you a couple options. Sol Invictus can be ordered in clear (limited edition) or black 140 gram vinyl and of course their web store also has a variety of bundles to make a true music geek happy.