Sol Invictus Review

artist: Faith No More date: 05/15/2015 category: compact discs
Faith No More: Sol Invictus
Released: May 19, 2015
Genre: Alternative Metal, Experimental Rock
Label: Ipecac
Number Of Tracks: 10
The first album from Faith No More in 18 years, with the same lineup as their last albums before their breakup in 1998.
 Sound: 7
 Lyrics: 9
 Overall Impression: 8
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overall: 8
Sol Invictus Featured review by: UG Team, on may 15, 2015
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: The band formed in 1981, and underwent several lineup changes, with Chuck Mosley being replaced by Mike Patton on vocals in 1988, and Jim Martin (guitar) leaving in 1993 to eventually be replaced by Jon Hudson in 1996. The band broke up in 1998 while touring for their sixth album, "Album of the Year," but they reformed for some "reunion shows" in 2009. In 2014 the band announced that they were working on new music, through hints on the Internet. They began to play some new songs live very soon after this, and the title of their upcoming seventh album, "Sol Invictus," was announced shortly after. "Sol Invictus" has 10 tracks and a runtime of approximately 40 minutes. The lead single from the album was the track, "Motherf--ker," that released in November 2014. The second single, "Superhero," was released in March 2015.

The album opens up with the title track, "Sol Invictus," which is very promising with a very bold sound that is fitting for FNM. The second track on the album is also the second single, "Superhero," which I can get into except for the chorus. They do a lot of interesting stuff, vocally, on this track - it reminded me a little bit of the Ziltoid songs released by Devin Townsend. "Sunny Side Up" is pretty awesome right out the gate, with some of Mike Patton's weirder vocals coming through pretty much immediately with "I'll be your leprechaun/ shamrock a lucky charm/ tap dance in olive oil/ dip into the sugar bowl." "Separation Anxiety" opens up with one of Gould's punk rock basslines running through most of the track and Patton's vocals switching between a deep conspiratorial whisper and a sing-song falsetto. "Cone of Shame" opens up with some western-sounding sustained note melodies on guitar, and a march on drums, and reverb-drenched vocals. The vocals later in the track get a little more wicked sounding and the song turns into a more straight forward rock song.

"Rise of the Fall" is an interesting track - it opens up a little bit fast and driving, but then slows up with a more of an ambling slower feel to it. It's also songs like this where I feel like Jim Martin is most missed, even though Jon Hudson does a great job - he doesn't seem to have the natural genius that Jim Martin had. "Black Friday" has a weird new wave feel to it, in the beginning driven mostly by an acoustic guitar and bass, and weird echo-ey background vocals and heavily processed clapping. The song kind of builds up to something else pretty quickly in the track. The first single from the album, "Motherf--ker," is a really dark song with a weird energy about it that is pretty infectious. The vocals sound almost like a chant with the chorus being sang over the chanting. "Matador" sounds a lot like something from Alice Cooper's "Welcome to My Nightmare," even with the creepy keyboard/piano melody. The album closes out with the song "From the Dead," which has a weird cowboy spaghetti western vibe mixed with a dash of vibes from "Tommy" by The Who. It is definitely an awesome song to close the album out with. // 7

Lyrics: Mike Patton is a master at his craft, end of story. Mike Patton's vocals are one of the strongest factors in the album, and the backup vocals are done artfully. When processing is used on the vocals, it is done tastefully and serves the song. The vocals on the album run the gamut a little bit, but oftentimes are in the realm of the abstract. As a sample of the lyrics, here are some from the track, "Motherf--ker": "Force fed more than we eat in the wild/ Grazed on a mash that can suffocate a child/ Bloated, promoted in an ode to pomp and style/ Moistening the feed while we choke upon the bile/ Cornering the market on the geese without the bones/ Hushing out the public in a strike without a drone/ The cage became collapsible/ Our sticks equipped with stones/ Get the mother f--ker on the phone, the phone" and then the chorus sang over the last line, "Hello Motherf--ker/ My lover/ You saw it coming." I had mixed feelings after my first listen to this track, then disliked it after my second listening, but I'm about half a dozen or so listens in, and I absolutely love it. // 9

Overall Impression: "Sol Invictus" is one of those albums that it takes a few listens to really appreciate, and for those who have been waiting for 18 years for the album it can also feel a little bit like a letdown. It took me a minute to realize that I was looking for an album that mixed the best elements of "We Care a Lot" and "Angel Dust" - then I realized we have a band that was a few albums past either of those releases when they broke up years and years ago. I went back and listened to their last two albums, and then "Sol Invictus" fit a little bit more cleanly into my expectations. I did grow to really like a lot about the album, but it isn't the second coming of "Angel Dust." I do think it is better than "Album of the Year," however. My favorite songs from the album would probably be "Motherf--ker," "Cone of Shame" and "Sunny Side Up." // 8

- Brandon East (c) 2015

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