Fantomas
Delirium Cordia


3.0
good

Review

by Med57 EMERITUS
May 20th, 2005 | 57 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist


The Band: Mike Patton (Vocal sounds)
Buzz Osbourne (Guitars)
Trevor Dunn (Bass)
Dave Lombardo (Drums)

Released: 2004 (Ipecac)

Imagine being in hospital. Imagine going through major surgery while being awake; feeling surgeons dig into your body, scraping away impediments, while all the while you're lying helplessly awake, screaming inwardly for some sort of release from emotions of pain, fear, and abject terror. Now, imagine this idea set to music. Think about it for a second, and wonder how exactly you would do it in a way that actually coveyed these emotions successfully. I'm sure we can agree that it's not particularly easy, right? When you listen to this album, that's what you get. Indeed, the scariest thing about this album is not the fact that it can genuinely freak the hell out of people listening to it. The scariest thing about it is the fact that it came out of the mind of Mike Patton, a man who has quite possibly crossed the line between genius and what can only be described as insanity. Because make no mistake about it, this album is completely crazy stuff.

Patton is still best known in the mainstream as the guy who did those weird rap-rock vocals on Faith No More's smash MTV hit, Epic. However, the rest of Faith No More's output, including their masterpiece of Angel Dust shows just how wrong this perception of him is, and basically every other project he's worked on is pretty much guaranteed never to penetrate the consciousness of popular music. To be quite honest with you, that's completely understandable. Not only is Patton hugely busy, having worked with groups such as Tomahawk, Mr. Bungle, Dillinger Escape Plan, and Fantomas themselves, but his music frequently transcends genres, taking in elements of everything from jazz to funk to death metal, often within the same song. In short, this guy is weird, and he's attracted a seriously devoted fanbase as a result of it, since he can be responsible for making some of the freshest, most original music around. Put it this way, if you ever buy a Mike Patton project knowing what you're going to hear, you're either psychic or stupid. However, due to the experimental, challenging nature of his music, his projects have never really got the attention they deserve from any sector of the media. Even when releasing albums that get acclaimed as truly exceptional, like California with Mr. Bungle, they get shamefully overlooked. While some of you may be wondering where I'm going with this, my actual point is pretty simple: given that his more "conventional" projects are ignored, it's no surprise that this one does, because Delirium Cordia may be the weirdest damn thing that he's ever appeared on.

What exactly is Delirium Cordia then? Well, for a start it's over 74 minutes long in spite of being one song. To put that in perspective, let's think of some of the longest songs that get played on the radio. Stairway To Heaven is just over 8 minutes long, meaning that this is 9 times the length of that. Immediately, any chance this song or album has of entering the popular consciousness gets blown away. It also means that it's very hard to listen to individual bits of the song. You can't skip to the bit you want to listen to without using the fast forward button, meaning that if you really want to get the album at all, you have to listen to the whole thing, which may well be something that you're not overly keen on. Oh yeah, and the last 20 minutes or so of this? Basically complete static, before someone shouts "1, 2, 3, 4" at the very end of the song. So, if you don't want to listen to the entire thing, that's the bit which you could skip. To get there though, you've still got nearly an hour of music (9 Stairway To Heavens) to sit through. While you may be thinking that at least you've got Patton's voice to keep you interested, that's where the next bit of news comes in. Some of you will have noticed that I've credited Mike Patton with making vocal sounds on this album, rather than actually singing. That's because there are no lyrics. Patton makes a lot of noises with his voice, but he doesn't actually sing anything recognisable as a word throughout the entire album.

OK, so no singing, vocal noises, static...what else is on this album? Well, I don't really think it's an exaggeration to say that there's not much in the way of conventional music here either. Quite a lot of the album is very ambient, punctuated with bursts of complete insanity (bear in mind that we do have Dave Lombardo on the drums). The overall feel of the music is created by thrilling, dark keyboards as well as basslines that sound as if they've been created in some deep cave where they've gestated until they were ready to scare the living hell out of people. However, the key to the song does lie in the vocal sounds. There's a lot of screaming here (not in the sense of Maynard Keenan screaming...screaming in the sense of "Holy Christ, I'm terrified" screaming), as well as, possibly more chillingly, effects of doctors talking, bones being scraped, clocks, and everything that would actually be heard in an operating theatre. Think Pink Floyd gone evil, and you kind of get the idea about what I'm talking about here. Naturally enough, given Patton's seeming obsession with it, there's Gregorian monk style chanting going on as well, making everything REALLY ominous (in case you haven't got the message yet). A lot of the menace of the music lies in its simplicity though. Around the 30 minute mark there's a repeated, very quiet piano part, which sounds like the type of thing a child is told to play when they first sit down at a keyboard. It's very creepy though, in a way that seems to defy any real logic.

If from this you're trying to work out what the album actually sounds like, that's very understandable, but I can't really convey it that accurately. It's not a flowing work of music, but it also can't really be broken down into individual songs, as there's no real turning points in the music. Personally I wouldn't even call it a work of music so much as a work of art. While that may sound hideously pretentious, the CD is a soundtrack to an as yet unwritted horror film, and due to the hugely experimental nature of the music, there's definitely no way that I'd even attempt to put it in a genre beyond the all-encompassing label of "alternative". As I've said, it has jazz, metal, electronica, heavy percussion (some of which is just Patton's voice), as well as all sorts of crazy effects like wind machines which fade in and out. The concept of the album leaves the listener with even more to reflect on, in particular what exactly is going on. Of course, ultimate opinions on what the music is meant to mean are left down to the individual listener, but it's pretty clear what the overwhelming concept is. Something slightly unsettling is the final 20 minute static sequence. Has the patient gone into a coma, shockingly recovering at the very end? Of course, no-one knows, but it's just a very unsettling thought.

So, onto the final rating. For the first time in my life, I have absolutely no idea what to give this CD. It obviously isn't for everyone, to the point where it's not something that most people will enjoy at all. Even if you do listen to it, you won't exactly be playing it for weeks. There are no hooks, and even if there were, finding them would be a challenge. That said, it's a fascinating album. I first got it a few weeks ago before losing my copy somewhere and downloading it again yesterday. It's a hugely compelling listen, and one that I would honestly advise everyone to check out, just to see what it was like, since there are no real ways of describing it. Having said that, if you get this, be prepared to hate it. This CD pretty much defines an acquired taste. One final word of warning: do not attempt to listen to this when falling asleep, driving, walking somewhere alone, or anything like that. Although people insist that you can, having walked through a park near me at night with this on, I can honestly say it was one of the weirdest, trippiest experiences of my life, and not in anything approaching a good way. Listen to it, but not in circumstances like that.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Med57
Moderator
May 20th 2005


1001 Comments


Bah...this review stinks. I honestly can't put this into words...you get my general drift in the review hopefully.

angelo_d_necro
May 20th 2005


43 Comments


Would this piece be something along the lines of Nurse With Wound or something? That's what your review makes it seem like

RushHourSoul
May 20th 2005


26 Comments


I thought that was a good review. Makes me want to check this out now

Med57
Moderator
May 20th 2005


1001 Comments


Thanks.

Angelo_d_necro-I've never heard Nurse With Wound before..I've just googled them and I guess there are similarities, but I can't comment for sure, obviously.

choke383
May 20th 2005


66 Comments


I Got this album a while back and I never got to listen to it just to the end. I tried a few times, but its pretty long.
I'll try and try to listnen to it in a creepy place, just for the feel

angelo_d_necro
May 20th 2005


43 Comments


Nurse With Wound are kinda hard to describe, industrial ambience is the best term I can think of, imagine a pulsing horrible noise repeated over and over getting louder then it just stops, then a creepy little voice says something nonsensical then a horrific scream comes out of nowhere, that defines about a minute and a half of a 10 minute NWW track (best description I can give sorry)

br3ad_man
Emeritus
May 20th 2005


2125 Comments


It was a good review, though a bit too long.

I would give this 3 stars. The first 15-20 minutes are tops and the rest sucks.

EDIT: Also, this album is good for a few listens and then it's useless.This Message Edited On 05.20.05

Dancin' Man
May 20th 2005


719 Comments


I thought this was about as good a review as anyone could do for this album. In fact, this is probably the hardest album to review I've ever heard of. I actually quite like it although I've only been able to listen to the whole thing, beginning to end, about 3 or 4 times because it takes so damned long.

Clumpy
May 21st 2005


76 Comments


I think the hardest albums to review are albums either wayyy out from left field or wayyy mainstream. For example, reviewing "Delirium Cordia" is probably beyond my ability - I just don't have the proper mental thesaurus yet.

On the other hand, it would be very hard to review a Blink 182 or Green Day album - I'd have to strike that careful balance of writing an honest review without pissing off fans of strange music or mainstream music.

angelo_d_necro
July 4th 2005


43 Comments


This has actually became my single favourite piece of music after I finally had to courage to listen past the operating noises, one thing though, I always thought it was actually the soundtrack to the last hour and 15 minutes of someones life as surgeons attempt to save them, the static at the end's representing the final death and the very end bits the build up to the after life(?), dunno just how I viewed it.

Med57
Moderator
July 4th 2005


1001 Comments


That's as good an interpretation as any. I mean, I don't think there is any one meaning of it, but I'd never thought of that. Pleased you like it, anyway.

stubbszilla
August 25th 2005


9 Comments


I've just been getting into fantomas, and this seems like its right up my alley, latley I've been fucking with songs on my ipod with guitar effects to make them more to my tastes. This seems like it could be fun.

Irish Nostalgic
November 15th 2005


9 Comments


I always thought of it more as a soundtrack to nightmarish terror in general, with surgery as a kind of recurring theme.

Aeaon
December 26th 2005


188 Comments


Great stuff.

Prince of Darkness
February 17th 2006


186 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not the best Fantomas release but it's ok. I like Directors Cut and Suspended Animation the most.

Hatshepsut
October 17th 2006


1997 Comments


How long is the song?

ScelusNefas
October 17th 2006


274 Comments


1h 17 min

I would not say not the best but certainly not the most listenableThis Message Edited On 10.17.06

kingsoby1
Emeritus
October 18th 2006


4956 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This album made me audibly say "meh"... it's ambitious, and I'm sure Patton and company had fun making it. But it's a bit too experimental/ambient for my tastes.
You should all check out John Zorn's "Moonchild" right now... Zorn wrote it to be performed by Patton, Trevor Dunn, and someone else I forget now. Imo, that is what I envisioned Fantomas being, although Suspended Animation is great.

BlastFunk03
October 18th 2006


83 Comments


i just might check this out, seeing as how mike patton is an amazing vocalist.

ScelusNefas
October 18th 2006


274 Comments


This album is more about his freaky mind than his vocal talent, if you want my opinion.This Message Edited On 10.18.06



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