Review Summary: Fantômas is a breath-taking experiment, encompassing ideas outlandish and untouched. This album is best listened to in a dark room with a fire gently rolling in its center.
If you've ever had a nightmare about being trapped in an insane asylum, confined to a room, only able to hear the disgruntled shrieks of the adjacent inmates, you might be able to compare with Fantômas's sound. Book one starts the novel with the vocal equivalent to a heartbeat, leading straight into a bell-lead chorus accompanied by frantic clicking noises. A few sparse maracas and chimes back the intriguing sonic exploration, melding smoothly with the raving freak outs; the majority of Fantômas's self titled debut is led by drums, bass, and animalistic sounds, uttered by the lauded Mike Patton.
Now, you've established yourself in a mental hospital; your ride has just begun. Soon, your thoughts race through your mind, projecting movie quotations, sparse laughter, and footsteps to your auditory senses. Have you begun to lose your mind? The album, now on page five, has you lying uncomfortably on your generic white, semi-cushioned bed; strange jungle chants mix with the bleatings of a nearby didgeridoo, and bamboo drums, colliding with euphoric, tribal screams, explode around you.
You're in the fetal position; the noise slows to a paralyzed sprawl of muddy bass, for a brief moment. You've turned the page to six and seven, and, just as some semblance of calm began to creep into you, sharp screams violate your ears. The pages are flying open now, exposing themselves without your beckoning; you're on a podium amidst howling cannibals, chanting their death songs in lieu of the avaricious act of their ripping your flesh off. You're about to die!
And then, nothing. You're tightly clutching your legs to your chest, moisture streaming off your face; you're still hearing and seeing all these horrible things, but you're anchored. You can see your feet. Now you can see the machine housing your head; it's a surround-sound mind-***. Mechanical noises and scattered ululations crawl into your brain as the pages fly off the book.
You don't know how long you've been here, but the book is winding down; more edges of your reality are tearing, and Patton's mouthing noises you didn't know existed in this dimension. Guitars are spewing pithy cries of dead lambs and drums interlace beneath with the women calling out in the night for salvation. Your white walled room and the pitfall jungle of your mind finally intermix and eternally intertwine.
You've just been taken into a nuthouse by a few people bashing instruments and screaming into a microphone.