Faith No More
Angel Dust


5.0
classic

Review

by Romulus USER (32 Reviews)
May 23rd, 2010 | 173 replies


Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Does emotional music have quite an effect on you?

Mike Patton consistently stated that the stories he told on Angel Dust had little or nothing to do with him. In some ways that might be relieving (picturing Patton as the suave mastermind dealer in “Crack Hitler,” for one, is extremely unnerving to say the least), but instead of detracting from the personal feel of the record, Angel Dust instead gains a new sense of life. I always liked imagining Patton pulled up in his Honda at a diner in the middle of San Francisco, watching people run by in their everyday lives as he plotted the ideas for such narratives as “RV” and “Everything’s Ruined.” He may not sing the praises of giving men head in his normal life (check “Be Aggressive”), but when he takes the microphone his masterful storytelling takes front seat and for three minutes and forty-one seconds you’re pretty damn sure that Patton is homosexual. In less graphic terms, Faith No More’s frontman is a masterful storyteller, and each song on Angel Dust unwinds like a chapter, each as enthralling as the next.

But putting it that way makes it sound all too neat. After the captivating (if slightly familiar) funk-metal attack of pseudo-debut The Real Thing, a story so reiterated that it’s become trite some eighteen years later began to unfurl. Patton’s avant-garde influences and distaste for mainstream success began to creep into Faith No More’s sound, and the results were at the very least surprising and at their most fully developed, brilliant. Chaos is often preferred to routine as numbers like the death metal-esque “Jizzlobber” prove. The melodies are viciously two-sided, often ranging from the tranquil and inviting to the harsh and brutal, sometimes in the course of a single song. Perhaps the bridge of “Malpractice” represents this most efficiently, as the song’s death march turmoil suddenly gives way to soft crooning and twinkling bells. Or maybe the disparity is best displayed when the aforementioned fierceness of “Jizzlobber” dissolves into a peaceful cover of the theme from Midnight Cowboy. In truth, keyboardist Roddy Bottum’s explanation of the album’s title puts it best--- “it's a really beautiful name for a really hideous drug and that should make people think.” In simpler terms, “balancing the beautiful with the sick.”

If the dynamic shifts are the backbone of the album, Patton’s previously mentioned roleplaying is the heart and soul. Through somewhat nonsensical and vague lyricism, he successfully portrays his characters in ways that are both amusing (the super-serious delivery on “Kindergarten” is a highlight) and disturbing (“Malpractice” is nightmare-inducingly evil). His range is his most widely praised asset, but the sheer variety in his vocal delivery is astounding. From tribal chanting to screeching, Patton’s tortured and gritty performance throughout the course of the record is truly nothing short of phenomenal. The rest of the band is impressively up to par as well--- the rhythm section combo of Billy Gould and Mike Bordin are both at the top of their game on Angel Dust, sparking the record with their mastery of a flurry of genres. Gould is at his best providing the funk, most notably the opening bassline to “Land of Sunshine” in which Patton, in perfect tongue-in-cheek form, welcomes the listener to the record as he chastises an invisible figure with every maniacal laugh. Bordin completes the duo impressively, his shining moment the classic opening seconds of single “Midlife Crisis.” Bottum plays a more mysterious (if not most crucial) role in the quintet, as his shimmering chords and intros often add a haunting dimension to the band’s sound.

To say it’s the simplest things that make Angel Dust what it is would be tremendously misleading. It’s the sheer amount of ground Faith No More covers on the album--- from genre to lyrical content to style to dynamics--- and the quality of every such path the band takes. Never once in Patton’s arsenal of tricks is his delivery forced, and never once does the band cease to be tasteful. As ugly as it is beautiful and as twisted as it is captivating, only one aspect of the record can be put simply--- few albums provide a listening experience as unique and enthralling as Angel Dust.



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user ratings (2275)
Chart.
4.4
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
EVedder27
May 23rd 2010


6088 Comments


Great great review Ryan. I had a feeling this was coming at some point.

Romulus
May 23rd 2010


8479 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I actually feel kind of stupid because this was supposed to be in honor of my one year anniversary but I accidentally posted it two hours earlier so... whatever. And thank you Mike, you're right that this was a long time coming.

RobotFrank
May 23rd 2010


344 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

HERE'S HOW TO ORDER!



Good summary, nice review.

KILL
May 23rd 2010


80944 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great review

Digging: Morbid Angel - Kingdoms Disdained

kygermo
May 23rd 2010


1007 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Awesome review. I just wish that the moderators kept my review of the remaster of this album in it's own place instead of bunching it in with the other reviews since this album is clearly a 5 but my review says otherwise. Anywhoo I'm seeing fnm in July in Philly and I'm super hyped

AtavanHalen
May 24th 2010


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, although I wasn't quite clear on some of the points that you make.



As it stands, this is my favourite FNM record.

Titan50
May 24th 2010


4588 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Fucking great review

Dryden
May 24th 2010


13555 Comments


mmhmm

WhiteNoise
May 24th 2010


3575 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome album. although I feel i'm the only one that hates Jizzlober. also Malpractice is pure evil recorded, awesome stuff.

Romulus
May 24th 2010


8479 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks guys, much appreciated.



I just wish that the moderators kept my review of the remaster of this album in it's own place instead of bunching it in with the other reviews since this album is clearly a 5 but my review says otherwise.




That bothered me too to be honest (not your fault duh). I went to the mods about it once but I don't think they did anything. Ah well it's not a huge deal. I'm probably seeing them in Philly too, never been more excited for a show in my life.



Good review, although I wasn't quite clear on some of the points that you make.




Could you go into a bit more detail? Maybe I can clean it up a bit



Also I don't know if you're the only one WhiteNoise but Jizzlobber is probably my favorite off here



AliW1993
May 24th 2010


7511 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very good review, very good album.

AtavanHalen
May 24th 2010


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

He may not sing the praises of giving men head in his normal life (check “Be Aggressive”), but when he takes the microphone his masterful storytelling takes front seat and for three minutes and forty-one seconds you’re pretty damn sure that Patton is homosexual.




Like, what did this have to do with anything?



His range is his most widely praised asset, but the sheer variety in his vocal delivery is astounding




Why say "but"? It's like saying "Bono is a wanker, but he's really a tosspot".

Romulus
May 24th 2010


8479 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

First one is just emphasizing the theme of how convincing his roleplaying is as a vocalist. He always says that none of the songs are based off him, but it certainly sounds like it when you start listening because he's so talented.



Second is a bit unclear, you're right. It's trying to say Mike Patton's range is his most widely praised asset, but on this record it's the crazy amount of ways he sings and screams and whatnot that make it really special. I might reword that one to make it more clear. And thanks, I always appreciate the help.

porch
May 24th 2010


8460 Comments


yo. good review


"in which Patton, in perfect tongue-in-cheek form, welcomes to listener to the record"

fix

BigHans
May 24th 2010


28559 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good job here, album rapes.

Spec
May 24th 2010


34848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Never got into this

Inveigh
May 24th 2010


26367 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I was gonna point out the same type-o as Porch, but he got it. Other than that, fantastic review, I like how it's not too long like some 5 reviews can get. This might be my fav Angel Dust review on here, which is saying something because Jorn's is pretty good. Pos'd.

Digging: Big K.R.I.T. - 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time

Romulus
May 24th 2010


8479 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thank you Porch, taken care of. And the quote is basically the easiest way to sum up the album (I still want to read your review for this though). Also much, much appreciated Inveigh.

Ponton
Emeritus
May 24th 2010


6145 Comments


Awesome review rom, really. I really enjoyed this.

Digging: Emperor X - Western Teleport

Comatorium.
May 24th 2010


4799 Comments


Great review, album fucking rules.



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