Faith No More
Sol Invictus


3.5
great

Review

by Lambda USER (69 Reviews)
May 11th, 2015 | 102 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Never lose faith.

Faith No More's last record was 1997's Album of the Year. That record's title was chosen ironically, as the band was not happy with it. Fans, for the most part, agreed. The general consensus is that the band's best record was 1992's Angel Dust; indeed, it is widely considered one of the best albums of the '90s. Sol Invictus comes twenty-five years after that effort, and while it is not as good as Angel Dust, it is a satisfying comeback.

Mike Patton's vocal performance is, predictably, fantastic. The biggest difference between his performance here and past FNM records is how frequently he utilizes his low range. Sol Invictus features it a lot, and since it is excellent, that is a good thing. And though there is no brutally heavy track akin to "Jizzlobber" or "Cuckoo for Caca" on here, Patton does get to display his wilder side on "Superhero" and "Rise of the Fall," the latter of which comes closest to the cinematic vibe of Angel Dust. Lyrically, though, there are some hiccups. Since Patton's excursions into glossolalia via Fantomas and his work with John Zorn's Moonchild project, he seems to have lost his knack for the lyrical witticisms that were displayed on Angel Dust and, to a lesser extent, King for a Day. 2006's Peeping Tom project featured some particularly poor lines. However, with that said, the lyrics on Sol Invictus are more often good than bad, and overall, Patton gives a dynamic, energetic, and wonderful performance. The other members hold their own as well, though guitarist Jon Hudson's playing is still largely devoid of personality.

Aside from emotionally resonant guitar work, though, what's missing from Sol Invictus-- and indeed, what has been missing from all of Faith No More's records post-Angel Dust-- is atmosphere. Angel Dust had a clear sense of purpose. The title, track order, artwork, and music itself all aligned with it. From that sense, the atmosphere was derived. Sol Invictus feels like simply a collection of songs, rather than an utterly cohesive musical statement. This is not to say Sol Invictus is a bad record, only that it lacks the atmosphere that characterized the band's best record and thus is not propelled into the stratosphere like that one was.

Sol Invictus is also too short. Another two or three tracks would have been welcome. And indeed, even some of the songs that are here are too short. The title track builds beautifully, but then ends without climaxing. "Sunny Side Up" is one of the most interesting songs on the record, with its alternating from 14/8 to 16/8, but at under three minutes, needs more. "Mother***er" builds and builds, and the climax is fantastic-- but it's over too soon. While this shortness does result in a lean record devoid of filler, more content would both extend the album's replayability and provide more opportunity for the band to experiment.

Sol Invictus is thus a skeletal but enjoyable effort. The band sounds rejuvenated; perhaps, so happy to be recording again that they rushed this record out without giving it enough content. At any rate, though it is short, Sol Invictus shows no trace of the lifelessness that plagued Album of the Year. Overall, it is a great record.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Lambda
May 11th 2015


2654 Comments


Stream here:
http://www.npr.org/2015/05/10/404672919/first-listen-faith-no-more-sol-invictus

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
May 11th 2015


45735 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

great review lambda although rather ironically it feels a bit too short to me, you raise a couple of points that you don't really go into enough depth with. either way missed you round these parts lad



finally listening to the album and fuck me Separation Anxiety goes in

Digging: Little Simz - Sometimes I Might Be Introvert

Polyethylene
May 11th 2015


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Does this mean I can repost my review now?

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
May 11th 2015


45735 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

yeah now that the stream's up you'll be right

jtswope
May 11th 2015


5788 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Gotta check.

icatchthirtythree
May 11th 2015


1032 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

aww shit

Polyethylene
May 11th 2015


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Disagree so hard on this album not having a sense of purpose or aesthetic unity.

SitarHero
May 11th 2015


13579 Comments


"[...] 1992's Angel Dust; indeed, it is widely considered one of the best albums of the '90s. Sol Invictus comes twenty-five years after that effort, [...]"

2015 - 1992 = 23

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
May 11th 2015


17127 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Pos. Great review, this sums up how I pretty much feel about it.

Digging: Iron Maiden - Senjutsu

fromrows
May 11th 2015


409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Disagree so hard on this album not having a sense of purpose or aesthetic unity"



Completely with you on that man, love it!

Digging: Turnstile - Glow On

Lambda
May 11th 2015


2654 Comments


Rowan5215: Thanks!

SitHero: I was just ballparking it lol, but fair

DrGonzo: Thanks : )

uziclip
May 11th 2015


117 Comments


"Stream here:"

Thx!!

FadedSun
May 11th 2015


2731 Comments


I'm afraid to listen to this based on how much I used to love Faith No More. I'll check the stream later.

StrizzMatik
May 11th 2015


4029 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah I don't see how anybody can say this album has a lack of purpose or unified sound. And the guitar work is fantastic and creative more often than not, if anything I'd say it's Jon Hudson's proper stamp on the band and their overall best to date.

Lambda
May 11th 2015


2654 Comments


When I said it lacked a clear sense of purpose, I meant in the sense of the music being about something. This is just a (too short) collection of okay-great songs. Nothing more, nothing less. It's not a fantastic album, which Angel Dust was.

As for Jon Hudson, he's competent, but seriously... you think his performance here is better than Jim's on Angel Dust?

Egarran
May 11th 2015


24346 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

True, it should have been a 2 hour concept album.

kygermo
May 11th 2015


1007 Comments


Atmosphere? You realize you're talking about a band that's built their foundation upon experimenting as much and as often as they can, right? Creating an atmosphere isn't really the priority or point with FNM. Its all about seeing what globs of mass will stick to the wall (and what wont) after it left their hands. Do you perhaps mean they lack cohesiveness? If yes, then I agree but not knowing what FNM will throw at you next is a major reason why so many people love them as they do. The more bizarre and offbeat their music tends to go, the more us huge FNM fans lap that shit up. These guys are musical chameleons. You cant hold it against them if they don't go out of their way to create concept-based records with a pre-determined vision in mind.

Lambda
May 11th 2015


2654 Comments


"True, it should have been a 2 hour concept album."

Oh fuck off.

"Atmosphere? You realize you're talking about a band that's built their foundation upon experimenting as much and as often as they can, right?"

And the best genre-hopping albums utilize this experimentation while maintaining some form of cohesiveness and-- yes-- atmosphere. See Naked City's self-titled, Estradasphere's Palace of Mirrors, Dog Fashion Disco's Adultery, and even Patton's records with Mr. Bungle and, yes, Angel Dust.

"These guys are musical chameleons"

One of my complaints with this record is that it isn't bold or chameleon-esque enough. It's too often lukewarm, lacking oomph. Experimentation. Atmosphere.

"concept-based records with a pre-determined vision in mind."

It doesn't have to be a concept album, but it does have to be more than just thirty-nine minutes of decent-great material to warrant more than the rating I afforded it.

Egarran
May 11th 2015


24346 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I'd like to peel your skin off

So I can see what you really think

Or if there is anything

Under that cone of shame



kygermo
May 11th 2015


1007 Comments


Thanks for going into a little more detail about it, I see what you mean now. And I just re-read my comment again and I feel what I said sort of came off as being condescending and a little rude which wasn't my intention. I'm sorry if you felt dissed in any way, didn't mean it.

IMHO, the only FNM album that doesn't have an atmosphere that ties the songs together is KFAD. But on the flipside, KFAD almost plays like those classic double albums ala Exile on Main Street and Sign O' The Times in that the places the record goes is vast, and sprawling. The album's fearlessness creates a messy hodge podge of eclectic tracks similar in a sense to those old school double lps, and why they're as messy and all over the place as they are famous for. In other words, they're the albums that show off what those artists were capable of doing, and just how diverse they were which ultimately leads to a bumpy ride for listeners expecting something perhaps a little more....streamlined. FNM pretty much showed all of their cards on that one, and a lot of the hardcore FNM fanbase considers it superior to AD.



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