Faith No More
Sol Invictus


4.5
superb

Review

by Polyethylene USER (23 Reviews)
May 11th, 2015 | 73 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Welcome home, my friends.

Faith No More are a band credited with spawning the alternative metal genre. They fused metal with many other styles including pop, funk and alternative rock, paving the way for artists like Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins. Though their 1990 single 'Epic' still receives regular airplay, Faith No More never enjoyed the same commercial success as the bands they inspired. By the time they released their bacchanalian 1992 masterpiece Angel Dust, Faith No More established themselves as a band of uncompromising creativity.

1995's King For a Day... Fool For a Lifetime and 1997's jokingly-titled Album of the Year saw the band grow even more unmarketable. This can be attributed to frontman and six-octave vocalist Mike Patton, who brought the experimentalism of his other band Mr. Bungle to the table. It was around this time that Faith No More also grew darker in sound. There is a sepulchral atmosphere to Album of the Year in particular, its songs like 'Helpless' and 'Paths of Glory' possessing a dark beauty. Fittingly, Album of the Year proved to be the band's final album. Or so we thought.

Sol Invictus is Faith No More's first album in eighteen years. At a breezy 39 minutes, it is also among their shortest. Thankfully, not one of those minutes is wasted. Sol Invictus manages to reference several chapters in Faith No More's history, as well as progress into new and exciting territory.

More so than any other Faith No More album, Sol Invictus plays out like a story. The band returns from the dead on opener 'Sol Invictus', as groggy and cadaverous as you'd expect. Taking his first steps out of his moss-caked tomb, Mike Patton muses that he “can't remember which god is [his] one.” For a band with a name as atheistic as Faith No More, religion and worship have never really featured in their lyrics until now. Mike introduces these themes of spiritual uncertainty and continues them throughout the album. He mentions “empty rituals, trinkets and fossils”, before a hushed “Amen” ushers in the anthemic chorus. Without a definitive god to worship, Mike turns to the heavens in search of answers. Needless to say, he doesn't find them. Instead, he laments that “the sun keeps burning [his] face.” Combine his disillusionment with the fact that “sol invictus” is Latin for “unconquered sun”, and you've got a deliciously ambivalent view of god and the heavens. Before the chorus reaches a climax, 'Sol Invictus' jarringly returns to the melancholic piano chords with which it began. The band reached skyward for absolution, only to fall back down to earth.

Following this nihilistic beginning, Sol Invictus grows exponentially in scope. 'Superhero' is an outstanding rocker, its revved-up energy complimented by haunting vocals and ripples of Middle Eastern piano. 'Sunny Side Up' sees Faith No More return to the velveteen lounge they explored on 'Evidence' and 'She Loves Me Not', with one of the strongest choruses on the album. In accordance with the Sol Invictus' themes of uncertainty, this cosiness is interrupted by more of the minor piano chords that opened the album.

Songs like the gorgeous 'Matador' and the churning 'Separation Anxiety' radiate with some of the band's best ideas to date; either could have featured on the band's opus Angel Dust. But as previously stated, Sol Invictus isn't all nostalgia. 'Rise of the Fall' sees Faith No More's hard rock complimented with lush Sicilian melodies found nowhere else in the band's catalogue. Similarly, two songs here utilize a slow-burning approach not normally associated with the band. Album midpoint 'Cone of Shame' starts quietly with a Southern Gothic riff, before building to a sensational climax. Lead single 'Mother***er' begins with burnt-out piano chords, only to ascend in due time to a euphoric chorus.

After repeated listens, I can say with confidence that Sol Invictus is a great album. Part of that will be due to the fact I am already a big Faith No More fan, and a new record from these guys was automatically reason to celebrate. But the way in which Sol Invictus delivers both fan service and surprises, as well as a powerful image of modern disillusionment, all in under forty minutes, shows artistry. Some fans may lament the brevity of Sol Invictus, or perhaps its focus on atmosphere rather than riffs. Newcomers will likely be confused, akin to starting a series of novels several books in. I would point Faith No More virgins in the direction of the band's 1989 album The Real Thing. Without prior knowledge of the band's discography, Sol Invictus won't mean as much.

Regardless of your familiarity with them, Faith No More are back. Sol Invictus feels like a culmination of all the band has done before, and a taster of where they may yet go. It ends on an optimistic note with 'From the Dead', suggesting that Faith No More are glad to be back. Hopefully this means that there is more to come. Welcome home, my friends.



Recent reviews by this author
PIG The GospelIdiot Flesh The Nothing Show
Chelsea Wolfe AbyssMac DeMarco Another One
Son Lux BonesLightning Bolt Fantasy Empire
user ratings (743)
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Jordan M. EMERITUS (4)
The Sound of Perfectly Calculated Revenge....

texx2818 (4.5)
An absolutely vital work; a hypnotic and yet simultaneously furious blast of alternative metal....

Lambda (3.5)
Never lose faith....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Polyethylene
May 11th 2015


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Had to reupload my review. Listen to the album here:



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

jtswope
May 11th 2015


5788 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Round 2 I see. Sweet.

zakalwe
May 11th 2015


38780 Comments


Fucking hell this is shit.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
May 11th 2015


47579 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

the crowd recoils in shock as zak misses the point completely once again!



sup lad

Polyethylene
May 11th 2015


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I know Zak, gets right on me tits when blokes come out with such gorblimey cobblers instead of proper tunes, innit?

Polyethylene
May 11th 2015


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Arcade! Looking forward to yours.

Sowing
Moderator
May 11th 2015


43941 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Music is starting to pick up the pace again. This & The Tallest Man, not to mention the upcoming Brandon Flowers album which actually won't suck.

Artuma
May 11th 2015


32762 Comments


brandon flowers lol

Sowing
Moderator
May 11th 2015


43941 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

have you heard the new single?

Artuma
May 11th 2015


32762 Comments


no, is it something else than his typical cheesy pop rock?

Polyethylene
May 11th 2015


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cool, I'll have to check. I loved the Killers when I was young (no pun intended).

imalmosthome
May 11th 2015


5 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

First time i heard it I wasn't blown away. Now I listen to it all the way through over and over. It really is fantastic.

LepreCon
May 11th 2015


5481 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Whenever I listened to a FNM album growing up



1st listen: This is shite, the singer's vocals annoy me

2nd listen: Actually hold on these guys are actually pretty okay

3rd listen and beyond: This is awesome

DoofusWainwright
May 11th 2015


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Should I be worried about this album if I found AOTY pretty substandard and disposable or is this better?

Sowing
Moderator
May 11th 2015


43941 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well I was excited for this but nothing stood out on my first listen. Besides the singles I already heard. Hoping it sounds better the 2nd & 3rd times.

DoofusWainwright
May 11th 2015


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'm going in with lowered expectations! Even if there are only two or three strong FNM tracks I'll be happy enough

StrizzMatik
May 11th 2015


4155 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Great record and excellent review.

Egarran
May 11th 2015


33789 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Excellent record and great review.

ithoughtyouwerejokin
May 11th 2015


46 Comments


Good review. I enjoyed the record, not entirely sure how I feel about it yet.

Manet
May 11th 2015


9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

...



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2023 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy