Fantômas is an American experimental metal supergroup, formed in 1998 in California. It features vocalist Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle), drummer Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer), guitarist Buzz Osborne (Melvins) and bassist Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk). The band is named after Fantômas, a supervillain featured in a series of crime novels popular in France before World War I and in film, most notably in the 60s French movie series.
Fantômas began just before the collapse of Faith No More, as a series of spasmic, avant-garde metal songs composed by vocalist and bandleader Mike Patton. Patton then sent the demos to guitarist Buzz Osborne (of Melvins), bass guitarist Trevor Dunn (of Mr. Bungle) and drummer Igor Cavalera (of Sepultura), with the intention of forming a supergroup. Cavalera declined the offer, but recommended who he thought would be perfect for the project: Dave Lombardo of Slayer, who accepted.
In mid-2005, the band toured Europe with Terry Bozzio on drums, as Lombardo was on tour with Slayer. Lombardo returned to the band for the final dates of the tour, which concluded on September 15, 2005.
On May 13, 2006, Patton revealed to Billboard.com that a fifth Fantômas album has been planned. Of the album, Patton says, "The next record is going to be an all-electronic affair. It's going to take some creative planning on how to record it and execute it, but there will be no acoustic instruments on it whatsoever. We're pretty much about to go into hibernation mode. I need to, once I have a little time, go back to the drawing board and start writing the next one." In November 2008, Rock-a-Rolla, a UK-based alternative music magazine, exclusively revealed on their website that the new album was currently being worked on and a tentative June 2009 release was possible, however, in the May 2009 issue of Rock-a-Rolla, in an interview with Greg Werckman, Werckman stated that Mike "hasn't even begun" recording the next Fantômas record.
On July 21, 2011, Rock-a-Rolla revealed that Fantômas would be releasing their December 31, 2008, performance at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall as a DVD and a standalone audio download, titled The Director's Cut Live: A New Year's Revolution.
Though rooted in avant-garde metal, Fantômas' music touches on many different musical genres, making liberal use of experimentalism and noise. Fantômas' music is also noted for its absurdism and offbeat sense of humor; one critic dubbed their style "dada-metal", a reference to the "anti-art" dada movement of the early 1900s.
Patton rarely sings conventional lyrics with the group, preferring his own bizarre style of voice music or scat singing.
The band arrange albums around concepts or themes:
Fantômas is based on science fiction comic books, with every song simply given a page number ("Page 1", "Page 2", etc.). The artwork was mainly taken from the Italian comic, Diabolik.,
The Director's Cut is a series of reinterpretations of motion picture theme songs. Some versions are rather loyal to the sources (such as the eerie lullabye from The Night of the Hunter), while others offer radical takes on the music (such as the theme from The Godfather, tackled in part as an extreme metal song).,
Delìrium Còrdia is one extended song, with the concept of surgery without anesthesia.,
Suspended Animation is an album of twisted cartoon music, each track named after a day in the month of April 2005, and the limited-edition, first pressing of the album was itself (literally) a calendar of the month featuring the art of contemporary Japanese pop artist Yoshitomo Nara.,
Fantômas have recorded a few songs which do not appear on their albums:
"Chariot Choogle" (1:51) - A cover of the song by T.Rex, featured on the Marc Bolan tribute album Great Jewish Music: Marc Bolan. Mike Patton recorded this cover and attributed it to Fantômas.,
"Zemariam" (3:36) - A version of the song which John Zorn had originally written for his band, Masada, but never performed nor recorded. To celebrate Masada's 10th Anniversary, John Zorn organized the release of an album known as The Unknown Masada; Fantômas contributed this song to the release. The song was arranged by Trevor Dunn, and is one of the only songs by Fantômas not to have been written or arranged by Mike Patton.,
Where Is the Line (Fantômas Remix) (5:28) - Released as a B-side on Björk's "Where Is the Line" vinyl release.,
"Animali in calore surriscaldati con ipertermia genitale" (0:44) - Released on the Fantômas / Melt-Banana split, through Unhip Records, in 2005. The cover art was drawn by Italian artist Igort.,
"SKETCHBOOK 1: Page 20, 16, 26, 9, 15, 2, 19, 25 and 7" - Released on the forthcoming Sugar Daddy Live split release with Melvins. This is rough demos of songs from the album Fantômas. These songs come from the same session as the Chariot Choogle cover and were largely used to send to the remaining members to learn the songs.,
Mike Patton - vocals, synthesizers, keyboards, melodica, sampling,
Buzz Osborne - guitar, vocals,
Trevor Dunn - bass guitar, backing vocals,
Dave Lombardo - drums, percussion,
Dale Crover - drums, percussion, backing vocals,
Former touring members
Terry Bozzio - drums, percussion