The Return Of Faith No More

Old photo of a revitalized band.

It's been hard to fess up to Faith No More fandom the last couple of years.

First, guitar wiz Jim Martin took off after 1992's troubled Angel Dust,

followed by the too-close-for-comfort Commodores-covering 1993 Easy EP

and the acidic 1995 album King for a Day, Fool For a Lifetime, which

again asked fans to deal with a lot of ideas, some of them half-baked. And if

that wasn't enough, there was always singer Mike Patton's even more bizarre

side-project, Mr. Bungle, whose 1995 album Disco Volante and subsequent

masked tour, was close to the feeling of watching a car crash under slowly

strobing lights.

So, with the turmoil behind them, another new guitarist,

John Hudson, and a new CD, Album of the Year (June 3) that signals a

musical return to the land of fruit and honey (i.e. 1989's hit album The

Real Thing), Faith No More seem poised to climb back from the career abyss.

The only question is, are the same fans who dug the Red Hot sound of their big

hit, "Epic" (you remember, the one with the flopping fish video) still around

to care?

The good news is the hard-hitting 12-track album is packed with

the same funk and metal sound that made Patton the rival to Anthony Keidis'

long-haired alternaguy pin-up throne all those years ago and the band the

darlings of the burgeoning alternative set, if only for a minute. The opening

track, "Collision," features a mix of Roddy Bottum's gothic keyboards, Hudson's

arena-metal guitars and Patton's growling croon, all of which adds up to what

their bastard offspring Korn might sound like if they didn't take themselves so

seriously and listened to a few Parliament albums. "Last Cup of Sorrow" is more

of the punk funk that brought them to the top the first time and the 2-minute

blast of "Naked In Front of the Computer" is one of the hardest, most coherent

burst of riffs and attitude the band have summoned since before Martin's

departure.

Ironically, "Path of Glory" features a refrain that might be

familiar to a few Korn fans, ("I'm coming, I'm coming," etc.) , while "Mouth To

Mouth" is plain old bruising funk rock with guitars that sound like dull drill

bits. Throw in a bit of soulful balladry on "She Loves me Not," the herky-jerky

surf punk of "Got That Feeling" the gothic groan of "Pristina" and the

spiraling industrial rock of the hidden track "Light Up & Let Go" and you've

got nearly an hour's worth of angst and attitude that falls somewhere between

Queensryche and a more metallic Jane's Addiction.