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"Thereís a lot of stupid things that happen in the world that you canít control,Ē Faith No More bassist Billy Gould told Pitchfork. "Itís funny, but itís not funny. Itís there. But itís great to have enough of a connection with that mentality where you can interact with it and poke your finger in it a little." That jokerís soul, that urge to poke, can be traced through all of Faith No More's biggest moments, from their stunning hit "Epic" to their genre-defying, commercially unsuccessful (and critically acclaimed) 1992 opus Angel Dust. From the early 1980s through 1997, Faith No More were the reputable carneys, sporting an array of influences and oddities: everything from Madame Butterfly and Nirvana, to Nietzsche and Miles Davis, and even a not-yet-dead fish. And then they went away.
For the past 18 years, fans have waited patiently for Faith No More to wrap up a disappearing act that was the inevitable result of exhaustion, creative differences, and branching paths. Since that time, frontman Mike Patton started his Ipecac label and pursued numerous solo projects, from the poppy Peeping Tom to the experimental supergroup FantŰmas to the style-swapping Tomahawk. Keyboardist Roddy Bottum, the group's musical brain, started the bubblegum band Imperial Teen, scored films, and penned an opera about Bigfoot; meanwhile, bassist Billy Gould started Koolarrow Records, and drummer Mike Bordin manned the kit for Ozzy Osbourne. In 2009, the group stirred from its slumber and began performing again. And now, at long last, weíve arrived at the confrontational Sol Invictus, the follow-up to 1997ís Album of the Year.
Distance and time do not make the heart grow fonder, and two decades haven't softened Pattonís coal-black heart. Heís pissed off and proud of it, picking fights with just about anyone and anything. "Superhero" sees him spewing taunts at beloved authority figures, each syllable hitting with the percussive force of a slug to the jaw. "Leader of man, get back in your cage," he sneers from atop Bottumís majestic piano strata, a fool cracking his whip at a lowered God. The humiliations continue with "Cone of Shame", which imagines a wrongful lover in a state of depersonalization and animality, while "Black Friday" mocks anyone whoís set foot in a Target at 4 a.m. This commentary is far from subtle, but the ridiculousness is part of the experience, and you canít help but smile at the return of one of rockís great contrarians.
-- Pitchfork
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