Customer Review

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A disturbing album that shaped the metal world we know today., 2 May 2006
This review is from: Angel Dust (Audio CD)
In the 80s funk metal was pretty big for a short while. Like its successor nu-metal, funk-metal was based around a blending of styles from the harder rock elements and obviously a fair amount of soul and black elements too. Of course like nu-metal it was also a scene made up mostly of rubbish bands with incoherent and often patchy sounds. Faith No More and Red Hot Chilli Peppers were the two main exceptions, and while the chillis went on to progress into stadium rock giants, FNM took a very different direction in the early 90s.

To describe this album in only a few short words is near impossible, however, dark & twisted is a reasonable summary of the overall tone. This is the second album from the definitive line-up and the first where vocalist Mike Patton's somewhat perverse influence takes forefront. Musically, Angel Dust is a lot more keyboard & synth orientated than any other album they have released, not that this makes it any less heavy. Infact it is far less commercial sounding than anything previous. It does have enough accessable moments included however.

Midlife Crisis is a great first single, demonstrating their newer sound without offending anyone too much. Follow up A Small Victory is one of the slower numbers on here led by a sweet oriental sound building up to a full on rock crescendo. Everything's Ruined is a strangely happy tune about one man's success and eventual demise. Be Aggressive is probably the catchiest tune ever written about gay sex. Easy of course needs no introduction.

But this is not one of those singles albums, there is plenty more on offer here, especially for those after the heavier moments. Caffeine is one the best songs FNM ever made and acts as a template for the sound of many bands since. Smaller And Smaller & Malpractise are both heavy & surreal enough to be distinctive of this album. Jizzlobber is full-on metal opera finishing with a overblown dramatic church organ solo that has to be heard.

Album opener Land Of Sunshine and Crack Hitler take the funk sound previously associated with FNM and turn it into some monstrous freak that would surely scare most fans of the Chillis. Kindergarten is one of the slower tunes on offer. RV is the real hidden gem on here though, a slow piano ballad with spoken vocals about (and from the perspective of) an ageing trailer park slob reminiscing over his sorry life.

Its at the end of Angel Dust though, that things take a rather dramatic change of direction. After 12 chaotic tunes ending with Jizzlobber, it all goes very nice and mellow with a cover of John Barry's Midnight Cowboy theme. Originally this was the album closer and, tho not a perfect end, a great way to calm down after such an intense experience. The addition of Easy as a bonus track may be a case of record company intervention but this truly is the perfect end to the album. Easy is one of those rare occurances, a cover version that is genuinely better than the original, proving that sometimes white boys do have soul.

The ongoing friction within the band was no big secret and it was often publicised about how much they hated each other. Guitarist Jim Martin left shortly after the subsequent tour citing Patton as his main reason. The tension is apparent throughout this whole album, making for an even more intense experience. Of course the band would never make anything to match the quality again, infact its often surprising they lasted long enough to make this one.

So much has happened in the rock world since but the influence of FNM is clear within much of the scene to this day, these boys defined a whole style of metal that has been borrowed and ripped ever since.

Angel Dust may not be the definitive 90s rock album but it sure is an essential one.
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Location: Swindon, UK

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