Faith No More - Sol Invictus
Unconquered Sun. Sol Invictus. A cockily titled return to the fray from the contentious five piece. It's been a good while since the cheekily titled Album of the Year in 1997 saw the split of this creative bunch of musicians but Faith No More are back. And we care. A lot.
This is not the Faith No More that brought us The Real Thing back in 1989 with the MTV smashing single Epic, but then they haven’t been that band since the massively influential, distinctly uncommercial Angel Dust in 1992. So if you’re expecting instant hooky, pop metal for immediate aural gratification then you’ll be disappointed. This, people, is a grower.
Rather than an explosion, title track Sol Invictus starts proceedings and feels like a rather somber start to an 18 year absence. Dig deeper though and it begins to sound more like a steady awakening. Green tendrils writhing beneath freshly watered earth, snaking to the surface and poking through the soil to greet the sun after too long below the surface. Listen carefully and subtle air raid sirens warn of an impending attack.
The Batman theme infused riff of Superhero is just that. Mike Patton's psycho screams are on top form while Roddy Bottum's keys snake seductively around the track like the serpent in the garden of Eden, tempting you to take the apple, bite into it and unleash the further sonic delights ahead.
Or pull up a stool at the saloon of Cone of Shame, with it's spaghetti western atmospherics, and let the bartender pour you a sipping whisky as a Morricone soundtrack spins around a brutally lyrical Sergio Leone tale.
Then there is obtuse lead single Motherfucker with its anti-mainstream airplay but irresistible chorus.
Matador continues the theme of rising and returning. “We will rise from the killing floor, like a Matador.” The track effectively employs dissonant guitar chords, echoed within the piano melody – sounds that are normally found in Black Metal.
It’s infectious stuff. The more cynical would call this a comeback album or will be looking for a ‘return to form’. But that would imply they'd lost their form in the first place. Nope. This is a Faith No More album – a schizoid musical journey through a melding of musical styles that lesser bands would struggle to pull off convincingly. Genius? I think so.
Words: Paul ‘Ugly in the Morning’ Cooke