Faith No More - _Sol Invictus_
(Ipecac Recordings, 2015)
by: Dan Lake (6 out of 10)
It's hard to talk about the quality of _Sol Invictus_. My entire love of extreme music can be traced back to Faith No More's spastic irreverence. That said, I'm a decade-plus removed from the hormonal post-teen headspace that made _Angel Dust_, _King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime_ and _Album of the Year_ such mesmerizing listens. If I heard those albums for the first time as a thirty-something, would I have found as much head-spinning revelation in those songs? Not sure. But I'm sure not finding much on _Sol Invictus_.

Too often, _Sol Invictus_ feels like it's worth less than its cost or its meager runtime, and worth much less than the heaps of anticipation that piled up in the six years since FNM started playing reunion shows in Europe. Given the band's deep bench of recorded excellence (not only full-lengths but worthy B-sides also) and the sheer amount of time this album was in production (first single "Motherfucker" hit the Internet more than a year before the album's release), there's a disappointing lack of substance in these forty minutes. Rather than dense and pregnant with ear candy, most of the songs feel spare and limply linear. At times, Morricone's influence feels actively present, which could have been awesome if that thread had been followed toward some truly flighty-sleazy avant art-pop. Instead, FNM don't seem to be sure quite how to use their muse, and songs fade into shadows of their potential.

Two of these songs feel like fully realized FNM pieces: "Superhero" with its forceful rhythms and manic performances, and "Matador" with its crawling dread. Both of these songs employ the full range of FNM's rock band energy. Guitars, vocals, bass, keys and drums all play vital roles in these songs' build-up and attack. Melodies mesh with dark musical progressions. Neither song fails to engage at both the cerebral and visceral level, in classic FNM fashion. And sure, "Sunny Side Up" has its moments, "Separation Anxiety" stokes fires with its tireless low-end rhythm, and "Motherfucker" is good for an absurd sing-along that you won't be allowed to share with your family, co-workers or most of your friends.

But the opening title track feels like an idea that never really gets off the ground and ends unfinished. "Cone of Shame" is silly, "Rise of the Fall" just doesn't hold much water, and "Black Friday" is, frankly, just irritating. If the preceding songs had been killer-not-filler, "From the Dead" probably would have closed the album just fine; as it is, it just feels like another tease in a string of wasted effort. Overall, _Sol Invictus_ just feels too self-aware, as if the band reconvened as a cover band of their former selves. This directly contrasts with the reunion albums by Failure and Refused, both of which feel like vibrant bands writing relevant music. _Sol Invictus_ lacks teeth, heart, guts and the presence of mind to really take these songs to the finish line.


(article published 12/8/2015)

RSS Feed RSS   Facebook Facebook   Twitter Twitter  ::  Mobile : Text  ::  HTML : CSS  ::  Sitemap

All contents copyright 1995-2024 their individual creators.  All rights reserved.  Do not reproduce without permission.

All opinions expressed in Chronicles of Chaos are opinions held at the time of writing by the individuals expressing them.
They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of anyone else, past or present.