Some bands are just special. They have that little bit of something that makes them better than everyone else. It doesn’t matter whether you like their music or not, you have to respect them, because they are just that good. One of those bands is Faith No More. Until their break up at the end of the 90s, they were one of the most challenging and out there bands we had. When they got back together in 2009, the question was always hanging there as to whether they could be that again. With Sol Invictus, we finally get our answer.
And god damn are they still just as good. From the second the title sets the atmosphere at the start of this album, to the closing seconds of ‘From the Dead’, Faith No More remind you that they are so much better than just good. Mike Patton’s voice, with which he can do so much, is obviously the trademark. Sliding in and out through these songs, raising everything around it to incredible levels. Whether he is softly introducing ‘Matador’ or giving it his all in ‘Cone of Shame’, Patton is untouchable. The guy is just a genius.
However, none of that works if the rest of the band aren’t on his level and they never miss a beat here. On ‘Black Friday’ they have you tapping your feet, as they ramp up the groove, forcing you to get moving. However, they are as equally capable of setting you on edge, with ‘Separation Anxiety’ living up to its name as it barrels along in an anxious manner, never letting you get comfortable. It may be eighteen years since this band last released an album, but the time apart has done them no harm and they are still the only band on the planet that can sound like Faith No More.
Which when you actually think about it is a hard thing to do. With only ten tracks that come in at just over half an hour-long, Sol Invictus gets a lot of ideas into a short space of time. ‘Superhero’ is probably the song you could point to as the track that most people will recognise as a Faith No More song. Snappy verses and a big epic chorus bring to mind ‘Epic’ itself and it is surely going to be a live favourite. However, is the acoustic based calm of ‘From the Dead’ any less of a Faith No More song in comparison? Of course not, because this band can turn their hand to everything and pretty much everything they do it close to perfection.
Faith No More releasing the best album of 2015 (which this is easily on track to being) in many ways just feels right. When these guys first broke they were so ahead of their time in their willingness to take risks and do the extraordinary. The fact that on their return their music still manages to feel as fresh and vital as it did the first time round, speaks to just how far ahead of the curb they were. With Sol Invictus reminding the world that they are just better than other bands, it is going to be truly fascinating to see where they go from here.