On the sadly titled Album of the Year, Faith No More drop the funk out of their formula and rely on what's left: skeletal metal remains and (gulp) keyboard-laced prog rock. The album alternates between dense grinders a la Pantera and noodling, lofty meanderings a la ELP. If that's not repelling enough, the band's lean toward "artistry" over commercialism equals less song structure and fewer connective moments with the listener.
Mike Patton's voice also has changed. He doesn't really do that weird, shaky whine anymore or shout lyrics like a rhythm-deficient rapper. Instead he growls, moans and bellows lyrics that become lost in all the dramatics.
The most interesting spots come during keyboard solos on "Mouth to Mouth" (thanks to Roddy Bottum) and in the beginning of "Helpless," where acoustic guitar and keyboards offer a break from the rest of the album's over-complicated dirge. But all in all, Faith No More are floundering around desperately, groping for a sense of identity and direction in a decade that clearly finds them irrelevant.
(Posted: Jun 16, 1997)
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