18 May 2016

SOL INVICTUS | One Year


On May 18th/19th 2015 Faith No More released their seventh studio album....Sol Invictus, worldwide.






Roddy Bottum
"This record feels more cohesive and thematic than anything we've done before. I feel all the songs sort of work together in a way that the other records didn't."
"I would say that it really does go back to out roots, and is really gothic – it’s really sort of in the dark and there’s a lot of sombre tones on it. It speaks to my core, I really get really gut instincts from simple stripped down sounds when we do that successfully. And for me there are a lot of those moments on the record. It’s not as dense as the place that we usually go and there are a lot of places with really simple instrumentation. And pianos – there is a lot of pianos – and a lot of really, concise smart lyrics that can be heard and understood. And those sorts of places on the record are the strongest for me."
"I really like the first song on the record and the last song on the record, and I  really like, I don’t know I like them all. I like ones where you can hear the piano a lot and where there’s singing a lot. I really like Mike’s vocals. He’s Just gotten better and better at crafting lyrics."
"It was a language that we all speak together, and it was clear that it was still there. Then we decided that we wouldn’t play any more shows unless we made more music. So we did." 

Mike Bordin 
"Everything is represented on this album. You’ve got our singer, Mike [Patton], with his range of talents and breadth of skills. Our bass player is particularly talented at creating these atmospheres and environments with his production and arrangements. Everyone’s ideas are in this record. There’s enough rock, there’s enough crunch, there’s enough melody, there’s enough darkness. All the elements are there."

"The effort and the participation that went into this record was just incredible. I’m so excited and I’m so fired up about letting out and finding out what people think of it. I love this record. I really believe in it. I know that not everyone is going to like it – I mean, it’s Faith No More! That is never going to change. It’s never going to be what people expect. For my money, though, it’s a damn good record. It’s the best thing we could do at this time, by far."
“You have to understand, it was recorded by us… written, arranged and performed obviously. Mixed by us, in our place. I mean, this is really about as self-contained an effort as you’re gonna get and I’m super proud of every guy that did it. To me, the result… I couldn’t make it any better. And I want people to hear it for themselves.” 
"We have our own language, and it's not just musical—it's emotional and physical as well. It's a unique thing, and we had to give it time to work. When the band started getting pretty strong [live], we were like, 'Okay, now either we're done, or we're going to have something else to say.' Because if you don't have something new to say and you just keep carrying on, it becomes nostalgia. No one was here to re-create a time when we had less gray hair and more brain cells, you know? So some music came. It came gradually, it came honestly, and in my opinion it came correctly.I'm super-proud of [Sol Invictus], I'm proud of my guys. It's been a crazy, cool gift to have a second chance to do this with more experience and more perspective under our collective belts. I really treasure it."

Bill Gould
"I can speak in colours. There’s a touch of colour from the first album, a little Angel Dust, a little King For A Day... on there, and some stuff we’ve never done before. We have a song that’s like a blues song, which we’ve never done before! It’s just stuff that excites us.” 
"This is a dark album that we’ve made, but it’s about the sun. It’s about the sun coming up every day. There’s a super-positive message among this dark music. It’s very uplifting. And that’s all I can say.”

Jon Hudson
"It was like a continuation of what we had already done. It wasn't foreign at all. We also took our time. There was no deadline to meet and no one knew we were making a record. That took a lot of the pressure off."
"Writing and recording wasn't up for discussion during the reunion tour; we simply went out and played the existing material for several years, and we had no intention of doing anything else at that point. Although I don't think anyone else in the band had said, 'Well, we're never gonna make another record or write another song.Three years ago or thereabouts, Bill [Gould, bassist/producer] started throwing around some ideas, and we took one idea and arranged it really quickly and played it live [Matador], and that was a good way for us to get back into it again. At that point, it was still 'wait and see'. We decided that we were pleased with the way that turned out, so some more material started getting sent back and forth several months later. We've been working on this thing for two and a half years. We didn't have someone getting on our case to deliver something in any specific time frame. There was no pressure. So, we worked on it at our leisure. We took it piece by piece; there was no record label or publishing agreement to have to worry about."

Mike Patton  
 "I flipped out when I heard the new collection of music. I didn't know what it was going to sound like, and it totally took my head off. I thought, 'Well, I'm gonna at least try to contribute to this." 
"There were times in the past 10 years when I definitely thought that would never be the case," he continues. "I'm sure you could pull up all sorts of quotes from me where I'm saying, 'We'll never make another record again, I never want to be a part of that ever again.' But, you know, circumstances change. And it's nice to be wrong; it's nice to admit when you're wrong. And I was wrong! I did not know that this band had more statements in them. Believe me, I was as surprised as anyone when I heard this music and realised that I wanted to be a part of it."




Reviews

The press coverage for FNM's first album in 18 years was momentous as expected. Search through our posts from last year and you will discover many online reviews of the album, but here are some that were released in print you may have missed.


Rhythm Magazine | June 2015 

The 18-year wait was worth it...

Faith No More, the band co-founded by drummer Mike 'Puffy' Bordin in San Francisco in the early 1980s regrouped in 2009 and toured extensively, and now finally here is their first recorded output in 18 years. Bordin and bass partner Billy Gould secretly set up in a small studio with Gould as engineer and began laying down the all-important rhythmic backbone to Sol InvĂ­ctus. Freed of the pressures of expectation (see our or industry pressure, they along with frontman Mike Patton, keyboardist Roddy Bottum and guitarist Jon Hudson have come up with their best work since 1992's Angel Dust.
with the same rhythmic intensity, epic metal guitar and sweeping keys that characterised their previous work yet leaves room for genre-confounding eclecticism. Sol Invictus should please both long-time fans and win them new ones. 'Superhero' with its heavy riffs and piano hooks, is a stand-out first single, while Mike Patton's acrobatic vocal facility runs the gamut on the likes of 'Sunny Side Up'and 'Rise Of The Fall' the latter with a nice bit of reggae cross-stick from Bordin. whose military snare cadences define 'Motherfucker' and album closer 'From The Dead' 'Matador' builds brilliantly, with Bordin's tribal-stylings and
hard-hitting power driving the customary epic-ness. 'Cone Of Shame' is doomy but rich in rhythmic texture and colour; on 'Black Friday' Bordin frames Patton's ode to consumerist
greed with a swinging syncopation. Sol Invictus is a nicely balanced FNM album that proves the band can still deliver with style, and still sound like no one else.


Q Magazine | June 2015 | James McMahon

DON'T STOP BELIEVING
Playful rockers' stunning return after almost two decades.

The practice of alt rock legends recording new music after lengthy absences doesn't often end well. After a 23-year wait, last year the Pixies finally got round to releasing
their fifth album. Indie Cindy - the result was the currently Kim Deal-less Bostonians' first not-impeccable record ever. Elsewhere, it's likely that if you can name the title of any
Dinosaur Jr release post 2007, you're either a liar, or J Mascis himself. Thankfully Faith No More's first new music in 18 years is an exception to form. Perhaps the secret is unique
to the San Francisco band: here they sound as deliciously out-of-step with the times as they have during any of the four decades in which they've existed. This isn't just a new Faith No
More record. It's one of their very best.
Three songs in and atop clanging disco guitar, singer Mike Patton manages to make Sunny Side Up's guttural opening utterance of, "I'll be your leprechaun..." sound like the
greatest chat-up line ever conceived. Its neighbouring song, the hypnotic heavy metal chug of Separation Anxiety, sounds much like Black Sabbath if Ozzy Osbourne's Aston contingent had attended art school instead of coming from a manual labour background.
Elsewhere there is skeletal country rock (Black Friday), anthemic stadium goth metal (Matador), throaty lounge-pop (From The Dead) and the throbbing avant-garde (lead-off single Motherfucker). All this leaves the listener in no doubt that there is still boundless innovation in the Faith No More camp; still a firm commitment to doing whatever the hell they want. And, as such, a reason to still exist even after all these years - that's just as musical as a cynic might suggest there is one that's monetary.


Rock Sound | May 2015 | David Mclaughlin

It's About Time Guys

The last time Faith No More released an album there was no such thing as Rock Sound magazine, Google or indeed many of you now reading this. It's safe to say the world has changed quite a bit since 1997's 'Album Of The Year' but despite preserving their legendary status with masterful live appearances following 2009's reformation, adding to a considerable recorded legacy as men well into their forties and fifties is another matter. Rest assured though, 'Sol Invictus' is no midlife crisis, it's the real thing.
Frothing, deliciously creepy and as idiosyncratic as ever, these are 10 songs that sit proudly alongside anything else this band have produced. And despite the lengthy sabbatical, this sounds like a Faith No More record, albeit one instilled with the errant eccentricities and vocal histrionics of chief conspirator Mike Patton at the forefront. From the somber piano and percussive prelude of the opening title track to the celebratory bells of finisher 'From The Dead' this is an adventure. There's some of the band's trademark snarl on 'Superhero', an eerie, thrusting menace on 'Separation Anxiety' a stab at Nick Cave-gone-metal doing a spaghetti Western soundtrack on 'Cone Of Shame' and a whole array of wonderful weirdness in between.
There'll be a lot of critical spaffing about the recorded return of Faith No No More after almost 18 years. Sorry to add to the deluge, but every plaudit is entirely justified.


Classic Rock | April 2015 | David Stubbs

First album since 1997, off the back of their successful reunion tour

In a recent interview, Bill Gould, Faith No More's bassist and producer of Sol Invictus, the band's first album in almost two decades, described the group as a "hexagonal peg" in the music industry. It's an apt description. Although they piledrove through every hole they were faced with back in the 1990s, they've never been metal monomaniacs.
Despite touring alongside the likes of Black Sabbath and Guns N' Roses, they always disliked the worst, sexist and stupid excesses of metal. They owe their heavy origins to Killing Joke and PiL, among others, and have always embraced the angular eclecticism of post-punk, zig-zagging stylistically around funk, jazz, country, as and when it suits their ever-changing cinematic moods. All of this has been grist to their thrashing mill, however, rather than off-putting to mass rock audiences.
Vocalist Mike Patton embodies the duality of Faith No More. With his side projects and those he oversees as head of Ipecac Recordings he has embraced the outer fringes of the avant garde, working tirelessly with extremists in a range of musical styles that seem antithetical to the overbearing populism of his day group. Yet his portentous, melodramatic vocal style was one of the main factors in establishing FNM's appeal to a 90s neo-grunge audience subsisting on MTV.
By the late 1990s, in coincidental tandem with the decline of MTV as a cultural force, Faith No More's appeal began to wane. As if seeing the writing on the wall in advance, in
1997 they decided to split, and give full vent to the multiple musical interests that were always the group's stock in trade by pursuing separate solo projects.
By the end of the first decade of the 21st century, however, a decade so nondescript it might as well not have occurred at all, they decided to make a comeback tour preceded by denials by group members that any such thing was happening. And now, despite having initially denied and pooh-poohed the idea, they're back with a new album, released on their own label, distributed by Ipecac, produced by Gould in Oakland, conducted entirely on their own, genuinely independent terms.
This is embodied by the single Motherfucker. It's entitled with a confidence that there really isn't an overbearing music industry and machine that they need to appease any more - they have their fans (their upcoming North American tour is sold out) and they will eat this up, no worries. Beginning with a didgeridoo/heartbeat, desultory clanking and piano and martial drums that are a recurring motif on the album, it's a paean to a process of cultural toxic rearing ('Force-fed more than we eat in the wild/Grazed on a mash that can suffocate a child') whose victims will have their revenge: 'Get the motherfucker on the phone'. As well as a snarling declaration that FNM mean business, it also shows a group at ease with both their instruments and each other, showing no signs of rust or sclerosis despite their long lay-off.
Although there's some mandatory, full on metal propulsion - on Superhero, for example, a study in the futility of all American derring-do - the real influence is the 80s goth for which the group have always declared their love; there are shades of the noir-ish narratives of Nick Cave on the title track, of Siouxsie And The Banshees' colour-splashed goth on Sunny Side Up and of the Cramps' lurid, Day-Glo death boogie on Cone Of Shame.
Gould has commented on the sense of space the group afford both the songs and each other, and that's certainly the case on the epic crests and troughs of Rise Of The Fall, which soars like a black, hybrid, metal bird of prey that eventually alights on some small Midwestern town. But there are also moments of bracing, fetid claustrophobia.
For example on Separation Anxiety, with its quickening, chopping bass pulse as it's impelled down dark, uncertain corridors, Patton's panting vocal becoming increasingly hysterical as he loses touch with the overground. Or Black Friday, a backwards tour through an alternative, neglected rock'n'roll Hall Of Fame including Duane Eddy and The Replacements.
Ultimately, on Matador and From The Dead, there is a sense of a group who have felt disinterred for too long and are ready to extend their hand from their still-warm grave and grasp rock'n'roll by the neck for one further throttle. So! Invictus is the sound of a group perhaps more mature, more capable and readier than ever to take on the world. Whether a new, post-MTV generation cares to take up their challenge is another matter.


Metal Hammer | May 2015 | Joe Daly

Mercurial Rockers return to upset the apple cart...

For a band that had deftly eluded all attempts at pigeonholing for nearly two decades. Faith No More's 1998 break-up was ironically predictable.
As the unrelenting pressures of mainstream success battered their hull, internally, the musicians - vocalist Mike Patton, keyboardist Roddy Bottum, bassist Billy Gould, guitarist Jon Hudson and drummer Mike Bordin - had grown weary of striking the hard-fought creative compromise that had underpinned each album. This very tension -which had invested their music with such prismatic vitality - would ultimately tear the band apart. On the heels of their sixth outing, Album Of The Year they formally disbanded.
After years of steadfast denials regarding any manner of reunion, FNM's 2009 tour announcement was met with eye-watering joy among the faithful. But the band were never
going to reunite only to slog through the same setiists they played 20 years earlier instead they began writing fresh material to have something new to play on the road. More songs would emerge and this May sees FNM's first clutch of new musk in 17 years - their seventh studio campaign, Sol Invictus.
The titular opener rings in their new chapter with a somber, piano-driven dirge filled out with a pulsating riff and stark atmospherics - in short, precisely the sort of unanticipated maneuvering one might expect. And If anybody had feared that the passage of time had mellowed the lads', their DJ-vexing first single, Motherfucker, eviscerated such concerns in a profane cavalcade of shout-out vocals, vitriolic Lyricism and a stratospheric climax. Scorchers abound. Hurtling tempos cast the breathtaking Superhero into a storm of buzzsaw riffs and Mike's throat-shredding howls, while Cone Of Shame opens at high noon in a spaghetti western, adorned with echoey guitars and a baleful spoken-word passage, converging in a siege of concussive rhythms that drop like sledgehammers. Separation Anxiety pits Mike's unhinged falsetto against rapid-fire Lyrics, as brooding rhythms gather and erupt into the neck breaking beatdown of the chorus. This is a defining hallmark of the band's sound. Time and again they demonstrate a capacity for Grafting chest-beating, anthemic hooks that bands like the Foo Fighters could only hope to write, and yet rather than release the full-on mainstream hit of which they are capable, FNM embed these interludes within slow burning forays of experimentalism. Tracks like Sunny Side Up (earworm alert) and closer From The Dead set vibrant melodic counterpoints to the heavier fare, and while not all tracks are as immediate. Matador, Rise Of The Fall and Black Friday each reveal uniquely-absorbing dynamics, given a bit of time to breathe.
It would be a grave mistake to hold an album of such depth and maturity to a lesser standard of scrutiny out of some well intentioned but misguided sense of nostalgia.
There's simply no need; Sol Invictus  stands easily on its own, rising shoulder to shoulder with the very best of the band's catalogue a thrilling, ambitious and multidimensional voyage that grows progressively more satisfying with each successive spin. Brilliant.


Kerrang! | May 2015 | George Garner

2015 just got a little bit more epic, people....

AND SO it's come to this. After 18 years of waiting, Faith No More's seventh album has finally arrived.
And yet, oddly, the fact that an entire generation's been born, raised and buggered off to university in that time is not the biggest weight pressing down upon its shoulders. It's timelessness, not the accumulation of time, that really matters here. After all, from their inception, through the avant-garde innovation of Angel Dust- labelled by Kerrang! as the most influential album of all time - until their acrimonious split in 1998, their recorded legacy was timeless. If not just plain sacrosanct. So, what sound now for the band K! once hailed as "originality reborn"? The answer is Sol Invictus. And for more reasons than one, it's the best music you'll hear in 2015.
First, a disclaimer. Anyone expecting FNM to repeat the miracle of changing music's DNA again may be disappointed. Sol Invictus is a resurrection, not a reinvention. Kicking off with the eponymous track's slow-gliding pianos, they pick up the same reins they dropped at the end of 1997's Album Of The Year; it's all noticeably less Cuckoo For Caca.
From there - over another nine regal tracks - they travel far and wide. Some leap out immediately, the snaking riff of Separation Anxiety being one. But for the most part, anthems are not the order of the day. Prodigious musicianship greased to the forehead in subtleties, however, is. Guaranteed: you won't notice the 'bom-bom' humming on Rise And Fall straight away. But you will. Eventually.
Such subtlety is not an artistic comb-over job, either. Rest assured, when songs like Superhero demand it, FNM still command as much delirious energy as ever. And if, somehow, the notion that Faith No More still sound like Faith No More disappoints you, take comfort in the fact that they still sound like no-one else.
As always, a big part of that is down to a certain frontman. Much has been written about Mike Patton's chameleonic voice over the years. It's all still true. Such is his range, it's hard to believe the psychopathic strains of 'I'd like to peel your skin off!' on Cone Of Shame are issued from the same psyche - let alone mouth - as the one chiming 'Rainbows will bend for me!' on Sunny Side Up.
Less praised, but perhaps more significant, though, is Mike's ability to craft a riveting song out of any subject. Like observing people fighting each other over bargains. Who else would write a lyric like Black Friday's 'It's a riot at the salad bar!' and sing it with a straight face? Or is he joking? And come to think of it, what does 'grazed on a mash that could suffocate a child' on Motherfucker even mean? Ambiguity reigns supreme here. And it will keep these songs sounding new for years to come. On to where all this leaves Faith No More in 2015.
Will it change the world like Angel Dust? No. But does Sol Invictus stand as a slamming indictment of all the recycled ideas being trotted out by bands elsewhere? Absolutely. What's more, even if you chose to listen to this album within the context of that back catalogue - and who won't? - Sol Invictus has shouldered the burden of all the messianic expectations brilliantly. This is not a time weathered, diluted imitation of Faith No More.
This, ladies and gents, is still The Real Thing'




 FAITH NO MORE
"It's been leading up to today for a very very long time, people, and it's with proud and righteous spirit that we can kick this thing out into the public and share with you all what it is we've been working on.  These past month of shows leading up to today have been so special, the din in the absence of what had yet to be delivered has yielded such crazy fanatic devotion and expectations from you. believe us, it goes noticed.  We appreciate you all so much for sharing and giving in this process.  thanks for being yous. Big hug."

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