ANGEL DUST 25 | The Most Influential Album of All Time
In May 2003 Kerrang! Magazine (issue 953 ) published a feature titled The 50 Most Influential Albums of All Time.
'How do you define 'influence'? Well, the answer is, you can't. But how often when you put on a record can you instantly hear a couple of key bands that have shaped that band's sound? Almost ever time. To compile this list we looked at all the biggest and best bands that dominate Kerrang!'s world right now, and tracked back to the band's that obviously inspired them. It's an ever-evolving list. The hot new things of today are often the influential bands of tomorrow, and so the process goes on. Here are the albums we believe most helped to shape the rock scene as it stands in 2003...'This list included such respected and revered albums as: Pantera Vulgar Display Of Power, Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti, Guns N' Roses Appetite For Destruction, Metallica Master Of Puppets, Sex Pistols Nevermind The Bollocks, Nirvana Nevermind.....
However the album that beat all these classics to the number one spot was Faith No More Angel Dust.
"That other albums have exerted as much influence at different times isn't in doubt. But right here, right now, no one single record casts such a large shadow over today's scene as 'Angel Dust'. In the early '90s, Faith No More were as state-of-the-art as rock music got. After a decade slumming it around the clubs of America, they'd battered the pre-Lollapalooza masses around the head with 1989's genre-bending 'The Real Thing' and received a beaming, if slightly dazed, grin in response. That album ended up selling more than three million copies around the world. Against all the odds, five freakniks from Northern California had kick-started a revolution. But even that paled into insignificance alongside what came next. 'Angel Dust', released three years after 'The Real Thing', wasn't just Faith No More's defining moment so much as a new high-watermark in what could be done within the confines of rock. Strange, sprawling and thoroughly unique, it was as if all the fabulous eccentricities that rock had thrown up over the previous 20 years had been distilled into 50 perfect minutes. Even today, more than a decade down the line, 'Angel Dust's impact can still be felt. Whether it's first wave nu-metallers like Korn and Faith No More or such hungry-eyed upstarts as Finch or Glassjaw, the debt owed to Mike Patton and co ¡s huge: it's in the union of ferocity, instinct and groove; in the unabashed intelligence that drives it forward; in the fact that it made uniqueness not so much legitimate as compulsory. In typically perverse fashion, the members of Faith No More have spent the past 10 years denying that they ever changed the musical landscape. Open your ears to this, and you'll see just how wrong they are. INFLUENCED: Korn, Limp Bizkit, Glassjaw, Finch, Hundred Reasons, Incubus, System Of A Down, American Head Charge... 'Kerrang! had championed FNM before most in the U.K. with Steffan Chirazi reporting on the band as early as 1988. The magazine's obvious adoration for The Real Thing was presented in numerous articles, two cover stories and voting TRT album of the year for 1989. Yet in May 1992 their review of AD scored a mere three out of five, describing the album as being 'possessed of a personality disorder, of sorts, which undermines its potential greatness'. An accurate description but they failed to realise that this was it's greatest strength!
AD is one of the most devilishly clever tricks in FNM history, the album that said a big 'fuck you' to the press, record industry and fans alike. It's aggressive and challenging nature separated those who would be true fans of the music from those who were fooled into believing FNM were poster boy funk metallers. Many wouldn't understand, or refused to accept change, others took time to realise that AD is one of the most innovative records ever written.
Like many it took time for some writers at Kerrang! to understand AD and to eventually do a you turn making the ambitious statement that it is in fact a deeply important album in the progression of rock/metal music...and The Most Influential Album of All Time.
As suggested in Kerrangs! 2003 write up, FNM had already helped to change the shape of rock music with Introduce Yourself and The Real Thing by mixing different genres, breaking boundaries and paving the way for alternative music to be presented to a mainstream audience.
But AD did much more than this, the album pushed what was accepted within rock music further than any before it and explored impossible musical mixes that really shouldn't have worked. Nowadays it is not out of place to find industrial metal, techno, funk, pop on one record. FNM were the pioneers, and the success of AD opened doors for many bands to follow.
We can hear in music that followed mimic AD in may ways: the use of audio samples and Roddy Bottum's atmospheric keyboard techniques, the growling tones and funky bounce of Bill Gould's bass lines, Mike Patton's vocal schizophrenia, not to mention the songs themselves that broke away from kind of typical verse/chorus structure.
The first to show signs that they were inspired by what FNM had achieved on AD were in 1993. Sepultura had become friends with members of FNM after they had both performed at the huge rock n roll circus that was Rock In Rio II. Sepultura's early musical stylings were very much rooted in thrash and death metal, however in 1993 they released the album Chaos AD which saw a departure from their previous sound incorporating more traditional Brazilian flavours and coining the phrase 'groove metal'.
"They did some of the most cool stuff ever. Angel Dust is one of the masterpieces of rock, of all time. It's so furious sometimes, and then it gets super-melodic. And schizophrenic at the same time. And the album title is a great record title, also. Everything about it was great." - Max CavaleraIn 1994 this creative experimentation within alternative music was everywhere and mixing elements from opposing genres became the trend. Soundgarden, another band who were friendly with FNM, released their acclaimed album Superunknown which introduced rhythms and vocal effects not dissimilar those found on AD. Prong, again with ties to FNM, released Cleansing which took the band in a new direction that incorporated 'dance metal'.
Elsewhere in music The Prodigy were mixing aggressive electronic dance beats with heavy guitar riffs on Music For The Jilted Generation, Portishead were mixing funk and hip/hop and forging a whole new sound that would dominate the British industry.
Of course we are not suggesting that any of these acts were directly influenced by AD, however it did seem that there was something in the air that smelt like revolution and AD had this distinctive aroma.
These were merely the beginnings of a new movement within the confines of rock music
and soon began the true onslaught of alternative hybrid bands who would actually cite FNM as a direct influence. This movement was the highly criticised nu metal. Amongst the first were Deftones who released their debut album Adrenaline in 1995.
"Angel Dust was the record that made me think, 'This is one of the sickest bands.' The first album had a couple of good songs, but Angel Dust sounded savage to me. It sounded way more like a Mike Patton record. I feel like he had a lot more influence on it. Off that record, 'Caffeine' is always sick as hell. 'A Small Victory' is a really great song. There's another song that's really beautiful - 'Everything's Ruined'. 'JizzLobber' is heavy. I love .Kindergarten'. The lyrics on 'Land of Sunshine' are so great. They're fantastic." - Chino MorenoThe next year Sepultura released their amazing album Roots, this record continued from where Chaos AD began and explored new sounds. The track Lookaway, featured Mike Patton, also Jonathan Davis of Korn and DJ Lethal of Limp Bizkit. These two bands would go on to head up the nu metal movement.
"Mike Patton was on the song, and Jonathan's a huge FAITH NO MORE fan. He was actually freaking out that Patton was there. He was really nervous, which was actually kind of funny. He kept chewing on his hair the whole time he was in the studio. Ross Robinson teased him at one point and told him to calm down. [Laughs]" - Max CavaleraKorn have often cited that they are heavily influenced by FNM. When asked what music has stayed with you for 20 years James 'Munky' Shaffer replied, "I’d have to say Faith No More. When Angel Dust came out, that record, I still listen to it once in a while and I love it."
"Fieldy and I were big Faith No More fans. In the late 80s they were playing a kind of funk rock; so were the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but we tended to lean more towards the minor progressions. When Patton joined in ’89 they dropped a single called From Out of Nowhere and we were sold all the way. At that point we became real fanatics – started researching the guy and going up to San Francisco to see them play. Every song on this record was super inspiring to us. The song structures and Patton’s sense of melody – it was alternative metal at its best. You don’t have any wailing solos – there tended to be a bridge where things got crazy and they’d feature each artist, rather than just the one guy. It was much more of a band effort than the norm. Now, I love guitar solos and Randy Rhoads, but Faith No More steered us in the direction where we ultimately ended up. Back in 2000, David [Silveria, original Korn drummer] had an issue with his arm for a while and had to miss a few shows, so Mike Bordin sat in and we toured Europe. It was a lot of fun to jam with him – he’s punk rock at heart and just a great drummer. So for a while there you had Korn with this Faith No More groove – it was crazy. I’m really happy to hear that they’re coming back with some new material." - James 'Munky' ShafferAfter Roots came the real shift in rock and metal, even established bands like Metallica were changing direction with their album Load. In 1997 Incubus released their first full length studio album Science, frontman Brandon Boyd citing Patton as his favourite vocalist and the band even mentioned Mr. Bungle in the album credits.
In 1998 System Of A Down released their debut album, possibly the most original sound to be born out of the nu metal movement they combined Arabic melodies with furious guitar riffs. In 2003 singer Serj Tankian listed AD as one of his favourite albums.
"Faith No More was probably the first hard rock I’d ever heard. They’re what made me go back and listen to Slayer and Metallica. Angel Dust wasn’t as commercially viable as The Real Thing, but I think it’s probably their best album. It’s got stuff on it that isn’t typical of anything else they’ve ever done. I’m a huge fan of [Faith No More singer] Mike Patton. I first met him when we toured with [Patton’s band] Mr. Bungle and Incubus on the 2000 SnoCore tour. The guy would never do any vocal exercises! He’d eat, like, a full steak dinner right before the show and then just go onstage." - Serj TankianIn 1999 Slipknot burst onto the scene to eventually dominate mainstream metal for the next ten years. There were immediate comparisons to Mr. Bungle and Faith No More, not just the music but also their appearance and stage show. Lead singer Corey Taylor has openly praised Faith No More and attributed the reason he became singer, and is still alive, to Patton.
"I had heard Faith No More, but I actually had a moment with Faith No More that I just started talking about recently because people have asked me what inspired me to go in the direction I ended up going in. It was one of the few times I tried to commit suicide. I swallowed a whole bottle of pills. My ex-girlfriend, who was honestly the catalyst for why I did it—because I was a 19-year-old maniac—showed up at my house with her mom within minutes of me actually doing this. It was for no reason actually. It was almost like kismet. They showed up and saw me. Her mom was a registered nurse so she immediately called the ambulance. The ambulance came, picked me up, took me to the hospital, and I got to enjoy the Ipecac and liquid charcoal mix that goes with having your stomach pumped. I can't recommend it enough.
To this day, I have a hard time eating pancakes with maple syrup because Ipecac tastes just like maple syrup. It's gnarly. Which is a bum out, because I like to eat like a fat person, you can't put that on pancakes. My grandmother came to pick me up. She took me back to our house, and I basically spent the rest of the night on the couch feeling so sorry for myself that it was almost ugly. I might as well have had an emotional odor coming out of me. The MTV Video Music Awards were on. It was the year Faith No More played "Epic". There's something so different about them live and them on a video. You didn't really get that vibe from the video as much as you saw it live.
Mike Patton is a crazy genius. Watching him basically take the piss out of that entire audience and the fact everyone in that band had such diverse personalities that it worked, I was mesmerized. It shook my whole idea of what you can do musically. It really changed the way I looked at music. Before that, it was like, "You can do rock, which sounds like this" or "you can do hip-hop, which sound likes this" or "you can do pop, which sounds like this". This was basically smashing it all together and making some sort of delicious chili out of it. I sat up. From that moment, I stopped feeling sorry for myself, and it's when I started dedicating myself to becoming what I am today." - Corey Taylor
Another band that found success at this time was Papa Roach who released their album Infest in 2000. Singer Jacoby Shaddix spoke of Patton's influence in 2015.
"Mike Patton is one of my favorite singers. Faith No More, one of my favorite bands of all time. Very inspiring to me. I fell in love with that band at a very young age, and I saw them a few times growing up. I was bummed out when they parted ways [in 1998], but they're doing shows again, which is awesome.
But as far as influence, the way that I sing, I definitely was inspired by Mike Patton, but lyrically, I approach my songs very differently than Mike Patton does. He comes from a place of a bit more sarcasm... a lot more sarcasm. Whereas I come from that heart and soul kind of place. My two favorite singers are Mike Patton and Mike Ness from Social Distortion. Total opposites, but I like the storytelling that Mike Ness does so I kind of fused both those two guys together at an early age, and it inspired me to become my own thing." - Jacoby Shaddix
As the nu metal tag was starting to become a thing of the past Hoobastank released their self titled debut album in 2001. Frontman Doug Robb has nothing but adoration for FNM and Mike Patton, counting AD as one of his favourite albums.
"For me personally, the most obvious influence is Faith No More. It may not show in our music at all, but when you’re in high school, you’re probably at your most impressionable as far as music goes, and I was so into Faith No More, and pretty much all the Seattle grunge bands — Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Pearl Jam. Those bands shaped me, musically speaking. Like I said, it may not show in what we do today, but it’s still my favorite music to listen to when I’m on my own.Other bands that declared that they were inspired by FNM and Angel Dust were Hundred Reasons, singer Colin Doran listed Jizzlobber in his top five songs of all time, "Absolutely mental and amazing because of it." Disturbed, who recorded a cover version of Midlife Crisis in 2008. Plus a whole bunch of bands who contributed to Tribute Of The Year, a compilation tribute of Faith No More covers, released in 2002. And in more recent times Dillinger Escape Plan who of course have connections with Patton. There are many more we have missed out also (some on purpose).
I kind of feel like that moment in my life, from 93 to 97 was when I was the most impressionable, and like a sponge as far as music… It’s tough to say but that’s probably when music meant the most to me, at that point in my life. It’s just the way it is, I was searching for something through the music. Whenever I get asked the “what one CD would you want to have on a desert island” question, I always say FNM’s “Angel Dust.” It’s really hard to say who your favorite person or band is, but if you put a gun to my head and ask me who my band and favorite singer are, I’ll say Faith No More and Mike Patton.
I just always enjoyed how the band could play something so heavy and scream, sing and make the most ridiculous sounds, and then turn around and do “Easy” (by Lionel Ritchie) and get away with it — they wouldn’t be ridiculed. They were so cynical. They mocked a lot of popular music, and maybe I was just a dick when I was younger, but I found that really attractive.
I saw those guys on the “Angel Dust” tour, the “King for a Day Tour,” and all these shows were at smaller venues, and the shit that they would do on stage … I was like, “These guys are awesome.” He never sang the same song the same way twice. He never sang it perfectly — he always sang it differently live than it was on the CD, but I always thought it was cool.
Maybe, subconsciously he was singing it to his fans — something like, “You love this so much, and you know it so well, I’m going to sing it in a totally different way, just for you …” Or maybe it was just my teenage angst …
To go from “The Real Thing” to “Angel Dust” was a huge experimental jump, and it totally lost a lot of their so-called fans, but it cemented them, as far as a rock influence. All these bands that people were categorizing in the early 90s as “new metal bands” — Korn, the Deftones, System of a Down, Incubus and ourselves — all those bands I just named wouldn’t exist without Faith No More, and more specifically, without Mike Patton, because all those bands and a thousand more just like them ripped off and then did something with what Mike (Patton) did. He paved the way for all those bands, including Hoobastank." - Doug Robb
Faith No More have responded to these claims in their wonderfully despondent fashion, with denial, embarrassment and some cases horror! Patton and Roddy have vehemently denied that their music had any part in influencing nu metal.
"Nu-metal makes my stomach turn. Don't blame that poo poo on us, blame it on their mothers! Do you think I listen to any of that stuff at all? No, it's for 13-year-old morons! Believe me, we'll all be laughing about nu-metal in a couple of years. Heck, I'm actually laughing at it now!" - Mike Patton
"No responsibility whatsoever, really. That’s out of my realm. I don’t even really know what those bands sound like. But I certainly don’t feel an affinity towards them. That’s a weird breed of music. I’m in the fortunate position of having brought the sort of feminine sound to the band, so I feel safe. I’m never gonna be tagged as the aggro one, you know? [Laughs] But I guess there’s elements of the band that other people pick up on and focus on. I don’t really hear it myself, though. But I do find that people who make bad music often have really good taste." - Roddy BottumWhereas Bill and Mike Bordin have been a little more sympathetic to those who claim influence by Angel Dust.
Influence is a funny thing, musicians can deny that music has influenced them but sound similar and they can profess deep inspiration yet sound world's apart. Therefore as much as many FNM fans and the band themselves can not discern a connection between their music and bands that were a part (or not) of the nu metal movement it is fact very possible that they were influenced by AD and in fact quite flattering. Also it doesn't necessarily mean that music will be good.....
In conclusion it's undeniable that Angel Dust deserves the title given it by Kerrang! of The Most Influential Album of All Time.
Angel Dust HAS inspired countless musicians, artists and people in their everyday life.
(Author's note.....this album has inspired myself in many profound ways, READ MORE.)