Angel Dust [Deluxe Edition]

Angel Dust [Deluxe Edition]

by Faith No More

CD(Special Edition)

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In 1992, Warner Bros. figured that lightning could strike twice at a time when oodles of (mostly horribly bad) funk-metal acts were following in Faith No More and the Red Hot Chili Peppers' footsteps. They sent the former into the studio, where they went in, recorded, and released a bizarro masterpiece. Mike Patton's work in Mr. Bungle proved just how strange and inspired he could get given the opportunity, and with that try-anything-once spirit now brought to his similarly minded colleagues in his more famous act, nothing was ignored. "Land of Sunshine" starts things off in a similar enough vein to The Real Thing, but Patton's vocal role-playing comes out as smarter and more accomplished, with the lyrics trashing a totally smug bastard with pure inspired mockery. From there, Angel Dust steps up the meta-metal of earlier days with the expected puree of other influences, further touched by an almost cinematic sense of storming atmosphere. The fact that the album ends with a cover of John Barry's "Midnight Cowboy" suits the mood perfectly, but the stretched-out, tense moments on "Caffeine" and the soaring charge of "Everything's Ruined" makes for other good examples. A Kronos Quartet sample even crops up on the frazzled sprawl of "Malpractice." Other sampling and studio treatments come to the fore throughout, not in a specifically hip-hop/techno-oriented way, but more as strange cutups and additional quirks, such as the distorted voices on "Smaller and Smaller." The band's sense of humor crops up more than once -- there's the hilarious portrayal of prepubescent angst on "Kindergarten," made all the more entertaining by the music's straightforward approach, or the beyond-stereotypical white trash cornpone narration of "RV," all while the music breezily swings along. Patton's voice is stronger and downright smooth at many points throughout, the musicians collectively still know their stuff, and the result is twisted entertainment at its finest. [In 2015, as Faith No More dropped a new album and staged a reunion tour, Rhino Records released an expanded and remastered Deluxe Edition of Angel Dust. The remastered audio of the original album is excellent, and the bonus disc offers a suitably eclectic grab bag of rarities and live tracks. The highlights include several oddball non-LP tracks, including a "cooler version" of FNM's cover of the Commodores' "Easy," a cocktail lounge version of the Dead Kennedys' "Let's Lynch the Landlord" (from Virus 100, a 1992 DK tribute album), a re-recorded version of "As the Worm Turns" (from the 1985 debut album We Care a Lot) with Patton on vocals, the perversely perky "Das Schutzenfest" (in Deutsch, ja!), and remixes of "Midlife Crisis" and "A Small Victory." The disc also includes ten live tracks, but while the performances are solid throughout, the audio quality is variable, and some truly regrettable '90s drum sounds are inflicted on Mike Bordin. Despite that, there are some great moments here that reinforce the broad, eclectic vision of Faith No More's best album.] ~ Ned Raggett & Mark Deming

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