Angel Dust

Faith No More

Slash /Reprise Records, 1992

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


After the breakthrough success of their third album The Real Thing, one had to be asking the question of Faith No More: What's next?

For a band who were just settling in with new lead singer Mike Patton – who came in after the bulk of The Real Thing was already written – it would be a journey of discovery, as well as breaking down all walls of expectations. Forget about writing the next “Epic” or “Surprise! You're Dead!”; Faith No More needed a clean slate and room to explore with their next effort.

Angel Dust is the culmination of that process, a disc which still holds onto some memories of their past but challenges both the listener and themselves to move forward musically. And, for the most part, it works well. (Later releases included a cover of The Commodores's “Easy”, and a two-disc deluxe edition was released in 2011; this review covers the initial release.)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The opening track “Land Of Sunshine” is probably the closest thing to Faith No More's past that you're going to find on this disc, and serves as a good bridge to the new paths the band was about to take. And, just like that, “Caffeine” launches you into a whole new world. Yes, you could almost argue that the opening riff was similar to some of their earlier works. However, Patton's vocal work, combined with Mike Bordin's exceptional drum work on this track, create sonic layers that you may not have expected.

The first single, “Midlife Crisis,” is still – for me, at least – the highlight of this album. With a hypnotic rhythm pattern and Patton's growled verses, it just seems to capture the essence of what Faith No More was at this stage in their career.

At this stage, any concept of what you thought Angel Dust was going to be is thrown out the window. “RV” is a bizarre rant, the subject of which I still have not been able to figure out, but it seems to capture the hopelessness of the upper lower-class kind of lifestyle. (Closing lyric: “I think it's time I had a talk with my kids. I'll just tell 'em what my daddy told me… You ain't never going to amount to nothin'.”)

From then on, Angel Dust tackles some strange subject matter. Fellatio? Check – on “Be Aggressive” (though the cheerleader chant of the song title belies the darker subject matter). Fear of imprisonment? Check – on “Jizzlobber”. It's a much deeper ride than you might have expected to take, and sonically the messages might be lost as they're often buried underneath Jim Martin's guitar and Roddy Bottum's keyboard lines. But, musically, it's quite impressive.

That all said, Angel Dust is a bit more challenging of an album to appreciate. Make no mistake, it's well worth the time and effort, but if you're thinking you're just going to pick this up and hear the continuation of The Real Thing, you're going to be sorely disappointed. But, if you really spend some time with this one and get to know it, you will discover this could well be Faith No More's best album.

Rating: B

User Rating: B-



© 2017 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Slash /Reprise Records, and is used for informational purposes only.