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Solid attempt at a hit song - 89%

Primate, January 7th, 2018
Written based on this version: 1997, CD, Slash Records

By this point (1997), Faith No More were pretty much 'washed up' has-beens in the cruel eyes of the American public. Angel Dust failed to yield an "Epic"-esque pop/rock sensation and King for a Day was a straight up commercial failure in North America. Album of the Year was very much make or break time for them, or more accurately for their record label.

"Ashes to Ashes" appears to be an obvious attempt at grabbing one last stadium rock hit, and with that in mind, it's pretty good for what it is. Unlike most watered down rock singles from 97, it has a mysterious, almost Alice in Chains-ian atmosphere, combined with one of the most majestic chrouses I have ever experienced. As far as the riffs go, they are a little slower and less thrash for FNM, as was the case with the metal material from King for a Day. New guy Jon Hudson is not as technically proficient as either Trey Spruance or Jim Martin, although his playing does a good enough job playing up Faith No More's heavy aspect.

Elsewhere on the single is Album of the Year dud "Mouth to Mouth", which sounds like a really shitty watered down Mr. Bungle song circa 1991. "The Big Kahuna", which was recorded during the AOTY period, also pops up here. In my opinion, it is one of the most metallic pieces of music Faith No More has ever created, You could argue that it is actually the closest they ever came to making a nu-metal track, not because of any rapping, but because of the extremely downtuned "chugga" riffs, which sound like they were transplanted from some Mudvayne or System of a Down screamfest.

This single ends with an electronic remix of the title track, titled the "Hardknox alternative mix". I expected it to suck (like all rock remixes), although it was actually pretty neat, helping play up the moodier, more ethereal aspects of the original mix.

In the end, "Ashes to Ashes" was an admirable farewell to the world of mainstream music for Mike Patton. Nothing he has done since has really gotten much attention with the radio alt-rock crowd, at least in the United States.