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From out of nowhere, a new FNM album! - 84%

enshrinedtemple, November 5th, 2015

Well here we go again! Another year and another comeback album. Faith No More surprise many with a new album after reuniting to tour some 5 or 6 years ago. Their lineup is the same that put out Album of the Year way back in 1997. So what we get here is a band that has longevity and familiarity between each other. The years have melted away the bad blood and that same old Faith No More is ever present with Sol Invictus.

Comeback albums are not usually ones that make a career or have a band reinventing the wheel. More often than not they do not live up to the hype of previous material and are seen as a blemish on a discography. Faith No More’s Sol Invictus does not fall into that negative trend though. The band had a number of things going for them at the time of release. First of all FNM are always full of surprises musically. With the talented musicians involved, there is genre hopping mayhem that has become a trademark to FNM. They also had plenty of time to gel and tour with each other which undoubtedly eased a lot of problems when it came to laying down the tracks. It is also important to note that the album was done by themselves in their own studio. These guys have been in the record label business long enough. It was about time they made the album they wanted to make without the pressure. Every seasoned band deserves to try this in their career and FNM kept the material fresh by doing so.

Sol Invictus is a compact album clocking in at under 40 minutes. It's a short but equally awarding journey. They kept the best 10 tracks they could come up with and trimmed the fat. In these 40 minutes, there is the variety that you have come to expect from FNM but it's obvious there is a higher maturity to the album. All the musicians know exactly what to do to get the job done and they feed off each other throughout.

Faith No More always had an experimental style to their music and Sol Invictus is no exception. Roddy Bottum really puts the art and creativity into the songs with his keyboard. The single Superhero is a highlight where his keyboarding provides a hypnotic and catchy element. The first single Motherfucker is given an eerie dark atmosphere and the keyboards during the intro of the song prove to be another highlight. Mike Patton seems to be in a darker mood and he gives a sinister vibe to the moody album. The title of the album really fits with the music because Sol Invictus just sounds evil and overall the songs follow that theme.

There are a few negatives to this album that stood out however. Mike Patton is uncharacteristically tame on the album. With age he has surely matured but the screams and madman like approach are kept to a minimum. He uses his clean voice but also uses a deep baritone like voice in many of the songs like the title track Sol Invictus. Still it is hard to criticize the vocals when Patton is just doing what he can do to be another instrument within the music. Another negative is the length because I felt there should have been another heavy hitting song like Superhero. There are too many mid tempo or even ballad like songs present. Back from the dead leaves a bad taste in the mouth as the album sputters to a finish.

Overall there are so many positives about Sol Invictus but it is far from perfect. It will never reach the lengths of their previous albums or hit singles but it should be seen as a pleasant surprise to longtime fans. They really came from out of nowhere with a release of a new album in 2015. They didn't owe us anything but they provide one of the better rock albums of the year.