To celebrate the release of Faith No More’s new album this week, we’re running a special series of celebratory articles. In this series, we look at each of the Patton-era albums, continuing with 1992′s Angel Dust!
Don’t forget to read up on 1989′s The Real Thing here!
01. Land of Sunshine
03. Midlife Crisis
05. Smaller and Smaller
06. Everything’s Ruined
09. Be Aggressive
10. A Small Victory
11. Crack Hitler
13. Midnight Cowboy
Unlike Simon, I got Angel Dust and The Real Thing at the same time – and got into both instantly. I still have an internal debate over which one I like more every now and then, and while the easy cop-out answer is whichever one I’m listening to at the time I’m inclined to say Angel Dust if only for its bravery in going against the current and daring to make an album that the label probably advised against.
After a hit like “Epic”, Faith No More probably could have gone with that style for good and made a lot of money from the 90s’ poor taste (no offense to “Epic“, all offense to the 90s). Cashing in on the rap rock craze was something a lot of bands did at the time, but what did good ol’ FNM do? They turned around, said “fuck you MTV” and made Angel Dust, their weirdest album yet.
That weirdness, the writing process, and even the name apparently caused some difficulties within the band, with guitarist Jim Martin disliking a lot of it. The general consensus, however – especially critically – is that the album came out great; it’s home to accessible singles and some weird experiments, despite one particularly bad guitar solo.
Although Faith No More’s instrumental side often resides in the long shadow of Mike Patton’s mammoth talents, the others members are no slouches, especially in the writing department. Patton has songwriting credits on six of the album’s songs, but he shares those credits with one or more band member on all except “Malpractice”. In reality, it’s Goould and Bottum who are responsible in the main.
Despite this, Patton is undeniably the star. In between The Real Thing and Angel Dust, his madcap other band Mr. Bungle secured a record deal of their own, and released their incredible eponymous debut full length. Maybe the weirdness carried over, or perhaps it was simply due to Patton getting to write for FNM for the first time; whatever the reason, Angel Dust became one of the oddest major label releases of the time. Although “Epic” was probably many people’s introduction to the band, mine was “Midlife Crisis”, and I was so instantly hooked I just had to have the album.
Angel Dust is where Patton’s reputation as an envelope-pusher got started for real. Although it was already on the rise within certain circles through Mr. Bungle and his overall persona – on and off stage - Angel Dust was what truly made it clear that Faith No More bends for no one but their own artistic integrity – and there was much more to come.