Review by Rob Watts
It’s as if the last eighteen years hadn’t happened. Reuniting in the studio for the first time since their 1997 release, Album of the Year, the San Fransisco based experimental rockers have responsibly recorded an album that die hard fans can declare worthy of the near two-decade-long sabbatical. Sol Invictus picks right up where Album of the Year left off. Having listened to their 1997 effort a bunch of times leading up to the new release, I can say with absolute certainty that Sol Invictus sounds exactly like what I’d have expected from the band in 1999, let alone 2015. In short; they truly meant it when they said they were recording a Faith No More album that sounds like Faith No More.
Mike Patton‘s vocals are amazing as always and his classic delivery has lost nothing over the years. All of his side projects have kept him in top shape and Sol Invictus benefits greatly from that fact. Roddy Bottum’s keyboards gives the album the right amount of ambience and ethereal quality. Billy Gould and Mike Bordin‘s familiar backbone will jump right out at you and Jon Hudson‘s guitar performance is probably one of his best offerings on this album.
It’s difficult to pin point all the great elements of each song, as I’ve always approached Faith No More’s music as a full-album experience. At least since 1992s Angel Dust. Superhero and Motherfucker, the two lead singles, are hard-driving rock delights, but Cone of Shame and From The Dead really shine a light on Patton’s operatic vocal abilities. Matador is a highlight, especially for fans of Bottum’s synth playing. Black Friday features Patton’s sung-in-spoken word vocals that we’ve all come to know and love. As an album in its entirety, it comes close to Faith No More’s finest work to date. I hope we don’t have to wait another eighteen years for a new album, but if it’s as good as this one, I’ll wait patiently.