Album Reviews

Faith No More – Sol Invictus (REVIEW) 2015

It’s coming soon, the first new album of material by San Francisco’s Faith No More since 1997. The new album Sol Invictus will be released on May 19th.

So what’s it like? Is it good?

Why yes. Yes it’s very good. Very good.

No, it doesn’t sound like “old Faith No More” or anything like that. It’s definitely it’s own body of work that stands out in their lineup of releases. Many of the tracks have a lower-key, haunting feel with singer Mike Patton choosing a bassy growl over soaring melodies. However there are some tracks that very much harken back to the 90’s FNM you’d be familiar with (especially the King for a Day… Fool for a Lifetime era).

The new material is a natural progression, and makes the 18-year gap of time between Sol Invictus and Album of the Year seem vastly smaller.

To start, you are subtly eased in with the tribal title track, before launching into the already-familiar “Superhero”.

“Sunny Side Up” is an oddly groovy tune with some big distorted choruses and just a bit of 70’s cop-chase guitar, which then drops you into “Separation Anxiety”… an urgent and nervous tune with a Tool/Marilyn Manson-esque metal feel. The Mike Patton vocal stamp is all over this one.

“Cone of Shame” is classic heavy/driving FNM, followed by “Rise of the Fall” – a tune with a haunted European flare, a huge chorus, and a very Mr. Bungle -esque breakdown… before sauntering back into it’s candle-lit glass-of-red-wine tone at the end. This one is my favorite at the moment.

The album keeps up the urgent pace through “Black Friday”, cooling down a bit for “Motherfucker”. “Matador” then comes along… it’s huge. Glorious. Heavy drums, soaring vocals… very powerful and very reminiscent of the early/mid 1990’s.

“From the Dead” closes the record with what I can only describe as “something that might be in the ending credits for an Italian Western movie”. If that’s even a thing.

It’s a very good album. Perhaps not quite on the level of their heyday, but still a welcome addition that warrants many repeat listens. So far, the best “reunion” album I’ve heard.

Bottom Line:  Sol Invictus is like a classy, creepy cowboy dinner party in a haunted mansion. Interesting, tense and uncomfortable in between bursts of violent ghost attacks. Despite the time off, Faith No More has returned after 18 years with a sound more inventive and insane than ever. And I think that’s the statement we were all hoping to hear.

Rating: 8/10

8 replies »

  1. Definitely its own beast and closer to Patton’s most recent Tomahawk stuff than old FNM. Their worst album but that;s hardly a negative review. Just a kind of weird mix, even for FNM.

    • I agree with you. It is very similar to the most recent Tomahawk. Not a bad thing. there are many moments that are still very much FNM. Personally I love it, and it’s by far the best record I’ve heard from any reuniting band. We very much appreciate your input, instead of being an asshole and just saying “it sucks” or “it’s awesome”. Cheers.

      • I’m sure I’ll love it if it’s anything like Tomahawk. Mofo was definitely a letdown. At least lyric wise. Thanks for the review. Looking forward to hearing it soon.

  2. I would already put it over Album of the Year, but no particular song over AOTY’s best. For instance, Ashes to Ashes tops anything on Sol Invictus imo, but as a complete body of work, Sol Invictus may be the better, and at least more consistent album.

  3. I think it was very mature of them to not put one overly poppy song on the album like they did with all their previous releases. I think it’s best enjoyed as one continuous piece. The songs go into each other quite well.

    • That’s exactly how I feel, about the songs sounding good in that order. I wasn’t a big fan of Motherfucker when it came out but it fits so well in its place in the album that it’s really grown on me. They opened with it last night at the show too and it sounded amazing live. I had no clue Roddy sang the lead on it either. Great show!