Faith No More is truly a band that defies categorization, and never is that more apparent than on Angel Dust. Not nearly as commercial as The Real Thing and subsequently not nearly as popular (at least in the U.S.), Angel Dust still highlights the best quality of Faith No More; they do what they want without sticking to any particular style.
This album is all over the place, with each song sounding uniquely different. From the bouncily funky yet oddly eccentric “Land Of Sunshine” onto the hard hitting “Caffeine” (which will definitely give you that kick in the ass you need), through the anthemic single “Midlife Crisis,” the rolling piano pop of “RV” (which surges come chorus time – if you can call it a chorus, that is), the alternately atmospheric and explosive “Smaller And Smaller,” the melodic thrill of the soaring “Everything’s Ruined,” the violent thrash of “Malpractice,” the melodic Mike Patton showcase about “Kindergarten,” the kiddie chants of the perverted “Be Aggressive,” the futuristic keyboards and soulful vocals of the hummable “A Small Victory,” the funky James Bond meets David Bowie soundscapes of “Crack Hitler,” the twisted shrieks of “Jizzlobber”. . . even the strange cover of the “Midnight Cowboy” theme that closes the album – Angel Dust runs the gamut of musical styles and never allows the listener to get bored. Keyboard player Roddy Bottum is brilliant as he weaves a distinct tone through each of these 13 songs, while guitarist Jim Martin (in his last album with the band) adds an impressive array of heavy riffing. However, it is Patton in particular who steals the show with one of the most spectacularly over the top vocal performances of all time; whether he’s sweetly singing in a whisper or screaming in a blood-curdling rage, you will not forget his performance. Alas, his performance was to go unrewarded, as Angel Dust is perhaps the most defiant follow up to a breakthrough album in rock history, the band all but daring their fans to stay the course on a bumpy but often brilliant ride. For that reason alone, you just gotta love this band for trying to create a totally unique experience (and for their indifferent attitude towards the industry itself), though this makes them deliberately difficult at times.
Angel Dust is a one of a kind album whose bizarre music may not be for everyone, but anyone searching for something “different” who likes their music heavy should find it fascinating.