Critics hailed the emergence of a highly original heavy metal force with The Real Thing, were subsequently baffled by the absurdly experimental but often brilliant Angel Dust, and finally got fed up with Faith No More with King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime. With lyrics like “shit lives forever” and “I deserve a reward, cuz I’m the best fuck you ever had” it’s no wonder that pundits jumped off the Faith No More bandwagon completely, and lyrics definitely are a weakness. More than ever before, these songs succeed or fail because of singer Mike Patton, whose soulful croon elevates the dramatic mood pieces (“Evidence,” “Take This Bottle,” “King For A Day,” “Just A Man”), while his guttural growl makes parts of the thrashier numbers particularly unpleasant (“Cuckoo For Caca,” “Ugly In The Morning”).
Faith No More remain schizophrenic, but generally in a good way, though they underutilize keyboardist Roddy Bottum. For his part, temporary new guitarist Trey Spruance (recruited from Patton’s other band, Mr. Bungle) is a more straightforward player than Jim Martin (whose parting – documented on “Get Out,” which immediately sets the pissed off tone of the album – was apparently unamicable), but he’s really good too in his own way, and this album’s idiosyncratic charms and considerable character comes across over repeat listens. Indeed, for all its over the top flaws this is still a highly entertaining listen (“Ricochet” and “Digging The Grave” can be added to the growing list of classic Faith No More rockers) whose considerable r&b elements showed that their recent cover of The Commodores’ “Easy” wasn’t quite as tongue in cheek as everybody had assumed.
The brassy horns of “Star A.D.” and the gospel choir of “Just A Man” are other neat new twists on an imperfect yet perfectly riveting album that really grew on me over time (Patton’s psychotic outbursts aside), the band ultimately weighing in with another richly rewarding effort.