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FANTÔMAS picture
Fantômas is an avant-garde metal band from San Francisco in California, formed in 1998.

The band was formed when Mike Patton, previously famous for the multi-million selling Faith No More and art-rock heroes Mr. Bungle, composed a handful of spasmodic and experimental metal songs.

Patton then sent the original compositions to musicians he thought would be right for the job, guitarist Buzz Osborne (of sludge outfit Melvins), his childhood friend and ex-bandmate bassist Trevor Dunn (of Mr. Bungle) and drummer Igor Cavalera (from thrash metal band Sepultura), but Cavalera rejected his offer. Instead, Dave Lombardo (from Slayer) joined on drums, thus his own dream group, Fantômas, was born.

Patton named the group after an anti-hero featured in a series of crime novels popular in France before World War I.
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FANTÔMAS Discography

FANTÔMAS albums / top albums

FANTÔMAS Fantômas album cover 3.12 | 11 ratings
Avant-garde Metal 1999
FANTÔMAS The Director's Cut album cover 3.88 | 11 ratings
The Director's Cut
Avant-garde Metal 2001
FANTÔMAS Delìrium Còrdia album cover 3.42 | 12 ratings
Delìrium Còrdia
Metal Related 2004
FANTÔMAS Suspended Animation album cover 3.78 | 17 ratings
Suspended Animation
Avant-garde Metal 2005

FANTÔMAS EPs & splits

FANTÔMAS Fantômas / Melt-Banana album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Fantômas / Melt-Banana
Avant-garde Metal 2005
FANTÔMAS Sugar Daddy Live Split Series 10 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sugar Daddy Live Split Series 10
Avant-garde Metal 2013

FANTÔMAS live albums

FANTÔMAS Millennium Monsterwork album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Millennium Monsterwork
Avant-garde Metal 2002

FANTÔMAS demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

FANTÔMAS An Experiment in Terror album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
An Experiment in Terror
Avant-garde Metal 2001

FANTÔMAS re-issues & compilations

FANTÔMAS singles (0)

FANTÔMAS movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
3.50 | 1 ratings
Kentish Town Forum - London 1st May 2006
Avant-garde Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Director's Cut Live: A New Year's Revolution
Avant-garde Metal 2011


FANTÔMAS Delìrium Còrdia

Album · 2004 · Metal Related
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Inspired by the very rare but terrifyingly real phenomenon of people remaining immobile but conscious through surgery due to an odd reaction to anaesthesia, this album-length track from Fantomas is a strange ambient metal opera taking the listener through the twists and turns of this predicament. It isn't just surgery sound effects, though - a diverse range of musical sounds pass by on the journey, yet at the same time I find that most of them aren't particularly memorable. As a project Fantomas has always been one to live or die by its concept, and here the idea is fun in theory but not so hot in execution.

FANTÔMAS Suspended Animation

Album · 2005 · Avant-garde Metal
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A weirdly sunny album for the crushingly heavy Fantomas - don't worry, the riffs and vocal work are still as bizarre as ever, but they are augmented this time by the beeping and booping of children's toys, playful cartoon music, and giggling kids. Maybe Patton, Osborne, Lombardo and Dunn were in a particularly chirpy mood, but this is like candy floss for alternative and extreme metal fans - a brace of experimental brief tracks (with titles inspired by various holidays and festivals during the month of April) displaying a joyous playfulness and even a certain happiness which the dark aesthetic of extreme metal tends to spurn. Happy times.

FANTÔMAS The Director's Cut

Album · 2001 · Avant-garde Metal
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The second Fantomas album improves on the first by offering a more distinct concept - it's Fantomas doing various movie soundtracks, focusing on but not limiting themselves to the horror genre. Naturally, you wouldn't have expected them to play these without substantial rearrangement and reimagination (plus here and there the insertion of some appropriate lyrics to keep Patton in the loop), and it's the off-kilter take on the various material here which keeps things fresh and original and allows it to rise above the status of your typical album of cover songs. Terse and troubling, The Director's Cut sees Fantomas finding its feet and purpose.


Album · 1999 · Avant-garde Metal
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The debut album by Fantomas doesn't stake out an enormously distinct identity for the new supergroup, consisting of Patton and Dunn of Mr Bungle fame joined by Slayer's Dave Lombardo and Buzz Osborne of Melvins. Given the makeup of the group, it's not surprising that this starting point feels largely like a continuation of Mr Bungle by other means. (Dunn and Patton were spreading themselves thin at the time too with actual Mr Bungle work - California, the final Bungle release, came out only a couple of months after this.)

The album consists of short sonic snippets, more extreme metal-oriented in style than much of Mr Bungle and with a flair for the dramatic. I think the concept is that it's a soundtrack to this movie that does not exist, but to be honest that doesn't quite come through here (fellow Mr Bungle offshoot Secret Chiefs 3 would, via their Traditionalists alter ego, tackle a similar concept with a bit more flair some years later) - but that doesn't mean it isn't an intriguing listen, just that it's a bit obtuse compared to later Fantomas releases whose concepts are somewhat more upfront.


Album · 1999 · Avant-garde Metal
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If you're at all familiar with famed avant-garde metal act Mr. Bungle or it's mastermind Mike Patton, then you shouldn't be at all unaware as to the contents of Fantomas. Or maybe you should. Who knows at this point.

Fantomas originates from the titular character in a 1964 French film (or the 1913 thing, whatever you please), which was directed by the late Andre Hunebelle who just so happened to be a master glass-maker. Who would have guessed? Anywho, after the group Mr. Bungle sort-of kind-of broke up in 1999 (even though, not really- 2004 about) and avant-garde fetishist Mike Patton wanted another way to oust his urges since Faith No More wasn't really cutting it. Thus, Fantomas was born from a horrifying musical Caesarean section unto the world. Seeing as the last album of Mr. Bungle (which came in the same year, 1999) had combinations of doo-wop and thrash metal, it's safe to say that whatever this 'Fantomas' thing can't exactly be called 'normal'.

A first question I asked upon first inspection of this self-titled record was, "how the hell do I listen to it?" At first glance the first connection you might draw towards is grindcore, a similar genre with very short track times as well. Don't. It's not that.

Allow me to take a moment of clarity for a second. Like any avant-garde album, criticism is hard to levy towards it. I mean, something so erratic can't be easily pinned down. Lyrical quality is of course non-existent, although I do commend Mike Patton for his impeccable variation between "KI-KI-KI-KI-KI-KI-KI" and "hyena screeching after being impaled with four spears" impression, both of which are like audio serenades. It is definitely metal, for sure. Dave Lombardo, drummer of Slayer, is of course delivers a very powerful performance (at least when he's actually on the mic), especially when the music goes full monty on the metal aspect. Other than that differentiation of bass and guitar by Trevor Dunn and Buzz Osborne is practically impossible amidst all the noise. They are rather nice when they get a minute's time to shred and hit a crazy solo.

But the aforementioned noise is the centerpiece of this. For what it is, which is practically nothing, it's well-produced. Mike Patton is a man who is very fond of nothing, such as that one time when he recorded himself for 43 minutes clapping and screaming in a hotel room in '96*. When he gets a chance to do some neat stuff, he does it rather well. Every time the album goes silent the silence feels heavy, which is a very dismal yet cathartic experience you won't find in really any other genre. The ambiance of the piece yields interesting material as well, like film audio-samples (presumably from Fantomas or films of its caliber) and other industrial noises, all which create an example of metal degradation, something I'm sure Mr. Patton was going for. Although there are many motifs in Fantomas, such as a certain falsetto that Patton does occasionally and extremely high pitched screaming, which do tend to lose their effect after a few listens.

Although I can't really pin down specific tracks that I feel most in-tune with, I won't list any others than 'Page 26', which is so eerily...evil in it's intensity. Rarely have I found any other musical pieces that have instilled genuine discomfort in me more than this particular piece. Very interesting.

All in all I apologize for the disjointedness of some of my thoughts. I am someone who likes to write reviews of music while listening to the music itself. In doing so I sometimes channel the musical nature of it into the reviews themselves. What you just read is the product of a Fantomas-laden mind, and I'm sorry. As for the album itself, I suppose it hit its mark as a discomforting or overly-pretentious production, but it doesn't really break through any boundaries past that. Is it even worth proof reading this?


FANTÔMAS Movies Reviews

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