FAITH NO MORE — Album Of The Year (review)

FAITH NO MORE — Album Of The Year album cover Album · 1997 · Alternative Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Book one of the Faith No More saga closed with the chapter called Album of the Year. As most of the band members have expressed their displeasure with the album we can hope that the Second Coming sees them continuing to studio after the tour is over, to see if they can come up with a better fitting farewell album. Or the first album of many to come, perhaps. FNM's popularity, especially in North America, had been going downhill with every release since The Real Thing, but the artistic quality went up and stayed there. Most of the time.

Collision is a banging opener along the lines of Get Out from the previous album, but the very next track Stripsearch takes a u-turn and is perhaps their most synth based song ever. The great atmosphere is taken to a next level with a metal riff towards the end of the song. Last Cup of Sorrow with its two chord riff and soaring chorus might have been the first FNM track I ever heard, and since I've since then collected their entire discography, we can come to the conclusion that it did it's introductory job very well. Still one of my favourite FNM tracks. Many Finnish rock fans have noticed a distinct similarity in the riff of Naked in Front of the Computer and the riff of Discopolis by CMX, whose next album Billy Gould would produce. Gould being longtime friends with CMX's guitarist Janne Halmkrona, he might have heard their album released a year before this one and liked the rise-and-fall structure of the riff. Who knows. Anyway this track is one of the highlights of the album and one on which Mike Patton's influence is obvious.

Mouth to Mouth is a track which could almost be on a Mr. Bungle album, like the hard rocking little brother of Desert Search for Techno Allah, and between these two weirdo rockers Helpless is a bit lost. It took me a long long time to remember its existence, nowadays I look at it as the first serious dip in FNM quality since the second half of The Real Thing. Ashes to Ashes takes the band back to a bit more conventional direction and is perhaps the finest track of the album with the synth based, guitar sting flavored verses, a brilliant chorus and a short simple guitar solo by Jon Hudson. She Loves Me Not is among the lesser tracks of the album, but is still an amusing soul ballad joke, showing what Mike Patton would sound like if he was auditioning for Boyz II Men. He wouldn't make it to the band with Got That Feeling, the wildest freak out moment of the album. Paths of Glory feels a bit like the lesser counterpart of Jizzlobber, apart from the massive sound wall of the riffs there isn't much to remember.

I've owned this album for many years and listened to it many many times, but at this moment when I'm listening to Paths of Glory I have absolutely no recollection of the two tracks closing the album. Not the slightest idea. Never a good sign. Home Sick Home and Pristina fall into that sorry group of songs I listen to with decent pleasure but erase them from my memory completely after the last note has gone. That's no way to end a great recording career, back to the studio gentlemen, please.

While King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime was quite conventional in its approach to songwriting, Album of the Year is much more in the vein of Angel Dust, combining straight ahead heavy rocking tracks with weird freakiness. A potentially great album marred by a couple of all too forgettable numbers.
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