Faith No More Angel’s Dust was the follow-up album after the highly successful record The Real Thing which was released in 1989. It was also the first album in which the band’s iconic lead vocalist Mike Patton had a substantial impact on the songwriting and musical style of Faith No More. While the songs in The Real Thing were more or less systematic, Angel’s Dust essentially took a dramatically experimental turn, producing a much darker, more morbid, more aggressive and disturbing sound than The Real Thing.
Faith No More has been classified as alternative rock, funk rock, alternative metal, funk metal, experimental rock, avant-garde metal, etc. With Angel’s Dust, they more or less proved to us that they could be anything they wanted. This album not only showed the true creative versatility of Faith No More, it also played a part in shattering the ideal of mainstream 1980’s Rock N’ Roll music and ushering in a new era for the music scene filled with the likes of Nirvana, Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots.
Faith No More is weird alright. The lyrics to the album’s opening track, Land of Sunshine and Caffeine were inspired by a sleep deprivation experiment, fortune cookies, and Scientology personality tests. Some lines in Land of Sunshine which were taken from the personality tests are “Does emotional music have quite an effect on you?”, “Do you feel sometimes that age is against you?”, and “Do you often sing or whistle just for fun?”. The most iconic lines in the same song that were taken from fortune cookies include “You have a winning way, so keep it” and “Sing and rejoice, fortune is smiling upon you”.
A combination of funky drums, hammering bass, sharp guitars, prominent strings and keyboards, and not to forget Mike Patton’s versatile and haunting vocals, Angel’s Dust successfully combined the ugly with the beautiful, screaming morbid at one second and going slow another. The angelic, Carpenters’-like intro to “Everything’s Ruined” only ushered in an eerie and somewhat disturbing ballad. The thrash-like, unsettling screams coupled with a beautiful strings section in “Malpractice” didn’t exactly help calm the shock. “RV” sounds like a grunge version of Frank Sinatra, with a seemingly soothing deep voice and peaceful guitar rhythms.
“Midlife Crisis”, one of the band’s most iconic songs, incorporates progressive, funk and hip hop elements. With dance-able beats, almost-pop vocals and ear-friendly synths, this song is probably the most conventional and commercial track in the whole album, which only amplifies the shock that fans experience when the rest of the tracks arrive.
If you love the odd side of rock and metal, you’re going to love Angel’s Dust. With this album, Faith No More grew bigger, more influential and revolutionary than ever.
- Land of Sunshine
- Midlife Crisis
- Smaller and smaller
- Everything’s Ruined
- Be Aggressive
- A Small Victory
- Crack Hitler
- Midnight Cowboy
Faith No More Angel’s Dust: Album Review
Written by Gin