Album Review: Faith No More – Sol Invictus

The Faith No More reunion of 2009 came ‘From Out Of Nowhere’ (#sorrynotsorry) and, whilst being met with utter rapture by their fans, was widely expected to be a last hurrah before the band finally imploded for good. Yet here we are, six years later and we’re talking about brand new Faith No More songs. ‘Sol Invictus’ drops 18 years since the sarcastically titled ‘Album Of The Year’ and is brought to us by the same line-up that produced and toured that record. Is it any cop though?

In a word yes! There’s been a hint of what to expect already with the mind bending ‘Motherfucker’ and the rip-roaring stomp of ‘Superhero’ and both tracks fit seamlessly into an album situation despite their familiarity. Opening with the title track ‘Sol Invictus’ eases in with a sound that follows on directly from ‘Album Of The Year’. It’s a soulful introduction underpinned by stilted guitar work from Jon Hudson and the contemplative piano of Roddy Bottum.

Once ‘Superhero’ blusters through, the album opens up and gives itself some air. ‘Sunny Side Up’ is a mess of funk guitar with a blistering chorus reminiscent of ‘Just A Man’ from 1995’s ‘King For A Day…Fool For A Lifetime’. It’s classic Faith No More and any doubts that even the greatest of cynics may have had about the bands ability to cut it after so long are extinguished inside the first three songs.

I could bang on all day about the rest of the songs on the album but there’s really no need. They sound like Faith No More and they’re great. From the operatic pomp of ‘Matador’ to the sneering tension of ‘Cone Of Shame’ the entire album is a resounding success. They idea of listing reference points is equally as redundant. Faith No More didn’t sound like anyone else when they entered the public conscious in the late 80’s and they still don’t like anyone else.

So many bands have reformed to try and re-capture former glories in recent years, and whilst there’ll always be a market for reunion tours very few have lived up to the hype on record. Faith No More aren’t just any old band though. Cited as innovators and an influence on just about every form of alternative rock that’s surfaced since 1990, they were unlikely to fall short here. In fact you doubt they’d even have bothered unless they were enjoying it – let’s face it that’s why they called it quits in the first place. ‘Sol Invictus’ is the sound of a band enjoying each other’s creative company again and that’s allowed them to slip into a groove that’s welcomingly familiar and as stirringly brilliant as ever.

5/5

‘Sol Invictus’ by Faith No More is out now on Reclamation Recordings/Ipecac Recordings .

Faith No More links: Website|Facebook|Twitter

Words by Rob Fearnley.

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