Angel Dust turns 20

A little late to the party on this one but 8 June marked the 20th anniversary the release of of Faith No More’s Angel Dust. Cited by bands and critics as arguably the most seminal metal release of all time, it was and remains a remarkable record. Certainly, it is an album that I loved and lived with for two decades now and each listen continues to offer up new insights.

Brilliant lyrics, crunching guitar, trademark FNM rhythm propelling every track, intelligent sampling and vocals that announced the maturity of a master voice, the record has rightly been richly feted this week and I would like to add my own tribute.

Time-stretched as I am in Warsaw, I will restrict myself now to a compendium of anniversary articles.

(Brilliantly written, this one really resonates with own experience)
“Faith No More used to get the “alternative metal” tag in the magazines I was just starting to read, but the form of stomp-rock iconoclasm that exists on Angel Dust was light-years removed from the grunge revolution that was happening elsewhere. Instead, it’s a dizzily omnivorous thing, one that delights in shoving listeners’ heads into its excesses. About 40 seconds into the juddering groove of opening track “Land Of Sunshine,” we hear stereopanning, multitracked, echoey evil laughter, one of the creepiest things I’d ever heard at that point. “Be Aggressive” has cheerleader chants. “Jizzlobber” ends in straight-up opera. The album’s final track is a cover of the impressionistic instrumental score from Midnight Cowboy, a movie I’d never heard of. With kickass first single “Midlife Crisis,” Faith No More found a way to land in the pop charts with a song that includes a line about “your menstruating heart” in its chorus. I had no idea what the fuck was going on with this thing.”

Gun Shy Assassin
“It changed things for Faith No More. Forever would they become associated with the disc, as most of us fans consider it their finest hour.”

No Crowdsurfing
This reads as a real labour of love and is both detailed on release specifics and deeply personal.

Freaks, Geeks and Gigs
“How can you stay static when you hear the first riffs of “Land Of Sunshine”? How can you not jump off the floor while listening “Midlife Crisis”? How can you not yelling out during the crazy thrash metal-like moment of “Malpractice” and/or “Jizzlobber”?”


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15 Responses to Angel Dust turns 20

  1. Miss Nessie says:

    Thanks for the review!! Nice one ;-)

  2. Sonny B says:

    Legendary album. My personal favorite of all time. ‘Seminal’ couldn’t be the more appropriate term.

    And it’s funny how most critics and open minded metal enthusiasts acknowledge its sound and influence in metal music, yet many fans (or some) love to denounce FNM place in metal, and would rather put them in the ‘alternative rock’ world because they feel the genre is generic or that FNM are better than that… Oh well, to each its own. Sure, it doesn’t fall along the lines of a classic Slayer or Metallica album, but the influence it had on bands from all different sub-genres of metal cannot de denied. The album has some alternative influences, but it’s mainly heavy (inspired either by thrash/death metal, Godflesh, Grotus, etc, artsy rock?) and experimental. Surely the band had all different kinds of musical influences, but they merge them into this beautiful, bizarre, and dark heavy album. You know what? It’s just great f_cking music, that’s what it is. Happy late Birthday Angel Dust!

  3. Jeff says:

    The best record ever made. Hands down. End of fucking story. There will never be anything as earth shattering as this record. This album created a musical landscape that careers have been based off of. Brilliant.

  4. Agata says:

    Happy late Birthday Angel Dust :) Admin – hope you have nice time in Warsaw.

  5. DreamQueefer says:

    My favourite album ever, next Appetite For Destruction then Mr.Bungle’s 1st, peace everybody!!!!!!!!!!

  6. neenack says:

    Freaks and geeks summed it up for me! :P

  7. Pingback: Faith no More – Angel Dust 20 anos – O Mundo Comemora | PattonFans Brasil

  8. Rob says:

    That Stereogum tribute nails it for me. I had liked TRT but was I was too young to really appreciate FNM. However, soon after turning 15, a friend of mine handed me this tape… Faith No More – Angel Dust. I put it into my walkman and for months it stayed there. This perplexing album was like nothing I had ever heard before. I remember of all the tracks on there it was RV that first threw me off centre. Then Caffeine fucked with me. Kindergarten amazed. Crack Hitler intrigued. Jizzlobber floored me. Then I began to notice more and more pop elements within the heaviness. I became obsessed with this album to the point I even went out and bought the Kronos Quartet album Black Angels just because they were sampled in Malpractice. Seeing them play the songs live in ’93 and the volatility of the concert had hooked me forever on this band. Angel Dust changed my life. It opened my eyes and set me on the path to much of the astonishing music I listen to today. 20 years on and I still love this album. Easily the most influential album of my life.

  9. benrun says:

    I had a pretty similar experience as Rob. What intensified the experience for me was that it was the 2nd time with the same band that I had wrap my head around an music that I had never heard before. The first time was with Introduce Yourself. I had never heard anything like that. It was on side B of a mix tape a friend made me, but even he didn’t know what band it was. I listened to that tape everyday until I heard “Epic”. I placed the band as sounding so much like this band that I loved, but knew that it couldn’t be them b/c they had this really annoying whiny singer instead of the really nasally but more mature singer on the mix tape. I finally confirmed that it was the same band, searched high and low and found a WCAL tape and also bought TRT. Clearly, the band was growing more solid in it’s music and Patton had great potential, but TRT didn’t really blow my mind like IY did and still does. Finally, I learned of the next album coming out. AD was the first album of theirs that I got to go out and buy the first day it came out. My first thought was that they had ruined all my dreams of what I wanted that album to be. I was actually pissed! Then I heard familiarities in Smaller and Smaller, and couldn’t help but think Midlife Crisis was a masterpiece. By the third listen…I realized that I was hearing something that was and always will be 1 of a kind, something way better than what I was hoping for. It’s still an enigma to me…a clearly FNM album that challenged all that I thought FNM was. This album and the subsequent live shows have yet to grow old. And like Rob, I gave Kronos Quartet a chance, and even got into Simon and Garfunkel because of the Cecilia sample! And now I’m regularly checking out all the Kool Arrow and Ipecac releases, as well as the Tzadiks.

  10. Rob says:

    Mike Patton with Mondo Cane at Harvest Festival 2012. I will be there. :)

  11. Ricardo says:

    I love this album. A beautiful heron/egret on the cover. Angel Dust, a beautiful name for a hideous drug. Btw, any resemblance is purely coincidental, or not…:

  12. benrun says:

    Ricardo…excellent observation! Man…I would love one concert of them performing AD but adding in a cover of that song!

  13. Nathan says:

    One of the few albums that had a really profound impact on how i hear music and very influential in many other aspects as well. 1992 I was 16, had been a huge Beatles fan a few years earlier (still is), had gotten into Dylan, then Hendrix and then Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Never really cared for contemporary music until Metallica and Guns’n’roses was everywhere and I was kind of into that for a while, but it didnt really mean anything to me. Then while staying at my sisters apartment one night watching MTV, which I couldn’t see at home, I saw Midlife Crisis and was completely knocked over! How could anything be so scary and so slick at the same time, so heavy and so pop? This was completely fresh and new. I learned that they played in a big festival that we were going to for the first time that year, and I knew i HAD to see them! Dont really remember much of the show itself, only that it was chaotic and that they played this strange song where the chorus was just the singer laughing like an evil maniac! I was confused and on fire, bought the album first thing when i came home. Put it on my parents record player and was just trying to make sense of what i heard. Me and a few of my friends became huge fans and we got hold of the back catalogue and learned all we could about the band ( how did you even do that back then with no internet?). The more sense it all made, the more I realized that this was what i musically had been looking for without knowing it. The aggression, the beauty, the rythm, the tonality, the moods, the voice, the lyrics, the imagery, the underlying humor. It was all new to me but resonated with my soul, it was the complete package. And it inspired me in my artwork, in the poems i wrote and the music i made. And now, like an old friend you have known all your life, it has become a part of my dna. I dont listen to it that much (maybe a few times a year) and i listen to all kinds of very different music, but in a way i stil measure all music I hear, to that particular collection of songs.

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