Faith No More - Sol Invictus
Ipecac Recordings
Experimental Alt Metal
10 songs (39:30)
Release year: 2015
Faith No More, Ipecac Recordings
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

Having reacquainted myself with the still disappointing Album of the Year, the reunion of Faith No More in 2014 felt like even more of a good idea, after their mini-reunion in 2009 – business was left unfinished. That hiatus between 2012 and 2014 clearly gave the band room to breathe, time to consider, and as this album shows, truly come together as a unit again. On first listens, Sol Invictus is decent, on the next, good, better than Album of the Year. On subsequent listens it only gets better, rivalling even King for a Day if not quite reaching the giddy heights of Angel Dust. Faith No More haven't tried to pick up where they left off, but re-imagined their sound for 2015, eighteen years after their last album, and sound fresher and more relevant than ever.

Kicking off with the sombre title track, this is the sound of rebirth. A building, almost bluesy track with Patton's deep vocals giving lyrics like 'Keep singin', Lord, I'm on my way... home' emotional depth, the man having had time to mature in the nearly two decades since he sang on a Faith No More album! The track is short, acting as an intro to the album, but builds so effectively and smoothly that the sudden post-Sabbath riff that opens Superhero comes as a surprise. This is far more typical of the band's earlier days, traded harsh vocals and thrashy riffing interwoven with piano and clean singing – immediately more experimental and even avant-garde than anything from Album of the Year. A slow, almost Middle-Eastern-styled guitar solo towards the end from returning guitarist Jon Hudson is terrific, and although the piano feels like a slight step too far, it still fits the song.

That feeling of considered excess continues into the jazzy Sunny Side Up, a whimsical song that seems largely to be about cooking eggs, and the chaotic and aggressive Separation Anxiety, which sounds like recent Dillinger Escape Plan with creepy snarled vocals from Patton and a galloping drive distinct from anything that I remember hearing from the band before. It's all far more interesting than before, the band clearly putting the effort in this time around, which means that although you'll like some songs more than others, none feel like filler. The slower, almost Sergio Leone-esque opening to the dark Cone of Shame, the weirdly 60s surfer-rocking Black Friday, not to mention the building Motherfucker, which is closer to Tomahawk than traditional Faith No More and is catchier than you think on first listens – all are interesting, diverse songs that merit many listens.

Matador is the real star of the album though, traditionally funky but with moments of proggy intensity that sound more like Norwegian stars Leprous than anything, building to an insanely infectious chorus. The theme of rebirth pops up there and on the closing From the Dead, Patton singing “I can see the parade // Welcome home my friend” - interpreting this as the band coming home to the fans seems a bit too obvious, but then it fits so perfectly that what else are we to think? Faith No More are right to predict parades, this is indeed a grand homecoming for them. And although I don't love every song here, and the album length seems a little miserly given the time that the band have been away, it's more than a good enough comeback album.

Killing Songs :
Superhero, Sunny Side Up, Separation Anxiety, Black Friday, Motherfucker, Matador
Goat quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Faith No More that we have reviewed:
Faith No More - Album of the Year reviewed by Goat and quoted 72 / 100
Faith No More - King For A Day... Fool For A Lifetime reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Faith No More - The Real Thing reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Faith No More - Angel Dust reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
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