Comeback albums are possibly the most important album in a bands catalog, much like sophomore releases, it is where they gain relevance or crash and burn. Coming back has to be big, the album has to not only adhere to the bands past, pleasing those who have watched and waited for years but also find new ways to innovate, impress and ultimately gain new fans. If they fail, the band may be done for good. Luckily for everyone involved Faith No More has far from failed with Sol Invictus, their first album in eighteen years. In fact, Faith No more has made one of their best albums and one of the best comeback albums ever.
With every album Faith No More changes their sound, with Mike Patton first joining on The Real Thing, sounding off with his whining, chiming singing and his more subdued, low key and darker tone on Angel Dust. With Sol Invictus he brings a sort of Jazzy, grumbling whisper to the mix, with him crooning on album highlight ‘Sunny Side Up’ which switches from funk, punk, jazz and metal in an instant and with great aplomb. Songs like ‘Sol Invictus’, ‘Separation Anxiety’ and ‘Cone Of Shame’ have this earthy, unsettling quality, with Patton using a gravelly almost southern tone.
The album switches tempo, tone and soundscapes on a constant basis, with ‘Superhero’ being the most typical song on the album, moving between heavy, screaming versus to a catchy sung chorus. Where other tracks like ‘Rise Of The fall’ have reggae beats and a epic, heavy chorus with Patton channeling modern metal styles. In typical Faith No More fashion, Sol Invictus cannot be contained, classified or quantified. It draws on so many wells, so many genres and so many influences to become something wholly original and astounding. Sol Invictus shows exactly why Faith No more influenced generations of bands from Slipknot to Nirvana.
There are even tracks that sound completely new within the scope of Faith No More‘s discography, ‘Motherf@#ker’ is a particular highlight, with powerful, imposing and affecting spoken word verses followed by a more typical Faith No More chorus and certain tracks featuring some of the bands heaviest moments although brief. Unfortunately, the final track ‘From The Dead’ is a dud, with almost no memorable hook or the classic stylistic changes the band is famous for. With the song preceding it being so strong, the album ends on a flat note, which is the only blemish on an otherwise astounding set of original, catchy and downright genius tracks.
Sol Invictus clocks in at just under forty minutes, which for a Faith No More album, is pretty short. It will leave listeners wanting more and feeling a little shortchanged, with one or two more tracks making it the perfect length. With songs being so strong and containing no filler, it is hard to complain about length when what is provided is incredible. Faith No More have the best comeback album in recent memory, surpassing Carcass or At The Gates in what a band can do with their sound with so much time away.
Sol Invictus is exactly what fans of Faith No more could have wanted and more, it brings the band back into the limelight, with an album that is just as successful at melding genres and styles as any album in their storied backlog. Sol Invictus is one of their best albums, easily sitting with the best of their catalog, and it is one of the best albums of 2015 and one of the best of the past decade of alternate music.