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Angel Dust

An album by Faith No More

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Unlike anything you've ever heard before...

  • Feb 2, 2002
Even after tasting popularity and critical success with The Real Thing, Faith No More regarded artistic exploration as more valuable than record sales. Good thing too, or we'd probably have never heard this outstanding record. Angel Dust is an immaculate piece of daring songcraft and studio magic -- the perfect album for anyone who likes challenging music. Even ten years after its release, there has been nothing like it.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), describing the effect of Angel Dust's bold experiment is like trying to describe a sunrise to a blind man. Yes, you can explain the hues of the sky, the way "rods & cones" in your eyes pick up light and color, and maybe the physics of celestial bodies. But do you really convey the simple majesty of dawn? Angel Dust is like that...it's so strange and interesting that it's difficult to discuss in specific terms. Perhaps my analogy is a bit over-the-top, but I do believe Angel Dust is one of the most original albums by anybody, ever. You really have to listen to it to understand it.

From a biased point of view, I might pick "Caffeine" as my favorite, because it starts with MONKEY SOUNDS (which moves into vicious thrashy riffs and murderous screams). But actually, it's tough to pick out favorite songs from Angel Dust, because all are interesting and different and add something special to the album. The album is low on hooks -- the cheerleader bravo chorus on "Be Aggressive" is quirky and catchy; "Everything's Ruined" has a very singable refrain; "A Small Victory" is a more laid-back rocker with smooth melodies.

But everything else is much more offbeat and weird. As a matter of fact, Angel Dust's music is often violent, deranged, and frightening. There's something certainly unsettling about the opener, "Land of Sunshine", where Mike Patton's maniacal laughter, odd carnival-flavored keyboards, and punching bass line create an addictive wall of sound. "Crack Hitler" is spooky, with its funk-inspired guitar & bass interplay juxtaposing a sinister keyboard melody and Patton's creepy vox. "RV" is just plain bizarre, based on the piano with Patton playing the part of some guy speaking his thoughts as he sits in his trailer. "Jizzlobber" is about as haunting and fierce as music can get, but it throws you off by ending with a grand church organ. As diverse as every song is, somehow the pieces always manage to fit. Even the band's take on the "Midnight Cowboy" theme suits perfectly as a mellow conclusion to the craziness that has gone before.

If you're looking for an album that will remain fresh and interesting for 100 years, Angel Dust is for you.

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Quick Tip by . October 23, 2012
posted in Music Matters
I'm glad that Faith No More is one of those bands I grew out of, because this album is ANNOYING.  This album throws together a bunch of musical ideas that never gel, and the worst example of this is the song "Be Aggressive."  This sounds like the rock alternative to the extremely lame LA Rams song "Ram It."  In general, instead of this album coming off as a refreshing fusion of various genres, it comes off like a bunch of snarkey teenagers who pull at …
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Clayton Reeder ()
Ranked #434
Rogue capitalist in search of all that is interesting, weird, or beautiful.      Collected here are my hundreds of reviews from Amazon.com, covering mostly music that is offensive … more
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An amazing album,Angel Dustunfortunately has limited appeal, although perhaps "unfortunately" isn't the right word; the record's oddities are also what make it such a fascinating listen. "Land of Sunshine" is a rocker with a foot-tapping rhythm punctuated by insane laughter from vocalist Mike Patton, whose distinctive voice and frequently disturbing lyrics drive the album. To call it hard rock doesAngel Dusta disservice; it's far more musically complex than such a label implies. There's the funk-influenced "Midlife Crisis," the ballad "RV" (a bitter monologue from the point of view of a middle-aged discontent sitting in his trailer), the hard-edged claustrophobia of "Smaller and Smaller," and the rock-married-to-electronic-organ "Be Aggressive," which includes positively inspired cheerleader chants on the chorus. Impossible to classify but incredibly entertaining (there isn't a single boring moment on this album),Angel Dustis well worth picking up.--Genevieve Williams
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Label: Slash, Reprise
Artist: Faith No More
Release Date: June 16, 1992

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