Fantomas – Fantomas

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Reviewed: May 1999
Released: 1999, Ipecac Recordings
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson

Still gazing at your shoes from the inactivity of Mr. Bungle over the years? Well you may find some solace in Mike Patton’s latest endeavor known as “Fantomas”! Mike wasted no time after Faith No More’s dissolution and quickly assembled a band containing his favorite guitarist, bassist, and drummer…being Buzz Osborne (The Melvins), Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle), and Dave Lombardo (you know). Quite an unusual lineup, aye? Well this is an extremely unusual album! Mike has seemed to try and pick up where Mr. B’s “Disco Volante” left off. The album contains 30 tracks, with no song titles, and no lyrics. In fact, Patton doesn’t even speak a word…just mutated grunts, screams, hisses, yells, howls, moans, and just plain gibberish! Remember “Ma Meeshka Mow Skwoz”? Imagine a whole album with Patton “singing” like that! Combine this with tractor-pull riffing, machinegun-fire drumming, bizarre arrangements, and split-second detours and you’ve got one messed up listening experience! This album is neither as varied in style nor as interesting as “Disco Volante” though. Besides the three normal instruments and Mike’s voice, there’s some strange sound effects and movie samples. There’s no abundance of keyboards, or brass instrumentation. In fact, this album’s heavier than “Disco Volante”, the heavy parts resembling those in “Carry Stress in the Jaw” and “Merry Go Bye Bye”. Most of the songs are similar, varying from full speed thrash attacks, to quiet interludes of weird noises, to percussive bombing, to doomy bass lines, to just pure vocal armageddon! The noise that comes out of Mike’s mouth is sometimes hilarious, but most of the time amazing. This album sounds like a tribal thrash metal jungle band gone bonkers! Very abstract, experimental, heavy, and strange. You have been warned!


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