Fantomas

Mr. Melvin Slayer, you've made quite a Bungle! Faith? No More! Ha ha! HEEEEE! Ho Ho Ho! MERRY CHRISTMAS!
*special introductory paragraph!
*Fantomas
*The Director's Cut
*Millennium Monsterwork (by The Fantoma Melvins Big Band)
*Delirium Cordia
*Suspended Animation

Fantomas are a "super duo" comprised of four people, making it a double "super duo." Thank you and God Bless.

Oh FUCK! I'm not a minister! I don't even believe in Jews! So let's talk about the Fantomas. Eh? Might as well! We're here! And naked! We're all butt naked! Look at my hairy ass! Look at me shaking my scrotum bag around! Whee! How's about a teabag? Whee!!!

Oh fuck all of you. I am the finest romance novelist of the 21st century. If you don't believe me, just ask the CIA (moves eyes back and forth suspiciously).

So back to the subject at hand: The Beatles are a 4-man band from Liverpool, England featuring singer Mike Patton from Mr. Bungle, Faith No More, Tomahawk (I haven't even heard them yet! But I gotta! There's a COW in the band!) and assorted crappy solo projects, guitarist Buzz Osborne from the Melvins, drummer Dave Lombardo from Slayer and bassist (?) Trevor Dunn, whom I believe is also in Mr. Bungle. They are a WEIRD damn band. Read on for a slightly more descriptive description.


Fantomas - Ipecac 2000.
Rating = 8

A difficult avant-garde cross between Japanese noise (BOREDOMS! ZENI GEVA! SPACE STREAKINGS!) and Norwegian black metal (BURZUM! MAYHEM! THE CARS!). Mike Patton's vocals are wordless gurgles, glottles and ya-yas, the rhythms and arrangements shift and change every 30 seconds, all the tracks (29 or 30 of them) merge into each other, creating a wall-to-wall noiseblast experience that is both intriguing as hell and boring as heaven, which I'm told is full of religious people playing faggoty harps like fags would.

The concept is that the album is the soundtrack to a comic book. I haven't seen the comic book as far as I know, but from what I understand, it may actually exist. The metal parts are heavy as hell (what else would you expect from a Melvin?), the changing rhythmic patterns are really neat (Patton shouts "ah-ah!" over and over while a cymbal is being crashed, then they launch into a double-time metal blast, then a crash of cymbals washes over from speaker to speaker, etc) and it sounds like a medical of a lot of practice went into it (either that or extensive post-production to make everything sound tight as a nun's bra with a brassy witch and some teat cunts).

But alas, too much strangeness with no conclusion or catharsis gets mighty old during the course of the 45 minutes. By the end, I was ready to send off a nasty pictogram to Mike Patton asking him to consider saying actual words instead of endlessly fucking around with his limited collection of vocal crappings. Have you heard that solo CD he did? Where he just makes stupid noises into a handheld tape recorder for an hour? It's really amazing how such a bright, creative person can churn out such unbelievably worthless garbage like that. The Melvins do the same thing. Some of their albums are HORRIBLE! (Prick and Colossus Of Destiny are the worst offenders) But The Fantomas album is buttfuckingly good. A little too long, but otherwise filled to the ceiling with tough, smart metal with some slow dark keyboard bits and even a weirded out SAMBA thrown in to keep one guessing. By the way, the songs don't have real titles.

But I suppose that makes sense since the songs don't have real MELODIES either! Hoooooooo!

Reader Comments

qhkj@grove.iup.edu (Justin Dottor)
This album is great, but it can be a little hard to listen to all the way through, especially at first. It sure was a strange first listen, it sounded like a really weird opera with lots of metal sections. But now that I can identify by number over half the songs when I hear them, it's much more enjoyable. You kinda have to get used to it. I don't think anyone but Patton knows what comic book this is supposed to be inspired by, I heard it might not be any one book, just a mix of a bunch of them. Incidentally, I heard about how unlistenable Patton's Adult Themes for Voice record is, so I listened to some sound samples and I was truly amazed that anyone would put that out. I couldn't even see the Melvins doing that. I hope they're not headed that way! Patton must have been laughing his ass off after he released that album. By the way, did you like "Der Golem" from the Director's Cut? That was my favorite one off that one

Caleb462@cs.com
This album appeals to me for the same reason abstract and surrealist art appeals to me, it's just so different and so cool! And despite being "experimental" and "avant-garde", it's really quite fun. Patton's vocal stuff is absolutely hilarious. The musicianship is really good here too, Lombardo's drumming is incredible, and Buzz Osborne's guitar tone is very nice. There are a few small sections that I don't really like, but the music changes so quickly it doesn't matter.

jes_star_85@hotmail.com
this album is genius. Mike P is a pimp ass nigger yo. He keeps it real.

nightmonkey51@hotmail.com
listen to fantomas high and you will understand why it is really so good!

Add your thoughts?


The Director's Cut - Ipecac 2001.
Rating = 7

Back at your ass for the 9-4, The Fantomas' second release is a collection of scorched motion picture soundtrack songs. I am unable to enjoy this album to the extent that it is meant to be enjoyed because I am unfamiliar with the original versions of most of these songs. The only ones I recognized were "Experiment In Terror" (from the Ventures' version) and "Rosemary's Baby." All this other crap is Greek to me. "Godfather"? Never heard of it. "Cape Fear"? Must be a Tom Selleck vehicle. "The Omen"? I think that's the one where the little kids accidentally hit the baseball into the neighbor's yard and can't get it back from the big dog. Speaking of which - "Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer" is on here too. That movie scared the SHIT out of me in college. But I didn't name my dog after it. My dog is named after Henry Rollins. But not in TRIBUTE! We were playing the Drive By Shooting EP and that song came on where he keeps going, "Hey Henry! Hey Henry!" and Brenda said "Awww. Henry would be a cute name for a dog!" And the rest is pisstory.

There are 15 songs on here (the track listing goes up to 16, but you'll notice that, just like the old building where I used to work, there is no number 13 - superstitious people are so lame). Mike Patton adds actual "singing" to his repertoire of whistling, gulping and yelling, the music is very tight again, going back and forth between heavy-as-hell metal stomping, dark lounge jazz and toy piano, bell-enhanced Alice Cooper-style theatrics (predictably so, actually - nearly every song starts like what I imagine the original versions might sound like, and then turns into Fantomas pounding metal) and the CD is totally overpriced, as are most CDs. If you're a big movie buff, your score will DEFINITELY be higher than mine because you'll recognize the songs and appreciate what Fantomas have done with them. As for me, I hear too many tunes that just don't *do it* for me ("One Step Beyond" and "Vendetta" seem particularly worthless). Without memorable melody, a song cannot and shant not exist as an entity separate from the spatial Universe of which all are created equal and The One is our leader.

Which reminds me - watch out for that George W. Bush. The Israelis and Born Again Christians want God's earthly chosen people back in the Holy Land (and the Muslims OUT), because they know that the rapture and Apocalypse cannot occur until this has taken place. Reagan believed in this crap, so naturally George W. Bush and his Freemason friends must as well. Then the world will end in a fiery inferno and the chosen Christians will ascend to Heaven to help begin a new Earth.

Say! Can you tell I've been reading Apocalypse Culture?

Reader Comments

dan_watkins@hotmail.com
I agree with ya here, Mark. I'd probably like this album a lot more if I'd actually heard half of these songs in their original incarnations. Most of these are quite good though. Rosemary's Baby is freakier than ever. Night Of The Hunter makes me want to go out and rent the movie (plus Robert Mitchum is cool as shit). Experiment In Terror is another reason why I love Mike Patton's voice. God, I love that song. The whole CD is actually pretty cool. I've yet to hear all of the first Fantomas CD, but from what I have heard, this one is a good bit more melodic. I suppose you could almost call this a novelty album, but it's a COOL novely album. I'll give this one a 7.

Caleb462@cs.com
I'll have to disagree here, I like this one even more than the first one. I haven't heard most of these themes either, but it still works for me. It's just great to hear atmospheric movie scores turned into grindcore songs. Some of it's funny ("Spider Baby" is a riot), and other parts of it really freak me out ("Rosemary's Baby). Despite being a "cover" album, I find it ultimately more satisfying than the debut.

DinoSergakis@aol.com
WOW what a great album. I love almost everything Mike Patton does, hes a fucking genius. Godfather a great song and opener for the album. I mean and he has a great band backing him up Dave Lombardo, Trevor Dunn, and Buzz Osbourne. Three incredible musicians with a fucking maniac behind the mic. Some songs are kinda dull but they get made up for later on. 8/10

sweating101@yahoo.com (Nick Sergakis)
You know when I first posted (listed under Dino Sergakis), what I like to call "My fucking opinion," I had only had this album for a mere two days. I had no right to judge then. Since that time I have listened to this album at least twice a week with the exception of Faith No More Angel Dust, and Tomahawk. I have to repeat myself when I say Mike Patton is a fucking genius. He made Faith No More better then ever with the exception of "Epic." He created Ipecac with one of his buddies, and he has one of the busiest schedules ever. And he gets credit from who, not the critics, the fucking fans who stuck there by his side. Fantomas was named "The Best Band You Never Heard Of," in Maxim magazine. And you know what, that is the fucking truth. The guy who wrote that page, knows great music when he hears it, because he fucking appreciates it.

Now I am classified to all my friends as a "METALHEAD," which is not the truth completely. I love the Stray Cats, Primus, The Clash, and a bunch of bands that aren't classified as "Metal." Listen let me get to the album. Ok first off, first Fantomas album, not one fucking word sung at all. Which I think is a goddamn revolutionary idea for a metal band. Director's Cut just a cover album. So what, half the songs are just Mike Patton's voice making sounds like always. An original fact about this album is Fantomas was supposed to do a cover of "What A Feeling," which most of you know is from the movie Flashdance (which I never want to see, what a waste of time making that movie) but because of legal problems it couldn't be done. Which I say who cares it would probably make Mark give the album a 6.

First of all I love every track. But it took me awhile to like this album. The only song I couldn't stand was "Der Golem," it fucking grows on you after awhile. My favorite track has to be "Expierement In Terror," (which I need to find the movie it's on). I also like the whole album. The song "Spider Baby." sounds really great becuase Mike Patton's deep voice, makes it sound scary. And the one reason it say 16 without 13 is because, Mike Patton is superstitious about th number 13 on an album track list. He believes it brings bad luck to the band in particular. "Charde," is a great ending for an album as good as this one.

And in conclusion I like to say not only is Fantomas a good band, there a fucking expierience in metal genre. 10/10

a_leost@club-internet.fr (Alain_L‚ost)
Buzz Osbourne can be dull. He's not vey gifted for melodies. Here, under Mike Patton's yoke, he's on top. Great "concept album", frightening "Rosemary", fierce "Godfather". 10/10.

Add your thoughts?

Millennium Monsterwork (by The Fantoma Melvins Big Band) - Ipecac 2002.
Rating = 8

A preachment, friends, you're about to receive on John Barleycorn, nicotine and the temptations of eve - (pblllll!) NAH! puk chee - jinga jinga da jing! jinga jinga da jink! jinga jinga da jink! jinga jinga da jink! No parkin' by the sewer sign, hot dog my razor broke - water drippin' up the spout! But I don't care, let it all hang out.

THAT WAS MY INTRO. HAY RICH - MAKE IT REALLY BIG - LIKE FONT SIZE BILLION - THANK YOU RICH! YOU ARE "RICH" IN CHARACTER ALRIGHT!

For those of you unfamiliar with the song with which I began this review, let me explain myself. Today in the mail, I received an album that I won on ebay a few weeks ago. An album called "Let It Out" by a 60s one-hit wonder called "The Hombres." The song I was singing there to myself at the beginning of this review was "Let It All Hang Out" - as you can see by the lyrics and those "jinga" things that represent guitars, it's a bit of an oddball tune. A little different from what you might expect - kind of a Cajun psychedelic goof take on Dylan at his most abstract. See, I think it's nice to hear off-kilter rock music. DIFFERENT types of music. Music that is not just a bunch of power chords with no personality. Now don't come digging through my record collection and accusing me of loving shit like AC/DC and the Ramones, because I do. But then, I also hear TONS of personality in both of those bands. So that's a different situation. But put any well-produced '90s-era "Buzz" alternative track in front of me and I'll likely whinge about until my hair falls out even more (fuckin male pattern asshole shit bastard - trying to make me look like Uncle Jack and go around asking everybody how to play "Squeeze Box" all the time????). Because all that slick, rancid garbage fucking sucks so fucking bad. But this is better addressed elsewhere. Let me get back to The Point (by Harry Nilsson).

I haven't listened to the Let It Out LP yet, but the thing is -- if every single song repeats this same goofy nonsensical lyricship set to the same type of goodtime chugglin' garage riff, it's gonna get old really really quickly. Try listening to Sam The Sham And The Pharoah's Greatest Hits and you'll see what I mean. 3/4s of the songs on that thing sound IDENTICAL to "Wooly Bully." I'm not joking. Try to find that thing cheap somewhere. That's the thing about novelty music, and also the thing that makes me an extremely limited music fan -- if you give me something WEIRD and DIFFERENT (like Jazz! Or minimalist modern classical!) in small doses, I'm all over it like semen on that jelly sandwich I made you earlier. But force me to listen to large stretches of it, and I'm like-all to punch ya. Hell, I have 21 Jandek cds but that doesn't mean I'm going to sit around and actually listen to them all IN A ROW. And to me, that's the deal with Fantomas. Their sound is -- at least by AMERICAN pop music standards - bizarre. I'm talkin' first album here, not the movie soundtracks one. The vocals are nonsensical yapping and yelping, there are a million ridiculous starts and stops in every song, and the drum/guitar thrashing goes from 0 to 1 (0 being really slow, 1 being awfully fast) in a haysecond. It's incredibly intriguing but also, basically... a novelty. I mean, you can tell they spent practicing it! And the production makes that first album really fun to listen to. But "melodically" speaking, you're getting the same weirdo noise schtick over and over again. If you like it, bully for you!

(PUNCH!)

I hope you enjoyed that "bully" I brought over "for you"! FUCK YEAH!!!!! (crowd goes wild with applause, in my head). Which reminds me of a serious issue: ethnic cleansing..... Why IS it that Mexicans never bathe? KAJAGOOGOO! EXTRA EXTRA! PRINDLE, DRUG CARTEL BRING LAUGHTER TO THE INTERNET!

This live CD kind of remedies what could have been upsetting, irritating experience by combining the Fantomas line-up with the Melvins line-up (in other words, it's The Fantomas joined by the bassist and drummer from the Melvins). And it's not just the double-drum, double-bass assault that makes it tear, either. It's the fact that the "Big Band" doesn't just have Mike Patton yap at you for 45 minutes while they start and stop -- they ALSO play the Melvins tracks "Night Goat," "The Bit," "Hooch," "Mombius Hibachi" and "Skin Horse," as well as a couple of movie soundtrack classics. It's the diversity that breaks the repetition of the weird, woolly world of the Fantomas. It's JUST AS UNIQUE as that zany Fantomas debut, yet not so monochromatic. It's THREE DIFFERENT ideas being expressed onstage, see. And did you know that those title-less songs on the debut actually DO have titles? One of them is "Good Morning Slaves"! Another is "Terpulative Guns & Drugs"! A third is likely "She's A Puker"!

Personally I'd say that if you want to try out the Fantomas, you should start HERE. They play the complex, nutso Fantomas stuff tight as a nun's belt live, yet the Bizarro Metal World is broken up here and there by King Buzzo's roaring rocking Heavy Melvtal.

I made up that phrase - hang on one sec while I call the patent office.

(7 hours pass)

They told me I couldn't just grab any old object in my house and patent it. Which I think is BULLSHIT, since that cereal box wouldn't look nearly as brown and stinky had I not taken the time to - oh, but I've said too much.

Reader Comments

wschatz@hotmail.com
hey so how was that Hombres album anyway? i never heared it but i luv that "Let It All Hang Out" song.

Vo0Do0Chile@aol.com
yes.

Add your thoughts?

Delirium Cordia - Ipecac 2004
Rating = 7

The first Fantomas album was the soundtrack to a comic book, the second was a collection of songs from film soundtracks and the third was the soundtrack to my penis, so it's only appropriate that their fourth is the soundtrack to a non-existent horror film. There are NO songs on here. It is 55 minutes of avant-garde horror movie soundtrack incidental music. It's interesting because you never know what's coming up next, and every member of this band is talented enough to do an expert job at creating a dark, threatening atmosphere, but how often would you want to listen to an album that's just a bunch of tiny snippets of sound? It's ambiance, not music, and it starts to feel a bit repetitive and tiresome after the first half-hour or so. Luckily for everyone in the world except the members of this band, I wrote down the progression of the entire song and will share it with you now. You can download this next section into your iPod and listen to the new Fantomas album as you jog, fatty. Here's the deal with fatties: They're living dangerously. It's hard for a heart to support such a large body. Just be careful, and think about the possible consequences. I'm blessed with decent metabolism; some people aren't. It doesn't mean they're PIGS. It means that they don't have the same metabolism I have, and must exercise and diet a little harder to reach a skinnier state. But unless you want to die in your 40s, you need to think about taking care of it. Please take care of yourself. So here's that "next section" that the Radio and Engineers Corporation of America is riding all over my ass about:

Creepy keyboard notes, loud guitar chord blasts, a heartbeat, Mike's whispery wail, scary water noises, a bass swoop up and down, church choir vocals, cacaphonous noise, beeps, scary church keyboard ambiance, cool tribal rhythms, church bell loops with people talking over them, piano nervous notes w/ "aaah!"ing over it, piano scary notes with loud metallic noises, then bass booms, clickities, sound effects, more chanting, booms, guitars, creepy! into dead STOP. Then begins an old-timey organ playing kinda jazzy, very slow with Radioheady volume sweeps of high-pitched "aah!"s, triangle tingles (lots of them together!), then the booming orchestra and screams. Very low distorted bass, cries, reverbed bass drum smash, "ooooh! aaaah!", wild drum roll, Mike screaming insanely sicko, lots of clocks going off, singing along with odd bass notes, harp, exlosion of birds, piano tinkles, more weirdo reverbed swiringlin insect noises, ping pong noise, a lone whistle keyboard, a second agaainst it, loud guitar note, music box eerieness, Mike Patton beating on his cheeks rhythmically, Janet Jackson showing her boob to me while Justin Timberlake vomits down her back, a few loud chords, piano tinkles, drum cacaphony, a didjeridoo, song-type thing with Mike singing falsetto and low over music piano, booming bass riff with guitar echoes over it, someone beating on a pipe, someone beating off in my front yard, a bass riff with weird slicing noises over it, wind blowing, high pitched noise, insane cuckoos clacking, stacity church choir, creepy repetition, the European Union and Kaddafi's proposed African Union are going to destroy America within the next thirty years (mark my words), hospital noises, looped electronic noises piled up, warped guitar line, drunk keys, tram, a melody, slow ambient gongs, binge drinking myself into a headache so brutal that it made me call my insurance company's Nurse-Line who told me that I might be having a stroke, then ten hours later binge drinking AGAIN like a fratboyier Nikki Sixx, drones, distorted guitar chord stomps with Mike breathing over it, electronic squiggle noises, "KKSuck2" being the phone number of a friend of the Dead Milkmen's, 19 minutes of fake turntable "end of record" noise, then the very beginning of a song and THAT'S IT. You have now illegally downloaded the entire CD in dehydrated text form. Just add water and listen away.

Wait a second - what's that noise outside my window? Oh no! It looks like the FBI!

And the CIA!

And the BBC!

BB King!

And Doris Day!

Reader Comments

fortymilliondaggers@hotmail.com
Let me just begin by saying this album's great. Better than anything any of Patton's other bands have ever put out except for the last twenty minutes which is just a needle looping and seriously garbage so I chopped the album up with my state of the art computer (Pentium II) and; voila! 18 tracks of each between one and two minutes, and one long one at the end which I never have to listen to after programming it out.

There are bits you remember particularly well. A bit where the guitarist whoever the fuck he is just stands there and strums (he did it at their show when they came on, wearing black didn't even acknowledge the audience - what a cool bastard) except its way to loud and I didn't have ear-plugs, was right in the front and so after a while it hurts my ears. This album has everything - tribal bongos, drum solos and some wicked eccentricities that remind me so much of Mr Bungle.

A+ material and I htink you've ever so slightly underestimated the impact of it. It's not scary or anything nor is the billing as a "horror movie soundtrack" all too fitting. It's just odds and sods, leftovers that make a damn good listen, just don't put it on too often. I've had it for a few months now and once a month seems about right.

galleyian@mac.com
I was initially very taken with this album but it's not really one you'd want to listen to for a fun time. In fact it is just wallpaper music, (or elevator music for the elevator to hell.)

The segueing aspect reminds me a lot of Dead Cities by The Future Sound of London, but that album (which I recommend highly) does have tunes on it. No, this record works perfectly if you want to imagine a film to a pre-existing soundtrack (or you have other things to do.) It got me through Last Exit To Brooklyn in no time at all. As said book has little punctuation, the pace and mood of the music dictates the speed to which you read. So Tra-La-la's story can be got though without too much retching.

As far as the music goes, these lads can do anything and make it sound good. But not to the point where you'd grab some one and go "You'd really love this part, where the operation goes wrong and all hell of scissor noise kicks in until the poor soul snuffs it". Although I would point out the Dunn Bass part around 34 mins in. It's the coolest part of the record and a great wee challenge to try to play.

I have another opinion on the 'scratchy' end piece. Just that there is going to be a whole generation who've never woken up to odd scratchy noise and realize that they've fallen asleep mid side and their stylus is blown to bits. I used to do that all the time, back in t'day. Kids today, don't know shit!

Add your thoughts?

Suspended Animation - Ipecac 2005
Rating = 7

According to popular misconception, nothing brings greater joy to America and her awkward hamfisted sister The Rest Of The World than a hilarious knock-knock joke. As such, I would like to share with you a number of cherished knock-knock jokes that I have penned entirely on my own during various stages of my young, rapidly aging life. Please enjoy and share them with as many friends and relatives as you can, as I rely on the royalties to pay my cleaning bill.

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Bigsh!
Bigsh Who?
(looking down at feet) No, it's only about a 10 1/2.

Knock knock!
Who's there?
You.
You who?
Why, I'd LOVE a chocolate beverage!

Knock knock!
Who's there?
God!
God who?
(in booming voice, calling lightning and thunder down from the Heavens) WHAT DO YOU MEAN, 'GOD WHO'!?!?!?!

Knock knock!
Who's there?
The!
The Who?
(angrily, because it matters) Not without John Entwistle, they're not!

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Curdsin!
Curdsin who?
No no, 'Curdsin why'
Huh?
Say 'Curdsin why,' not 'Curdsin who'
Curdsin why?
I'm a spider!

Now that your tummy is all aglow, let's move on to the "review" portion of the review. But first a funny play-on-words for our Spanish-speaking cousins!

Fantomas fan Tomas Fanto: "Mas!"

Do you people ever dream that you have to take a diarrhea but you can't find a clean toilet? I dream that a lot. Not as often as the dream where I'm in high school and it's exam time and I haven't gone to my science class all semester and if I fail the class I won't be able to graduate but I can't study because my book is in my locker and I don't know my locker number or combination, an ongoing "serial" dream I have once or twice a week even though I'm almost THIRTY-TWO. But last night I had another diarrhea dream and it was pretty horrible. I just kept covering all my clothes in diarrhea because I couldn't get to the toilet fast enough! Some awful virus. Imagine my embarrassment and smelliness in the dream state! I guess I should just feel lucky I didn't wake up covered in feces like I wanted to.

And now on to the review portion of the anecdote.

I was going to say something else though. About dogs, I think. I can't remember. I like dogs, but that wasn't it.

Oh! I remember! I was going to say that if you're ever walking your dog and you see a sign on a store door that reads "No Pets Allowed," take your dog into the store anyway because it will give you the opportunity to pull a hilarious zinger out of your hat. Check this out - when the store guy sees your dog and says, "Excuse me sir! No pets allowed!," angrily reply, "I'm NOT petting him, ASSHOLE!!! You FUCKING ASSHOLE!!!"

As for the CD, supposedly the packaging is really great, with this pretty desk calendar and everything, but I can't find an MP3 copy of it anywhere online. How do these Ma and Pa illegal downloading sites expect to compete with the big-money record labels if they're determined to chintz on important things like album covers and lyric sheets? Get on the stick, a-holes, and MP3ize some packaging! Start with that hilarious spinny wheel on Led Zeppelin III.

As for the CD, Suspended Animation is what Spike Jones' records would have sounded like had he been a huge heavy metal fan with an inability to convert short-term memory into long-term memory. It features thirty tracks, each named after a day in March 2005. However, almost none of these tracks are actual SONGS. They're just a bunch of interesting rhythmic noise blasts and samples glued end on end on end in seemingly no order at all. Most of the samples are light-hearted in tone -- cartoon sound effects, musical toys and little children laughing, playing and singing -- but they're inextricably tied to endless irritating blasts of heavy guitar non-riffs, speed drum smashing and Mike Patton screeching, "YACKACKACKACKACK!" I understand the concept of avant-metal and wanting to create new sounds and toss out old cliches, but the mix and dynamics on this release are the audio equivalent of those shitty new horror movies that make you think they're scary because they keep throwing in sudden SHOCK shots to make you jump in your seat (The Ring and the Amityville Horror remake, for example) -- but that's not real horror. That's just lazy computer animation MTV generation bullshit! Of COURSE you're gonna jump if something gross suddenly appears on the screen without you expecting it. But if there's no underlying darker mood of terror beneath, it's just cheap forgettable shocks. And that's my review of The Grudge. Thanks for joining me!

No but wait - it's the same deal with this Fantomas record. There are plenty of quieter moments of interesting noises, compelling mood music and cute little effects, but EVERY SINGLE FUCKING ONE OF THEM is suddenly, jarringly cut short by BAM! BAM! BAM! metallic noise-and-screeching blasts at four times the necessary volume. Is Dave Lombardo an amazing drummer? Yes. Is Buzz Osborne a killer guitarist? Of course he is. Is Mike Patton an interesting vocalist? Some of his tricks wear thin, but at least he TRIES to do as many different things with his voice as possible, which is something you probably can't say about ANY other rock vocalist. So the problem doesn't lie in the musicianship. And there are plenty - heck, THOUSANDS - of interesting passages to be found on this disc, so lack of ideas isn't the problem either. To be honest, you may not find any problems at all with it! But I do. No matter how capable the musicians and creative the ideas, the fact that Patton chose to fashion these "songs" as unfollowable compilations of tiny rapidfire pieces of musical information leaves me with the nagging feeling that he's using studio tricks and busy noise to cover up his inability to compose a song that is memorable from start to finish. In other words, the fact that terrific little snippets of music are suddenly and pointlessly replaced by tuneless metal noise TIME AND TIME AGAIN creates the impression that Mike was simply too lazy to develop any of the terrific little snippets into the intelligent full-length compositions that they could have been.

So I'll just warn you -- if you find yourself enjoying a certain piece of music or rhythmic interplay on this CD, do so quickly because within five seconds it will be replaced by something else, which will then nearly instantaneously be replaced by something else, and so on and so on, until it becomes almost impossible to enjoy the good parts because you KNOW the smash-smash-smash jerk-jerk-jerk screaming parts are going to KEEP coming back over and over again, even though they all sound exactly the same and there's absolutely no reason at all to include them in every single goddamned song.

Still, on the positive side, I don't think I can name a single other CD wherein every single song makes me say (1) "Wow!," (2) "Ha!," and (3) "Alright - ENOUGH!" And if you're going to sit through an avant-garde heavy metal album, you'd might as well listen to one by men as talented as these. But be sure to really LISTEN to it -- if you try to use it as background music, you'll break the damn thing over your knee before you even notice how many neat snippets are hidden within the screaming racket.

Reader Comments

elbuenmoe@gmail.com
First off, excuse my silly english. Second, I kinda sorta disagree.

Okay, let's see... seems I'm the first one to comment on this album (though I'm the silly one who e-mailed you about reviewing this thing). Anyway... this album, as I have thought since I downloaded it, is their best to date.

...

Yes! I think so! Why? Because...

The first one was almost the same, but without the cartoon fx and WITH A BIT (BIIIIIIT) of melody and shit. Their second was only covers, and didn't seem like "Hey, this might be like, the hardest thing to compose and perform!". The third: ambient (like, "I'm gonna die-ambient", but ambient at last).

So, imho, this is like a way BETTER effort THAN the first one. The "songs" are more challenging, not quite as memorable, but with a lot more of interesting changes and noise. Of course, being memorable is important, but a memorable song you won't show off with the same pride as one of those in SA... well, it's not the same.

Let's see... I still love their previous releases, I mean, they're like, my favourite ACTIVE Patton band.

Another thing I liked... is that I can actually recognize the samples in the CD. Well, many people could, but if so, not every of them would have the same "HEY, THAT WAS COOL!" reaction after listening to "Well, what did you expect in an opera? A happy ending?" in the last track (from Bugs Bunny's episode "What's Opera, Doc?", 1957) <-- you see, I'm a total freak. Nah, I'm not. Besides, there's one or two child songs in spanish... that things I liked, yeah.

I wouldn't recommend Prindle a second listening, cause you may be right in some (or many) things. It's worth listening, that can't be denied.

So, let's see what the next record is like... it ought to be a big surprise, Patton won't do the same trick three times... would he?

lube1@umbc.edu
I bought this album, and was hoping for a natural progression from delirium cordia. Instead, I got a hodge-podge of start-stop metal with hokie cartoon noises. There was this friend I once had that would have song ideas like this, and I always thought he was a fucking moron for even bringing up the idea of incorporating faggy little whistles and cartoonish bells. So, Mr. Patton, I thank you for making me feel rooked by paying 16 american dollars for 30 minutes of a very STALE idea. The new material is so bad, in fact, that when I went to see them a few days after this was released, I got antzy and left early cause they were playing a majority of it. That was time I could have spent fucking my girlfriend, you scam artists! Mark, you're too nice. A low 2, if I was drunk and trying to make an impression on someone who liked it. To lombardo, buzzo, and dunn: I honestly thought you had more class. P.S.: the locust SUCK~!

DArmstrong@bryson-architects.net
I find this lp a lot easier to sit through then Delirium Cordia, which was/is a bit of an ordeal. I'm not saying that Suspended Animation is an ordeal, I really quite enjoy it and find it no more challenging that most of the music to which I listen . Another cd in my collection which can clear the room of Coldplay fans is always welcome.

Suspended Animation is an amusing listen, which I think is in tune with the concept, in that cartoons are short and amusing......some of the tracks still make me laugh out loud because of the breakneck rhythm/volume changes.

I agree that some of the heavy sections are irritating but I feel that it's more to do with Patton's vocals than the volume or speed of the riffs, which is breathtaking in places. Mike Patton is a very talented singer but he can be fucking annoying at times, his "AKAKAKAK" thing sounding like the aliens from the Mars Attacks! movie.

Fantomas have been described elsewhere as "avant metal" which would suggest heavy music played with a bit of intelligence and if you consider this coupled with the concept of this recording, i.e. a piece of cartoon art rock for each day of the month of April 2005, then I think it does exactly what it says on the tin.

I like this cd, it's probably Fantomas' best offering to date and deserves at least an 8 out of 10. I was really looking forward to seeing them play in Belfast on 16th June with Terry Bozzio on drums but it was cancelled.....BASTID!!!

dan@dankoster.com
Oh my god, it's time for the science final, but I forgot to go to class all semester, and I forgot to drop the class, and now I'm not gonna graduate, and I try to get my guidance counselor to give me a little bureaucratic help, but he's not in his office, and no one has even *heard* of him, so I try to go to get my books to cram for the test, but I left the textbook at home, and the notebook is in my locker, and I can't remember the locker combination, so I just brace myself and head for the classroom, except I can't remember *which* classroom, or what time, because my class schedule is in the notebook in my locker, and holy crap, I don't even know what day of the week it is, and I don't have any pens or pencils, and...

I'm thirty-four and I still have this dream at least once a week.

Welcome to the rest of your life! (air kiss)

Listening to Suspended Animation is kind of like being stuck in this dream, only somehow in a way that doesn't totally suck.

gag05@bigpond.com.au
It’s a tough album to review...I bought it the day it came out and after a few listens realized im never going to get anything out of this album besides frustration. Why listen to this when I can fucking play the Ramones you know? I mean its original in some ways (cartoon theme), but the whole things gets old and who wants to listen to something when you know your favorite parts will always be replaced by “yaka yaka yaka yaka” *pound smash pound smash*. Maybe if I was stoned I don’t know it might enhance the experience, but scrambling so many ideas in a song gets to the tolerance level after a while. This is not genius it’s just some guy showing the world how uncomercial he can be by putting so many ideas in a song thinking people will appreciate his genius, but infact it really sucks. Would it be too commercial or normal to expand upon the great parts of music he stumbled onto? I don’t know. This is music by Patton for Patton only…he couldn’t give a fuck what we think seeing as its not an actual album, just bits of ideas he threw together and it came out a fucking mess. He’d probably be amazed people actually bought it himself. Awesome Booklet though. Days 3, 6, 12 and 30 rule my ass. The rest is pure noise jumbled with great melodic ideas which are again replaced by pure noise and so forth. 3

jlcarson@ulstertech.com
This is the first Fantomas album I bought & I agree with Mark all the way on this. (Although it's defo not worth a 7, more like a 5). It's one of those albums where you feel like they made it just to piss you off. Good riffs last for 5-10 seconds and then BAM thats it...Tetris music & other weird computer game music from the 90's starts playing (literally) and kids laughing etc. (I like kids dont get me wrong, but i dont want to listen to them on a CD).

I was gonna take this back to the shop and get a refund which is something I NEVER do unless it's a TOTAL piece of crap, but the little Calendar which is glued onto the inside of the case stopped me. It really is a treat !

Good art-work, shitty music.

mrsmilyface@msn.com
Bad ass fucking band around, still having a hard time pulling any four for their albums out of my CD player. Mike Patton is a true genius everything he has been evolved in from 1985 with Mr. Bungle to the present with multiple side projects. Mike Patton has been and always will be ahead of his time in the music industry.

nator9999@comcast.net
Hmmmm, of the Fantomas albums I only have this one and Delirium Cordia, and I've only listened to the latter once. This is some pretty noisy stuff. You said in the review that it will piss you off if you just listen to it as background music, but I disagree, concentrating on it is way too frustrating. I enjoy it more if I just put it on as mood music. Most of these noises do sound hella cool, and occasionally something pretty will pop out at you and you'll say "why, hello! that's a cool noise!" Then in a second it will be over and you can return to what you were doing. I still like Delirium Cordia more though, it's just less...intrusive. And its creepier. From what I gather from the packaging photos its the soundtrack to being dissected alive or some nasty shit like that. Ick. Not that the calendar isn't awesome.

And in my recent trend of rambling on about obscure things that half the people who read this site have never heard of, I'd like to say that one of the most enjoyable things about Suspended Animation is picking out where the toy noises come from. See, way back when in the 90's or early 00's or something, I had this PC game called "Creatures." It was a simulation game where you bred and raised these weird animals, sort of like "Nintendogs" except much cooler (hehe). There was this whole intricate environment the creatures lived in and you could mutate them and inject them with cyanide and all that cool stuff (bear with me, I swear this is relevant to the album). The point is, there was an infamous noise the creatures made in the game to indicate that they were screwing each-other called the "kisspop" noise; it sounded a lot like what the name implies, with an extensive squeaky kissing noise followed by a loud balloon pop. Now, on one of these many fine album tracks, the exact sound clip from the game is played, except when it reaches the "pop" it is replaced by an atomic explosion. When I first heard this I crapped my pants in a fit of nerdy laughter. Thank you, Patton and friends, for that moment.

I'll stop there, I suppose. So, how about this Peeping Tom album? That first song is pretty annoying, but I kind of like the second. How the hell did he get Norah Jones in on this? Eh?

Add your thoughts?


Buy some FANTOMAS here online, of all unlikely places


Back to Mark Prindle, Ass For A Living