FAITH NO MORE – THE REAL THING (essential metal)
I vote for “Epic.”
It’s been a couple years since I’d given FAITH NO MORE any thought or ear time. A few weeks ago I pulled out the original cassette I bought while serving overseas during the Gulf War in 1991.
Yeah, I still listen to cassettes. I have a rather massive collection of some rare and under appreciated bands on cassette and it is a pure joy to rediscover them every once in a while. FAITH NO MORE’S The Real Thing is one that sits near the top of my list of rediscoveries and lately I can’t hear enough of it.
Interesting aside, the title of the cassette I bought is FAITH NO MORE From Out of Nowhere….check it out! I guess the folks in Bahrain didn’t like the title The Real Thing. Changing the title probably helped them get away with bootlegging this album. Thomsun Original was notorious for bootlegging and pirating in the Middle East and Indonesia and I have several of these from my time in the Middle East back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Surprisingly, the sound quality is quite good on this tape and all the others I have.
The mixing of elements of funk, rap, metal, and jazz on this album is stunning. I don’t think anyone has ever melded so many styles of music so well before or since.
In 1989, The Real Thing, was released and featured the groundbreaking hit single “Epic“. That is when I, along with a lot of other folks discovered FAITH NO MORE. Although The Real Thing was released in June of 1989 the album didn’t take off until the video for “Epic,” hit MTV’s airwaves in February of 1990. Now considered a classic metal album and highly influential for folks who were around in those days I think it’s time for some renewed interest in FAITH NO MORE and in particular, this album.
From the opening note of “From Out of Nowhere,” you know you’re in for something different. The bass line is pure funk and once the keyboards kick in it becomes a sound like nothing before or since. By the first time you hear Mike Patton’s vocals you’re hooked, lined, and sunk. Song two on the album is the earth shattering, music landscape changing “Epic.” A blast to listen to with it’s mix of rap, funk, metal, jazz, and attitude that makes even a pure-bread white-boy like me want to get up and get my funk on! Jim Martin’s guitar solo is spot on and takes “Epic,” to another level before things get really intense at the apex of the song. Brilliant.
Things get really funky with “Falling to Pieces,” while my favorite track (at least it has been for the past few days) “Surprise, You’re Dead,” is a straight ahead metal mashing before things get funky along with large dollop of heaviness on “Zombie Eaters.”
The title track, “The Real Thing,” begins with some fancy stick work from Mike Bordin before building into another standout metal melding of rap, metal, funk, and jazz. “Underwater,” is heavier on the funk but no less fun or heavy than the rest of the album and the same goes for “The Morning After,” with it’s funky bass line and impressive vocal performance from Mike Patton in which he ranges from jazz stylings to rap deliveries without a hitch.
The song with the best title award goes to “Woodpecker from Mars.” It also may be the heaviest song on the album and will just plain tear your head off if you’re not afraid to crank it up.
FAITH NO MORE”S cover of the BLACK SABBATH classic “War Pigs,” is the penultimate track and is the best cover version of “War Pigs,” I’ve ever heard.
Closing out this pre-rap metal masterpiece and making a fantastic climax to what is a must have for any serious metalhead is “Edge of the World.” A crooner’s metal dream as Mike Patton channels Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis through a dark vocal prism as the rest of the band slinks along like Satan’s jazz ensemble.
FAITH NO MORE’s The Real Thing is the only metal album that makes me get up and dance with pure joy. If that isn’t reason enough to make you add The Real Thing to your collection then I feel sorry for you. You don’t know what you’re missing.