Faith No More is probably still best
remembered for "Epic," the song that almost single-handedly created the
rap-metal genre. If not for this song, bands like Limp Bizkit, KoRn
and Linkin Park would not exist. (I'm not sure if they deserve credit
or blame for that, but that's another story.) The truth is that almost
fifteen years on, the brontosaurus stomp of "Epic" still sounds amazingly
fresh and vibrant.
This Is It expecting nineteen rewrites of that song
you are in for a revelation. For the greatest talent of Faith No More was
a musical flexibility where genres and styles were straddled with deceptive
ease. "Evidence" is insanely, elastically soulful tune that wannabe
rock-funkers like Jamiroquai would kill for. (The song was also used
to great effect on the old TV series Homicide: Life on the Street.)
If that is all you know of Faith No More and you're
"The Cowboy Song" had an interesting hard-pop arena feel to it.
"A Small Victory" has the big-guitar feel of early U2 or Big Country.
The true range of the band may be best shown in the choice of two covers
here. Somewhat expected is a withering take on Black Sabbath's "War
Pigs." The band threw their fans a wicked change-up with their other
cover, though, a rather straightforward reading of the Commodores' quiet
storm ballad "Easy," where the band almost sounds like Hall and Oates.
As with most of Faith No More's choices, it works surprisingly well and
became a fluke hit.
However, after ten years of more famine than feast,
Faith No More broke up in the mid-nineties, with lead singer Mike Patton
returning to his side job with Mr. Bungle and keyboardist Roddy Bottum
forming Imperial Teen. This Is It is a reminder of what an
adventurous and accomplished band they left behind. (3/03)