The Real Thing

Faith No More

Slash / Reprise Records, 1989

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


This is an epitaph for one of my favorite bands. I bought this album in January 1990 in Des Moines, Iowa, on the way back from a winter break trip to Kansas City during my sophomore year of college. I remember the driver put this in and immediately started to cringe.

"What is this? Man, you like some weird music, but this takes the cake," I was told. "What in the world is he singing about, you came from nowhere? Everyone comes from somewhere!" my other friend demanded.

Conceding that I do like interesting music and that everyone does come from somewhere, I wasn't sure what I had just bought. I remember reading somewhere that Lars Ulrich (Metallica, in case you're slow today) liked this band and that was enough for me.

When "Epic" came on, a small smile came to each face. "He's rapping and it's heavy metal," critiqued the driver. "But what is he singing about, 'What is it?' Damn man! He wrote the song." Shortly after "Epic" began, the tape was removed from the car stereo and Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" came on.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Later that night, I remember sitting in my dorm room and listening to Jim Martin (guitarist), Mike Patton (vocals), and Mike Bordin (drums). And in that dorm room, in January of 1990, I became a Faith No More fan.

However, now that Faith No More has disbanded after releasing Album Of The Year, I still see their brightest moment of their career in the form of their 1989 release The Real Thing. Sure, "Epic" was their radio breakthrough and got them national attention. However, their epitaph should also include reference to their non-radio songs, which essentially defines this band.

Personally, I listen to the fifth track "Zombie Eaters" a lot more often than "Epic." Starting with a sweet and drippy ode, the speaker claims, "I'm omniscient." Written from the perspective of a baby, vocalist Michael Patton swerves his voice into a soft and consoling voice when he sings: "You're everything / that's why I cling to To you / When I emerge / my thoughts converge to you." Later he sings "Nobody understands / except the toys in my hands." The evolution continues and, after briefly dipping into a musically calm section, the guitars intensify. This track is one of their best songs.

Another milestone for this band is the track "Surprise! You're Dead" that immediately precedes "Zombie Eaters." On top of being in a non- 4/4 time signature (I'm thinking ?), this is an awesome thrash metal song. On side two, you get "Underwater Love" which I think was a video as well. The bass groove stands out on this track as well as "The Morning After" in which dreadlocked drummer Mike Bordin pounds his crisp Yamaha's in a manic funk attack.

But, all in all, the highlight of this album are the last two tracks, a scorching instrumental called "Woodpecker From Mars" that magically slides its way into the best cover, hands down, of any Black Sabbath song -- "War Pigs.". Better than Megadeth's take at "Paranoid" and certainly better than Sacred Reich's stab at it on their recent live disc Still Ignorant.

Now that Faith No More have taken separate roads, this is the album that should be remembered as their finest moments, not a sub-par Album Of The Year.

Rating: B+

User Rating: B-


© 1998 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Slash / Reprise Records, and is used for informational purposes only.