Fantômas

Fantomas

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The first project Mike Patton worked on after the April 1998 breakup of Faith No More was the all-star Fantomas. Heavy metal fans everywhere salivated at the lineup of Patton on vocals, the Melvins' Buzz Osborne on guitar, ex-Slayer Dave Lombardo on drums, and Mr. Bungle's Trevor Dunn on bass. But as longtime fans have come to learn long ago, always expect the unexpected with Patton-related projects. The band's self-titled debut (the first for Patton's record label, Ipecac) is far from your conventional rock; composed and produced entirely by the singer, the songs serve as a soundtrack to a comic book's story line. At nearly 43-minutes in length, Fantomas is comprised of 30 chronologically numbered "pages"' instead of songs. While it's an unconventional album, it's also a completely original one, especially when compared to the blah and predictable alt-rock of the late '90s. Patton uses his voice as an instrument with often amazing results (singing nonsensical syllables instead of words); few singers have the talent or know-how to pull off such highlights as "Page 1," "Page 19," "Page 21," and "Page 29." If you're expecting an album comparable to either Faith No More or Mr. Bungle, you may be confused and disappointed. But if you're looking for something completely original and cutting edge, Fantomas is highly recommended.

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