Faith No More

Epic

Song Review by

Faith No More made an incredibly unlikely mainstream breakthrough in 1990 with the defiantly odd single "Epic," a melange of funk, white-boy rap, crunchy Black Sabbath metal, and faux-classical keyboard/piano work. Boosted by MTV's heavy rotation of the equally bizarre video, which ended with images of a fish flopping around on dry land and a silently exploding piano, "Epic" hit the Top Ten on the pop singles chart nearly a year after the release of the album from which it was drawn, The Real Thing. While bearing passing resemblances to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and speed metal band Anthrax's foray into rap, "Epic" was very much of its own personality, and at bottom sounded like little else in heavy metal. It didn't really aim to be a seamless hybrid of differing genres; instead, the song derived its impact from the band's ability to leap from one sound to another virtually at will, creating a wild, intoxicating unpredictability. Vocalist Mike Patton, on his first album with the band, projected that same quality with his assortment of growls, wails, nasal warbling, and guttural, barely comprehensible rapping. Even written out, the lyrics don't make an incredible amount of sense, frequently alluding to "it," without ever explaining what "it" is (in fact, the chorus simply consists of the band shouting, "It's it!," while Patton rasps, "What is it?" in response). But in the end, this only adds to the weird world of the song, its personality already a strange amalgamation of the bandmembers' clashing musical personalities (which would unfortunately fracture the band in a few short years). "Epic" integrated all of it into something utterly distinctive; it sounded as though Faith No More could throw together just about anything they wanted and make the results compelling.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Real Thing 1989 London / London Records 4:53
X-Games, Vol. 1: Music from the Edge 1996
Various Artists
Tommy Boy 4:51
Who Cares a Lot: Greatest Hits 1998 Slash / Slash Records 4:52
Who Cares a Lot: Greatest Videos 1999 Ffrr
Double Shot: Metal 2000
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 4:52
Monster Madness 2000
Various Artists
Razor & Tie 4:54
Doubleshot: Modern Rock 2000
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 4:53
Feel the Noiz: The Best of Metal 2002
Various Artists
Flashback Gold / Rhino 3:58
This Is It: The Best of Faith No More 2003 Rhino 4:53
The Faith No More Collection Rhino / Slash / Warner Music 4:53