“King For a Day, Fool For a Lifetime” is often maligned as the failed Faith No More album– with Trey Spruance from Mr. Bungle replacing departed guitarist Jim Martin and joining his Bungle bandmate Mike Patton, the results are in many ways as expected. With the benefit of history, its clear this is the most Patton-driven Faith No More album. Given that I approach Faith No More as a Mike Patton fan, and its his work that interests me, its no suprise that this is my favorite Faith No More record.
While the influence of Spruance and Patton on this recording is obvious, this is not like its contemporary Mr. Bungle albums (although in some ways, it is similar to “California”). The record is an excercise in spreading the wings, musically, of the band, and succeeds best when they move into different genres– the jazz-inflected grooves of “Evidence” (a feature for Spruance’s guitar playing) and “Caralho Voador” (a vocal feature for Patton), the horn-driven “lounge metal” sound of “Star A.D.” and the countryesque ballad “Take This Bottle” (with one of Patton’s best “straight” vocals) are all superb, not to mention the Bunglish “Cuckoo for Caca” and “Ugly in the Morning”– neither of these would be altogether out of place on a Mr. Bungle album.
The material that feels more like the other Faith No More pieces works well too– benefiting largely from superior arrangement and variety of sonic approaches (“Get Out”, “King For a Day”, “The Gentle Art of Making Enemies”, “Digging the Grave”).
Long story short, if you approach Faith No More as a Mike Patton fan or a Mr. Bungle fan rather than an alternative/metal fan, this is the album to start with, it is bar none their best.