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Suspended Animation

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★★★★☆
(56 Reviews)

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%@#$!!? Brace yourself, super group Fantomas is back with a vengeance on their fourth album SUSPENDED ANIMATION. Unlike the epic DELIRIUM CORDIA, SUSPENDED ANIMATION likens itself with Fantomas’ first record (self titled) punctuated with cartoon escapades. The first edition (Limited to 25,000) is a spiral bound 30 page eye popping package illustrated by world famous Japanese painter Yoshitomo Nara. The theme is a calendar, the month of April, the tracks appropriately named the days of the week.

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  • All I can say iz: OH MY GAWD…Fantomas flippin’ RAWK! This review is based on seeing Fantomas last April (the album’s theme!) and hearing “Suspended Animation” the ensuing days after show…( can I type: triple Whoa Brain Mania, doods!)? Strange & beautiful music; visceral & tighter than a miser w/rigor mortis. Hard & weird & angular. Mad scientific & mathematical song construction best compared to a punk/shred Zappa filtered through Dali’s mustache. (OK, maybe not “best” described) Break neck pace, odd time signatures, virtuostic rock instrumentation & a telepathic band cohesiveness. Mike Patton IS THE BEST ROCK VOCALIST out there right now. PERIOD. Like there is NO COMEDY after Bill Hicks, I cannot imagine what vocal acrobats can follow what Patton now does. His truly amazing voice ( & I HATE vocalists!) ranges from a lilting chorale style for 7 ½ bars then careens on a knife edge into guttural Sasquatch scatting in the next 2 bars as it runs smack into amazing human beat box the next as he then croons like Der Bingle over the band’s psychedelicore abstractions 10 seconds later. PLUS…he makes more sonic art with a confounding & outstanding use of samples and electronic SOUND MANIPULATION. His air sculpture of sound sets a theatrical back drop amidst the bands primal rawk artistry. VERY intense art rock; there’s is a musical prowess muscularly hewn to the Nth degree of skill. 100s of song parts scientifically tinkered into a dizzying array post-punk math/theory/science rock. Dave Lombardo beats machine-like his 20+ piece drum/percussion kit that included perc-tools I’ve never seen: chimy brass sheets; a metal disc that makes metallic bean-splash ratchet noises; a trash can filled with metal shakers & then sampled to create odd rhythmic click tracks over which he frantically peppers the groove with bombastically HUGE drum percolations. Oof. Buzz (of Melvins fame) rages on his screech-N-scratch guitar through grindcore assault riffage and a turntablist’s rhythmic sensibilities. He probably only soloed once and that lasted 1.3 seconds as his razor-edged shred squeaked and squealed delightfully behind Patton’s intense vocalese. Bassist Trevor Dunn plies bass lines of sequoia-like marching booms all to military-quirk and almost-nonsensical time patterns…that dropped on & around the BEAT! Bam! Can’t place his style anywhere but weirdly in the throng of this odd-rock monstrosity befitting Fantoma’s musical & abstract godzilla of sound. Monster art rawk: a beautifully LOUD thang. “Suspended Animation” is prog- rock at it’s most raw & artistic. A primal slice of rock performed by artists playing like volcanoes and this album is this Masterpiece Magma Ejecta hurled into our earholes to both confound and tickle our brains. Truly a PERFORMANCE piece both live & on CD: the listener’s attention is apprehended and reprogrammed by this exceedingly progressive music that sounds little like anything else out there. Fans of twee keys and angelic choirs gird your minds with sonic flak gear because this music will assault your senses with crushingly virtuostic psychedelicore ART RAWK. Harder, louder & weirder has got to be one of this band’s M.O.s – who can keep up with Fantomas?

    review by Agnes “open up in there!” Steck

    Posted on March 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This is the most amazing album I’ve bought this year (next to Isis’ Panopticon, which I think came out last year). Mike Patton and his most merry band of musically accomplished miscreants are at it again on ‘Suspended Animation’. It’s the insane-o-flip-out-glitch-blastbeat-Mike doing-what-he-does-best, Fantomas album I was hoping for. Much more listenable (if that’s a word) than its predecessor Delirium Cordia, which I love despite it’s radical weirdness. Lombardo’s drumming is the most impressive thing on the album, the way he ‘holds the songs together’, or better yet, the way he organizes the chaos instigated by Patton is reason enough to go out and buy a drum kit. Buzz’s guitar work is also great as usual. Amazing, amazing stuff. The things legendary albums are made of. Listen, spazz out, pick your jaw up off the floor, repeat.

    Posted on March 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Imagine a prog-metal alchemist with an obsession for classic Warner Brothers cartoons and old video games, pasting together a jump-cut soundtrack to a campy horror movie, and you still wouldn’t be able to conceive of this bizarre little album from Fantomas. This disc is essentially a pastiche of sonic experiments, laid out arbitrarily over 30 tracks representing each of the days in April 2005. Brutal speed metal riffs blast their way into a creepily silly soundscape of effects and samples from the aforementioned cartoons and toys, with Mike Patton’s unconventional vocal exercises working as inhuman sound effects themselves, with discernable lyrics only popping up occasionally, like in “04/10/05 Sunday.” Fantomas throws in a lot of unexpected musical ingredients amidst all this hubbub, including a melancholy mellotron melody in “04/03/05 Sunday,” mutated acid jazz in “04/02/05 Saturday” and “04/27/05 Wednesday,” chilling trance in “04/20/05 Wednesday,” and even a lullaby in “04/21/05 Thursday.” My favorite musical moment of the album is the otherworldly kid’s chorus over tribal percussion in “04/16/05 Saturday.” But while this album is relentlessly fascinating, it’s also fractured. Nothing here lasts more than about 20 seconds, and every time an interesting riff or rhythm pops up, it’s almost immediately overcome by more samples and sound effects. That makes this album a success in experimentation and construction, but a little problematic in the listenability department. However, I really doubt that anything else on Earth sounds like this, and that’s a good thing in itself. [~doomsdayer520~]

    Posted on March 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Warning: The below album is an experience, and an intense one. It should not be listened to if your mind isn’t open.

    Okay, enough of that.

    In early 2004, Fantômas produced the dark, mesmerizing “Delirium Cordia,” a strange concept album with only one epic song… which happened to be 74 minutes long. It was a risk, and it paid off. So after something like that, what can a band do that doesn’t sound like backsliding? Well, do the reverse.

    Enter “Suspended Animation,” an odd concept album built around the month of April. The band opts for faster, more cartoony songs this time around, but retains the mad-genius-doing-prog-metal-on-acid sound. It’s the sort of music that one can’t have mixed opinions on — either you love this stuff, or you loathe it.

    Frontman Mike Patton imbues “Suspended Animation with hints of blues, weird synth, jazz, metal, post-rock, strange sound effects and just about every other kind of sound, with some bombastic drums and razor-sharp riffs. The music should be a complete mess, but instead it sounds like Patton has managed to trap some rabid sound waves in a box. It’s chaos, but controlled chaos — the type that fascinates rather than repels.

    And soaring over it all is the voice of Patton himself, sounding a bit demented. He’s got an almost impossibly flexible voice, and the man puts it to extremely good use here. He’s backed by the excellent Buzz Osbourne, guitarist for the Melvins, and nearly-as-good Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo.

    Since the album is centered on the month of April there are… thirty tracks. Not one. Not ten. Thirty. Patton keeps things moving with cartoonish sounds and quick cuts from one song to the next. It’s sillier than the morbid “Delirium Cordia” was, but by no means is it goofy or lightweight. Despite the closing sample, that is.

    It may not be dark and sprawling, but “Suspended Animation” is just as good as its predecessor. Mad, whirling and bursting with chaotic energies.

    Posted on March 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Fantomas’ “Suspended Animation” is a great record, not for everyone, certainly. Mike Patton, clearly influenced by John Zorn’s Naked City project and the work of Carl Stalling, has constructed a jump cut record that is not dissimilar to much of Naked City’s output– this is one thing I’ve found somewhat underdocumented reading reviews of the album, but having spent a little time listening to it, this was my first impression.

    Patton does, however, find his own voice as he seamlessly blends genres– notably cartoon music in the Stalling model and endless sound effects. Like Naked City, it can be frustrating at times when you find an idea you like and its development is abandoned in exchange for something else, but the statement as a whole is what’s really important. Like all Fantomas records, there’s a high theatrical feels on this one as it slides between various styles, always returning to a sort of sludgey metal feel and a cartoon feel. Patton’s vocals are largely wordless, though there is some lyric here and there.

    One thing that I see a lot of is fans of metal seeking Fantomas material having heard its a “metal supergroup”– if you don’t like experimental music, you probably won’t like this one, regardless of who’s in the band– most of these guys have been associated with Zorn’s work more recently than with metal bands, and it shows. On the other hand, if you are a metal fan and you’re a bit open minded, there may be enough here to latch onto to allow you to develop an appreciation for it, but Fantomas is not something that will come easy– you sort of have to get used to hearing it before it makes sense.

    If you’re a fan of Patton’s work with Fantomas (even if you disliked “Delerium Cordia”) or for that matter with Mr. Bungle, this is a good one to check out. I’d also recommend this to John Zorn/Naked City fans, they’ll find quite a bit to like on this one (ditto for “General Patton vs. the X-ecutioners”). Conversely, if you did like this, check out Zorn’s Naked City band, I think you’ll find it very rewarding.

    Posted on March 6, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now