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