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.