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The Real Thing

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Reviews

Average Rating
★★★★½
(119 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • This album (and any other FNM album) is very different and very unusual. And, it’s also very good. Mike Patton has an incredible voice. There are several good songs on here, such as “Epic” (everyone knows that one!), “Surprise, you’re Dead”, and “Zombie Eaters”, but I think the track that stands out the most would be their incredible cover of “War Pigs”. It’s very hard to top the original, but I think they may have done it. Jim Martin is one talented guitarist. After all this praise, one might ask, why only four stars? Well, simply put, I’m just not a fan of rapping in metal, I much prefer Mike’s croon or hard growl, but hey, don’t let that stop you from buying the album. This is nothing like Limp Bizkit or Rage Against the Machine, in fact he only raps in about half of the songs, and none of them have rapping all the way through. In short, this album is a brilliant display of talent and weirdness, and if you buy it, you will surely not be disappointed.

    Posted on December 29, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • The first time I reviewed this, I only gave it four stars, because of the rapping. I realize now that that was not at all fair. Besides, I managed to give Papa Roach’s “Infest” four stars, and this is certainly a far superior album. This album is, quite simply, amazing. The musicianship is incredible, all across the board. Mike Bordin’s drumming is comparable to that of Gene Hoglan or Dave Lombardo, Jim Martin is a bona fide guitar virtuoso, and Bill Gould’s basslines are not to be ignored. Then, there’s Mike Patton. This guy has one of the coolest voices I’ve ever heard. He can do it all: rap, sing, growl. And, he’s great at all of them. There are also keyboards, which add spooky atmosphere to the music. A very nice touch. “Epic” is the single that everyone has heard (and we all remember that video with the flopping fish and the exploding piano), but that song is hardly what this album is all about. Check out “Zombie Eaters”, “Falling to Pieces”, “Woodpecker from Mars”, and the title track, they are simply amazing. Then, there’s the incredible cover of “War Pigs”. This has got to be the most perfect cover anyone has ever done. They retain the feel of the original recording, and yet play it as if they wrote it themselves. If you didn’t know it was a Black Sabbath song, you would swear it was just one of their songs. And, no offense to Sabbath, but as far as musicianship goes, these guys put them to shame by far, especially Mike Bordin. Anyway, this album is really great, there is not a bad moment on it. But, I must warn you, with the exception of “War Pigs” and “Surprise, You’re Dead”, this is not a very heavy album. It’s really kind of more like heavy jazz. If an album must be heavy for you to enjoy it, you’d be wiser to go with one of their later albums. If you’re expecting this to sound like Limp Bizkit, you might as well just forget it. But, if you want to hear five really talented musicians playing some weird, but very cool music, you should definitely check it out. I wish these guys would get back together. There is certainly a void in the music scene without them. There is nothing around today that sounds like this. Buy this album, I cannot recommend it enough.

    Posted on December 29, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I realize that this is probably the album responsible for much of the dreaded nu-metal phenomenon, but it is still one of my all-time favorites.

    The Real Thing was the first FNM release to feature Mike Patton on vocals, and he made quite an impact, as did the band when they released the single and video for the song Epic. This will always be the song that people associate with the band. Anthrax may have tried to fuse rap and metal with “I’m the Man”, but it was too goofy to be anything but a novelty. Faith No More took the idea much more seriously, and as a result Epic was a major hit and an inspiration for many bands that followed, from Korn to Pain of Salvation.

    Despite the impression Epic gave, the Real Thing was not really a rap-metal album. It was something exciting and new. I suppose if it had been released in 1992 it would have been called alternative. It had elements of rap, punk, and obviously plenty of metal, but there was also something eclectic and offbeat about the music. It wasn’t totally experimental and bizarre – that would better describe the band’s follow up album Angel Dust.

    The albums best tracks are right in the middle, with the 8-minute title track, Underwater Love, and the Morning After. These are all impressive and powerful songs, and show that the band had more to offer than just a rap-metal single. Another album highlight is the cover of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs. I’ve heard a lot of Sabbath covers, but this is one of the best.
    The band picked up a lot of fans with this album, but over the course of their next few releases would shake off all but the die-hards as each album got progressively weirder.

    No matter what you may think of nu-metal, it is impossible to deny the impact Faith No More had with the Real Thing. It’s an impressive album, a powerful album, and an album that should be in every metal fan’s collection.

    Posted on December 29, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I was one of those people baffled by “Epic” when it first came out. “What is it?” Neither rap nor metal, neither funk nor dance, it was Faith No More’s challenge to conventional music. The song begins with a wash of glorious guitars (courtesy of freaky-looking, Metallica-influenced guitarist Jim Martin) and Mike Bordin’s unstoppable drum bashing, going into a thumping bassline and Mike Patton’s energetic, enigmatic rap, launching into that mighty chorus, with progressive-rock keyboards providing punctuation at moments, then ending with that classical-sounding piano exit…”What is it?” indeed!Looking at today’s rap-metal fusions, you realize that Faith No More got there first. And The Real Thing is the band’s most uniform album, less eccentric, but with exquisite songcraft, a fiery mix, and top-flight performances all around. Patton’s versatility and resilient voice is the secret weapon to songs like the irreverent “Falling to Pieces”, the superior-to-the-original cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”, and instant-classic leadoff track “From Out of Nowhere”. And in case you didn’t think the band *looked* weird enough, there’s “Woodpecker from Mars” and “Zombie Eaters” to remind you that these guys are eccentrics to the bone.A pivotal release in 1990 that not only woke up the music world, but dangled it by the feet over a pool of alien chemical reagents of Faith No More’s own concoction.

    Posted on December 29, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Two full years before Nirvana made “alternative rock” the buzzword that it continues to be to this day, Faith No More produced one of the genre’s defining moments in “The Real Thing.” While this album was among the first to mix rap and rock elements, you definitely shouldn’t let that fact scare you. While today’s would-be genre benders like Limp Bizkit and (to a lesser extent) Linkin Park seem bent on combining the most meatheaded elements of rap and rock for a sound that only a mook could love, Faith No More brought rock, rap, and funk together with more creativity and intelligence than anyone would have a right to expect. With the phenomenally versatile Mike Patton at the helm and a crack team of musicians backing him up, “The Real Thing” is a clinic in bringing together genres in perfect harmony.Although there’s a bit of a Bay Area thrash influence on display, “Master Of Puppets” this is not. The band’s sound may have been ambitious from the outset, but few albums in my vast collection are this fun to listen to.Even coming from songwriters as prolific and imaginative as Patton and co., it’s almost alarming how much high-quality stuff is here. Just look at the first four songs and you’ll get an idea of how far ahead of the game Faith No More were. The opening “From Out Of Nowhere” and “Falling To Pieces” bring together Patton’s piercing, in-your-face vocals, the band’s razor-sharp musical attack, and generous doses of punkish aggression. The head-banging rhythm and explosive rapping of “Epic” made it a justified hit. “Surprise! You’re Dead!” brings a menacing, thrash-derived sound into the mix, but it’s clearly all in good fun. From there, the classic songs just keep coming. “Zombie Eaters” starts out with a couple minutes of gentle acoustics (!), then stops on a dime and turns into a pulverizing slab of metal that’s all the more effective for the calm that preceded it. The eight-minute title track is a hard-pounding, constantly-shifting epic that makes my jaw hit the floor no matter how many times I hear it. The atomic bassline and neck-snapping dynamics of “Morning After” bring to mind the Pixies, while the instrumental tour de force “Woodpecker From Mars” provides convincing evidence of the virtuosity at the foundation of the band’s schizophrenic sound. And as if the original material here wasn’t enough, there’s also a note-perfect rendition of the Black Sabbath classic “War Pigs.”Listening to this album, it’s clear that the fusion of rap and rock did at one point have real potential. It’s just too bad that the radio schmoozers of today lack Faith No More’s talent and vision. But that’s beside the point, as “The Real Thing” was, and is, a classic album that marks one of the high-water points of alternative music. I like to think that along with Soundgarden’s “Superunknown” and Jane’s Addiction’s “Ritual de lo Habitual,” this album formed a sort of alt-rock holy trilogy. So get them all!

    Posted on December 29, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now