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.