20 Years Ago, Faith No More Find Their Focus With ‘Album of the Year’
Released on June 3, 1997, Faith No More's sixth record, Album of the Year, is both hailed in some circles and derided in others for the same reason: It's easily the least experimental and most focused album in the band's catalog.
Featuring new guitarist Jon Hudson, the band recorded Album of the Year it in the home studio of bassist Billy Gould and neither critics nor fans were all that impressed with it upon its release. But in retrospect (and in context with Mike Patton's post-FNM projects like Fantomas and Peeping Tom), the album – Faith No More's final until their current reunion – has been met with more acceptance.
While it's not quite as off-the-wall as the band's prior records, Album of the Year is a deep, dark, simmering cauldron of synth-laden, prog-leaning metal. Patton's voice is the undeniable centerpiece, and he opens it up in ways that he hadn't completely before on tracks like "Paths of Glory" and "Ashes to Ashes" while the opening trio of "Collision," "Stripsearch" and "Last Cup of Sorrow" pack a powerful punch.
While it's largely interchangeable in rankings with King for a Day, it's definitely one of Faith No More's most underrated efforts. However, the group broke up less than a year later. But they reunited in 2009, with the Album of the Year lineup, and played a handful of European festival dates. Six years later, they gave the world their first new music since 1997, Sol Invictus.