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Faith No More – The Real Thing (1989)

March 16, 2014

[Album 298/1001]220px-The_Real_Thing_album_cover

“10 years ahead of time, or about 1 year behind”
– Sloan, Right or Wrong.

Well I think I’ve finally figured it out: The Real Thing is both.

The fast-paced intro riff from the album opener, From Out of Nowhere, could have been a blueprint for the self-titled debut from the Queens of the Stone Age.  That album would arrive near the end of the following decade.

Track two, Epic, planted the seeds of the rap-metal genre, a genre whose commercial peak would also coincide with the lead-up to Y2K.

However, on the cheerfully titled Surprise! You’re Dead! and Zombie Eaters, one could (and I will) argue that they were about a year behind Metallica’s …And Justice For All.  A year in arrears when it came to blending heavy riffs & imagery with enough melody to keep it aggresive yet accessible.

Though overall, The Real Thing has a vastly superior mix: …and Justice‘s lack of bass has been well documented.  Bill Gould’s bass is more prominent here, his bottom-end notes are fat enough to make the rockin’ world go ’round.

I was pleased to find a cassette version of this, boasting two bonus tracks not found on the initial vinyl pressing.  The jazzy Edge of the World & the solid War Pigs cover provide additional diversity to an already strong and varied set.  I’ve been defending the cassette medium for years and it’s starting to pay off:  Cassettes 1, Vinyl ∞ …well, at least cassettes are finally on the board!

This really is among the most difficult records yet to classify.  How many other records feature Rock, Jazz, Metal, Funk, Rap, even a bit of Prog?

Thousands of reviewers have probably beaten me to the punchline but I’ll join them in risking Coca-Cola lawsuits: if it’s a rock/jazz/metal/funk/rap/prog album you seek, you can’t beat The Real Thing.

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From → 1980s

16 Comments
  1. Great! Glad you finally got to some Faith No More! This is truly a monster of an album, so varied. Yet not even half as varied as the stuff to come. The heavies get heavier and the lights go all over the place. Wait until you hear them do disco.

  2. nicksalbumreviews permalink

    Love me some Faith No More, no matter what album!

    • Nice – I hear Angel Dust is the next one to explore but glad to hear there’s no wrong answer when it comes to FNM!

  3. This is a great album. Reminds me of so many different bands, from Anthrax to King Crimson to Coheed & Cambria

  4. ianbalentine permalink

    “Track two, Epic, planted the seeds of the rap-metal genre, a genre whose commercial peak would also coincide with the lead-up to Y2K.” Agreed, I think this and the Red Hot Chili Peppers Mothers MIlk, which came out the same year, were equally responsible for that whole sub-genre, for right or wrong. FNM did it right, by the way!

    • That’s funny – I was considering adding ‘for better or worse’ when describing the genre, some groups I quite enjoy, some less so. RCHP also had that nice funk that showed up on a few FNM tracks here and both are still sounding good a quarter century later!

  5. This is a band I don’t really understand, because my only experience of them was the Easy cover. That led me to believe they were a MOR band, but apparently they have a bit more of a harder edge than that. I just can’t compute it though so have never given them a listen!

  6. GAW I never like this group. I don’t know why. Mind you when you post about music I don’t have the whole album and only hear a lot of the songs on the radio. Maybe I just didn’t get them?

  7. Not only does that first tune sound like QOTSA, but the drums sound distinctly Dave Grohl-ish. The second song – Epic – has an old Red Hot Chilli Peppers feel – especially the verses. Glad I read this review – now listening to this album for first time ever!

    • I’m glad you read it as well!

      It’s a real mix – I previously associated Faith No More with other hard rock/metal bands but they now seem to be in a category on their own.

      From what I gather, its follow-up Angel Dust is even more eclectic.

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  1. 10 tunes in 10 seconds – the results! | 1001albumsin10years

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