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FANTÔMAS

Fantomas

RIO/Avant-Prog


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hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Edited 10/03/05!

That's actually a series of noises, screams, laughter and short sequences of rhythmic patterns or extreme tough and noisy metal pressed on a CD. In fact I can't quite follow why something like this is that much appreciated by quite a lot of (well admittedly very young) people. This stuff (music?) must have something attractive, but that is obviously not working for me. The only page I can find enjoyable is No. 12 I've got to say. I'm as well far away from saying that this one is a good piece of avant-garde, what it claims to be I guess. I would rather say it's "weird for the sake of weirdness". Although the sounds are constantly changing after a few seconds there is actually very little versatility being offered overall and everything sounds rather arbitrary and without any structure. I'm standing (or sitting) quite helplessly in front of such a piece of art (similar to modern abstract painting) and asking myself: "What the f'k is the artist trying to tell us with that?" I can't rate it higher than with 2 stars, which means: For fans (or specialists) only! Certainly not suitable for everyone!

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#34050)
Posted Monday, February 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
ricardoa_165@
5 stars first of all, music belongs to the performer, to its surroundings, and to whom it listens to it, plus there's no boundaries in music. how music started, by the beating of drums made of animal skin right??? and look what we have accomplish. you need to take something, for example, music used to be 2 parallel lines, but then evry other decade comes a musician and takes those 2 parallel lines and intertwine them, or to be more musically coherent, distorts them. and that's what progressive is. not to many people can survive 20-35- minutes or even a whole hour of hearing just "noise" its within that "noise" that the story within the song appears. we, musicians, painters, writers etc. we are the ones who make small ripples or waves in this boring life, through our music and experience, the need to change what has already been done, to get out of the standard meaning of music this days. one band that has maintain its progressiveness and mix it up with art, the residents. whoever is interested in art & at the same time a fusion with music, i tell them always THE RESIDENTS. keep MUSIC alive, and i don't mean any of that mtv.

FREE-music, DIY music.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#34051)
Posted Friday, February 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
MikeEnRegalia
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is so unique and beyond any reference or tradition, and at the same time performed with such precision and stellar musicianship, that I cannot give this gem any less rating than masterpiece. I still cannot understand how such an album can exist at all, it's unreal. It's such a daunting task to create this weird concept and then to pull it through.

It's not really prog as in Symphonic Progressive Rock epics, rather the very opposite. There are hardly any tracks longer than 2:30, and no mellotron whatsoever, or any keyboards apart from strangely modified hammond samples. But I think that the whole album is an epic of sorts - it surely has recurring phrases, just not in a musical sense.

It surely is the first album I've ever heard to feature vocals throughout, but no lyrics - just vocal acrobatics of the kind that only Mike Patton dares to base albums upon. Add to that the Slayer drums mayhem by Dave Lombardo, and King Buzzo (Melvins), who manages to mogrify his puristic Les Paul & Amp to a similar extent that Patton does voicewise.

If you want to hear something COMPLETELY different, try this!

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Send comments to MikeEnRegalia (BETA) | Report this review (#34053)
Posted Friday, April 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Mike Patton formed Fantômas right after the Faith No More break-up together with an excellent team of musicians, including Dave Lombardo from Slayer, Buzz Osbourne from The Melvins and Trevor Dunn who was a member of Mr. Bungle before they disbanded, all doing a faultless performance here.

This project is by far weirder and more psychotic than Mr. Bungle (which is saying a LOT), mixing metal with sound effects and vocal screams and noises from Patton, which Patton also did a lot with Mr. Bungle, only here it's nearly all the time, backed up with the fairly metallic riffs. It's very rapid and paranoid, and at first listen you haven't got a chance guessing what comes next. The arrangements are fantastic, the metal and Patton's shrieks flows well all the time and it's an extremely well made album overall, though it doesn't show any emotion; this is pure madness on plastic.

There are 30 tracks here, and the total playing time is 42 minutes. So most of the songs are pretty short, usually around a minute and a half. This album is a concept album, as you can notice inside the booklet, a sci-fi/crime story. Actually, the music is very fitting if you look on these pictures and listen to the album at the same time. The album has a rather dark mood to it especially in the quieter parts, which usually are containing more weird sound effects and Patton at his most creepy. You might have a few shocks when you are listening to this too, you'll never know what's next here.

Of course, this isn't for everyone, it's incredibly inaccessible overall and many people might consider this as trash, but if you like metal and avant-garde at it's most unusual, AND are open-minded at the same time, this is something for you. If not, get lost! You won't have a chance!! Trust me! And if you didn't like this, don't even bother trying their other albums.

Me personally, love it. 4.5/5

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Send comments to Bj-1 (BETA) | Report this review (#82976)
Posted Thursday, July 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Fantômas Amenaza al Mundo

An interesting album, but not something I will recomend to people not familiar with Mike patton's work in Faith no More, Mr Bungle or his other diverse output. An "expect the unexpected" framework of sonic origami, with sudden bursts of metal, screams and odd vocal excercises, augmented with short passages of random sounds.

The album consists of 30 musical pieces, each lasting barely 1 minute, with two epics to increase the albums length, but even those short pieces are fragmented. So do not expect songs on this album. The best pages are the two epics (page 4 and page 18).

And now for the million dollar question, is this a good album? I guess it is, with a lot of interesting sounds, certainly if you like frantic strange music with a metal edge, and if you don't care for song structure this might be interesting. For me it's a bit to strange, and I miss some beauty to counterbalance the sonic onslaught. therefor only 3 stars.

Fantômas Threatens the World Aproach with caution, only for weird people.

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Send comments to tuxon (BETA) | Report this review (#102151)
Posted Friday, December 08, 2006 | Review Permalink
laplace
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Here's a flawed album that foreshadows all the good music Fantômas will be sure to make later on.

Patton's gibbering is serviceable and as octave-leapingly manic as ever while the band is experienced and precise (and actually quite star-studded, even exciting if you're a Melvins fan like this reviewer!) but the music itself is raw and monotone - plenty of the "songs" include one-note riffs (and not in the good Frippian way) or else are displays of off-kilter structure with no real intelligent content. Of course, the music is only half the story, apparently serving as the mood track for a short comic novel - but approaching the music on its own I find it to be one-dimensional, and if there's a brief, visceral thrill to their music, for me it was only initial and turned out to be surprise over the audacity of the release itself, being a debut. To me, this album's greatest achievement is in stirring up a very creepy atmosphere and should be taken as one large, thrashy noise-scape.

Although I find most of "Amenaza al Mundo"'s content to be fairly uninspired, the two longest tracks are happy exceptions and feel like important blueprints for "Delirium Cordia" - the album I find to be the current jewel in the Fantômas crown. But hey, Mr. Bungle's demos and debut weren't all that good either, and let's not forget what they blossomed into afterwards!

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Send comments to laplace (BETA) | Report this review (#136184)
Posted Tuesday, September 04, 2007 | Review Permalink
Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The first offering from Mike Patton's merry avant prog metal quartet sets the precedent for their future releases: bizarre concept (30 short tracks corresponding to pages of a noirish comic book), skull crunching metal interspersed with deranged samples and effects, highly expressive wordless vocals and a nod to John Zorn, both a longtime hero to and a sometime collaborator with Mike Patton.

A track by track review would present an interesting challenge and would also probably induce a nervous breakdown in any reviewer who tried it. Thanks to the wonders of gapless playback, this album can be experienced as a continuous piece of music that would fit onto one side of a C90 with a couple of minutes to spare. The results are highly atmospheric, with similarities to Japanese noiseniks like Boredoms and Ruins, elements of death metal a la Napalm Death and the sheer out there weirdness of John Zorn's collaborations with eYe. There are some incredibly effective tracks, but interesting ideas are not always developed and after a while it all starts to sound a bit repetitive; they may not play the same riff twice, but there's a limit to how many times a quiet atmospheric passage followed by a sudden burst of molten metal only to stop after 90 seconds can be effective, and this CD maybe overdoes it. For a flavour of the album try Page 4; at 4.23 it's the second longest track on the album and pretty much contains the whole concept in microcosm. Fantomas probably sounded a lot more impressive in 1999, but time hasn't treated it that all that kindly. It's probably better experienced after hearing some of Fantomas' subsequent albums and some of Patton's collaborations with John Zorn. It's not a bad album by any stretch of the imagination, but much better work was to come from both Fantomas and Patton's numerous other projects.

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Send comments to Syzygy (BETA) | Report this review (#166217)
Posted Wednesday, April 09, 2008 | Review Permalink

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