If Faith No More were to have an album inducted into the Decibel Hall of Fame, the prevailing thought is that it would be Angel Dust. Unfortunately, from what we understand, guitarist Jim Martin is spending these days in his pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive (seriously), and has no interest in taking part in such an endeavor.
Our own pick for Faith No More’s best album, though hardly a contender for the Hall of Fame, is the band’s second album (and first for a major label), Introduce Yourself. We are one of the minority of Faith No More Fans who first encountered the band in the late ’80s with this release. We’d heard their debut for punk label Mordam, We Care A Lot, but to be frank, we didn’t care very much at all. The whole FNM shtick wasn’t fully formed at that point.
But it all came together on Introduce Yourself. The tribal beats, the crunching metal guitar and the half rap/half sung vocals of Chuck Mosley coalesced into something altogether original. You can unfortunately perhaps heap some blame for nu metal on these dudes, but what they created at the time was in fact revolutionary. It was like Killing Joke, Metallica and the Red Hot Chili Peppers swapped members for a jam session and came up with a new genre.
It was the riffs primarily that got us. Amidst floating keyboards, funky bass and rock-solid drumming there are some grinding riffs that just kill. Regardless of the other influences at play here, you can tell that Martin had metal in his blood. His guitar work was never anything other than heavy and dark. Whether it’s twisty, snaky licks or full-on thrash-like chug-a-rama, he brought the heavy to Faith No More. Witness “The Crab Song” crusher that kicks in around 2:45.
We’re no doubt being real obvious when we say that Mosley was no Mike Patton. In fact, had Mosley not been booted when he was, it’s pretty safe to say that we wouldn’t be talking about this album. Because, of course, Mike Patton wouldn’t have been plucked from obscurity and handed a microphone. We’re still left to debate if that was a good thing. Discuss amongst yourselves. But, yeah, the next Patton-led album, The Real Thing, full-on unleashed the ridiculousness.
We recognize the fact that Introduce Yourself is a “difficult” album for those accustomed to Patton’s on-key crooning. Mosley, however, had a sort of street cool and obtuseness that the cartoonish Patton could never match. We’ll take “Annie’s Song” over most anything on The Real Thing.
Introduce Yourself definitely garnered a lot of attention at the time in the college rock realm, but it really wasn’t on the radar for most metal fans. Oddly enough, FNM’s origins were playing shoulder to shoulder with some of the Bay Area thrash progenitors. They knew the dudes in Metallica and Primus (whose origins, of course, were in Possessed and Blind Illusion). They didn’t however get marketed toward that crowd as metal on the major label level was getting a bit ridiculous in 1987. FNM were given that unfortunate “alternative” tag and peddled elsewhere.
We’re here to tell you, however, that this is the real thing and that Introduce Yourself is well worth seeking out for its total originality.
1. “Faster Disco”
2. “Anne’s Song”
3. “Introduce Yourself”
4. “Chinese Arithmetic”
5. “Death March”
6. “We Care a Lot”
8. “The Crab Song”