Angel Dust (Faith No More album)

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Angel Dust
Studio album by Faith No More
Released June 8, 1992
Recorded Coast Recorders and Brilliant Studios San Francisco, California January – March 1992[1]
Genre Alternative metal, experimental rock, experimental metal
Length 58:48
Label Slash
Producer Matt Wallace, Faith No More
Faith No More chronology
The Real Thing
(1989)
Angel Dust
(1992)
King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime
(1995)
Singles from Angel Dust
  1. "Midlife Crisis"
    Released: May 26, 1992
  2. "Land of Sunshine"
    Released: 1992
  3. "A Small Victory"
    Released: August 3, 1992
  4. "A Small Victory (Remix)"
    Released: September 1, 1992
  5. "Everything's Ruined"
    Released: November 9, 1992
  6. "Easy"
    Released: December 29, 1992

Angel Dust is the fourth studio album by American rock band Faith No More. It was first released through Slash Records on June 8, 1992 in Europe and the United States. It is the follow-up to 1989's highly successful The Real Thing, as well as the band's final studio album with guitarist Jim Martin and the second to feature vocalist Mike Patton. It was the first album in which Patton had any substantial influence on the band's music,[2][3] having been hired after the other band members had written and recorded everything for The Real Thing except vocals and some lyrics.[4][5]

It remains Faith No More's best-selling album outside the United States (where, as of November 2010, it has sold 678,000 copies).[6] The album and subsequent tour were very successful in Europe where it went Platinum on sales of more than one million copies and Gold in Australia with more than 35,000 sales. Worldwide sales are around 3 million copies.

Background, title and artwork[edit]

Following the success of their previous album, The Real Thing and its subsequent tour, Faith No More took a break for a year and a half before beginning work on the follow-up, Angel Dust. During this time Mike Patton rejoined his high-school band Mr. Bungle to record their eponymous début album.[7] This situation had an effect on the band, since drummer Mike Bordin thought the writing process was like the state of a "magic slate" having been "completely covered in writing; there was not any more room for any more writing on that slate, so we all went and said all right, and erased everything, and started writing new stuff," and Patton was creatively revitalized.[7] They decided not to "play it safe" and instead took a different musical direction,[8] much to the dismay of guitarist Jim Martin.[9] Martin also didn't like the title of the album as chosen by keyboardist Roddy Bottum. In an interview taken while they were in the studio he said that "Roddy [Bottum] wanted to name it Angel Dust, I don't know why, I just want you to know that if it's named Angel Dust, it didn't have anything to do with me.[10]

Bottum stated that he chose the name because it "summed up what [they] did perfectly" in that "it's a really beautiful name for a really hideous drug [Phencyclidine and that should make people think."[2] The artwork similarly put a beautiful face on a horrible image by depicting a soft blue airbrushed egret on the cover, photographed by Werner Krutein while on the back is an image of a cow hanging on a meat hook. That image was created by Mark Burnstein.[11] Both bassist Billy Gould and Mike Bordin said that the image on the rear of the album is not based on any opposition to vegetarianism but rather preview the music, suggesting its combination of being "really aggressive and disturbing and then really soothing", the "beautiful with the sick".[7][11]

The Russian army photo taken in the Red Square with the imposition of the band members' faces over those of the soldiers, was edited by Werner Krutein and was the cover of the "Midlife Crisis" single. The band had originally planned for this but then did not like the final product.[7] Mike Bordin described the situation in these words:

The single cover is similar to that of Led Zeppelin II, which has the faces of the four members of Led Zeppelin airbrushed into an old photograph featuring a group of German Luftwaffe personnel dating from World War I.

Writing process[edit]

The writing for Angel Dust took up most of 1991[12] with large portion of the songs being written by either Billy Gould, Roddy Bottum, Mike Bordin, and for the first time, Mike Patton.[2][4][12] Regarding this Patton said:

Some attributed this to its sonic difference with its predecessors, however, Mike Patton credits it to being "better at playing what [they] hear in [their] heads"[4] and went on to say that "before, we used to kinda cheat around, and play around what it was. We could never translate it into the band, and we're getting better at doing that. Like, we wanted to do a real lazy, sappy kinda ballad, so we covered the theme from Midnight Cowboy! And there's even a song that sounds like The Carpenters!"[4] In a trend that started when then-vocalist Chuck Mosley lived in Los Angeles while the rest of the band resided in the Bay Area, the band would record demo tapes of the songs and exchange them between each other in Los Angeles before sending them to Jim Martin so that he could work on his guitar arrangements after which he would send them back for approval.[13]

The lyrics for Angel Dust were written for the most part by vocalist Mike Patton. He got his inspiration for the lyrics from many different places such as questions from the Oxford Capacity Analysis, fortune cookies and late-night television. After engaging in a sleep deprivation experiment, he wrote "Land of Sunshine" and "Caffeine":[4] "I drove around a lot in my Honda, drove to a real bad area of town, parked and just watched people. Coffee shops and white-trash diner-type places were great for inspiration."[14]

Songs with lyrics written by someone other than Patton include "Be Aggressive" by Roddy Bottum (about oral sexuality);[15] "Everything's Ruined", which was written by Mike Patton and Billy Gould; "Kindergarten" by Mike Patton and Roddy Bottum; and "Jizzlobber", by Jim Martin and Mike Patton which, according to Patton is about his fear of going to jail. Bill Gould, in response to a question by a fan, suggests that the song is about a porn star.[8]

Recording process[edit]

For the recording of Angel Dust, Faith No More, were once again assisted by Matt Wallace, who had produced all the group's previous studio recordings. They entered Coast Recorders in January 1992, originally set to track a total of 17 songs; however after writing two more while in studio ("Malpractice" being one of them), a total of 19 were recorded.[1][16] At this time, the final titles had not been chosen, and they were often referred with the following working titles, some of which continued to be used in their live set lists:

  • "Triplet" – "Caffeine"
  • "Madonna" – "Midlife Crisis"
  • "Macaroni and Cheese", "Country Western Song" – "RV"
  • "Arabic", "The Arabian Song" – "Smaller and Smaller"[17]
  • "F Sharp" – "Kindergarten"
  • "I Swallow" – "Be Aggressive"[17]
  • "Japanese" – "A Small Victory"
  • "Action Adventure" – "Crack Hitler"
  • "The Sample Song" – "The World Is Yours"
  • "The Carpenters Song" – "Everything's Ruined"
  • "The Funk Song" - "Land of Sunshine"
  • "The Shuffle Song"/"Seagull Song" – unreleased recording.[18]

While 13 tracks were released on the standard album, the sessions also produced a cover of the Commodores' "Easy", a reworking of the previously recorded "As the Worm Turns", and the posthumously released "The World is Yours". While the songs "Das Schutzenfest" and the Dead Kennedys' cover "Let's Lynch the Landlord" were both released along with "Easy" on an EP in late 1992, at least one of these songs was not actually not recorded during the Angel Dust sessions: "Let's Lynch the Landlord" was recorded in Bill Gould's bedroom[19] and produced by the band[20] prior to the Angel Dust sessions for "Virus 100", a Dead Kennedy's tribute album. While it is unclear as to whether or not "Das Schutzenfest" is from the Angel Dust sessions, Matt Wallace is listed as the engineer for this song[20] but is given no producer credit (in contrast with the co-producer credit he is given for Angel Dust).

Samples[edit]

There were many samples used on Angel Dust, to the point that it was called a "gratuitous"[5] amount and record label executives were concerned about the volume of samples used.[4] They came from such sources as Simon and Garfunkel, Diamanda Galás, Z'EV, and The Wizard of Oz.[4] The Simon and Garfunkel sample is from the first bar of their song "Cecilia" and appears throughout the drum track of "Midlife Crisis". "Malpractice" contains a four second sample of the second movement of Dmitri Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 8 as performed by the Kronos Quartet, on their album Black Angels; track 8, "Allegro molto", at 2:10. It features in four points towards the end of the song at 2:56, 3:02, 3:22 and 3:26. Many of the original samples used in the songs were recorded by Roddy on a Digital Audio Tape recorder whilst "just whilst wandering out and about".[21] "Crack Hitler", as well as featuring samples of sirens in the background,[4] features a sample in the intro of Iris Lettieri reading a flight announcement at the Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport,.[22] She then tried to sue the band for using her voice without permission.[21] There are also samples of aboriginal chanting, amongst the sound effects from Sound Ideas, in the background of "Smaller and Smaller".[23] Also, a brief succession of sounds, including a police car siren and a warp noise, similar to what Frank Zappa abundantly made use of on his album Joe's Garage is recognizable in the song "A Small Victory". The song "Midlife Crisis" contains a sample of "Car Thief" by the Beastie Boys.

Touring and support[edit]

Faith No More started the tour to promote Angel Dust shortly after the album's completion on the European leg of the Use Your Illusion Tour with Guns N' Roses and Soundgarden,[24] which Roddy described as a "complete European vacation" due to their light concert schedule.[25] In an interview taken on June 6, 1992 Billy said:

They continued on this tour through the North America leg with Guns N' Roses and Metallica[24] before splitting off on their own European tour through Finland, Sweden,[26] Denmark, Norway, seven performances from November 4 – 11 in Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, 3 more performances in Germany, Belgium, Germany again, the Netherlands, Wales, England, where they played at the Cambridge Corn Exchange on November 23 then 3 nights straight at the Brixton Academy from November 25 – 27 and on the following night at the NEC Arena in Birmingham before going through Ireland,[27] Scotland, where they played the first 4 nights of December in the Barrowland Ballroom before going back through England, Belgium, 3 performances from the December 8 – 10 in France, 3 performances from the December 12 – 14 in Spain, France again, Italy, Switzerland and Austria again before having a break for Christmas and New Year.[28] They began touring America again in mid January 1993 in Seattle, Washington,[29] and finishing in Utah a month later in mid February.[30] Towards the end of April[31] till mid May they toured through Australia and New Zealand before returning to Europe for a show in Germany on May 29 and the following day in Vienna then in Budapest.[32] On June 2 the played at Ahoy Rotterdam followed by 4 performances in Germany from June 3 – 7 and one in the Czech Republic on June 20. Towards the end of June they performed on individual nights in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Portugal[33] then a few days later on July 3 – 4 in Torhout and Werchter, Belgium followed by one last show in Germany, on July 9, and a headline show at Ruisrock Festival in Turku, Finland July 10 before the final show of the tour in Stratford Upon Avon on July 17.[34]

Critical reception and legacy[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
About.com 4.5/5 stars[35]
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[36]
Entertainment Weekly B[37]
Kerrang! 3/5 stars[38]
Q 4/5 stars July 1992, page 91
Robert Christgau (3-star Honorable Mention)[39]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[40]

Angel Dust was met with extensive critical acclaim. One critic wrote that the album is "one of the more complex and simply confounding records ever released by a major label"[41] and similarly, another called it "the most uncommercial follow-up to a hit record ever".[37] The single "A Small Victory" is described as a song "which seems to run Madame Butterfly through Metallica and Nile Rodgers, reveals a developing facility for combining unlikely elements into startlingly original concoctions".[42]

The songs "Malpractice" and "Jizzlobber" have been called "art-damaged death metal" and "nerve-frazzling apocalyptic rock" by contrast with the "accordion-propelled" Midnight Cowboy theme cover that follows.[40] Allmusic calls the album a "bizarro masterpiece", citing the vocals as "smarter and more accomplished" than its predecessor The Real Thing.[36] It gave the album 4.5 stars out of 5, calling it one of their album picks.[36] Kerrang! reviewer was less enthusiastic, considering Angel Dust's variety of styles "a personality disorder which undermines its potential greatness".[38]

The album was also called an "Album of the Year" in 1992 by seven different publications in four countries, making the top 10 in three of them and the top position in one, and was also named the "Most Influential Album of all Time".[43]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Land of Sunshine"   Patton Gould, Bottum 3:44
2. "Caffeine"   Patton Gould, Patton 4:28
3. "Midlife Crisis"   Patton Bottum, Bordin, Gould, Patton 4:21
4. "RV"   Patton Bottum, Patton, Gould 3:43
5. "Smaller and Smaller"   Patton Gould, Bordin, Bottum, Wallace 5:11
6. "Everything's Ruined"   Patton, Gould Gould, Bottum, Patton 4:33
7. "Malpractice"   Patton Patton 4:02
8. "Kindergarten"   Patton, Bottum Gould, Martin 4:31
9. "Be Aggressive"   Bottum Bottum 3:42
10. "A Small Victory"   Patton Gould, Bottum, Bordin, Patton 4:57
11. "Crack Hitler"   Patton Gould, Bottum, Bordin 4:39
12. "Jizzlobber"   Martin, Patton Martin 6:38
13. "Midnight Cowboy" (Instrumental) Barry 4:12
14. "Easy" (Re-release only[44]) Richie Richie 3:04
15. "As the Worm Turns" (Japanese bonus track[44]) Mosley Bottum, Gould, Mosley 2:39

Bonus discs[edit]

There were several different bonus discs released with various editions and formats of the album.

Free Concert in the Park[edit]

This disc came with the second and third pressings of the Australian release, it contains four tracks labeled to be from a free concert at Munich, Germany on November 9, 1992. Although the date is correct, the venue is not. Faith No More played at Grugahalle Essen on Nov.9, 1992 and this is where the tracks were recorded. (Cat no. D30953 and TVD93378 (RMD53378) respectively).[44]

  1. "Easy" – 3:06
  2. "Be Aggressive" – 4:12
  3. "Kindergarten" – 4:15
  4. "Mark Bowen" – 3:17

Woodpecker from Mars[edit]

This disc was a promotional release on Limited Edition pressings of Angel Dust in France. On the back it reads "ne peut être vendu séparément, offert avec l'album 'Angel Dust' dans la limite des stocks disponibles",[44] which translates to "offered with the album Angel Dust while stocks last, not to be sold separately"

  1. "Woodpecker from Mars" (Live from Norwich, 1990)
  2. "Underwater Love" (Live from Brixton, April 28, 1990)

Midlife Crisis 12"[edit]

This disc was released with Limited Edition UK LPs as a Double Vinyl Pack; it was also released as the "Midlife Crisis" single a week prior to the albums. The first disc (with or without the bonus disc) lacked the tracks "Crack Hitler" and "Midnight Cowboy"; the track "Smaller and Smaller" appeared as the last track (Cat no. 828 326-1).[44]

  1. "Midlife Crisis (The Scream Mix)" – 3:56
  2. "Crack Hitler" – 4:39
  3. "Midnight Cowboy" – 4:13

Interview disc[edit]

This disc was a promotional release on Limited Edition pressings of Angel Dust in Europe released on August 24, 1992 (Cat no. 828 321-2), and was also released separately in a slimline case (Cat no. FNMCD3). The questions were printed inside the packaging with answers on the CD lasting 18:41.[44]

Personnel[edit]

Production[edit]

Accolades[edit]

Year Publication Country Accolade Rank
1992 Musik Express Sounds Germany "Albums of the Year" 1 [45]
1992 Raw magazine United Kingdom "Albums of the Year" 8 [46]
1992 Vox United Kingdom "Albums of the Year" 10 [47]
1992 The Face United Kingdom "Albums of the Year" 17 [48]
1992 The Village Voice United States "Albums of the Year" 26 [49]
1992 Muziekkrant OOR Netherlands "Albums of the Year" 36 [50]
1992 Q United Kingdom "Albums of the Year" * [51]
1995 Raw magazine United Kingdom "90 Essential Albums of the 90s" * [52]
1996 Visions Germany "The Best Albums 1991-96" * [53]
1999 Panorama Norway "The 30 Best Albums of the Year 1970-98" 3
1999 Visions Germany "The Most Important Albums of the 90s" 22 [54]
2000 Terrorizer United Kingdom "The 100 Most Important Albums of the 90s" * [55]
2002 Revolver United States "The 69 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time" 36
2003 Kerrang! United Kingdom "50 Most Influential Albums of all Time" 1 [43]
2006 Metal Hammer United Kingdom "The 200 Greatest Albums of the 90s" * [56]
"*" denotes an unordered list.

Chart performance[edit]

Album[edit]

Chart Peak
UK Albums Chart 2 [57]
Ö3 Austria Top 40 4 [58]
Norwegian Charts 7 [59]
German Album Charts 8 [60]
Swiss Album Chart 9 [61]
U.S. Billboard 200 10 [62]
Swedish Album Charts 18 [63]
Dutch Album Charts 22 [64]

Singles[edit]

Year Title Peak Chart positions
US[65] US
Main
US
Mod
AUS[66] AUT[67] IRE[68] NLD[69] NOR[70] SWE[71] SWI[72] UK[57]
1992 "Midlife Crisis" 32 1 31 9 13 36 10
"A Small Victory" 11 84 29
"Everything's Ruined" 63 28
1993 "Easy" 58 1 5 10 2 11 9 3
"—" denotes singles that were released but did not chart.

Release histories[edit]

  • In 2008 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab remastered re-released Angel Dust on CD and LP.

Vinyl history[edit]

Region Date Label Catalog Notes [44]
United Kingdom June 8, 1992 Slash, London 828 326-1 Limited Edition, Includes the Midlife Crisis 12". [73]
828 401-1 Does not include tracks 11 & 13
828 321-1
Netherlands
Germany [74]
Colombia
Brazil Slash, London, PolyGram Does not include tracks 11 & 13, Labelled as "Polvo de Angel"

CD history[edit]

Region Date Label Catalog Pressing Notes [44]
United States June 8, 1992 Slash, Reprise 9 26785-2 First [75]
Canada June 16, 1992 CD 26785-2 [76]
United Kingdom June 8, 1992 Slash, London 828 321-2 Early copies came with the Interview bonus disc.
Germany [77]
France Early copies came with the Woodpecker From Mars disc.
Brazil London, PolyGram 828 321-2
Australia Slash, Liberation TVD93363
RMD53363
'Red Square' picture disc. [78]
Japan June 12, 1992 Slash, London POCD-1081 with extra track "As the Worm Turns".
South Africa Slash, RPM CDSLASH2
Czechoslovakia Slash, London, Globus 210 134-2 Gold Edition, 1000 individually numbered copies with gold discs.
United Kingdom January 29, 1993 Slash, London 828 401-2 Second with extra track "Easy". [79]
Japan POCD-1111 with extra tracks "Easy" and "As the Worm Turns".
Brazil London, PolyGram 828 401-2 with extra track "Easy".
Australia Slash, Liberation D30953
PRD93/7
'Bird photo' picture disc with "Easy" and Free Concert in the Park. [80]
TVD93378
RMD53378
Third 'Bird photo' picture disc with "Easy" and Free Concert in the Park.
Slash, London 828 401-2 Polydor generation re-release
United Kingdom Slash, Liberation TVD93378
RMD53378
'Bird photo' picture disc with "Easy" and Free Concert in the Park. [81]
3984 28200 2 with extra track "Easy". [82]
United States July 2008 MoFi, Rhino UDCD 787 First Album has been completely remastered from the original master tapes by Rob LoVerde at Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab under license from Warner Bros. Incorporated. Manufactured by Rhino. Does not contain extra track 'Easy'. [83]

Cassette history[edit]

Region Date Label Catalog Notes [44]
United States June 8, 1992 Slash, Reprise 9 26785-4 Early copies came in a rectangular LP art picture box. [84]
United Kingdom Slash, London 828 321-4
Germany
France
Brazil
Australia Slash, Liberation ??? ???
Brazil London, PolyGram 828 401-4 Second pressings with extra track "Easy"
United Kingdom January 29, 1993 Slash, London
Poland PolyGram [85]

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  74. ^ "Faith No More - Angel Dust LP (828 321-1)". Discogs. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  75. ^ "Faith No More - Angel Dust - US CD (9 26785-2)". Discogs. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  76. ^ "Faith No More - Angel Dust - Canadian CD (CD 26785-2)". Discogs. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  77. ^ "Faith No More - Angel Dust - German CD (828 321-2)". Discogs. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  78. ^ "Faith No More - Angel Dust - Australian CD (RMD53363) (RMD53363)". Discogs. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  79. ^ "Faith No More - Angel Dust - UK CD (828 401-2)". Discogs. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  80. ^ "Faith No More - Angel Dust - CD (D30953)". Discogs. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  81. ^ "Faith No More - Angel Dust - UK CD (TVD93378) (RMD53378)". Discogs. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  82. ^ "Faith No More - Angel Dust - UK CD (3984 28200 2)". Discogs. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  83. ^ "Faith No More - Angel Dust - UDCD 787". 
  84. ^ "Faith No More - Angel Dust - US Cassette (9 26785-4)". Discogs. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  85. ^ "Faith No More - Angel Dust - Polish Cassette (828 401-4)". Discogs. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 

Notes[edit]