Fantomas, the band as well as the album of the same name, is the brainchild of the brilliant and overlooked Mike Patton. Patton wrote and recorded all of the various instrumental parts, and sent the appropriate parts to three musicians whom he considered fit to re-record their appropriate part and send back. Those people were Buzz Osbourne of the Melvins (guitar), Trevor Dunn of Mr. Bungle (bass), and former Slayer member Dave Lombardo (drums). After each recorded and sent their tape to Patton, he knew he had perfect people for this project.

Described by Patton as “soundtrack music for comic books,” the self-titled debut has 30 tracks all played within 42 minutes and 51 seconds. The “songs” don’t have any actual lyrics sung by Patton, instead he creates various noises and screams that have to be heard to be believed. The music ranges from fast and heavy to slow and sludgy. For example, Patton may start a song screeching while the band plays schizophrenically behind him, then suddenly the music is replaced by Patton playing samples and making noises with no other “instruments” playing.

Though Patton wrote all of the music, each band member’s distinct playing style can be heard, such as Osbourne’s sludgy guitar or Lombardo’s double bass kit plowing through the mix. This is better than the last Mr. Bungle, of which Patton and Dunn are both members, but not for the average fan of the Melvins or Slayer.

Ipecac Records, PO Box 1197. Alameda, CA 94501;

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