Read my reviews of Fantômas albums:
1999: Fantômas (9/10)
There isn’t much precedence for Fantomas’ sound on their debut to my knowledge. It’s like a more purely metal/film score version of Bungle; and with hindsight we can view it as the comic book/crime movie album.
It’s certainly not for everyone but I think if you’re willing to keep an open mind, it’s a peculiar take on metal that no one else has really tried. It’s more thought-provoking than most metal (not what most want in metal, I know) and it has some pretty great moments.
2001: Fantômas: The Director’s Cut (10/10)
This is, in my humble (and probably misinformed) opinion, the Best Covers Album of All Time.
It lures us in with what appears to be a straight-up cover of the theme from The Godfather theme, but then things go crazy. Rarely, if ever, has a a band so drastically reinvented so many famous and not so famous tracks while sticking so close to its sound. It’s just utterly incredible.
Though I love everything, the themes from Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen and Charade are probably the absolute highlights for me.
Just an absolute classic.
2004: Fantômas: Delìrivm Còrdia (8/10)
After creating the definitive movie theme song covers album, Patton tries to write a whole soundtrack…but it’s to a surgery?
Despite the rather inaccessible nature of their debut, this is probably the least accessible Fantômas album, given that it’s a single track, given the premise, and given the music. But you are rarely going to hear something this challenging and thought-provoking from someone who used to be the lead singer of a world famous rock band.
And if you give it the time it deserves, it’s certainly a good piece of music. It’s not a pleasant piece of music, but it’s a complex, well-thought out piece of music.
Also, it doesn’t really sound like Fantômas.
2005: Fantômas: Suspended Animation (8/10)
A long time ago a man named Raymond Scott made some slightly odd but very under-appreciated music. Nobody knew what to do with it; it sounded vaguely similar to contemporary jazz – though scored for a quintet it was more akin to the emerging bop than to big band – it was completely written out ahead of time and had therefore little to nothing in common with the essence of jazz. And, of course, it was just too damn idiosyncratic. The music was essentially viewed as novelty music and it was briefly popular but Scott himself is forgotten.
However, as you may know, much of his music is not forgotten, as it was then used by Carl Stalling as the basis of some of his music for Warner Bros., through which Scott’s style became the basis and / or inspiration for the vast majority of goofy cartoon music we know and love today. So, why care about that?
Well, in my humble opinion this is probably the greatest album-length rock tribute to cartoon music I’ve ever heard. Sure, it’s disguised with various metal influences, but that kind of mania is kind of appropriate to metal, no?
Obviously this is something that takes some time to get used to. I don’t even remember what I thought the first time I heard Fantômas. I probably just told myself I had to be patient. But if you are patient, well you’re in for a treat. This is like all the cartoons from your childhood (or, perhaps, your parent’s childhood) on acid. It’s like Adult Swim in many ways. Seriously. This is like the aural equivalent of Space Ghost. (Well, almost. It’s not quite that good.)
And I should also note that, in addition to being a fine tribute to Scott and Stalling et al., this is also probably the most Fantômasian of Fantômas albums. So just because you hate this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try to listen to The Director’s Cut at least thrice in your life. It’s a lot more accessible. And even better.