Perhaps the title of this compilation gives the game away, as this release takes the piss on an heroic scale. There have been at least four “best of” releases since Faith No More‘s demise, so surely another one isn’t necessary, even after their much celebrated reformation. Money grabbing? Almost certainly. For the fans? Almost certainly not.
The Very Best Definitive Ultimate Greatest Hits Collection is a pointless album, but even so this is a sturdy collection of songs. The first CD covers most of their studio albums (apart from debut We Care A Lot), although the Chuck Mosely era Introduce Yourself is cruelly under-represented as usual. The apparently compulsory inclusion of We Care A Lot and the grudging addition of R’n’R are the only nods to this era of the band.
With Mosely’s departure came the arrival of Mike Patton and The Real Thing. The band soon found itself in the forefront of the alternative music scene, being crudely dubbed a funk metal band thanks to the seething pop-metal of single From Out of Nowhere. Despite being the 20th anniversary of The Real Thing, the album that thrust Faith No More into mainstream consciousness, only From Out Of Nowhere, Epic and title track make the cut. Curiously there’s no room Falling To Pieces, Surprise You’re Dead or Edge Of The World. Perhaps a (money grabbing) reissue is imminent?
The band’s real legacy came courtesy of their next album Angel Dust which still remains a huge influence in metal today. This was FNM’s creative peak, and the fusion of metal onto just about any genre that was drifting through the bands collective consciousness is a joy to behold. There are no fewer than seven tracks from Angel Dust included here, so you’d probably be wiser just buying the album.
Wrapping things up are a couple of tracks from King For A Day Fool For A Lifetime, and Album Of The Year, but there are better songs on each of those albums than those included here. As an overview, it’s disappointing despite the evident quality on display.
The second CD of rarities contains some great songs that are quite tricky but not impossible to find. Absolute Zero is a beast of a song with a grinding guitar line that could saw the top off your head. The Big Kahuna and Light Up And Let Go zip by in a furious flurry, with Patton exhibiting his full-on metal vocalist credentials.
Their cover of This Guy’s In Love With You shows the band’s dexterity with a big tune, Patton’s love for easy listening and an often overlooked versatility. Sweet Emotion is almost worth the price of admission on its own, although the band later recorded it as the far superior The Perfect Crime for the soundtrack of Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey. As an oddity though, it is most welcome on this collection.
Historically, the other track of interest is New Improved Song, dating back to the Mosely era. Originally released by Sounds in 1988 it reminds us of the almost gothic disco sound, quickly ditched by the band upon Patton’s arrival. The band went on to modify the song for The Real Thing renaming it The Morning After and making it far heavier and brutal. This waspish version still has the power to sting though.
With Patton versions of early songs Mark Bowen, As The Worm Turns and their cover of Blue Spanish Eyes being excluded, the extra disc is something of a missed opportunity. If someone could release some demo versions and real archive material then there might actually be an album worth forking out for. Despite the musical brilliance on display, this album smells like a cash cow.