Faith No More - King For A Day... Fool For A Lifetime
Slash Records
Experimental Alt Metal
14 songs (56:42)
Release year: 1995
Faith No More
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

"What if there's no more fun to have? And all I've got is what I've had? What if I have forgotten how? Cut my losses and get out now!"

Listening to the opening lyrics of Get Out, the first song on Faith No More's fifth full length, it's hard not to see it as prophetic. After the staggering success of Angel Dust, King For A Day... was seen as a let-down by many, selling far less, being more straightforward musically with less of the freewheeling experimental mindset that made Angel Dust such a classic. And yet, in hindsight, it's something of a mini-masterpiece, the simpler songwriting style still being very progressive and forceful, and the album as a whole very enjoyable. But you do get the impression that the band are growing tired, tired with fame, tired with the music, tired with themselves - although it lacks the world-weariness and last-hurrah atmosphere of Album Of The Year, King For A Day... still is the sound of a band heading for the end, one slow step at a time.

Yet what a step this album is! As usual with Faith No More, the songwriting is strong, the mixture of styles is skilled and varied, and the results are spectacular, if less good than previous outings. The opening Get Out alone is a masterstroke, building in aggression until an explosion of silence introduces the melancholic grandiosity of Ricochet, which is even better, hearkening back to the catchiest moments on Angel Dust and featuring the sort of memorable chorus that most bands could only dream of. Evidence's funky lounge-jazz is just as intense, if less aggressive, Faith No More mixing moods as much as genres. There's still fearsome oddness aplenty with the likes of The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies, light/heavy dynamics working as well there as on the following jazz-lashed Star AD.

It's clear that the replacement of longstanding guitarist Jim Martin with Mr Bungle's Trey Spruance didn't lead to a serious lessening of quality, yet many find plenty to nitpick with, and for once it's hard to disagree. No-one loves every song equally on this album, for one - personally, I find the heavier groove metal of Cuckoo For Caca comes over as more obnoxious than compelling, and the following Caralho Voader's gentler meander quite the opposite. But Faith No More were always a polarising band, with many different personalities, and the ones on show here are sure to divide opinion - not least because you can see those opinions shifting in time. Tracks that rarely get mentioned by fans (Ugly In The Morning, anyone?) are something of a surprise when you hear them, not least because you're equally likely to come across something of a lost favourite (Digging The Grave, anyone?).

And that's one of this album's most significant flaws to me, it's too packed - fourteen songs and fifty-plus minutes that no-one could love in its entirety. Whether you want to cut the slow, swinging country-rock of Take This Bottle or the slightly directionless symphonic ballad Last To Know (despite the rather lovely Sabbath-y riffing), you want to cut something away. Of course, no-one wants to cut islands of pure brilliance like King For A Day, at once epic and sinister, with one of the slowest and most compelling outros of any Faith No More song I can think of (Patton's repeated "don't let me die with that silly look in my eyes" is chilling). And that the brilliance simply oozes out of King For A Day... is what saves it, as much as it could be slimmer, leaner, better. By the time you've gotten to lovely finale Just A Man, complete with gospel choir, you feel all fifty minutes of the album where Angel Dust's hour flew by. It was never going to be as good, of course, yet King For A Day... will forever be in its shadow, which spoils an excellent if bloated album that much extra. I still love it, of course, but its flaws have grown with time and are easier to notice here than on the arguably inferior Album Of The Year...

Killing Songs :
Ricochet, Evidence, The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies, Star AD, Digging The Grave, King For A Day, What A Day, Just A Man
Goat quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Faith No More that we have reviewed:
Faith No More - Sol Invictus reviewed by Goat and quoted 82 / 100
Faith No More - Album of the Year reviewed by Goat and quoted 72 / 100
Faith No More - The Real Thing reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Faith No More - Angel Dust reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
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