Review – Fantomas – Director’s Cut Live: A New Year’s Revolution (Ipecac)

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Fantomas-The-Directors-Cut-Live Review - Fantomas - Director's Cut Live: A New Year's Revolution (Ipecac)

So much screaming, so much screaming. Whatever happened to singing?

Neil Hamburger

And you thought that Mr. Bungle was weird…

Formed by Mike Patton in the wake of Faith No More demise, Fantomas features members of some of the heaviest bands around (Melvins, Slayer) but they’re not a metal band per se. They exist entirely on a plane of their own where metal blends with circus music and movie/cartoon soundtracks.

Fantomas could also be seen as Mike Patton’s vehicle for dealing with his various  obsessions – in case of their 2001 LP “Director’s Cut” its classic movie soundtracks. The album seemingly left no stone unturned as the band dissected themes from “Rosemary’s Baby”, “The Godfather” and countless other movies.

“The Director’s Cut Live”, then, is a visual companion to the record – it captures the band performing “Director’s Cut” in its entirety (plus a couple of covers that weren’t present on the original) at the Great American Hall in San Francisco.

Even knowing what the band have in store, you still need to take a pause in between tracks just to understand what is it that you just heard. Perhaps that start-stop nature of the music is to blame – they simply wouldn’t let you headbang for too long, as all the insane drumming and screaming  gives way to nearly complete silence and then its back to business again.

The quality of video/sound is excellent throughout, but some of the cheesier video effects (multiple screens, shaking camera, fractals etc.) used in the video come off as unnecessary. While they don’t take anything away, they don’t really add all that much to the viewing experience either.

The only thing better than watching this DVD would probably be a trip to an actual Fantomas show, but given that its still unclear when (or whether) the band will tour or record again, “The Director’s Cut Live” would make for a good replacement of the real thing (not to confuse with FNM album of the same name).

P.S. – Oh, and don”t miss Neil Hamburger’s comments on “these assholes” (as well as instructions on how to search for bedbugs in a hotel room) , which are as entertaining as the actual show itself.


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