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Music

Review: Faith No More makes a mighty return with 'Sol Invictus' (Grade: A-minus)

If you’ve seen some middle-aged men at their desks or doing yard work this week, headphones covering their graying temples, bobbing their heads and perhaps shouting a little bit, they might have been listening to the new record from Faith No More.

“Sol Invictus,” the first new record from the hard rockers in 18 years, was released Monday. And while many middle-agers have lost some of the edge they had in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Faith No More has not.

Even in their late 40s and early 50s, the members of Faith No More rock harder than most of their alternative/indie/rock counterparts.

Subtlety has never been a trait of Faith No More, and there’s none on “Sol Invictus.” That was apparent when the record’s first single, with a four-syllable expletive title that isn’t printable here, was released a few months ago.

Lead singer Mike Patton, who might have the best voice on Earth for rock music, is in full form throughout. As he has since joining the band in 1989, he bounces freely from screamer to rapper to balladeer.

“Sol Invictus” is equally diverse. It opens with the slow and pretty title track before ripping into the shredding “Superhero.” The wonderfully weird and funky “Sunny Side Up” follows, then come the hard and menacing “Separation Anxiety” and “Cone of Shame.”

Faith No More brings a slight country tinge to “Rise and Fall,” and offers up an epic, almost operatic 6-minute “Matador” toward the record’s close.

With the exception of the clumsy “Black Friday,” it all works. If you were digging Faith No More when it was cranking out hard rock hits like “Epic” (Remember the flopping fish and exploding piano in the video?), “Midlife Crisis” and “From Out of Nowhere,” you, too, will be bobbing your head to “Sol Invictus.” You might even shout a little bit.

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