GREETINGS, schlock pickers. Ready for some deranged voicework this All Hallows’ Eve? Good.
We’ve said it before but if Melvins are Halloween’s house band then super-colluder Mike Patton is surely one of its top MCs. From loverboy whispers and honeyed sweeteners to lullaby daymares, carnival histrionics and pure fucking gibberish, he does it all – and then some. Never more than a beat away from innocence or insanity, it’s this wanton skittery that makes him the rock-vocal equivalent of cinema’s most amoral psychos: the ones who do bad shit just because.
So, we’re digging the grave (yes) of his more rock-heavy oeuvre. If you’re short of time, hit When Good Dogs Do Bad Things first and fill the gaps later. 11 tracks, audio only, no videos except for our short sharp opening shot of… Will Smith?
Too right. Patton is the voice of his I Am Legend post-human nemesis.
FAITH NO MORE: SURPRISE! YOU’RE DEAD!
Could have chosen Zombie Eaters for the title alone, but no. For those of us snagged into FNM’s world by We Care A Lot, The Real Thing was our first exposure to the new guy and it takes just four tracks for him to go voco-loco on our No Faith ears. The start of a new era.
MELVINS: GI JOE
Boneyard beats in a street-smart bed. Non-maniacal menace. All in day’s work for a Melvins/Patton/Ipecac project.
DEAD CROSS: CHURCH OF THE MOTHERFUCKERS
It’d be easy to pick the Bauhaus cover from the Dead Cross debut but Bela Lugosi’s Dead is all over Halloween anyway, so let’s gather for a more visceral midnight mass instead.
FANTOMAS: DER GOLEM
A flawless, monstrous body of classic horror themes skewered and reassembled with grotesque results, The Director’s Cut is one of those albums that’s end-to-end fright-night perfect. It’s why their depraved Omen made our first playlist five years ago because it’s bound for the asylum on a brakeless hell-cart. Anything from this record could make the cut and this year, it’s Der Golem. Slow and Slayer heav-eee with Patton escalating the madness.
TOMAHAWK: WAR SONG
Pace breaker, mood changer, heavy atmos spirited up from the rituals and songs of the Native Americans, Tomahawk style.
PEEPING TOM: SUCKER
Light relief with this voyeuristic hip-pop project, but it still fits. Check the seductive call-and-response voicework, catchy as balls.
DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN: WHEN GOOD DOGS DO BAD THINGS
As if throwing your Salem’s Lot in with Slayer and Melvins wasn’t OTT enough, Patton threw his vocal pyros at this four-track EP back in 2002. Precision mathprogmentalism at its most possessed, Good Dogs is a frenzied attack whose first two minutes leave you savaged. After that, the lull a-bye-bye and slasher false end finale. Mike Patton’s finest six minutes? Maybe. Just load the EP and lose your senses in this one-off detonation of demented genius.
TOMAHAWK: WHEN THE STARS BEGIN TO FALL
Tomahawk goes sneakabout and throws in some theramin? Perfect. Duane Denison’s chords muster the tension, Patton blows and soars.
KAADA PATTTON: INVOCATION
Bacteria Cult is a better-named Kaada Patton record, but Romances gives us Invocation, a genteel creep that’s 60s sound-effect spectral and almost the ghost side of Fantomas – without the bloody metallic body parts.
FAITH NO MORE: MALPRACTICE
A twisted tale of christknowswhat, under-the-knife molestation? Jagged riffage and a symphonic pile-up that’s borderline cacophonous, Malpractice is another of Patton’s most out-there Faith No More moments. APPLAUSE??? Done like a slain beast.
MR BUNGLE: THE HOLY FILAMENT
It’s not their most avant or celebrated album – I guess Disco Volante is – but California packs some of Mr Bungle’s most potent moments and the score-ish Holy Filament is a mellow supernatural sliver of an ending to this year’s playlist. The first half sweats tension, the second half sweeps a falsetto from the afterlife.
Happy listening? We didn’t even mention perhaps THE most fitting Patton track of all, and that’s because it’s an album: Delirium Cordia by Fantomas (who else?). A score of fragments and wide-open spaces means that between the bursts of Patton garble, Lombardo assault, ghostly ambience and white noise, your mind has much room to roam about in – and if you’ve flicked the album’s artwork, those pristine surgery scenes (dislodged eyeball, intestinal wash) make you feel a wee bit queasy. And there’s no escape, because it’s a 75-minute track. You can’t skip anything. Trapped, imprisoned and captured till you hit the 20-minute vinyl run-out groove at the end. Music for voluntary confinement … keep the lights off if you dare.
For a less sombre listen with some mildly retro metal videos, check Hairy Halloween I and II from the last couple of years, or dabble in the gothic splendour of the late Saint Pete of Steele and Type O’s Sabbath slowdown. PUMPKINS OUT, over.