In 1992, Warner Bros. figured that lightning could strike twice at a time when oodles of (mostly horribly bad) funk-metal acts were following in Faith No More
and the Red Hot Chili Peppers
' footsteps. They sent the former into the studio, where they went in, recorded, and released a bizarro masterpiece. Mike Patton's work in Mr. Bungle
proved just how strange and inspired he could get given the opportunity, and with that try-anything-once spirit now brought to his similarly minded colleagues in his more famous act, nothing was ignored. "Land of Sunshine" starts things off in a similar enough vein to The Real Thing
, but Patton's vocal role-playing comes out as smarter and more accomplished, with the lyrics trashing a totally smug bastard with pure inspired mockery. From there, Angel Dust
steps up the meta-metal of earlier days with the expected puree of other influences, further touched by an almost cinematic sense of storming atmosphere. The fact that the album ends with a cover of John Barry
's "Midnight Cowboy" suits the mood perfectly, but the stretched-out, tense moments on "Caffeine" and the soaring charge of "Everything's Ruined" makes for other good examples. A Kronos Quartet
sample even crops up on the frazzled sprawl of "Malpractice." Other sampling and studio treatments come to the fore throughout, not in a specifically hip-hop/techno-oriented way, but more as strange cutups and additional quirks, such as the distorted voices on "Smaller and Smaller." The band's sense of humor crops up more than once -- there's the hilarious portrayal of prepubescent angst on "Kindergarten," made all the more entertaining by the music's straightforward approach, or the beyond-stereotypical white trash cornpone narration of "RV," all while the music breezily swings along. Patton's voice is stronger and downright smooth at many points throughout, the musicians collectively still know their stuff, and the result is twisted entertainment at its finest.