Fantomas

Delerium Cordia (Ipecac)

This CD review probably shouldn't be anywhere near a newspaper's music section. If that sounds less than ideal, then you're not the listener Fantomas anticipated, as their latest effort, Delerium Cordia, is so odd that it's bound to piss off even the most open-minded listeners. Of course, anybody who buys Delerium and winds up surprised is a naïve consumer; Fantomas, led by Mr. Bungle's insane Mike Patton, has been anything but conventional in their last few albums, allowing only a few graceful moments to sneak in amid the gigantic mess of semi-inspired noise. Still, this album may be the one that leaves Patton die-hards scratching their heads, asking, "What the hell?"

For starters, Delerium has no separate tracks, no way to skip around and nothing within its 55 minutes that could easily be termed a song. As soon as a theme or melody shows up, it's destroyed in an explosion of guitars, shrieks and drums, or it fades into minutes of feedback, moans and sound effects. The decision to make this CD one track would suggest a cohesive fashion, but aside from the frequent use of, er, surgery sounds, the only thing holding together the mood is a sense of sonic anarchy. It's as if Patton played truth or dare with John Zorn and got stuck with a musical dare on par with Metal Machine Music.

Sure, some moments are catchy, pretty or just plain weird, but to pluck those out is to miss the point. The effect of the insanity is, if not compelling, at least challenging. Call it genius or call it self-indulgent; either way, it's Fantomas' weirdest CD yet. How you feel about that will determine if you love, or hate, Delerium.

 
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