Suspended Animation lacks all semblance of melody, structure and sanity, but that's not why it fails. The fourth album from avant-metal band Fantômas, which includes members of The Melvins, Slayer and Mr. Bungle, fails because it's an utter slap in the face to the 0.001 percent of listeners who give the insanity a shot. Suspended sounds like channel surfing on meth, as musical motifs explode and vanish so quickly that John Zorn's loudest freak-jazz songs sound complacent in comparison. Crunching metal riffs turn into toy sound effects turn into Mike Patton's monosyllabic screams turn into distorted carnival ditties and singing children; wash, rinse, repeat. For brief moments, the talented musicians whip up truly captivating sounds, like when Patton chatters over guitar licks to make them sound extra creepy, but the interesting bits never last more than a few seconds, only to be discarded for nonsensical blasts of noise that build neither tension nor atmosphere. Fantômas fans know better than to expect anything ordinary, but this time Patton and friends take the easy way out too often, killing their most compelling motifs with clichéd sound effects and abrupt endings. Suspended should be expelled.


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