Tag Archives: fantomas

365 Days of Mike Patton: “The Omen (Ave Satani),” Fantomas (2001)

On a Fantomas album filled with strong covers of movie soundtracks, “The Omen (Ave Santani)” stands out. Mostly because the lyrics are in Latin—and because it’s about as metal as Latin can get (unless, of course, we’re talking about “Pig Latin”).

“Ave Satani” is the theme song from the soundtrack to the horror classic The Omen. The tune, composed by Jerry Goldsmith, was nominated for an Oscar in 1976, and according to the Through the Shattered Lens website, his idea was to take “one of the most holy rituals in Roman Catholicism and [invert] it to praise Satan instead of the Virgin Mary. Jerry Goldsmith took the rite of consecration and came up with what one could call the rite of desecration for a purported Black Mass.”

Sounds spooky, yeah? Well, listen to the original version (which I had never heard until just now).

And now the Fantomas version.

While I love Patton’s version, Goldsmith’s original is more haunting while being much less in your face. Well, Goldsmith’s version sounds like a movie soundtrack song, and Patton’s version sounds like a metal song. Both are pretty great, but I almost lean toward the original.

Patton would probably agree.

“This bombastic score absolutely made the movie,” Patton said, via Revolver. “If you watch the film with the sound muted, you will see what I mean. Beautiful choir textures that, over time, have become iconic in the horror genre.”

The Fantomas version is good, but it’s not quite iconic.

That song title, though, is. So what does Ave Satani mean? Translated from Latin, it means simply, Hail Satan.

Previously from Fantoma’s The Director’s Cut:

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365 Days of Mike Patton: “The Bit,” Fantomas (2002)

Recorded live in 2000, the Fantomas and the Melvins combined for a live album that features some of the former band’s more accessible songs. The Bit, though, happens to be a Melvins tune from the 1996 album, “Stag,” and according to Metal Archives, this was around the time it was clear that the Melvins would not be the next Nirvana, apparently necessitating their exit from the major label level of rock music.

The music, after all, is probably a little too strange for the mainstream.

Here’s the Millenium Monsterworks 2000 version of the song.

And the Melvins version from four years earlier.

And just for kicks, here’s Mastodon’s live version.

As Metal Archives wrote re The Melvins:

The uniqueness of this band is made clear within the first notes of opening track (and masterpiece) “The Bit.” This anthemic brute treats the listener to a minute of lovely sitar music before the tumult ensues, swallowing the world in a sea of dropped-d devastation. “Not too fat, not too lean, the foundling die is close excitedly. Raise head and STOMP the BLOOD, I’m not even soundly.” Ever-shrouded in mystery and mythos, the poetry of [Melvins guitarist and singer] Buzz Osborne has had scraggly-haired stoners scratching their heads since the early eighties. Buzz-O is not the type to be imprisoned by the boundaries of English or syntax, creating a wordcraft all his own. “The Bit” would appear to be anything from a moral commentary on animal cruelty to dialogue on the inner workings of the entertainment industry. Whatever it is, it’s fucking profound, and it’s punctuated perfectly by the percussive punishment of Dale Crover.

Crover, the band’s drummer, is the one who wrote the song. And personally, I like the Melvins version better and Osborne’s vocal intensity. It’s one of the few times I can recall—if not the only time—that I’d rather hear somebody other than Patton sing the song.

Previously from Millenium Monsterwork 2000:

To follow along on the 365 days of Patton, click here for a list of each day’s post.

365 Days of Mike Patton: “Cape Fear,” Fantomas (2001)

Whenever I think of the remake of the movie Cape Fear, I always picture Robert De Niro and his southern drawl engaging in a violent fight with Nick Nolte’s character as rain and flooding waters soak their hair in the film’s climatic scene. Yes, the 1991 movie was a remake of Cape Fear from 1962. But Fantomas’ cover of the “Cape Fear” theme for The Director’s Cut album sounds exactly like the music that should accompany such a scene for the movie made nearly 30 years later.

If a De Niro fight scene ever needed a song, it’s certainly this Fantomas cover. Hard and aggressive with bits of soft, angelic type singing that could be accompanying the sounds of a soul leaving a body for good. Then, more aggression and screaming before the absolute violent ending.

The original theme song from Cape Fear (the 1962 version) by Bernard Hermann is creepy and much more orchestral. It’s less aggressive and much slower (and longer) than Fantomas’ version (and it sounds exactly like what you want to hear when you’re watching a thriller film from the 1960s).

But I’ve never seen the original film. That’s probably why, when I hear this song, I picture De Niro fighting to the death. And that’s why, for me, Patton’s version is completely in tune with that remake and perhaps not the original.

Previously from Fantoma’s The Director’s Cut:

To follow along on the 365 days of Patton, click here for a list of each day’s post.

365 Days of Mike Patton: “Charade,” Fantomas (2001)

The only Fantomas record I’ve listened to more than once or twice is the delightful The Director’s Cut. While most of the Fantomas catalog is too inaccessible for even me to enjoy, the band’s second album featured covers of movie soundtrack songs in the way only Mike Patton could.

“Charade” is the final track on the album, and it comes from the 1963 film that starred Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.

Compare Henry Mancini’s version of the 1963 version …

… To the Fantomas cover nearly 40 years later.

The general framework of the songs are pretty similar except for, you know, the screeching guitars, the general creepiness, the overarching aggressiveness and Patton’s low-to-high-to-screaming vocals. The earlier version was nominated for an Oscar but lost out to Papa’s Delicate Condition. Patton’s version was nominated for nothing.

But it still scored good reviews.

From Pitchfork: “Beginning with a demented samba-beatbox from Patton, ‘Charade’ vacillates between an incredibly smooth, jazzy melody and a spitfire speed-yodel stomp. As the dubbed-in crowd applauds, the melody gently returns with more hyphen-encouraging mayhem. And suddenly, it’s very clear how this will all end: ‘YAD DA DA DADA DA DA DADA YAD DA DADA DA DA DA DADA!’”

NME, meanwhile, called the song “some of the finest moments” on the album. It’s one of the few times a Fantomas track reminded anybody of Faith No More. That makes it a small victory in my eyes.

To follow along on the 365 days of Patton, click here for a list of each day’s post.

365 Days of Mike Patton: “Me and the Flamer,” The Fantomas Melvins Big Band (2002)

 In 1995, Faith No More and Mike Patton released my favorite FNM album, King For a Day, Fool For a Lifetime (featuring the banger “Ricochet”). In 1996 and 1997, Patton released two solo albums.

In 1998, apparently fearing he wasn’t quite busy enough, Patton formed a heavy metal supergroup called Fantomas that brought him, Melvins guitarist Buzz Osborne, Mr. Bungle bassist Trevor Dunn, and Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo together. At the time, FNM was basically dead. But Fantomas and its avant-garde metal sound was very much alive.

With the exception of its second album, The Directors’ Cut, Fantomas isn’t always an easy listen. But its live album that was recorded on New Years Eve 2000 and was released in 2002, Millennium Monsterwork 2000, has some interesting moments. It’s iffy if “Me and the Flamer” is one of those moments, particularly since much of the song features Lombardo simply tapping his cymbals before Patton screams something indecipherable.

But the screaming and mouth noises he makes is certainly a Patton special.

Ultimately, it’s OK to listen to this tune once and then skip over it the next time you hear it. A good portion of the Fantomas material makes me want to do that anyway.

To follow along on the 365 days of Patton, click here for a list of each day’s post.