For someone that isn't too familiar with Faith No More, This is It: The Best of Faith No More is a record definitely worth hearing. For a being a band widely respected, but not totally understood, this record will make a believer out of the listener. Chronicling the band's entire career, it moves from each album and EP to the next, picking choice tracks that demonstrate the bands musical experimentation and melodic triumphs. One can easily hear the evolution of the bands writing and performance, utilizing different structures, methods, even players. The vocal change, moving from Chuck Mosely to Mike Patton, is noticeable but at the same time not: it just seems to progress naturally, as does the music itself.
Along with the band's major hit, "Epic," this Best of… record contains some brilliant, and just plain awesome songs. From the somewhat witty but defiantly hard "Introduce Yourself," and "Be Aggressive," to rocking songs like "The Cowboy Song" and "Ashes to Ashes," Faith No More just rolls along through their songs as a powerful force of music and throat-rending vocals.
Songs like "Evidence" show a more funky side of the band, and with covers of "War Pigs" and the Commodores' "Easy," they show a side that most hard rock bands wouldn't even think to show. In the liner notes, Paul Gargano describes Mike Patton's vocals as "a tonal crossbreed of punk spirit, pop cleanliness, and hard rock's carefree attitude." But from just listening, one can not only see this description, but can hear the technicality, range, and sheer power that plays off the musical tapestries woven by driving guitars, bass and drums, and any other instrument used, be it piano, synth, or various conga or percussion.
With various candid and live photos, and a discography and explanations of every song on the record, This is It is a testament to Faith No More's musical contributions, recordings, and legacy. This band did so much to create for itself their own identity, while in the meantime influencing every band after it, whether they liked it or not.
Tom Fraher is a Contributing Writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.