3 days ago
Fantomas is awesome. Period. 2001's The Director's Cut is one of my favorite albums of all time. I won't talk at length about the album itself, but for those of you who aren't familiar with it (I call you people "the unenlightened" behind your backs), it's a caboodle of movie themes that have been warped and remodeled by avant-garde rock terrorists Fantomas. Most of the selections are winnowed from genre films. The main themes from The Omen, Spider Baby, Rosemary's Baby and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer are up for breakfast, as it were. A couple of non-horror cuts made their way onto the tracklist as well (the strains of Charade and The Godfather being choice examples).
Musically, the songs touch on speed metal, jazz, sludge, disco, experimental noise and everything in between. This DVD captures a special live performance from late 2008. The band plays The Director's Cut in full plus two unreleased covers. While it has become a cliche for illustrious cult acts to perform classic albums in their entirety, Fantomas gets a free pass. Why? Because this is a hard record to replicate in a live setting. Of course, Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn, Buzz Ozborne and Dale Crover (filling in for Dave Lombardo) pull it off without a hitch. This will sound ignorant, but I had no idea that Crover kicked that much ass behind the kit. Sure, The Melvins are sacrosanct, but who knew that their drummer could hang with Dave fucking Lombardo?
Patton is inhuman as always. I'm not convinced that he was born in this solar system. Now, I've read several complaints about the audio/video quality, but personally, I'm a happy camper. The audio is damn near perfect. I'm not sure what everyone else is hearing. With respect to the visuals, I can see where the splashy, high-strung editing might be aggravating to some folks. Again, it didn't bother me, as I felt that the flagrant imagery fit the music. It's supposed to assault all of your senses, and I was pleasantly assaulted. Remember, these are themes from violent, explicit films. You must learn to love chaos.
I do have gripes of my own. The concert is too short for my liking. And how about a few more extras? I haven't listened to the commentary track yet, and I have no doubt that it's funny (I mean, it's Neil Hamburger), but it's not going to give me any insight into the making of The Director's Cut. I'm probably asking for too much. I can't be the only fan who wants a Fantomas documentary of sorts, though. As it stands, I paid close to twenty bucks for an hour's worth of live tunes and a mystifying Easter Egg. That Easter Egg...wow. Q: What happens when you hand a taco to a homeless man and plop him down in front of a television? A: I'm still trying to figure it out.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 9:47 PM