After delving into aural comic noir with their self-titled debut, “The Director’s Cut” finds Mike Patton leading FANTÔMAS in the assimilation of yet another medium: horror films. Consisting of fifteen reinterpretations of classic compositions by composers such as Henri Mancini and Christopher Komeda (as well as one track with just a few seconds of silence), “The Director’s Cut” is both an homage to film scores and one sick and twisted listening experience.
This album stands out as unique in the FANTÔMAS discography for two reasons. First, in addition to Patton’s usual vocalizations (if you would ever want to call them “usual”), a good number of these songs actually lyrics! Second, there is much more in the way of song structure on “The Director’s Cut” than can be found on any other FANTÔMAS release, making this by far the most conventional work the band has ever done. Of course, “conventional” by Patton’s standards is still pretty far past most Metalheads’ tolerance for self-indulgence, so I guess that isn’t really saying much. The songs may be more structured, but aside from a few voyages into pure Pop and R&B territory, they’re as far from accessible as I am from being awarded the title of “World’s Best Reviewer.”
Appropriately, the songs here capture a lot of the cinematic nature of the films they come from, leading to a very visual and bombastic album. Patton’s vocals are golden – the man can go from a smooth, feminine croon to a blisteringly inhuman shriek and back again, all while juggling double-edged knives while blindfolded on a flaming unicycle…above an alligator pit. As evidenced by “Investigation Of A Citizen Above Suspicion,” he may also be the world’s most proficient whistler and tongue-clicker. Seriously though, this guy can sing and some of the lyrical passages really bring to mind the softer work of FAITH NO MORE. The rest of the band is in tip-top shape, but seeing as they’re Buzz Osbourne (THE MELVINS), Dave Lombardo (SLAYER) and Trevor Dunn (MR. BUNGLE), they have no excuse not to be. The whole thing comes together to form a frightening musical journey – “Rosemary’s Baby” WILL frighten you into defecating.
“The Director’s Cut” is a good place to start if you’re interested in plunging yourself into the psychotic world of FANTÔMAS and I won’t even bother recommending it to fans of Patton’s work since they invariably already own it. Be warned though – this is one sick trip, sounding quite like the soundtrack to what would have happened if Tim Burton had directed “Child’s Play.” (Online July 17, 2006)