The Real Thing was a strong album, but it sounded like a product of its era – a slice of adolescent funk rock from 1989. Angel Dust is less accessible – it’s full of dense guitar riffs from Jim Martin, and guttural vocals and disturbed lyrics from Mike Patton. If you think about it, you could make an argument that it’s one of the strangest albums to ever make the top ten; it takes a few listens to sink in properly, and it’s filled with disturbing lyrics.. But it’s the group’s masterpiece and has dated more gracefully – it doesn’t have the pop smarts of The Real Thing, but it’s filled with personality and creativity
A lot of Angel Dust is intense – the two opening tracks ‘Land of Sunshine’ and ‘Caffeine’ are taut and abrasive, as is the closer ‘Jizzlobber’. There are moments of lightness – ‘A Small Victory’ and ‘Kindergarten’ both soar effortlessly. But overall the easy listening cover of ‘Midnight Cowboy’ that closes the original album, and the faithful version of The Commodores’ ‘Easy’ that’s appended to later versions of the album, feel vital to its flow.
Jim Martin left Faith No More after Angel Dust, and the group would trade intensity for eclecticism on King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime.