Fantomas | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Fantomas 

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Hell hath no fury like a headbanger bummed. When former Faith No More front man Mike Patton introduced his group Fantomas at a San Francisco club in 1997, there was no advance word of what the band would sound like, but a capacity crowd was stoked about the lineup: Patton, Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, Melvins guitarist Buzz Osbourne, and Mr. Bungle bassist Trevor Dunn. But instead of the alt-metal superset anticipated, the audience got a flurry of minute-long noise-skronk fusillades, prompting an angry revolt. "Make up another one!" was one of the more polite requests. When Fantomas played the same club a year later, the house was reportedly half empty. The band isn't so deliberately abrasive anymore, but that's only because it's found other pathways to gloom. Following 2001's The Director's Cut, a collection of movie sound track covers, the new Delirium Cordia (Ipecac) consists of one epic, wandering track of minor-key ambient rumble punctuated by found sounds, spumes of guitar noise, percussive clatter, and Patton's vocals, which are yelped, whispered, scatted, and throat-sung. What you might expect to be a noisy mess is instead a strangely graceful and controlled equipoise between calm and queasiness. Zorn-loving avant-gardists will appreciate the band's freewheeling iconoclasm, and Slayer fans can at least respect its somber vision. With Melt-Banana (see Spot Check) and End. All-ages. Sunday, April 11, 7 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Dustin Rabin.

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