At first, Mike Patton was merely the Sammy Haggar to Faith No More's David Lee Roth equivalent. He produced now-pedestrian-but-groundbreaking-at-the-time rap-metal hybrid vocals, but he was always a dude, destined to go the way of Axl. Then he moved on to Mr. Bungle, where he showed a Zappa-like propensity for splicing music in an amusing manner. The perception went up along with his credibility. No longer a joke, he'd be making the jokes now, thank you very much. But with FantÃ´mas, Patton has reached a Miles Davis level of high art, whereby he surrounds himself with talent like the Melvins' Buzz Osbourne, freeing himself to wander the stage and making the occasional squeak -- although without Davis's trademark space suit. The Spike Jones aesthetic has been traded for the abrasive sound of John Zorn hawking classic horror films like Night of the Hunter and heavy-metal cartoons. Patton is more than just a dude these days; now he's a really deranged dude serving up buckets of popcorn and blood.
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