Suspended Animation (Ipecac)

Recorded in tandem with last year's surgically themed Delìrium Cordìa, this abrasive and comical offering from Mike Patton and his co-conspirators in Fantômas throws avant-speed metal, kids' jump-rope songs, film-score snippets and Looney Tunes-era sound effects into a blender set to "frappé" -- then churns the whole mess into a destabilizing assault on the senses. Further complicating matters, Suspended Animation presents itself as a quasi-concept album, with each of its thirty tracks corresponding to a different day in April (observed on Ipecac's Web site as "national humor and anxiety month"). Ripe with jarring juxtapositions, this highly challenging listen is as light and airy as it dark and smothering. Despite its overeager artiness, Animation rewards several close listens -- whether it's to hear a choppy, Slayer-fortified take on Leadbelly's "Black Betty" ("04/06/05 Friday") or to marvel at the band's willingness to drag Bernard Herrmann and Bugs Bunny kicking and screaming through Melvins-friendly sludge and lava ("04/17/05 Sunday"). What's opera, doc?

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