In case you didn't know, Fantômas is an avant-garde metal supergroup formed in 1998, named after a legendary French supervillain character. The band comprises members Mike Patton (vocals/keyboards), Buzz Osborne (guitar), Trevor Dunn (bass), and Dave Lombardo (drums). They are known for their experimental and often unconventional approach to music (though it typically does not have the feel of "progressive metal" due to its blend of atmospheric moodiness and a thrash metal-oriented sound). So, what sort of spookiness do they have to offer?
Fantômas independently released an album in 2001 titled The Director's Cut, which is a collection of covers of various themes from movie and television show soundtracks. As Patton explained: "There was a whole lot of interest, at first. People from Geffen and stuff like this came out to the shows. But after the show, they disappeared into the woodwork. There were [also] indies that were interested, but none that I was interested in." So they self-released their material, in punk DIY fashion.
Fantômas and "Rosemary's Baby"
One of the tracks on this album is a cover of "Rosemary's Baby," a song from the iconic horror film directed by Roman Polanski, often considered one of the greatest "slow-burn" horror films ever. (Technically, the original track was called "Sleep Safe and Warm" or "Lullaby From Rosemary's Baby, Part 1," but Fantômas titled it after the movie.
Here is the original theme, as sung by Rosemary hereself, Mia Farrow:
The original theme for Rosemary's Baby was composed by Krzysztof Komeda for the 1968 film (which, in 2014, was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant"). Fantômas' rendition on The Director's Cut album (available by scrolling down) infuses their signature experimental and heavy sound into the eerie and haunting theme from the movie and remains one of the most memorable experiences from The Director's Cut.
The cover maintains the dark and atmospheric elements of the original while adding Fantômas' unique musical style, characterized by aggressive vocals, unconventional rhythms, and a blend of various musical genres. Fans of Fantômas and those familiar with the original theme from Rosemary's Baby"may find their interpretation to be a compelling and intriguing take on the classic piece.
Stray points about Fantômas
- Other notable tracks from this album include "Cape Fear," "Spider Baby," and "The Omen (Ave Satani)."
- The band technically never officially disbanded. In fact, the band reunited as recently as 2017 to open up for Tool (though Lombardo was replaced on drums by Melvins' Dale Crover, due to Lombardo being on tour with Suicidal Tendencies).
- In 2014, the band announced the release of a record and casette boxset titled Wunderkammer.
- Though Mike Patton's had commercial success with Faith No More, he seems to take pride in taking risks with potentially less commercial projects such as Fantômas, which is unlikely to reach the US Billboard 200, or number one on the Billboard Hard Rock Albums chart, or the Billboard Independent Albums chart. Yes, Fantômas are also unlikely to win a Grammy or be certified gold by the RIAA, but we love them anyway.
- Dave Lombardo was a member of Slayer, which undeniably gives Fantômas additional "metal cred" (not that they needed it...just sayin')