It’s hard to describe the fourth Fantomas album Suspended Animation. Much like it’s 74 minute long one-track predecessor Delirium Cordia and the self-titled first album there are no “typical” track names. On this outing, each track is named after the exact calendar set up of April 2005. So each is titled in the fashion of “04/05/05 Tuesday” or “04/23/05 Saturday.” With this in mind the cd case is designed lavishly as a full calendar (including flip binding and a punched hole for wall hanging) for this month, featuring a unique creepy/childish drawing for each day by Yoshitomo Nara. It’s probably one of the best CD case designs ever.
However, the album itself is far harder to pin down. It is as often mentioned as children or cartoon song inspired. But take that literally. It’s far from something a child should hear, Suspended Animation is as frantic as the first Fantomas record and downright spooky as Delirium Cordia. The opening song “04/01/05 Friday” begins off key distorted guitars with a demented voice laughingly stating “ready for take-off.” It never slows down from there.
Each song from there spastically changes from speed metal into sound effects. “04/08/05 Friday” starts with circus carousel music before singer Mike Patton freaks out with a trademark vocal octave juggling act. Drummer Dave Lombardo hits a stunning series of drum rolls on “04/06/05 Wednesday” while “04/26/05 Tuesday” features a sample of children singing their ABC’s. “04/17/05 Sunday” has guitarist Buzz Osbourne speed metal riffing before the song instantly changes to 15 seconds of jazz swing. Sometimes it’s hard to follow but the story here is a constant determination to reinvent heavy music.