Faith No More

From: San Francisco, California

Active: 1987-present

I first heard them: when they played Saturday Night Live in 1990

Sound: When Faith No More released The Real Thing, they had a clearly identifiable sound: complex hard rock given an added dimension by keyboards that play the role of choir and string section — they don't sound synthy — topped by adenoidal vocals. But apparently they decided one album's worth of that was enough, because on their next records they stripped about three coats of candy off the music and singer Mike Patton became the Man of 1000 Voices, shrieking and howling, then crooning, then coming off like an infomercial host, often in the same song.

Listening station: Here's one of their long-form pieces from the early days, followed by a shorter song from their more abrasive period (but not one of the more abrasive songs!).

"The Real Thing" (1989)
"Ricochet" (1995)