London LA2

[B]Mike Patton[/B]'s mad genius is still as evident as ever.

As the good-looking, shit-eating frontman of [a]Faith No More[/a], Mike Patton blazed trails for a new generation of heavy rock frontmen – where would Chino Deftone or Jonathan Korn have got their moves or operatic angst without Patton?

Two years after [a]Faith No More[/a] self-destructed, Patton‘s now running his own underground label, Ipecac. As well as releasing three albums last year by the Melvins, he’s also responsible for new releases from Kid 606 and the Kids Of Widney High – an album written and recorded by children with learning difficulties. He’s also still singing in his experimental funk pop band Mr Bungle, and now his latest incarnation – Fantomas.

With a slicked-back Patton on keyboards and vocals, the rest of Fantomas is made up of the MelvinsKing Buzzo, Slayer‘s original drummer Dave Lombardo, and Mr Bungle bassist Trevor Dunn. Their songs are meant to represent an imaginary soundtrack to a Mexican comic book hero called Phantomas, and as such contain not much in the way of lyrics, tune or structure.

For the 45 minutes that Fantomas play tonight, we get bursts of screaming grindcore, mixed in with cartoon noises, gongs and Patton exercising that famously powerful baritone. Dave Lombardo will embark on a Slayer-esque drum solo, while the rest of the band fall silent. Patton will then start singing like Prince, and it all turns into an ’80s funk track.

While it’s confusing and disorienting to listen to, each song is meticulously planned and played with machine-like precision, separating them from the majority of art-rock groups that pour out of the Bay area of California with depressing regularity.

Fantomas may never get to tour with Metallica, but Mike Patton‘s mad genius is still as evident as ever.