A Perfect Circle’s Mer De Noms, (the bands debut) was an album that ultimately showcased a ton of potential. Its main problem however, was its tendency to take itself too seriously; if one was to cut the albums length in half, I would give it 5/5 without hesitation. However, that very problematic second half really took away from the album, and just made it sub par at best. Thirteenth Step, which was released three years later was a high watermark of the bands career. It featured a full concept, something that had never been done before from the band, or Maynard James Keenan for that matter. The main concept of this album is seemingly the desire to deal with an addiction, possibly drug related. The writer talks about the Twelve Step program, (hence the title of the album, an amusing play-on-words) and the stages required for recovery. This concept at first, does feel like a 'been there, done that' scenario, but lyricists MJK and Billy Howerdel make it work with their unique and eccentric writing style.
Paz Lanchantin, the bassist of Mer De Noms has been replaced this time round by Jeordie White, ex bassist of Marilyn Manson. While Paz was a pretty good bassist, it is evident from track 1 that Jeordie is a better fit for the band. “The Package” boasts a totally awesome and very deep bassline which pushes the song through effortlessly, but is never the star of the show. The idea of this album, (as a concept album, naturally) is for each song to fade into the next, to create the illusion that you are listening to one gigantic song. While this is a nice idea, it ultimately doesn’t work as well as it could. “Blue” is a fairly good, straight-ahead rocker with a very catchy chorus. The last minute however could easily have been chopped – the music gets softer and softer before it slowly fades to the next track. Sounds like a nice idea, but I do get a little impatient waiting for the next song, and it seems to me like the band wanted to take up as much time on the album as they could. However, that is the only major complaint I can make. Session drummer, Josh Freeze is a very talented and underrated individual; he is not virtuous by any sense of the word, but his fills are still always a pleasure to listen to, and they suit the music perfectly.
The overall sound of the album is quite dark and depressing. Not dark in the sense of heavy; no, it is more subtle than that. The guitars rarely play chords, and mainly focus on slow, melodic playing. For the bassists out there, this album is a most-own, as Jeordie’s playing is very innovative. One small, nit-picky criticism that must be made is that the album does not make use of the piano often enough; an arguably costly mistake, as APC’s music is at its best when the piano is incorporated. Really, I have to say that this album is superior to Mer De Noms is almost every way. For musicians and non musicians alike, Thirteenth Step is a very innovative album, and will be guaranteed to please even the harshest of music critics.
-The Standout tracks-
The Package - Slow, tribal like vocals, and deep, pounding basslines. An excellent number overall.
The Noose - Another superb track, with no one instrument taking the lead. The highlight is at the end of the song, when Maynard echoes: 'Your halo slipping down to choke you now.' Good stuff.
Pet - A brutal, metal song which showcases Billy Howerdel’s skill as a guitar player, and APC’s ability to create very atmospherically rich pieces of music.
Gravity - The grand finale, and a very beautiful song at that. Bass and vocals dominate this track, and Maynard shows us some more of his terrific range.
"If you cut the album in half, there would be six songs."
You sir, are a mathematician. What is your point by that statement, exactly?
Edit: I haven't really bothered with Slipknot's latest offering to be honest. To me Slipknot is a horrible band, and i cannot see this particular album being any different. This Message Edited On 09.13.08
yeah nothing's really innovative here, except maybe the lyrics, which are quite superior for mainstream rock.
The last minute however could easily have been chopped – the music gets softer and softer before it slowly fades to the next track. Sounds like a nice idea, but I do get a little impatient waiting for the next song, and it seems to me like the band wanted to take up as much time on the album as they could.
after reading this, i'm pretty sure you should not be listening to music at all.
it's just with that paragraph, it seems like not only are you completely misinterpreting this album, but you are completely misinterpreting what music stands for in general. To be bold enough to think that they faded out a track just to take up more room on an album is, quite honestly, moronic. Especially since, after listening to it, you can feel much more atmosphere, texture, and overall substance to the song the way it is. In fact, I'll go as far as to say it would be a crime to the art of music to want the band to take that away by "chopping" the last minute of a song off. All just my opinion though
While i disagree with you, i would see why you would say that. I think APC abused the whole "fade to next track" idea on this album. Almost every track uses this idea and it gets, quiet frankly, boring. Just my opinion though. Thanks for feedback.