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Artist: A Perfect Circle
Album: Thirteenth Step
Label: Virgin
Release: 2003

Web: Official Site

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I love A Perfect Circle and I love Tool. I was expecting a masterpiece before I heard a whole bunch of lukewarm reviews of this album. I bought it because I needed to hear this and I am glad that I did. This breaks alot of new ground for the group and expands their sound to a more dreamy realm (if thats possible haha).

Anyway, the album's opener "The Package" would fool you into thinking that this would
be a mediocre listening experience. It clocks in at 7 minutes and has some of Maynard's weakest vocals I've ever heard. It might've been awesome if they had included a better vocal take but let's move on. The new single "Weak and Powerless" is also not anything particularly special, especially when it's compared to the version found on the Underworld Soundtrack. It's still not a bad song though. Track 3, "The Noose," is when i was truly blown away. This song is very Mer De Noms-esque, and even improves on that formula a little bit.

"Blue" is kind of a catchy song with an unrelenting acoustic guitar line. A very enjoyable tune. "Vanishing" is the dreamiest thing I've ever heard this band do. I was mesmerized when I heard it. Strings fading in and out and Maynard's beautiful voice made it entrancing. "A Stranger" is
also a delightful song that evokes pretty images and reminds me of The Cure. "The Outsider" is the angriest song on the album; it reminds me of an even more dismal "Judith," but with added soft parts. "Crimes" is a cool little instrumental interlude of the band jamming with new bassist Jeordie White (AKA Twiggy Ramierez of Marilyn Manson).

"The Nurse Who Loved Me" features almost no guitar and is mostly just orchestration and Maynard delicately singing. The only thing troubling about it to me is that it's a cover song, but it still sounds great. "Pets" is a pretty decent song that uses the loud to soft dynamics to the extreme. I can't think of much else to say, but it's pretty good. "Lullaby" is a haunting interlude that opens with Maynard whispering "Sleep, sleep," and then a lady starts cooing over a drum beat.

"Gravity" was the last song written with Paz and, in my opinion, shows where they would've gone if Paz had stayed in the band. Its an awesome song that expands on APC's old sound and
brings that era full circle in a sense(no pun intended haha). In conclusion, the people that gave this album bad reviews were either pissed that Tool didnt put out a new album or wanted a Mer De Noms clone. You'll probably be disappointed with this if you're one of those people. If you're open minded, you'll be spinning this one in your cd player alot.

Grade:B+

~Matt (9/16/03)

2003 - Please contact me before using anything found on this site.

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