For all those who are familiar with Tool the only thing that is for certain is you either love them or hate them. I too was skeptical of their broken beats drowned in erratic distortion that often turn to tribal melody, but at the behest of comrades I delved into the labyrinth of Maynard James Keenan’s collective works.
I had no idea of the musical journey that lay in store for me…..
Not only does he front Tool but also A Perfect Circle. With a sound more akin to power ballads filled with introspective motifs, A Perfect Circle is an outstanding act in their own right that manages to sound entirely different from the former. With both bands solidifying my opinion that this man was an artist of the highest caliber I had no idea that Keenan has a 3rd musical act that has gone under my radar for the past 9 years: Puscifer!
Featured on Mr. Show and composed of Keenan and Adam Jones this band later evolved into something more personal. Described by Keenan himself as “A playground for the various voices in my head. A place with no clear or describable goals” this band started out with the concept of it being the “Premiere Improvisational Hardcore Band”.
Since 2007 the band have released 7 studio albums with Keenan being the only constant fixture on the roster playing alongside many musicians including Dave Rave Oggilvy of Skinny Puppy and Paul Barker of Ministry on the “V is for Viagra – Remixes” album. Their discography featuring laughable album titles like “C is for Cunt”  and “Conditions of My Parole”  forced me to admit I was intrigued at this tongue & cheek concept where he simply spews forth what lies within his unconscious mind.
Their latest offering, “Money Shot” , is an equally fascinating 10 track masterpiece. Visceral in its harmony and lyrical content with an impressive ensemble, including Keenan [Vocals], Carina Round [Vocals, Guitar, Banjitar & Tamborine], Malt Mitchell [Lead Guitar], Paul Barker [Bass], Jeff Freidel [Drums, Samples], & Mahjas Zargaram [Keyboards, Samples, Guitar, Backing Vocals], all of whom helped forge the synergy making it all but apparent that this is no mere album. This is, instead, a phenomenal piece of abstract art.
Taking you on a journey of the mind through caverns and crevices left untouched by the everyday radio-friendly, unit-shifting, alternative rock currently saturating the airwaves, the album will work its magic on you from the onset flawlessly to the very end.
All you need do is simply take the time to sit back and listen and embrace the euphoria as the layered sound collides with the manic beauty of Keenan’s vocals and the superb musicians who imbue the songs with the ebb and flow evident of the album’s intrinsic melody.
Just watch the video for “Grand Canyon” below and be in awe of something truly powerful and unique.
Powerful stuff is it not? I was taken aback by this musical masterpiece that is insightful and thought-provoking in its eccentricity.
Go on! Give it a listen and do so with pinkies out as you listen to yet another kind of abstract rock brought to you by the majesty of Maynard and embrace music with a touch of class.
Veteran freelance journalist & student of Gonzo who’s every word can only pay homage.
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”- Dr. Hunter S. Thompson