A Perfect Circle - Thirteenth Step
Avant-Garde Minimalist Rock
12 songs (50:31)
Release year: 2003
A Perfect Circle, Virgin
Reviewed by Jay

A Perfect Circle caught me off guard when I heard their first album. It was billed as a Tool side project and I enjoyed it. I was expecting a lot from their second album especially with all the lineup changes. Adding Jeordie “Twiggy Ramirez” White I thought would be a large step. I cannot help but feel disappointed in this release.

A lot of the music on this album is mellow. That would be fine but the music is also boring. Slow and boring music cannot fill an album that is nearly an hour long. Granted, there are some good rock tracks like “The Outsider” and “Pet” but songs like “The Package” and “The Nurse Who Loved Me” bored me to tears. A Perfect Circle did not set out to make a metal album but instead focused on pleasing some art rock crowd. Personally, Art Rock does not do much for me. The appeal of listening to someone scratching guitar strings against a brick for 4 minutes with random frenetic drumming and pointless lyrics is lost on one such as myself. The other addition to APC is guitarist James Iha formerly of The Smashing Pumpkins. From what I have been told, this album is quite similar to some of his solo work.

From a technical standpoint, the music sounds great. All the musicians are well trained and the parts are recorded well so the production is not at fault here. “The Package” is the opener and it should not be. This track does not grab your attention or give you any feelings of excitement. This maybe a statement in itself however the music is not anything special. The beginning sounds more like chill electronica than rock. Maynard’s vocals are the only remarkable feature of the beginning of this song. There is a hard part to this song that comes in later but I found it to be derivative in playing the same part repeatedly. In fact, this is similar in form to “Lunar Still” on the new Moonspell album. “Weak and Powerless” is the single and the next track. This song is one of the more traditional songs on the album following verse chorus verse patterns. It sounds similar to older APC material. The video is loosely based on the 80’s trash horror film “The Pit” so you might get a cheap thrill out of that.

Some of the more disappointing songs were “The Noose” which sounds, in parts, like a rip-off of “A Warm Place” by Nine Inch Nails, and “Vanishing” which drones on for about five minutes with no real aim. This song is atmospheric but lacked a general direction. It’s not all bad however. “Pet” is a great rock track with Tool and Nevermore sensibilities. This song also witnesses Maynard’s best vocal performance and probably the best riff of the album. “The Outsider” is up-tempo as well and hearkens back to the sound of the last album. Lyrically all the songs are great thanks again to Mr. Keenan.

If you’re looking for a metal album here, you will be disappointed. A Perfect Circle is transmogrifying their sound with each release. As their lineup goes, it may just be a collective rather than an actual band in the future. These guys have potential but they need to get away from the minimalism and focus their music.

Killing Songs :
Pet, The Outsider
Jay quoted 65 / 100
Daniel quoted 92 / 100
Goat quoted 89 / 100
Other albums by A Perfect Circle that we have reviewed:
A Perfect Circle - Mer De Noms reviewed by Kris and quoted 87 / 100
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