Shifting lots of units in America, apparently. But before this diverts your attention, we should say that A Perfect Circle are not another morose instalment of sk8er rock governing the charts Stateside. Instead their manifesto proclaims they’re the embodiment of many ‘strident musical ideas’, and what malignant ideas these turn out to be.
‘Mer De Noms’ is the brainchild of [a]Tool[/a]’s vocalist Maynard Keenan and Billy Howerdel, a NIN, Smashing Pumpkins and [a]Tool[/a] collaborator. Recorded in a garage, it defies the clichi of that venue, instead sounding like it crawled from a devastated sonic cathedral once graced by Lucifer himself.
OK, there’s a relentless pummelling bass and thugga-thugga of guitars, but it’s the creeping undertones that create an almost unbearably caustic and pagan atmosphere. ‘Rose’ is the sound of …Trail Of Dead hijacking Godspeed‘s instruments, tapering off as it does with a white noise of violins, while the closing xylophone-plinking ode ‘Over’ could either be a fairytale or a horror soundtrack in its eerie serenity.
Perhaps their overwrought obsession with portraying evil is their slight undoing, with predictable themes of death, Christ, etc running throughout. Fortunately these subjects do not overshadow the mystic atmospherics and the haunting and uplifting vocals.
In exploring their corrupt visions, A Perfect Circle have created a work of morbid beauty. In terms of darkness, it eclipses nearly everything else.