Thirteenth Step

Thirteenth Step

4.8 165
by A Perfect Circle

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This new-generation supergroup, while prone to some of the excesses of the all-star bands of generations past, has managed to carve itself a niche that none of the participants can fill on their own -- and that's quite a significant accomplishment. Frontman Maynard James Keenan, who consistently insists that neither APC nor Tool can be considered


This new-generation supergroup, while prone to some of the excesses of the all-star bands of generations past, has managed to carve itself a niche that none of the participants can fill on their own -- and that's quite a significant accomplishment. Frontman Maynard James Keenan, who consistently insists that neither APC nor Tool can be considered "side projects," whispers not-so-sweet nothings into the baroque constructs that his bandmates erect on dark pieces like "The Package" and "Weak and Powerless," both of which seem to be rooted in the 12-step concepts alluded to in the album's title. Keenan doesn't try to steal the show, however: He tones down his stylized delivery considerably for much of Thirteenth Step, allowing the spacious, angular guitar of co-writer Billy Howerdel to prod listeners into fugue-state journeys, most successfully on "Blue" and "A Stranger." The latter tune conjures up images of early post-punk Britain, an era when the Cure and Joy Division were first starting down roads dank and dusky. It's on these more atmospheric tracks, as opposed to the more conventionally gnashing metallic tones that creep in toward disc's end, that APC are most convincing, thanks in large part to the surprisingly deft bass playing of Jeordie White (the artist formerly known as Twiggy Ramirez, from Marilyn Manson). There's not a lot of room to breathe in these grooves, but claustrophobia has rarely felt so good.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Three years after the release of its debut Mer de Noms, A Perfect Circle's Thirteenth Step sees the light of day. By that time, Troy van Leeuwen and Paz Lenchantin had left and been replaced by bassist Jeordie Osborne White, formerly of Marilyn Manson, and guitarist James Iha, formerly of the Smashing Pumpkins (though he doe not appear on the album). While van Leeuwen appear on part of the set, guitarist Danny Lohner helped out after he departed. Amazingly, despite the changes, the sound is still very much the creation of Billy Howerdel with the unmistakable vocal of Maynard Keenan from Tool. Produced by Howerdel and mixed by the inimitable Andy Wallace, Thirteenth Step is a moodier, tenser, and more atmospheric (if that is possible) recording than its predecessor. Written mostly by Howerdel and Keenan, the songs traverse a particular associated with surrender, loss, having the nature of a person stripped away, and turning in the twilight of those feelings toward a kind of slow transformation into something that can only be called "other." There are no easy outs and no easy answers, only hard questions throughout "Weak and Powerless," where surrender is necessary but far from desired. The title bitingly refers to the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, but this is not your average recovery outing. Tracks like "Blue," "Vanishing," and "Lullaby" (one of two tracks featuring the amazing Jarboe on vocals) feature a kind of barely restrained menace caught in a trap by rock & roll vulnerability. The wide dynamic swathes that were so prominent on the band's debut are all but absent here. The squalling guitars have taken a backseat to carefully crafted melodies where atmospherics are maximized and pulled taut over the listener. While not a radical departure from Mer de Noms, there is a real progression here. However, the explosive, heavier-than-heavy rock-ism of A Perfect Circle is so well known for it is readily evidenced on cuts such as "The Outsider" and "Pet." As moods shapeshift from the sepia-toned murk of "The Package" and "The Noose," the over the top hard rock to the Baroquely scaled "The Nurse Who Loved Me" and "Gravity," with its beautiful guitar effects and crystalline bassline, the listener becomes aware of just how much water has traveled under A Perfect Circle's bridge. The Thirteenth Step is the sound of a musical and lyrical maturity that normally doesn't occur until a band's third or fourth albums. Lyrically, musically, sonically, the Thirteenth Step is proof positive that mainstream rock has plenty of life and vision left in it.
Entertainment Weekly - Jim Greer
[The] band's winding, off-kilter rhythms and contrapuntal guitar riffs create an ominous atmosphere. (B)

Product Details

Release Date:
Virgin Records Us


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Perfect Circle   Primary Artist
Jarboe   Vocals
Josh Freese   Drums,Background Vocals,Group Member
James Iha   Group Member
Maynard James Keenan   Vocals,Group Member
Danny Lohner   Guitar
Troy Van Leeuwen   Guitar
Billy Howerdel   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Jeordie White   Bass,Background Vocals,Group Member
Devo Keenan   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Jon Brion   Instrumentation
Josh Freese   Composer
Maynard James Keenan   Composer,Executive Producer,Artwork
Greg Edwards   Composer
Danny Lohner   Producer
Steven R. Gilmore   Art Direction,Digital Photography
Ken Andrews   Composer
Kevin Patrick Warren   Instrumentation
Troy Van Leeuwen   Composer
Billy Howerdel   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Paz Lenchantin   Composer
Jeordie White   Composer

Customer Reviews

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Thirteenth Step 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 165 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
See i have heard 5 songs off their new album. The pet, The package, The ousider, The nurse who loved me(which were all bootlegs but none the less good), and Weak and Powerless. Their new album so far seems really good. Its not better than Mer de Noms but just as good. They have a new and different sound, but every great band evolves. So do yourself a favor and help this band sell out by buying their record.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have eagerly been awaiting this album since the release of Mer De Norms. The sequel seems to be more dark, but it still retains the melodicness of its predecesor. I do, however, think that the absence of Paz Lenchantin is apparent and greatly missed. It does not feel like A Perfect Circle, It is more like Tool now except with less drums and bass. The fire and drive is gone, leaving a depressing, empty, paz-less shell.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is the best of this year. It sounds like APC haven't missed a step. Everything is mixed beautifully and there isn's a bad song on this album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I received Mer de Noms as a gift and, out of sheer boredom one day, let it play through in entirety. I was immediately hooked. Every time I listened to it, I found a new song that became my favorite of the album, or a new lyric that entranced me. Therefore, APC's sophomore release was something I awaited with great eagerness and apprehension. Would it measure up to the high standards of Mer de Noms? I bought this album the day it came out, something I rarely if ever do, and put it in right away. APC does not fail to stimulate on 13th Step. Despite additions and subtractions of members, this CD can only be described as a gem. The album consists of the same type of clever, emotion-wrought lyrics coupled with eccentric but polished music that Mer de Noms offered. Songs I especially like are tracks 1, 5, 7, and 10. However, I enjoy every second of this CD, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is searching for heart-wrenching poetry set to beautiful music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the start to the end this album maintains everything that APC is about. Each song has a lot of depth and the vocals are superb. All of APC's trademarks are prevelant in this album
Guest More than 1 year ago
how many times will I give in and still find myself wanting more. I bought THIRTEENTH STEP on line, so I received it just before it released in the store. It's beautiful, each song, the melody, lyrics, intensity. A week old and I'm humming to myself as if I've owned this cd my whole life. Each ballad is a brilliant slice of ecstasy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This cd is even better then the first APC cd. The musicality is staggering and Maynard's voice is as beautiful as ever. The guys in the band did an excellent job putting this together and i cant wait too see them on tour. i reccomend everyone buying this cd and checking out the tracks GRavity and Blue.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is an emotional ride on one of the greatest voices of any musical culture. A perfect Circle envelops the power and weakness of life underneath the cover of Thirteenth Step. Open the door and it will light the way from your mind to your heart in all of the Thirteenth Step.
Guest More than 1 year ago
More powerful and deeper than ever APC is back. Sadly with the departure of bassist Paz Lenchantin and guitarist Troy Van Lueewen, Billy Howerdel and Maynard James Keenan add the Electic Bango and Irish Basson, guitarist James Iha (x-Smashing Pumkins,guitarist) plus bassist Jeordie Osborne White(a.k.a Twiggy Ramirez)(x-Marilyn Mason,bassist)adds the perfect insrumental/melodic sound, yet a psychological and emotional high. This is the next step...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've owned the Thirteenth Step now for almost one week and still cannot get enough. The entire record makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up and my eyes swell with tears. Maynard's voice, while sometimes violent, still comforts me as does a mother's sentiment. The music seems not to come from several instruments, but rather from a single precise contrivance. Truly a work of art.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
A Perfect Circle has to be one of the best bands out there, if not the greatest...Maynards voice is just like pure gold..there is nothing like it...A Perfect Circle's Thirtenth Step is great..i recommend it for everyone...even if you dont like their type of music you should definitely check it out!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A beautiful collaboration between raunchy distortion and melodic sonata. The album reveals the full talents of A Perfect Circle as well as their first CD, Mer de Noms, and displays an array of artistic riffs, vocals and poetic lyrics. It almost seems a splice of Maynard’s two bands, releasing a complete rush of near anger that one would catch within the songs of TOOL, and soothing the listener with tranquil tune by the next track that A Perfect Circle is prominent for. Thirteenth Step is absolutely worth spending the money for.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is awesome, if you like the first one you will love this one, just listen to Maynard's voice and you will fall in love with this album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this cd is much more ambient and beautiful than mer de noms. highly recommended to any fan of apc or good music in general/
Guest More than 1 year ago
The best album to come out in quite some time. This is a truly great album, the kind you just turn on at track one and leave on until it ends...then you hit play again! It contains the kind of emotion and drive that is severely lacking in the cookie cutter music that is out today in all genres. This is the ablum to buy if you are interested in content! Buy this album and support this band. They are a dying breed! Hats off to APC!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album,is a timeless piece of work,evoking & confronting emotions you've either been supressing or denying for years, allowing "The Cure" w/ an edge, to reincarnate into the New Mellenium,w/ a sound like no other,,,Maynard James Keenan will take you away from this place,& Billy Howerdel,Has accomplished more than he might even realize himself......13th Step = A+
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you have not experienced "maynard" then this is a perfect place for you 2 meet him. If you know him, you allready own this CD.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome cd. It's one of the best I've ever heard. It's mixed perfectly, Maynard's vocals are smooth and mellow, Billy's guitar playing is complimented by Troy's base. It's very good. Go out and buy it now. Now.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Adding Jeordie White, and James Iha to the core members of Maynard, Billy, and Josh, has hopefully solidified this group for years to come. Anyone who is into music that is thoughtful, and hard w/o necessarily needing the riffs and whatnot, this cd is for you! Maynard's voice, Billy's guitar, Josh's drums, and Jeordie's bass just...they just go together! This group has so much chemistry and it shows in the music, both on the album, and live! Anyone who reads this, proceed to buy the album NOW!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fans new and old should be pleased with the newest release by A Perfect Circle. I had seen the band perform some of the songs live in concert prior to the release of the album. Just hearing 'The Package' played live was MORE than enough motivation to purchase this artistic masterpiece. Brilliant lyrical pictures, beautiful vocals and musicianship on display here. 5 of 5 stars!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A few years ago, A Perfect Circle debuted and brought a lot of great music to a lot of people. Last week they did it a again with "Thirteenth Step." With this release they define themselves as a band in their own right and not just a side project like so many people think they are. Despite his long run as the frontman of Tool, his work with A Perfect Circle is art in its own right. The only musical connection the two bands have is the fact that they have the same frontman. I highly recomend this album to everyone. It is a must have for every cd collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The album immediately sends chills down my spine. The melodies are haunting, Maynard's voice carries you on a journey to the darker reaches of the psyche. I have not been able to take the CD out of the player. Sweet rapture. THe emotions are raw, the sound is at time rough and moves to ethereal with smooth transitioning.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hey everyone! I just wanted to give you an informed review to A Perfect Circle’s new album “THIRTEENTH STEP”. I am someone who learned long ago the lyrical complexity that is Maynard James Keenan. With his “other” project TOOL he pushed me to go new places to feel new things. Driven by music that you don’t just “hear”. You listened to it you felt it. Believe me you’ll feel a “THIRTEENTH STEP”. The music enraptures you, taking you to a new level. Sending you to a place that is thought provoking, and challenging. It could leave the “common” listener saying, “How dare APC make a album like this”. I say to them “What an album that you can’t just push play and bob your head to. Dare they make songs that sound different, and actually try to create something not just mimic something”? The songs contained within this album are beautiful captures of reality and the unknown. Starting out lulling you into a new environment, causing your brain to become open and accepting to an experience. Then leading into their first single “Weak and Powerless”. Yes, this song is radio material. It’s catchy and quick. With a funky beat and rhythm that only hints at what the album really holds for the listener. Again reaction from some "fans" I heard. “This song doesn’t fit, or this song was so made for radio”. Well that’s somewhat true. It is a single. Appears it's easy and more inviting to “Joe shmoe and Sally from the Valley” to reach that bigger radio audience. To perhaps get them do buy something that might help them find out what real music is all about. When APC released their first album “Mer De Noms” they had a good running start, but they still needed that base fan group. So they released “Judith” as a single. The song was probably the heaviest song off the album and connected with the rock crowd. Well that was only a surface look at what “Mer de Noms” was. It turned out that is was a beautiful new sounding music that tugged at your more sensitive emotions. It was an album of passion and moments of love. Simply put when APC came out they wanted to draw in the rock crowd, and have them create the “APC Scene”. Ensuring that the band wouldn’t be taken over by “teeny boppers”. With their second release they took it to the Next Step. They used a single to draw in new fans that was from a different “scene”. So they are just maximizing their exposure without being the typical “MTV LOOK AT ME BAND”. I say it was genius, and a lot more obvious than how the record companies try to lure you in. Next you’re gently laid into a beautiful airy place with the “Noose”. This starts off the 4-song continuation of deep encompassing thought and submission to the music. The music goes in all directions. Using everything from simple guitars to digital beats inserted most likely from the great Danny Lohner. Along with Maynard’s cleanest sounding, and most vivid vocals to date. On the whole album he shows that he isn’t just a voice he is an instrument. Let alone that the lyrics are completely top notch, and as always teaching, questioning and acknowledging what it means to be human. Next you move into some really great get up and move to the rhythm songs. Not by any means mosh like. It’s music your body can’t deny. You move almost involuntarily as the deep bass and shimmering guitars twist and pull. Not a thing is missed in this album. Its vibe will leave you feeling positive and eager to live. For as the album ends with track “Gravity” an awe inspiring experience with the lines “I choose to live, I chose to live….”ending the album. If you want another “Mer de Noms” you aren’t going to get. Understand that album is done. I