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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

Overview

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 By that time, Troy van Leeuwen and Paz Lenchantin had left and been replaced by bassist Jeordie Osborne White, formerly of Marilyn Manson, and guitarist James Iha, formerly of the Smashing Pumpkins (though he doe not appear on the album).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:
10/08/2003
Label:
Emi Europe Generic
UPC:
0724358343922
catalogNumber:
583439
Rank:
20980

Tracks

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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Most Helpful 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
i have waited for a perfect circle's second installment for a long, long time, and believe you me, it was worth the wait. maynard's lyrics, steeped in the pain, apology, regret, and hopefulness of an addict (of so many things). this able made me feel emotions akin to that of "orestes" off of mer de noms. this albums is steeped in whatever life maynard led, and the songs seem to cleanse his soul. you can feel that emotion in every note and every lyric. pay special attention to the bass lines, and buy this, not for a comparison to mer de noms, because they are totally different entities, but for a view of the band that is different, changed by the life lived. standouts include "the observer," "blue," and "the noose."
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
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 have been waiting for this album since the first one came out, and I was NOT disappointed. It's a wonderful cd. Even with all the changes in the band they still managed to come together to make a cd worth buying. It was worth what I spent on it and I recommend it to everyone!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As the opening guitar riff slides in on the opening track The Package, we see that A Perfect Circle has taken a little different turn. Billy Howerdel, Maynard James Keenan and the rest of the band really show it to the listener that this is not just a Maynard side project, but Billy's child and how they have nursed it to be a music monster amongst some of the other bands of the day. This monster shows its teeth in certain tracks on the album such as the outsider, pet and the somewhat haunting side in Blue where an arpegiation grows into a vibrant piece brighter than the pure blue sky. APC show how calm they can be as they perform the Failure cover The Nurse Who Loved Me half way through the album. you're almost intranced and in awe of how delicate they can be and how maynards voice can be as delicate as it is howling. A brilliant follow up album which would be better than the first if the first wasn't spectacular in its own sort of way.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD, like all of A Perfect Circles CD's, is so good. All of the tracks are capturing and each song has its own style. Maynard's style of singing is original and so good. This band has actual talent unlike most on the top of the billboard charts. I highly recommend this CD to anyone who appreciates real music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Truly a great album. WHo couldn't sit there and listen to this CD for hours?..Has anyone seen the artwork?..The Runes are so mystical. The cover artwork is so bizarre. Everyone should own a copy of this CD and keep it in their cars and near their radios at all the time. It serves for any mood you can be in.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A must have for the evolved, thinking music lover!
Guest More than 1 year ago
WOW!! this album is unbelievably amazing. much better than "mer de noms" in my oppinion. billy, and maynard are a great team; and the 2 new members: jeordie white (twiggy ramerez when he was with marylin manson), and james iha (an astounding guitarist, previously with the smashing pumpkins) helped make this album a complete masterpiece!!! outstanding.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The sophmore release from APC shows a band that's become comfortable in it's own skin. Unlike the baroque-heavy metal dirges of Mer De Noms, Thirteenth Step takes a breath in it's own resonance. Here there are interludes instead of virtuoso-guitar solos, as Billy Howerdel lets his guitars swell and blend with raw emotion in songs such as "A Stranger" and "The Package".Even with the loss and addition of new members, Howerdel and Keenan have held together their collective vision of this album. And if you take a listen, I think you may be surprised at where it may lead you...
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
it's a different direction for A Perfect Circle but the new members of the band are a good addition to its sound. Definitely worth checking out. Lyrically haunting and disturbingly beautiful, the new album is like waking up from a bizarre dream you only half remember.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best CD's I have heard for a long time!! Everyone should own a copy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I think about bands, I notice something strange about the way I listen to them. Sometimes I listen for deep vocals or piano, any sounds that seem to work well with a voice that is whimsical. A Percect Circle has taken the sound of music to a whole new level, bleeding sounds together that create lively emtions inside of you. In alot of ways, APC has defined a purpose that cuts off all doubt, a purpose with which all human life can respect and look at with peace and understanding.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I give this album 5 stars and it is worth every single star. It is less technical with less effects on it but it is still A Perfect Circle. Everything from the music and the vocals are just right. Defintaly buy a copy and support them, It is worth it.
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
I've been a fan of A Perfect Circle since their first album Mer de Noms. Maynard, weaves his haunting and yet exciting lyrics into a tapestry of beauty which matches and even surpasses the instrumentation. His voice calls out to the listner in soft struds. Maynard, along with the band creates a beautiful sound which cannot be matched. There is a lot of variety to the sound as well. The songs may go from soft to heavy at any givin moment. Maynard tugs at the listeners heart in the song "A Stranger." I highly recommend this album to all.
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
this CD Mixes many new and different sounds with the familiar perfect circle sound. Maynards voice is truly amazing on this CD. he sings like never before. This music is one of a kind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The audio landscapes in the album were previously unimaginable. I absolutely cannot get this stuff out of my head. I carry it around with me like insulin. This is a paragon. Perfection, and through such amazing souls. Maynard is God's gift to music, and he further demonstrates this with his unusually emotional parts on this album. Billy is absolutely brilliant as well. The melodic composition on this record is flawless. Truly a MUST-have.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is unlike any album i have ever heard. It is truely a work of art. Every song stands out and displays a unique style. Maynards voice made me tremble, as well as the beats and melody in every song. "The Nurse Who Loved Me" is a pretty funny song.
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
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
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
The album is very good and has a really raw sound to it. I enjoy the album as much as the first one even though the two of them are very different. It is definitely worthy of paying the twenty bucks to add it to your c.d. collection.