Thirteenth Step Review

artist: a perfect circle date: 09/19/2003 category: compact discs
a perfect circle: Thirteenth Step
Released: Sep 16, 2003
Genre: Alternative Rock, Alternative Metal
Label: Virgin
Number Of Tracks: 12
"Thirteenth Step" is the second studio album by American rock band A Perfect Circle.
 Sound: 8.9
 Lyrics: 9.5
 Overall Impression: 8.9
 Overall rating:
 9.3 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.1 
 Users rating:
 9.5 
 Votes:
 55 
reviews (16) 3 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9.3
Thirteenth Step Reviewed by: BloodBlooms, on september 19, 2003
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: First of all, before I describe the sound of the album, I will give you detailed instructions on HOW to listen to an album by this unbelievable band. After buying, simply go into your room, turn all the lights down, and start at track one. When done properly, one will not only LISTEN to the album, one will FEEL the album, just as I did. Now, with that out of the way... For many purposes, I will refrain from objectively comparing "Thirteenth Step" with "Mer de Noms". If you want that kind of review, read the previous one. The overall sound of "Thirteenth Step" is nothing short of amazing. We who are fans of APC have come to expect a certain level of musicianship and inventiveness from them. I promise you will not be let down in this respect. Their musical genius is profoundly dispayed, not just as metal artists or "rock" artists, but as artists of a more meaningful and broad definition. That said, you might be discouraged if you were simply a fan of their heaviness. While there is more if it than, I believe, the previous article gives it credit, it is much more a brand of "subtle heaviness". There are stand-out heavy tracks (namely The Package, The Outsider, and Pet) which are unbelievable, but their are also songs to which heaviness is applied without drenching it in distortion. These are the true innovations to the previous APC album. Tracks like "The Noose" and "Weak and Powerless" are excellent examples of this, as well as the dark, brooding melancholia that typifies this band's sound. Individually, the guitars are often clean or acoustic, but there is hardly a song without a touch of distortion. As stated earlier, however, the heaviness is intrinsic to the actual song. The inventiveness of Billy Howerdel is, again, remarkable. Also, it is to be noted, James Iha (their new guitarist replacing Troy van Leeuwen) does not share in the writing credits. Also, If you are a Marilyn Manson fan, there are occasions where you can definately hear Twiggy (Jeordie White) put his mark in the music. It is apparent that he has let this band expand his musicianship indefinately. Josh Freese, once again, is amazing on drums. There are a few tracks, however, that lack the power of the others stated. They seem to be "stuck" into the album, added more as filler and the integrity of the majority may be lost somewhat. While they are not without their interesting points and are "good songs" by anothier band's standards, they could have been made better by this one. // 8

Lyrics: The previous account gives an excellent description of the lyrics. Maynard is an amazing lyricist as well as a vocalist and I won't say much more than that, so as not to take away from the other review. There is one point that I must disagree with slightly. I believe that Maynard has the occasion to show his range and get agressive. Especially on tracks like "The Package" and "The Outsider", it is evident that he is still one of (if not the best) agressive singers in history. I do agree, however, that the album could have done with a little more. // 10

Overall Impression: Here I am being prompted to compare albums so, reluctantly, I will. Compared to "Mer de Noms", "Thirteenth Step" is a slight degression overall. In its defense, though, "Mer de Noms" is one of the best alternative albums of all time and would be hard to duplicate by any band. On its own, however, I will say that "Thirteenth Step" is one of the best albums of the year for its respective genre. Again, one will not begin to define the impact of this band for many years to come. I love nearly everything about the album, especially its creativity and disregard for mainstream or current songwriting patterns (both staples of APC). I dislike the "filler" songs and the subtle monotony that they bring into the soundscape. This album, like "Mer de Noms", is definately worth buying as quickly as you can spare the $20; if for no other reason than to admire the craftmanship of the stand-out tracks on this album and genius of these five musicians. // 10

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overall: 9.3
Thirteenth Step Reviewed by: Paradigm619, on september 25, 2003
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: I have considered A Perfect Circle to be one of my favorite bands for several years now. Like a lot of people, I followed Maynard to APC from Tool, and I found APC to be sort of a refresher from some of the heavier tones of Tool. I'm not going to compare this album to "Mer de Noms", because I think it's really very hard to compare the two. The sound that the band has created with this album is nothing short of innovative. I don't tend to like genres, but in this case I'm not sure I could even place it in a defined genre. Maynard James Keenan, as has come to be expected, pours his heart and soul into his powerful and seductive lyrics. Add that to the musical perfection created by Billy Howerdel and you have one amazing album. I have to admit, some of the tracks sort of seem like fillers (as BloodBloom mentioned) and can get a little boring. I think they serve an important role however once you begin to take in the meaning of the album. On first listen, most of us simply listen to the music and don't pay a whole lot of attention to the meanings behind the songs. Upon subsequent listens however, we start to pick out the messages and themes within the album. These "filler songs" are sort of places to rest your mind on the album. Tracks such as "Crimes" and "Lullaby" are examples of this. The album sort of builds to certain peaks, and then uses these transitional songs to flow back to a more mellow level and give you time to soak in what you just heard. Maynards voice seems to carry the album from start to finish. His voice is balanced much higher than the other instruments, when in his other albums it seems as though his voice is at an equal level to them. This adds a more personal side to the album, which I find to really bring out the meanings of songs. My one gripe about the album is how it is started. "The Package" is a great song, don't get me wrong, however it's not a great song to start an album with. It builds very slowly, and on my first listen, I found myself getting bored pretty quickly. Near the end of the song, it starts to build more and it works. I just think they could have chosen another song to start with, or re-worked the song to make it fit better. As a whole, the sound of the album is nothing short of innovative. There really isn't one song on the album that I don't enjoy. // 8

Lyrics: There is very little I need to say here. Maynard James Keenan has established a reputation for his amazing lyrical skills, not to mention his vocal ability. The lyrics on this album are simply amazing. Somehow Maynard succeeds in telling an entire story over the course of the album, complete with themes and "conflict". The words bring out an amazing side to the music, making the whole package seem really tight and firmly woven. The best adjective I can use to describe Maynard's voice is "howling". When you listen to him sing, you can FEEL the emotion in his voice. It pierces through you and sort of brings you into his world. I am once again in awe of Mr. Keenan's ability. // 10

Overall Impression: I still refuse to compare the album directly to "Mer de Noms", however I will say that those of you who absolutely LOVED "Mer de Noms" may not be as happy with this album. Thirteenth Step shows a large musical evolution that took place between two albums. A band like Tool undeniably has had a musical evolution, however there were never any jumps as big as APC made from MDN to TS. The jump Tool made from AEnima to Lateralus isn't nearly as big as this jump. One band I can sort of compare this evolution to is Radiohead. Radiohead lost a large following after they released "Kid A". The fans that liked the "standard rock" sound radiohead had on albums like "The Bends" and "OK Computer" hated the new "electronic rock" sound they took on with "Kid A". I'm not comparing Radiohead's music to APC's music, I'm just saying that the change between APC's two albums is very drastic, and could potentially cause them to lose a large fan-base, but a the same time pick up a new one. I personally like the album much better than "Mer de Noms" and I am very excited to see the direction this band is going to go from here. If I had to highlight certain tracks on the album, I would pick out "The Noose", "The Outsider", and "Pet", "Gravity". I think these four tracks sort of define A Perfect Circle, and really sort of show the full range of the band. Thirteenth Step was definitely every penny. I bought it the day it came out and now, four days later, I still haven't listened to anything else. I recommend this album to everyone, just go into it with an open mind. Don't expect another Mer de Noms. Just keep reminding yourself that change is good, and you'll find a lot to praise in this album. // 10

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overall: 10
Thirteenth Step Reviewed by: unregistered, on september 29, 2003
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: This album has beautiful sound... Rather than go for the polished sound of most of today's music, it strays and has that garage-y lo-fi approach on most of the songs. I feel this is more intimate for us listeners. I do not think that this album is as "soft" as people say it is. It isn't the toughest album out there, but it is not the "accoustic cd" that most people are labeling it as. The overall all sound of this album makes you want to relax, play guitar. At some points it can lull you to sleep, or get you up on you're feet and ready to jam. Honestly beautiful production and sound engineering. At times I feel as if i have 3 top bands: Tool, APC(mer de noms) and APC (13th step). Billy and Josh have a way of making they're sound new everytime. Piano's are beautiful on this album. // 10

Lyrics: As most everyone will agree, Maynard's lyrics are nothing short of beautiful. They paint pictures so vividly. They flow nicely. It really is as if he's listened to the actual music, written a book and gotten excerpts from his stories and placed them with the music. It really is art. Maynard knows what he is doing. With most singers they make you feel like you are lesser... or try to hard to be opressed... Maynard doesn't do that, while he does show that he is a person just like the rest of us and not some big shot, his lyrics also show this vulnerability that is one wither you, like you are sharing everything with him. // 10

Overall Impression: This album sets itself apart from Mer De Noms... There is no 'Judith' there is no '3 Libras.' This is a sit and listen cd. Some tracks that are a must are The Noose - nice little track with piano's. The Outsider - harder song with a beautiful finale. and The Nurse Who Loved Me - a cover of Failure (a great band) beautiful song, shows TOTALLY different side of APC. My least favorite track would have to be Blue, while it has one of the nicest, and most subtle, solo's in the cd... it was kind of "ehhhh" for me. This album is definitely worth buying. Suggestion - buy the cd then see them live... Trust me live they are incredible it might water down the album. // 10

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overall: 9.3
Thirteenth Step Reviewed by: BlinkPyro182, on november 10, 2003
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: This new album from A Perfect Circle is, in my opinion, a complete 180 from Mer De Noms. Where as Mer De Noms was a quntisential alternative record with its hard fast and to the point songs that are a headbangers paradise, 13th Step takes a much toned down approach. Most of the songs on this record are on the softer side. But that doesn't mean that it won't please long time fans and newbies alike. As mentioned before, the sound style is much softer on most of the songs, although we do have some hard and semi-hard songs to give ourselves some neck injury. This album is more of an evoloution than a revoloution for the band. Their playing style has changed a bit because of people constantly coming and going from the band. Although this isnt a bad thing, I was hoping for a more Mer De Noms style album with more heavy stuff. Twiggy Ramirez is god on bass and I expected no less from a former Manson member and Billy Howerdel is one of the gretest technical guitarists I have ever heard, but he can display a lot of emotion in his playing without being overly simple. // 10

Lyrics: Lyrics are possible the biggest part of this album. The ammount of emotion that are in the lyrics almost outweigh the melody itself. Manyard James Keenan, because of his experience with Tool, has gotten his vocals and songwriting down to a science although very few other new artists have been able to capture the same essence of pure emotion in their lyrics. Keenan has apparantly had a lot of things happen in his life and it's great ammo for him in his songwriting. There are some songs that I don't really think the lyrics fit the melody. Crimes is just Keenan counting to 13 and then some people talking, and Lullaby is a girl with a very nice voice however not singing real words but more of a melody. Some people might like that but I don't. I prefer more lyrical content in my music. Other than this, I see absolutley no faults here. // 8

Overall Impression: I'm not going to lie to you people. If you haven't figured out that I absolutley love this CD then you haven't been paying attention. Since the day I got it, it hasn't left my portable CD player and aside from my computer, my portable is my main music device although it will soon be replaced with an iPod. The most impressive songs on the album to me are The Noose, Weak and Powerless,(Although I wouldn't buy the CD just for that song because you'll get tired of just that one song and then think its a waste of money without exploring all this album has to offer)The Outsider, The Nurse Who Loved Me(An excelent cover of a Failure song)and Pet. This CD is one of the best of the year in my opinion and worth every penny. So next time you're at your local record store or where ever it is that you get your music, pass up Avril and Good Charlotte and go straigh for the good stuff. // 10

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overall: 10
Thirteenth Step Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 18, 2003
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: I recently read an article in the Guitar World magazine on these guys. It blew my mind just hearing them talk about this new record so I went out and bought it, thats right bought it. I hope that you all remember what thats like and try it sometimes, downloading contributes nothing to the artist. Show support for the people you like. Anyways, my first impression on hearing the album was all the songs sort of ran together. Like if you weren't paying attention, you wouldn't know what song it was on. But then I listened to the album again from back to front and it was incredible. The cd starts off with the song "The Package", which is one of the best songs on there. The drums,bass,vocals, and guitar are weaved so tight together its beautiful. "Weak and Powerless" is another really stand out track. It really shows how light a guitarist can play and still have it make a deep impression on the song. "Blue" is another great track show caseing the amazing layering job Billy Howerdell does making all his guitar parts seemlessly run together. "The Outsider" is another incredible track that is built around the guitar uplifting the amazing vocals of Maynard Keenan ( he's also the singer of Tool). The album really comes to a peak at the song "The Nurse Who Loved Me". The song is soooo beautiful. Its really quite amazing that this band would take a chance on a song like this, its amazing. This song is unlike anything on this or the last album. It has a stringed arragenment which were all done on guitar by the band. How might you say? There a effects unit that can change what you are playing on the guitar into other stringed instruments. Nickelback used it on the song "Someday", quite alot of guitarist seem to use them these days. The overall sound, incredible! // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics are ingenious from start to finsh. From the opening lines of "The Package" which read as, "Clever got me this far and tricky got me in, I am what I'm after, I don't need another friend". Maynard may paint a strange painting sometimes with his lyrics but there a strange beauty. His vocal range is quite stunning, his harmonies are impeccable. Each song he sings on makes in that much better. He can lift you so high and drop you even further all in the same song. His voice really completes the package, espically on song like "Blue", "The Outsider", and espically the song "The Nurse Who Loved Me", I can't say enough about the track. // 10

Overall Impression: This album is great! The fret work is estranged but beautiful. Its very innovative, nothing that can be copied! Its all original here. These guys deserve alot of credit for getting it all together. This is a must have album! Its well worth the money. Don't knock it til you here it from front to back. Some people say its a real departure from their last record and it is, but who wants to hear the same record over again? // 10

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overall: 9.3
Thirteenth Step Reviewed by: allwithinmyhand, on december 25, 2003
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: This is a really moody album, much like mer de noms, but this one is better. A Perfect Circle really envelope the listener in a musical atmosphere, with there deep heart felt lyrics, ambient effects, and a slew of great delay work on the guitars. Billy Howerdel really shows off his ability as a guitarist on this album. Standout songs on this cd are (Pet, The Noose, Blue and The Outsider). // 10

Lyrics: Im not totally sure if Maynard writes all the lyrics in this band or not, I've heard alot of the work is done by billy howerdel, but I'm sure like most real bands they do sit down and colaberate. As far as maynards singing goes, this guy can do it all man, he really gets the emotion across that he wants to express every time. He doesn't really get as loud on this album as he did on previous work with apc or tool, but loud doesn't matter, as long as its good right. And how we all know Maynard James is the man. // 10

Overall Impression: The only thing on this ablum I didn't like was, crimes and lullabye, I wish the band would have spent a little more time and came up with something more, those two sound like outtakes from the studio. The nurse who loved me is new twist on an old song, I like it...Maynard really shines on this song. The bass on this album is just all over the place, a breath of fresh air if you ask me. I can't wait till there next cd, I wanna see what James Iha can do, he didn't get to write on this cd, the guitars were danny lohner and troy van luehen. Too bad danny lohner didnt stick around even just as a third guitarist that would be cool too. BUY THIS CD, its probably one of the best cd's out this year...in fact it is. APC rules! Real artwork here people, not the watery for your money only crap you hear on radio...real talent, real music...really great! have a nice day. // 8

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overall: 9.3
Thirteenth Step Reviewed by: unregistered, on april 05, 2004
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: There is a large range of music styles and sound within this album, from the heavy "The Outsider" and "Pet", through to the softer tones of "The Noose" and "The Nurse Who Loved Me". It is this range of sounds which kept me enthralled, listening for the first time through I was never sure what to expect next and was always presently surprised. Stand out tracks for me have to be "The Noose" and "Blue", two tracks which I feel convey the range of sounds. // 10

Lyrics: Maynard is undoubtly one of the most talented singers around presently, and continues to amaze me with his vocal capacity and range. The lyrics are deep and involving for the listener, provoking thought and imagination. However, sometimes he tries to be too clever, losing the listeners interest and some vareity with striaght forward singing would be nice. Overall though, brilliant stuff from a wonderful talent. // 8

Overall Impression: Here comes the inevitable Mer Der Noms comparison - they are two different albums, take them both as individuals please, as new works of music, not this as a continuation of the debut album. I love the vocals, and the range of music, which in themselves make this a must buy form my point of view. If stolen by monkeys in the trees, I'd happily become Tarzan and go after them.....or something. // 10

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overall: 10
Thirteenth Step Reviewed by: unregistered, on april 11, 2004
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: I'm going to be honest, at first, this album was only mediocre to me. I had this vision that Thirteenth Step was going to be a continuation of Mer De Noms, completely blinding any other views of the CD. After some hardcore listening, I began to realize the art, and beauty that was right in front of me. The sound is totally different from APC's debut, but still equally amazing. // 10

Lyrics: As of course, Maynard's lyrics are astonishing. Sometimes in riddles, sometimes straight forward, always great. // 10

Overall Impression: This is in my top 10 favorite CDs of all time. It blends very many different genres into one amazing album. I'll be honest, I didn't like Lullabye pretty much at all. Crimes was the only other song to me that is OK. Minus those two songs, every song is equally complex and emotionally moving. No one-hit-wonder here. // 10

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overall: 10
Thirteenth Step Reviewed by: Insomniak, on october 04, 2004
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: This cd varied from mellow, orchestrated tracks like "The Noose" and "The Stranger" to instense distorted rock with tracks like "Pet". They mix the two completely opposite sounds, topped off with the greatest voice in history, into one of the most melodic and beautiful sounding cds ever. // 10

Lyrics: Maynard is a living god in my opinion. His lyrics are always so intense and meaningful. // 10

Overall Impression: This cd is a masterpeice. In my opinion this cd is better than the previous "Mer De Noms" because every track could be a single (except the two instrumental tracks that last a minute each). Also in this cd, Maynard used a lower tone, this made it easier for a bass/baratone singer to stay with him on those great long notes he holds on songs like "Weak and Powerless". The way every part blends so well, Josh's drums, Billy's guitar, and Maynard's voice compile into one of the greatest sounds in music to date. The greatest track is "The Noose" closely followed with "The Pet". I love this cd so much, I bought a second copy just so I have one in my car and one in my house at all times. // 10

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overall: 10
Thirteenth Step Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 13, 2005
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: A Perfect Circle's Thirteenth Step is just plain amazing. Unlike almost every other band, their songs do not go "verse chorus verse chorus solo" or somewhere along those lines. Billy Howerdel (guitar) uses a fair amount of octave riffs in most of his songs, their bassist, Paz, has riffs which wouldnt fit anywhere else in any bands, or in any other songs. Their drummer knows how to create uniqueness, whether it be the intro to the Package, or the drums to Pet, he's a big part of their sound. 01. The Package - amazing song, the first time I heard it I put it on repeat for hours. The guitar/drums intro is very unique. The guitar switches up a lot in it, and instead of normal drums, the drummer uses just his sticks, tapping them to certian beats, and it sounds pretty damn cool if you listen to it. The song quickly switches from quit to loud and obnoxious with heavy riffs and guitar fill-ins. It's an amazing song, one of my favorite. (5) 02. Weak And Powerless - this is the song everybody probably knows since it's the APC song that gets played on the radio. Starts out with heavy semi-fast bass, the verse's guitar part is really cool, it has nothing to do with the bass part, but that's common in APC's songs. Maynard (vocalist) sounds amazing on vocals during this song, even though half of the lyrics don't make sense, it starts with the line "Tilling my own grave to keep it level." The drums are a huge part of this song, adding all the perfect transitions, while the second guitarist uses an acoustic which adds that extra umph. Great song. Gets stuck in your head. (5) 03. The Noose - starts out with a vocals/guitar intro, which is very cool, really good lyrics like "Not to pull your halo down, around your neck to choke you now, but I'm more then just a little curios, how you're plannin' to go about makin your amends, to the dead." The isn't really heavy in this song, but it still fits really well, it's more of a slower song. But still very good. The bass doesn't do a lot in this song, but without it this song wouldn't be so cool. (5) 04. Blue - one of my favorites, the lyrics are a little weird, but the way Maynard sings this song is just amazing. It's not heavy, it's not fast, but it still blows my mind away. The bass adds a lot, the drums add a lot, the guitar just helps bring everything together. (5) 05. Vanishing - yet another great example of how not to write a song that goes "verse chorus verse chorus solo outro." The vocals do a very cool thing with delay. It's just a song about dissappearing, but it's cool, doesn't really have a chorus or anything. It's just unique, the guitar is really funky in this song, same for the drums. It's good. (4.5) 06. A Stranger - starts with a cool acoustic intro, the vocals aren't my favorite, but I still like them. The lyrics are cool. Much like Vanishing, has no chorus, but that's what makes it cool, it's a song that slows you down. Good guitar, good bass, good drums. (5) 07. The Outsider - great song. Starts out happy, then changes to the verse which makes your neck start to sweat and all the hairs on your back stand up. The chorus is cool, the lyrics and vocals are amazing, it switches back to a happy sounding tone for a little, then drops back into negativity. Lyrics are cool, with stuff like "Medicated, Drama Queen, Picture perfect numb beligerance." It's a very cool song, awesome guitar, great bass, and yet again it wouldn't be anywhere without the drums adding all the perfect transitions. On a scale of 1-5, I'd give it a 23. (5) 08. Crimes - funky song. Starts out with cool drums and guitar. Cool lyrics, Cool everything. Not much to say about it. (4.5) 09. The Nurse Who Loved Me - it's all about... you guessed it, the nurse that loved him, no real chorus, no drums, some string stuff in the backround, it's pretty cool how everything works together. (5) 10. Pet - simply mind blowing. That's all that needs to be said. Great drums, great bass, great vocals. It's all about being ignorant to stay happy and healthy. The guitar is the core of this song. From it's awesome Chorus from, to it's perfect transitions. It makes you listen to this CD for weeks. (5) 11. Lullaby - cool song, much like some of the others, cool vocals, pretty good drums. No bass or guitar. No chorus, Maynard says a few cool lines, then just plays around with his voice, and it repeats over and over and just fades out. (4.5) 12. Gravity - I love this song. Great guitar intro, the bass helps it so much. And it wouldn't be perfect without drums. This is probably my second or third favorite off this CD. The lyrics are amazing, and the way Maynard sings them are mind blowing too. This song fits perfectly. (5). // 10

Lyrics: Maynard is always an awesome vocalist no matter what he does. Whether it be Sober, Judith, or Pet. They're all great songs. He takes opera lessons, so his voice is just amazing. It's better then any of the emo singers. Billy Howerdel writes most of the lyrics, but they're still great. The lyrics thus, fit the music perfectly. // 10

Overall Impression: To sum it up. It owns your favorite Slipknot album. And it will continue to be the most unique cd I know until Tool comes out with a new one. This is just great music. All of the guys (and girl) in A Perfect Circle are far from being sell-outs. They write whatever they please. Rarely using theory. It's a great band. I highly suggest them. I hope this review inspired you to get it, but this review didn't even get close to how good it is. Buy it. Stop being a sell out. If I was walking down the street and I had my CD player out with this in it, and somebody ran by and took it. I would sprint them down, break their arm, and politely take my CD back. // 10

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overall: 9.3
Thirteenth Step Reviewed by: patbuck2, on february 22, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: A Perfect Circle's sound on this album is great. I would say that of their three albums, this is my favorite one. It has some great instrumental work in there and Maynard's singing and lyrics are top notch, as usual. What I like about APC is that they have slower, clean, intimate moments and songs, and then they are intense and heavy moments and songs mixed in with it. Maynard's vocals are just great, too. I also like that APC kind of has the mixture between modern alternative rock and they remind me of an older psychedelic band from the 60's. This album has some particularly great songs and sounds coming from the band. I really like the bass tone and heavy guitar tones in this album. // 10

Lyrics: What I like about Maynard's lyrics in APC is that they are much more intimate and personal, dealing with emotions, whereas I find in Tool they seem to be about overall ideas and principles and Puscifer is just silly. All of which are good at different times, but that's what I think separates APC from his other work and I think that the intimate lyrics compliment the instrumental style in their music. I find that especially prevalent in 13th step. // 9

Overall Impression: My favorite songs from the album are the driving rock songs like The Outsider and Pet. I love the heavy distorted guitar riffs on this album and they heavy bass tones. What I don't like is that some songs are boring to me and worth skipping almost every time like Lullaby, Crimes, and The Nurse Who Loved Me. It's a good listen and I would say that if you're going to just get one album by APC, go with thirteenth step. // 9

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overall: 6.7
Thirteenth Step Reviewed by: jonesmethod, on september 13, 2003
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Compared to "Mer De Noms", "Thirteenth Step" is very mellow. There are only about two songs that break into a full crunch riff ("The Outsider", "Pet"). If you like the first single, "Weak And Powerless," you will probably be content with the rest of the album. I found most of the songs built up, much like Tool's songs but just stop short of anything decent, unlike the last APC album. Josh Freese lights it up again on drums, although they sound muffled in some parts. Guitars for 90 percent of the album are clean or acoustic, with very little distorted material. Truly, the guitar work gets boring and repetitive after a few songs. // 6

Lyrics: As usual, MJK's lyrics are deep, and religious based, as you can tell from the title of the album. Although most of the lyrics are alliteration, they are excellent, by far the best part of the album. Without careful thought, the lyrics are not very comprehensive, like most MJK lyrics. Maynard doesn't really have the chance to belt out any parts on the album because of its virtually endless mellowness. He doesn't have a chance to show his true potential, but otherwise, the lyrics are great. // 10

Overall Impression: Comparing the second album to the first, the second is bad. It's not just the first is good, the second just doesn't deliver the goods. The guitar work in "13" almost seems repetitive after a while. The best songs on the album are "Weak And Powerless", "The Outsider", and "Pet". Personally I don't love anything about the album. The guitar work is mediocre at best, and after countless songs about religion, Maynard's preachiness gets old. Also, I don't think the album is really worth buying. Get "Mer De Noms" if you haven't already. A mediocre effort at best, from a group with much potential. // 4

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overall: 8.7
Thirteenth Step Reviewed by: mythirdeye, on september 25, 2003
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Sound: First things first, STOP COMPARING THIS ALBUM TO MER DE NOMS! Listeners must remember that when Billy and Maynard set out on working on the music for the album, there intent was to create a certain mood and take you on a trip to explore the darker realms of the human psyche. That being said, that is why the majority of the album tends to keep it's mellow ambient like sound, which by the way I happen to love. Frankly, I think thirteenth step does a better job of creating an overall mood than Mer De Noms does. All in all it is another great album from APC. However, if you do not want to put yourself in a certain mood for the length of an entire album, DO NOT GET THIS CD! You would be selling yourself short and missing out on a lot. // 8

Lyrics: Once again, Reverend Maynard has come through with thought provoking and emotion probing lyrics. I find it fascinating how he never ceases to make me think, to explore myself. On Thirteenth Step, Maynard once again keeps an air of mystique about his lyrics. Leaving it up to the listener to figure out the songs for himself. If you don't like to think, don't get this cd, you might end up hurting yourself. Plain and simple, if you like processed heartless metal/rock which does not require you to question yourself and your actions, then you will hate this album. Maynard does not intend for his music to be heard by everyone, just those who will take the time to give it the repsect it desereves. // 10

Overall Impression: Overall, Thirteenth Step is a great album, completely succeeding in conveying the mood the artists set out to present. Once again, if you do not want to take the time to really enjoy and actually "Listen" to music, then you will hate this album. This is not another Mer De Noms album and in fact I think it succeeds in trying to be the younger brother with the weird personality entirely opposite than that of it's elder. In conclusion, I highly recommend this album to people who have the patience and fine tuned ear for good solid heart felt music. // 8

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overall: 8.7
Thirteenth Step Reviewed by: unregistered, on september 29, 2003
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Sound: Their sound has definitely changed; I wouldn't say it has evolved, but take note that APC has undergone significant lineup changes since Mer De Noms, so the overall feel is slightly different. It seems that the composition is less orchestral in nature this time around, but this doesn't hurt the sound at all. The music is still as mellow as ever, so fans of the first album shouldn't have too hard of a time enjoying this. // 8

Lyrics: Maynard James Keenan, possibly one of the most talented vocalists alive, gives us plenty of reason to think so on this album. He sings with so much emotion on the cover of Failure's "The Nurse Who Loved Me" that he really makes the song his own, as it's easily the most intriguing song on the album. The lyrics are as deep and introspective as ever, while somewhat more intimate than his offerings on Mer De Noms and any of Tool's releases. When he speaks of his inner demons, you take this guy seriously; he isn't Linkin Park making choruses out of groan-inducing cliche. Given the solemn tone of this album, Keenan leaves us with no doubts of his ability as both a songwriter and a vocalist. // 10

Overall Impression: This album is very well done. My only complaint is the lack of evolution in the sound. While it has changed, it is still the same APC we experienced three years ago. There isn't a bad track on this album, but while some tracks are mindblowing, others are just good. With the amount of talent in this band, settling for "just good" is not acceptable. If you are a fan of APC or Tool, there's really no reason not to buy this album. For those that aren't fans already Thirteenth Step is somewhat forgettable. It's a great album, but it is not a classic. // 8

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overall: 8
Thirteenth Step Reviewed by: unregistered, on june 16, 2005
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Sound: Incredible. I could seriously just lay down and listen to this album over and over again because it's so mellow and cool. Although some may not like that about this album. A lot of people prefer hard rocking guitar riffs and a vocalist shouting/screaming at the top of his lungs. This album doesn't have much of that. It's good in some ways, but bad in other ways. There doesn't seem to be enough variety in the style of guitar playing, but I'm a sucker for slow emotional songs. // 8

Lyrics: Maynard is my favorite vocalist. He can do it all, and his lyrics are always very thought-provoking. Like the guitar work, the lyrics and the vocals lack variety. The song "The Nurse Who Loved Me" might be very catchy and all, but I didn't exactly care for the lyrics much. // 8

Overall Impression: Maynard's bands bring art back into music. There's something truly beautiful about how Tool and A Perfect Circle play their music. This cd is just another Maynard masterpiece. It hasn't left my cd player yet. My favorite songs are The Noose, The Outsider, Weak and Powerless, and Pet. I didn't care much for Crimes, The Nurse Who Loved Me, Vanishing, and Lullaby. If the cd was stolen, I'd probably try to buy it again. If not, then I'd burn it. I just have to have it. // 8

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overall: 8
Thirteenth Step Reviewed by: TheGimpMaster01, on october 17, 2005
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Sound: The sound is quite unusual. It sounds alot like Tool (well becuase the lead singer is also the lead singer of Tool. That could explain it). I think that they're sound is great if you like that kind of music. I think it's not "involved" enough for me to like. If that doesn't make sense, I mean this: they don't seem like they really like what they're doing, as in they don't get into it enough. The only song that I really like on this album is The Outsider. it has some of the most unpredictable chord progressions in it! And I think that's great! // 7

Lyrics: The lyrics are not shallow at all. The singer really does know what he's doing given that he's the lead singer in Tool as well. I heard that A Perfect Circle is sort of his "side project." Well he really does a good job on it! The words are great if you actually listen to them. They aren't like some punk bands that really don't give a f--k about what they record. // 9

Overall Impression: This band really is on the more shady side of alternative rock. They have unusual style. Anything out of the ordinary is fine with me though. I really enjoyed listening to the CD and I think if you were going to buy it, you'd enjoy it too! If it was stolen, well let's just say I would not appreciate it (that's the less nasty way of saying what I wanted to say). // 8

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