Sound — 6
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.
Lyrics — 10
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.
Overall Impression — 4
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.