Sound — 7
A Perfect Circle first burst into the alternative rock music scene back in 1999, following its formation by Tool lead vocalist Maynard James Keenan and guitarist Bill Howerdel. Within the band's initial run, A Perfect Circle's lineup was filled in by a mostly unknown cast of musicians including bassist Paz Lenchantin, drummer Tim Alexander, and guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen. For the first five years following the group's carnation, A Perfect Circle achieved strong commercial success with their three studio albums "Mer de Noms," "Thirteenth Step" and "eMOTIVe," the last of which was mostly comprised of the band's own take on songs by Led Zeppelin and Black Flag. Strangely at the height of their success, all activity within the project came to a complete halt, with A Perfect Circle's fan base being given mixed messages on the group's activity for four years. Keenan left the group to focus on Tool as well as another band, Puscifer, while Horwedel formed a second supergroup which later became Ashes Divide. Finally in 2010, A Perfect Circle reemerged from their hiatus, with Puscifer bassist Matt McJunkins and former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha later joining the band. Talk of new studio material has been discussed since before A Perfect Circle even came out of hiatus, but fans have yet to hold in their hands a fourth album from the alternative rock group. However, thanks to their recently released compilation album "Three Sixty," fans get a taste of what one could possibly anticipate from an entire new record. This new release is very much in the vein of your typical "Greatest Hits" album, and shows the band digging through their catalog and pulling out a collection of their most essential songs and greatest hits. The album includes twelve previously released songs from A Perfect Circle's three studio albums placed in chronological order, alongside one new track titled "By and Down." Dedicated fans who would purchase this new effort just to hear one new song probably wouldn't find "The Hollow" and "Judith" to be necessary listens, and most likely would find themselves hitting the skip button just to reach the new recording. Nor would longtime followers most likely purchase the entire album digitally, as chances are they already have the group's previous releases within their collection and would instead go for the sole track. Where this album would be found truly essential is to fans who previously were unaware of this supergroup, are fans of Keenan's work in Tool or have only heard a few of the group's songs in movie soundtracks or in radio rotation. It's this audience who would be interested in listening to A Perfect Circle's cover of "When the Levee Breaks" and John Lennon's "Imagine," as well as an admirable selection of songs from throughout the band's catalog which capture each era of the band. From their experimental styles to their angrier anthems and romanticized ballads, these are moments which would help bring the listener up to date and prepare them for the new song waiting at the end of the disc. Moving into this new track which has caught our attention, "By and Down" is a decent song, not exactly in the ranks of "Blue" and "The Outsider" but still a worthwhile listen that will appease fans who have been patiently awaiting new A Perfect Circle material.
Lyrics — 8
Maynard James Keenan didn't make his debut with A Perfect Circle, and those fans who followed Keenan as he transitioned over from Tool already had a good idea of what they could expect from his performance in a new project. Keenan knows how to make his vocals fit the mood of a song without taking away from the rest of the piece. The album's sole new track "By and Down" is a fair example; as the song sways between a rhythm guitar-fueled jam and an intricate piano ballad, Maynard adjusts his vocal delivery appropriately, helping provide an emotional edge to fuel the entire piece and have you singing along by the second listen.
Overall Impression — 8
I'm sure when the majority of fans heard the news that a new release from A Perfect Circle would be making it's way to the market in 2013, they wouldn't necessarily be expecting a compilation album. "Three Sixty" is their first new effort in nine years, and while it isn't a collection of all new material, it does include some of A Perfect Circle's best work which would prove beneficial in properly introducing new listeners to the band. Plus considering the fact that "Three Sixty" includes one new song, and a damn good one at that, and we have something really worthwhile.