Album Review no.25: Mer De Noms - A Perfect Circle

Mer De Noms is the debut album by American rock band A Perfect Circle and was released on May 23, 2000. The band is definitely most widely known due to Maynard James Keenan, the vocalist for progressive/ alternative rock band Tool, also being the vocalist for this band. All in all, I don't really relate it much to Tool, simply because the approach to songwriting osunds quite different, with a more standard structure in general.

The Hollow:
The intro is quite good, with all of the instrumentals sounding decent, especially the drums, which are nice and clear in general. The vocals of the track, and the album in general are great, displaying a lot of emotion, as well as technical skill in his voice. If there is one thing that I'm not too keen on, it has to be the fact that it's that the instruments drown each other out slightly, including the vocals, but it isn't a major problem, as it still sounds good in general, with the chorus more than making up for this minor shortcoming.

I find the bass in this track to be quite good, and the general grunge sound that the song has to be quite interesting. Once again, the fairly lackluster production does get in the way of the song being as good as it could have been, but has a slightly larger effect in this case, as the dark, atmospheric nature of it is weakened by how washed out everything sounds. I do really like the guitar solo during the instrumental break as well.

The contrast between the heavier aspects, like the main riff, with the softer sections, such as the small instrumental bridges, makes this song extremely good. This combined with the fact that the drumming is excellent and the song is structured in such a way to allow its climax to be even more impactful, make this one of the best songs on the album. The desperation in Maynard's voice is another reason why this song is an absolute gem.

The riff in the song is amazing, being quite heavy and working perfectly with the other instruments, especially the bass. The anger that can be felt in this track, especially when Maynard is screaming "F**K your god" is absolutely chilling. While I've heard many people referring to this band as Tool lite, this is the only song that really reminds me of them at all, due to how emotionally driven it is, along with the higher level of technicality that is displayed and the extremely aggressive nature of it .

After a couple of louder songs, it's nice to be listening to something much calmer and melodic. The vocals are lovely in general, and I love the solo at around the three minute mark. The band works well as an entire unit here, which definitely works well for this particular song. Despite the fact that I do find the song quite beautiful, it suffers from being somewhat boring as well, ultimately weakening the experience.

3 Libras:
I prefer this ballad to Orestes in general, as the general sound production is somewhat sharper, and it sounds much more emotional in general. I appreciate the use of acoustic instruments as well, as it makes the song much less dense and messy sounding. The use of violin in the song is to be noted in particular, as it adds a lot the the intro.

Sleeping Beauty:
A fairly mediocre song in general that suffers from being extremely unmemorable, due to the fairly average instrumentals in general. I found the intro to sound quite poor in general and it did not set the song up well in the slightest. The song somehow manages to sound too long while only just going past the 4 minute mark, which is not a good sign. Very boring song and one of the weakest on the album.

The back half of this album isn't quite as good as the first half, but this song is great in general, with some very nicely executed vocal effects that make me think about The Noose from their second album. This is made better by the great riff introduced, which is simplistic, but is able to worm its way into your head. Definitely a highlight of the album

A throwaway track that really doesn't go anywhere, with weak vocals and every other aspect being equally as underwhelming. Definitely a song that should have been cut out. It's fairly short however, and isn't offensively bad either, it's just below average.

Thinking of You:
An eerie song that has an extremely cool melody. The more frantic nature of the song is very interesting when comparing it to the rest of the album, which other than a couple of exceptions such as Judith, has been quite tame. The drumming is absolutely amazing here as well, perfectly accompanying the more wild nature of the song. I love the repetition of "thinking of you" at the end, as everything slowly builds up and becomes more discordant and unpleasant, before kicking straight back into the chorus.

Another track that I just don't find particularly interesting or memorable, even when there are attempts to add more intensity to the song, it really comes off as unimpressive here.The outro isn't even very good, and just kinda fizzles out, leaving you hoping that the next track will make up for it, since the album is approaching its end..

Guess what, it didn't make up for Brena. I don't know why anyone thought "Yes, let's end this album on its worst possible note, a dumb, simplistic 2 minute song that doesn't go anywhere at all and is unbelievably underwhelming." This definitely was a misstep in general, but an even larger one to put it right at the end.

6*10 + 2*7 + 6 + 2*5 + 3 - 2*7.75 = 77.5 or 78/100

Final Thoughts:
While there are some absolutely amazing moments on here both in terms of talent and how much I enjoyed the song, there were a few too many moments where the songs fall completely flat. The reason for this is either due to simply being an uninteresting song in general, in the case of Sleeping beauty, or due to the very lackluster sound production, which ultimately led to some of the songs sounding much weaker than most likely intended, as the case was for Magdalena. I feel like this album is a decent starting point all around, but I much prefer their second album,Thirteenth Step overall. This is definitely the case of an album where I'd recommend just downloading the key tracks and leaving the rest, as you'll get much more enjoyment out of it that way.

Sorry for such a long delay since my last album review, I've had a lot of things to take care of and was unable to do something larger than a couple of lists here and there. I'm not sure what album I'll review next, probably just whatever I feel like at the time.