Maynard James Keenan, frontman of Tool and A Perfect Circle, considers Puscifer his ‘creative subconscious’. After hearing V for Vagina in 2007, many believed that Puscifer would be a playful and comic side of Keenan. But with the release of Money Shot (2015) on October 30th, the evolution of Puscifer seems to be heading towards  inspiring and beautiful song compositions which are not only nuanced marriages between electronic, country, and rock, but are also emotional expressions and opinionated commentaries on topics and themes beyond simple satirical jabs.

Money Shot begins with Galileo, a electronic groove adorned with harmonies between Keenan and ethereal vocalist Carina Round. The mix of electronic rhythms with minor-scaled guitar riffs kicks off the album with a sense of careful meditation and impressive production, clearly showing how track production has matured since V for Vagina. The album continues with commentary on human behavior and odes to beauty, exemplified by the song “Grand Canyon.” “Grand Canyon” was the first single from Money Shot to be dropped publicly in July, and the music video takes the fans on a trip through the Arizona Desert and all of its immaculate beauty. Some wondered if this was a commentary on the destructive nature of humanity, a theme explored in Tool’s song “Right in Two” (2006) in an attempt to remind us of nature’s glory. However, others interpret it as pure artistic expression for it’s fantastic prose and loving homage to his home as Keenan bellows:

“One among infinity
Witnessing the majesty
Calm in this humility…
…Standing on the edge of forever.”

And one could very well take the entire album as pure art. “Autumn” ends the album with a groovy electro ballad that exudes class and introspection. The diversity of perspectives and themes in this album corroborate Maynard’s description of it, namely that it is a  ‘culmination of all the things I’ve been exposed to and inspired by over the years’. Having said that, it has been a long time since listening to an album has been this easy. It passes by like an ethereal gust of wind, sometimes pausing to rest with light ballads and other times evolving into an aggressive metal whirlwind. Carrying many creative elements, it is certainly an album any music lover can introspectively appreciate.

Article by Nikos Zarikos

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