Whilst it may feel like it’s been 10,000 days since we heard anything new from Maynard James Keenan, those who have been waiting patiently (or not so patiently as the case may be) have been given a dose of what they crave. A Perfect Circle is a constantly evolving supergroup formed by Keenan and Billy Howerdel and has featured many guest musicians from bands the likes of the Smashing Pumpkins and Primus. The precise release date for the new album is still unconfirmed, but if “Doomed” is a teaser we’re expecting something epic.
The track swaggers in with a tinny and muted gunshot drum beat before an electronic and ethereal bed is laced over the top. Keenan’s vocals are restrained at first introducing the theme and lyricality of the track as the music slowly builds and then breaks away into juddering instrumentation. At around 2:02 the track fades away with a tinkling serenade and Keenan is able to deliver something a lot softer than his gritty and raw introduction. After this the track spreads its wings fully and brings everything that has come before together, intertwining into an ever building dance that crescendo’s with the line “fuck the new, you’re on your own” delivered with due vehemence.
It’s a fine piece of progressive music that takes a journey, thematically and in lyrical content it’s both a maturation and somewhat darker spiral than we have heard before. Musing on the contrast and hypocrisy of the modern age and how the meek, decent or simple hearted among us can often feel cast to the side and ignored. It cuts deep and strikes a chord almost from the outset, coupled with Keenan’s always heartfelt and genuine delivery and Howerdel’s ear for a soundscape it’s a song that provides a theme for the current climate across the globe. Maynard has said in interviews that he believes those with light inside and the voice to do so need now to shout louder than ever, with this track it seems he is putting his money where is big mouth is.
As a teaser it certainly piques interest and as if fans needed any encouragement it will be a project that is watched closely with baited breath. Scheduled for release sometime in 2018 hopefully the new A Perfect Circle album will act as a morphine drip to those fiending for the new Tool album. Make no mistake A Perfect Circle is an entirely different beast that has the same structure and build but lacks the bite, we’ll still be waiting for the fabled Tool release, but this will make that wait infinitely less painful.
Words by Matt Miles