Feature: A Perfect Circle's "Mer de Noms" Turns 15
Fri, 27 Mar 2015 13:06:33
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A Perfect Circle's debut Mer de Noms turns 15 in 2015. To this day, there's still a palpable mystique surrounding the first album from vocalist Maynard James Keenan [Tool, Puscifer] and guitarist Billy Howerdel [Ashes Divide]. It's one of those records that made a gigantic impact upon release for a myriad of reasons. Statistically, it debuted at #4 on the Billboard Top 200, earning the highest-ever debut on the chart for a rock band's first album. It also went up against some pretty stiff competition to say the least, coming out the same day as Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP. Holding your own against a titanic record like that is a major accolade in and of itself.
Prior to unleashing the album, the band supported Nine Inch Nails on the Fragility Tour behind Trent Reznor's double-disco opus The Fragile, already inciting the whispers and wonder of the audience in regards to A Perfect Circle. Shortly after, Mer de Noms went on to become a phenomenon and solidify the band's place in the modern rock pantheon. We still crank it weekly, at the very least.
In celebration of the 15th anniversary of Mer De Noms, ARTISTdirect.com’s Rick Florino compiled five reasons for the album’s importance. Check it out below.
5 Reasons Mer de Noms Is So Important
5. The album showcased a different side of Maynard. This was really the first time the public at large got to hear his voice over lilting acoustic guitars on "3 Libras" and an elegant piano during "Over." The instrumental palette gave that signature vocalization a space to truly shine.
4. Mer de Noms boasted literally an all-star cast. These musicians came together to create a seminal piece of work, and there was something undeniably special in the air. Beyond Maynard and Billy, drummer extraordinaire Josh Freese powered the record percussively, Paz Lenchantin provided violin, before she’d join Billy Corgan's Zwan down the line, and Failure axe slinger Troy Van Leeuwen lent his incredible talents. Troy is in Queens of the Stone Age these days. Primus drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander delivers the rumbling groove to "The Hollow." However, all of these elements converged on one enigmatic and engaging whole.
3. The record introduced the band as a formidable live act. If you can support Nine Inch Nails and make the crowd love you, you've unequivocally got that special something. However, their own headline tours proved nothing short of transcendent.
2. Mer de Noms influenced the next generation. You can feel the group's influence coursing through everyone from Thirty Seconds to Mars to Interpol. That warm and rapturous guitar embrace clinched harder here than anywhere. Rock wouldn't be where it is if it weren't "Magdalena," "Rose," "Thomas," "Judith," and the rest. The mark of Mer de Noms is indelible.
1. Mer de Noms simply rules. Enough said, go listen to it now and drift off into the world it created. This is one of those albums that deserves that full attention because it made rock music immersive again.
For more on A Perfect Circle check out our review of Cinquanta last year, our exclusive interview with Maynard about A Perfect Circle, and our premiere of the live version of "Judith"!