Puscifer is a hybrid project with Maynard James Keenan firmly at the helm. The keystone of Tool, and also a founder of A Perfect Circle, Keenan runs Puscifer while the other musicians come and go as they please. No two albums will see the same players, except for Maynard and Carina Round, who form the permanent core of the band. Together they compose hybrid music, skillfully blending electronic sounds that act as a kind of veil that darkens the haunting, heavy rock, as illustrated by “Bread and Circus”, the opening track of Existential Reckoning.
The mystical atmosphere is conducive to foggy, phantasmic moods. Don’t look for the guitar riffs, let alone the drum solos, that’s not what this is about. Maynard and his band take us into their mysterious, half-substantial world, a kind of walk through the forest early on a late-autumn morning in, where the still, low mist obstructs our vision and the fresh morning dew delicately caresses our cheeks on the soft notes of “Personal Prometheus”. The voices of Keenan and Carina form a marvellous duet to be listened to attentively, capturing and keeping one’s attention. The track “A Singularity” mystifies the soul and bewitches. In each of the productions, the emphasis is on the instruments, and their presence seems indispensable, as on “Bedlamite”, which closes the album by highlighting the slamming bass, thus adding an extra groove to this omnipresent musical sweetness. Existential Reckoning as a whole is a beautiful, poetic achievement and, as always, Maynard James Keenan’s musical genius works wonders.