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A Perfect Circle

Before Maynard James Keenan returns to the studio to record the new Tool album, he has something to get off of his chest: politics.

Keenan's gloomy side project, A Perfect Circle, presents its third release, eMOTIVe, a cover album of politically charged, anti-war anthems.

A child's toy piano sounds off during the opening track, "Annihilation," a cover from the aggro-punk group Crucifix. At the song's climax, Keenan repeats, "It's your choice ... peace or annihilation."

The most recognizable cover on the album is John Lennon's "Imagine," which APC turned from an anti-war song of hope into a depressing anthem.

APC manages to take each cover into a new musical direction, while still getting the original message across. On Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," a Middle Eastern percussion beat carries the song, slowly at first, but picking up tempo with the line, "War is not the answer, only love can conquer hate."

On Black Flag's "Gimme Gimme Gimme," Keenan turns the vocals of a pissed-off, youthful Henry Rollins into those of a tortured demon. Drummer Josh Freese and bassist Jeordie White drive the rhythm section of the song with rupturing tom-hits and bass-lines.

The most off-the-wall cover is Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks." A piano and jazz drumbeat introduce the song, with whispered lyrics echoed throughout the song.

Mesmerizing and mind-boggling, APC has managed to record the soundtrack of political and anti-war protest for the youth of America for years to come. That, or they have recorded the soundtrack for your experience while shopping at Hot Topic.

More by Jon Hobson

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