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Album Review: Puscifer – Money Shot

Maynard James Keenan continues his legacy with Puscifer’s third album Money Shot.



Text Review:

Of all the names to be thrown around in the world of rock and metal, Maynard James Keenan might be one of the most revered and impressive in our current generation.  Along with being the voice of three high selling groups and running his own winery in Arizona, Keenan (now 50 years old) has shown no signs of slowing down.

There are many MJK fans who will die arguing whether Tool or A Perfect Circle has the superior music, the name Puscifer is in a totally different ballpark.  In every sense of the word, this is the “fun” band for Maynard and his revolving door or musicians who help participate in lighthearted lyrics, hilarious stage presence, and AMAZING industrial sound.

Money Shot is the third album under the Puscifer name and the first in four years.  The incorrect distinction for all of this is that Money Shot is just another album for a side project from Keenan.  In his own words, Puscifer is not going away.  With all its absurd lyrics and infused rhythm, Puscifer is still much more serious than many listeners will give credit.

The new album Money Shot might be the first album to finally get people to hop on board that have previously not given credence to the name.  While with earlier albums the silliness was separated from seriousness, Money Shot the album infuses a bit of both in each track.  All of which coming from the same extremely creative and untethered mind.

When asked about the new album, Keenan said: “It’s extremely satisfying to witness simple conversations and ideas transform into completed sonic landscapes …And to have these stories go above and beyond the initial ideas makes my grumpy heart swell three sizes.”

And if these sonic landscapes and stories are anywhere in the same realm as Money Shot’s title track, then there is more than enough proof that Puscifer have not lost a step in their crude insanity and harmonic melody paired with an industrial style oozing out of every sound wave.

The song Money Shot is exactly what you would expect from Puscifer, both as an opening single, a title track to their new album, and all around a song from a band that could make lyrics like those in the chorus work.

Putting aside the absurdism, there is a visceral baseline that carries this song and Maynard is on top of his game with the vocal delivery.  His energy and growling throughout Money Shot matched with the drums make it very difficult not to get hooked into the track.  It definitely stands out as the albums energetic track and carries the Puscifer banner with pride.

Putting the title track aside, a majority of this album feels much darker and more somber.  While Puscifer may be known for being the soundtrack to shenanigans, there are many songs on this album with a much more serious feel, even from the opening track.

The style of Galileo and its broodier industrial signature is the most common sound in this album.  More often than not on Money Shot are the rhythms brought low and Maynard’s lyrics told in a darker intense tone than in the past with vulgar lyrics and hilarious situations.  The style of Galielo and many other songs on Money Shot work in the albums benefit.  There are many songs that transition into each other fluidly and feel like a deep continuation.

While the insane situations are still present like with Money Shot and the story in Simultaneous, it’s the more serious feeling moments that stand out.  Whether fans of Puscifer will enjoy the deeper tones or not will depend on the individual, it cannot be denied that more often than not that the songs stand out for their own musical merit as opposed to the smut lyrics.

There may not be enough of an argument that Moeny Shot stands out as Maynard’s best work or that this album is perfect from front to back, but with the masterful inclusion of female backup vocals, synthesized percussion and amazing bass, it’s incredibly difficult to deny how good it feels to listen to this album.

Overall, Puscifer have brought more mood than madness with Money Shot and it has paid off.  Even with the hints of insanity peppered throughout tracks and even full choruses, this album still has moments of extreme clarity and well-composed melody that will not leave you unsatisfied.