Alt-Metal Art

Start out with aggressive guitar playing, throw in lyrics about relationships, then finish it off with complex musical arrangements that require two to three listens to absorb, and you've got yourself A Perfect Circle, a monster of a band -- or Frankenstein's monster, if you consider how it is put together. Led by guitarist Billy Howerdel and Tool leader Maynard James Keenan, the band is a revolving door of guest musicians that currently includes James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins) and South Florida-based bassist Jeordie White (a.k.a. Twiggy Ramirez from Marilyn Manson).

Initiated in the late Nineties after the multiplatinum success of Tool's Aenima, A Perfect Circle is an outgrowth of a friendship between Keenan and Howerdel. The band's latest release is Thirteenth Step, a study of addiction and recovery that its Website,, calls "a conceptual exploration of the darker side of the human psyche." What was once just a side project has evolved into its own creature.

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Alfred L. Smith