When Tool’s Maynard James Keenan launched A Perfect Circle with Billy Howerdel, one could be forgiven for immediately comparing the band’s sound to Tool. Stylistically, however, the band’s 2000 debut album Mer De Noms leaned much more toward art/alt-rock. Specifically, an emphasis on melodies and more palatable song structures helped make the “side project” an immediate success, with a Billboard chart debut at #4 – a huge number for a rock band’s debut album.
Released on May 23rd, 2000, Mer De Noms examines everything from anger at God (“Judith”) to emotional vulnerability (“3 Libras”). There’s songs here that display guitar layering and Maynard’s impressive range (“3 Libras”, “The Hollow”), and tracks where APC fire on all cylinders (“Sleeping Beauty”), too.
Eventually getting certified Platinum the same year of release, Mer De Noms kickstarted a brilliant career for the band. Proving much more than just a vehicle for exploring different sounds, A Perfect Circle followed this up with Thirteenth Step – an album that manages to expand and build on what Mer De Noms started.