Existential Reckoning: Rewired

Puscifer Entertainment / Alchemy Recordings / BMG
rating icon 8.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Bread and Circus (Re-imagined by Mat Mitchell)
02. Apocalyptical (Re-imagined by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross)
03. The Underwhelming (Re-imagined by Juliette Commagere)
04. Grey Area (Re-imagined by Troy Van Leeuwen & Tony Hajjar)
05. Theorem (Re-imagined by Sarah Jones & Jordan Fish)
06. UPGrade (Re-imagined by Justin Chancellor & Scott Kirkland)
07. Bullet Train To Iowa (Re-imagined by Alessandro Cortini)
08. Personal Prometheus (Re-imagined by Greg Edwards)
09. A Singularity (Re-imagined by Carina Round)
10. Postulous (Re-imagined by Phantogram)
11. Fake Affront (Re-imagined by Gunnar Olsen)
12. Bedlamite (Re-imagined by Daniel P. Carter)

It was never a matter of if  PUSCIFER would release a remix version of their latest album, 2020's "Existential Reckoning", just when, since the Maynard James Keenan-fronted outfit have done so with each of their previous studio albums.

The new offering, "Existential Reckoning: Rewired", brings together a bevy of musical heroes, such as NINE INCH NAILS' Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross; QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE's Troy Van Leeuwen; TOOL's Justin Chancellor; Daniel P. Carter and more. Given the A-list cast of players, it's hardly a surprise that "Existential Reckoning: Rewired" is one of PUSCIFER's most interesting remix releases to date.

Gone are the days of PUSCIFER being observed simply as a side project for Keenan, who, of course, is known for fronting the massively popular TOOL and A PERFECT CIRCLE. Now, PUSCIFER have their own fan base, which doesn't always cross over with the TOOL and A PERFECT CIRCLE crowd. During PUSCIFER's early days, it was apparent this project would be darker and more experimental than Keenan's other loves, and that trend has continued from 2007's "'V' Is For Vagina" to "Existential Reckoning".

"Existential Reckoning: Rewired" raises the curtain with "Bread and Circus", reimagined by PUSCIFER's own Mat Mitchell. The remix gives the song an entirely new vibe with heavy, programmed beats and cool echo effects on Keenan's original vocals. "Apocalyptical" follows, reimagined by Reznor and Ross, beginning with human chatter and evolving into a NINE INCH NAILS-esque industrial gem, featuring an electronic foundation, pulverizing production and Keenan and PUSCIFER vocalist Carina Round's urgent vocals.

As the set continues, what stands out is how each remix takes the song to a very different place from the album original. "UPGrade", reimagined by TOOL's Chancellor and The Crystal Method's Scott Kirkland, is almost unrecognizable from its origins, with a steady beat and dreamy, near shoegaze aesthetic that fits perfectly with the vocals. "Grey Area", reimagined by Van Leeuwen and AT THE DRIVE-IN and SPARTA's Tony Hajjar, features a collection of random, experimental noises and brooding backings that make it stranger and heavier than its counterpart. Closing track "Bedlamite", reimagined by Daniel P. Carter, is another song that is completely transformed from the original, adding a straight-ahead rock intro and catchy riffing and rhythms, giving it a much more amped-up delivery.

Listening to "Existential Reckoning: Rewired" is really like getting treated to a fresh PUSCIFER album, with sounds and styles that are markedly different from the LP cuts. The album brims with imagination and inspiration, showing that remix albums don't have to be redundant; instead, they can live on their own, breathing new life into their creations.

Author: Anne Erickson
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