Reviews Puscifer Donkey Punch The Night

Puscifer

Donkey Punch The Night


I first became aware of Maynard James Keenan's solo work through his latest studio album, Conditions of My Parole, which immediately sold me with its incredibly pleasant meanderings through light-rock post-industrial soundscapes (with a fair amount of his trademarked humour mixed in). So, of course, I scooped up his new EP, Donkey Punch the Night, as soon as I saw it.

The EP consists of two covers, two new songs, and three remixes of those tracks. The first selection, a cover of Queen's legendary "Bohemian Rhapsody", is actually (and I cannot believe I am saying this) incredibly boring. You'd think that it'd be impossible to fuck up a track as inherently moving and impeccably composed as that, especially for a vocalist as freakishly talented as Keenan. Yet he somehow manages to suck any of the emotive power from the song, making the whole thing fall flat on its face. It sounds more like a rote recitation from a bored performer than the powerful piece of music it should be.

The other cover is of the infamous heavy metal anthem "Balls to the Wall" by German band Accept. There are two different mixes here, but neither of them are really that interesting, either. The Pillow Fight mix seems to lack the intensity and raw power of the original, and really doesn't go anywhere new or interesting with the piece itself. The Silent Servant mix is even more questionable, as it just repeats the same boring phrase over and over for four minutes without any notable embellishment or change. It's perplexing, to say the least, as is its inclusion here.

The original material, however, is far superior. The first of the two, "Breathe", an odd, bass-heavy semi-electronica track. It's actually a really emotive piece, showcasing how well Keenan can wring the most guttural emotions out of seemingly innocent material (even if it does turn a bit repetitive towards the last thirty seconds or so). The Drumcell Rework kicks the eletronics up to untold industrial-influenced, danceable heaviness. It actually serves the piece really well, adding in a hypnotic, trance-like element to the song's flavour. Also, there's a segment in the piece that I can only describe as "computer modem dubstep", so that's several extra points in the bank right there.

The other new song is "Dear Brother", a slick, light rocker with a subversively upbeat mood and lyrics that reassure us Keenan hasn't lost his inexplicable affinity for singing about uncomfortably brutal sexual practises. The Denton Rework (done by Big Black Delta), however, doesn't substantially change original track much at all (other than making it slightly easier to shake one's ass too, which is a plus if that is what you like in your music).

All in all, the best that can really be said about Donkey Punch the Night is that it's interesting--the selection of covers quite blatantly displays the range of influences at play in Keenan's work, the two new songs show that he's composing as well as ever, and the remixes show that he's still keeping good company. But as a whole, the package just doesn't deliver enough of interest to justify anyone other than the most devoted fans buying it. Personally, I'm still holding out for the next full-length release.

Recommended if you like: the uncomfortably alluring sound of Maynard James Keenan's buttery smooth voice; lots of thinly veiled double entendre; aural penetration

5.0 / 10Sarah
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