REVIEW: PUSCIFER – DONKEY PUNCH THE NIGHT (EP)…

pusciferdonkeypunchthenightcover

So as we wait endlessly for a new Tool album, Maynard James Keenan, the mastermind behind the band’s lyrics is over in a corner shouting, “You know, I *am* in two other bands!”. His band Puscifer’s last album Conditions of My Parole proved that left to his own devices, Keenan can hold his own. Or at least he can assemble one hell of a band that can play what’s going on in his head.
The new EP Donkey Punch the Night is the product of what happens when Maynard has an idea and doesn’t feel like wrapping an album around it. Of the seven tracks featured, two are covers, two are new originals, and three are remixes of the last three songs.
It takes balls to pull off “Bohemian Rhapsody”, the first cut here. This is dubbed the “O.G. Mix”. While Maynard has a different voice from Freddie Mercury, it is interesting to hear his voice singing this classic. The band is spot on in most places, making me wonder at times if this wasn’t a really good karaoke track. The difference of note here is that Maynard sings some of the lines as a countermelody to the original, adding his own spin. Carina Round is in the mix also and when the two voices blend it is chilling, as it is on most of the last album.
“Breathe” follows, as the first new original song. The guitar conjures up The Cure in its earlier years. The song builds a nice atmosphere that gets more and more menacing as the song pushes onward. Carina is very prominent in this track which gives it a nice touch. Her voice is one of Puscifer’s ingredients that takes the songs up another level. “Dear Brother” is next, featuring the line from which the EP gets its title. The drums have a little more funk to them on this one, and the percussion becomes the star at points. The song is a look back at the good times shared raising havoc with a deceased brother, whether literal or metaphorical.
The standout of the entire EP is next, an updated and revamped version of the Accept song “Balls To The Wall”. This was played on Puscifer’s tour last summer and was a definite highlight. It’s great to have this in an actual recorded version now. Keenan’s menacing delivery of the lyrics makes the song feel like it was meant to be sung today rather than three decades ago. Oh, this is called the “Pillow Fight Mix”. Because he can.
Now for the remixes. First is the Drumcell remix of “Breathe”. The electro-industrial treatment had me checking for a second that it wasn’t a new really heavy Depeche Mode track playing. Quite listenable for a remix, and even if it is a bit on the long side the length gives it time to build a mood. Next is the Denton Rework of “Dear Brother”. This comes with a synth line that sounds like it was plucked from Queen’s “Radio Gaga”. I think in a way this must be his homage to the dawn of dark industrial pop in the 80s. It presents the song in a whole different way and is in fact as the title suggests, more a rework than a remix.
Next is the Silent Servant El Guapo Mix (these titles!) of “Balls To the Wall”. This one is a purely instrumental track only maybe vaguely based on the original track. It fits in with the others but with no vocals to guide it, it wears thin kind of fast. I guess it’s more of a mood track to end the set.
Is this EP worth it? Definitely. Donkey Punch the Night adds another short chapter to the ongoing story that is Maynard James Keenan.

Get your own copy HERE (CD on the left, MP3 on the right):

Check out some video and sounds from this EP:

Bohemian Rhapsody:

Balls To The Wall:

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