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Puscifer searches for a "ray of light" amid hedonistic new album, 'Existential Reckoning'

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Credit: Travis Shinn

From its title and its hedonistic, dancing-during-the-apocalypse sound, Puscifer’s new album Existential Reckoning certainly feels relevant in the time of COVID-19.

Though much of the album’s lyrics were written before the pandemic took hold of the world, guitarist Mat Mitchell — who makes up the core of Puscifer alongside Tool‘s Maynard James Keenan and co-vocalist Carina Round — feels they’ve now taken on new meaning.

“A lot of Maynard’s lyric content is bigger-picture,” Mitchell tells ABC Audio. “Like, seeing what’s happening, and then I think people’s [ability] to hone in on how that story fits into their lives I think is the strength of his storytelling.”

“We’re all sharing going through the situation,” the guitarist adds. “So I think there’s gonna be a lot of resonance specifically to this, because it’s something that we all have in common right now.”

Perhaps surprisingly, Existential Reckoning ends with a seemingly hopeful sentiment as Keenan sings “Everything will be alright” to close out the album’s final track, “Bedlamite.”

“Lyrically, I can’t speak to what specifically [Keenan] was thinking, ’cause he holds those cards close to his chest,” Mitchell says. “But from a fan and from the music side of things, it definitely feels like there’s hope, like there’s a ray of light over the horizon.”

Puscifer will celebrate the arrival of Existential Reckoning with a livestream concert Friday airing from Arcosanti, Arizona, an “experimental town” that’s described as “prototype arcology,” the combination of “architecture” and “ecology.”

“The location, I think, played a big part in just breaking things,” Mitchell says of the concert. “Not being in a theater or in a soundstage in North Hollywood or something, it kind of puts us in an environment that I think just oozed creativity.”

Existential Reckoning is out today.

By Josh Johnson
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