Danny Carey may do his best to steal the show on Tool's dense, epic new album Fear Inoculum, but singer Maynard James Keenan still delivers a gripping, studied performance, as he seemingly always does, across his various projects, musical and otherwise. So, among those musical forays — Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer, his cameos with Deftones, Rage Against the Machine and beyond — what is Keenan's greatest vocal performance? We asked you, and you responded on social media with a wide range of picks, as well as a few, not-incorrect statements as to what an absurd and impossible undertaking it was. Below, are the top five vote-getters.
5. Puscifer - "Grand Canyon"
Puscifer may be an acquired taste, even for Tool and A Perfect Circle diehards, but there's no denying that Maynard James Keenan flexes his incredible control over the vocal art form with his pitch-perfect delivery on the project's standout cut "Grand Canyon." An Eastern-inflected tinge gives interesting texture to his controlled performance, in harmonious conjunction with the beautiful showings by co-vocalists Carina Round and Juliette Commagere.
4. A Perfect Circle - "Orestes"
A Perfect Circle's "Orestes" is a stunning track that sees Keenan uses the true power underneath all that measured skill to soar without delving into gruff or aggressive territory. In the context of his wide-ranging projects, this performance is an ideal representation of just how much he's able to convey as a genuine singer, not a metal screamer.
3. Deftones - "Passenger" as guest vocalist
Keenan's voice is a balm in and of itself, but when combined with the soothing croon of Deftones' Chino Moreno, the beauty and dynamism of these velvet-throated powerhouses is undeniable. "Passenger" is not only arguably the best song on an already incredible album (2000's White Pony), it's also the crowning highlight of all of Keenan's collaborations.
2. Tool - "The Grudge"
Keenan's irrevocably brilliant showing on "The Grudge" is a balanced exposition of his varying approaches and an eternal testament to his impeccable skill as a vocalist. Serving as the eye in a swirling storm of controlled chaos, the singer explores every corner of his — pun not intended — toolkit, culminating in a mind-blowing 25-second-long scream.
1. Tool - "Pushit"
Soaring, surging, urgent yet crystaline, it's no surprise that Ænima standout "Pushit" took the top spot when it comes to Keenan vocals. And yet, it may actually be the stunning live version on 2000's collection of odds and ends, Salival, that stands as the song's definitive rendition and the singer's apex performance — just a little more human, and even more gripping.