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Tool - Ænima CD (album) cover

ÆNIMA

Tool

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.07 | 666 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

1800iareyay
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Undertow was a surprise commercial hit, despite the band's iconoclast attitude (yes, they had music videos, but they did nothing to highlight the band, only the music). Most bands would have used this as a springboard and release another album quickly to satisfy the new contingent of fans. However, Tool is an unusual band. Three years passed, but the album that ensued was well worth the wait. Ænima shows a considerable step up from the band artistically, musically, and lyrically. Undertow had thoughtful lyrics and art rock scribbled all over it, but it lacked real complexity. Ænima changed all that. Greatly aiding things is the addition of new bassist Justin Chancellor, who brings a considerable amount of skill to compliment Danny's insane drumming.

The album is full of highlights. Stinkfist opens the album, and already it ignites controversy with it's title alone. It's a riffy classic that puts Adam's unsettling guitar at the forefront. Eulogy is the first of many tracks to show off Maynard James Keenan's unique vocal skill, and it also boasts deft lyrics. It also features Danny puling of polyrhythms that would make Bruford proud. H. is where Justin proves he is Tool's classic bassist, as he takes on the role of a sort of art rock John Entwistle, using the bass as a lead while the guitar is used for rhythm. 46 & 2 has a killer bassline and the vocals are delivered as a sort of narration. Fun bit of trivia: listen to Dream Theater's This Dying Soul or Repentance; one of the guitar lines is nearly identical to this, so even DT takes cues from Tool! Hooker with a Penis deals with the media and Tool's undying hatred for them, considering they have corrupted rock and made bands into sell outs. Pu[&*!#] is a softer song that provides a great contrast to the aggressive "Hooker." It features some of Maynard's best vocals ever. Ænema takes it lyrical cues from a rant from master satirist Bill Hicks (he influences a lot of the lyrics on the album) about how Los Angeles is a city full of fake airheads that should fall into he sea. This is a showcase for Adam's rhythms and Danny's incredible drumming. Third Eye opens with an excerpt from one of Bill Hicks' rants (as if his presence wasn't evident enough on this disc) about the use of drugs. This is probably Adam's finest hour, and this song should be presented to those who don't consider him a capable guitarist.

If you like Bill Hicks, you'll love this album's lyrics (though they capture the anger without Bill's humor). It is more immediately enjoyable than Lateralus, though the filler tracks here are far inferior to those on Lateralus, where it all seems to make sense. This is a classic of modern progressive music, and how this (like every other Tool album) became a hit is beyond me, since it contains all the uncompromising noise experimentations of modern Crimson. Lateralus is the true masterpiece, but proggies can't go wrong with this excellent release.

Grade: B+

1800iareyay | 4/5 |

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