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Tool - Ænima CD (album) cover

ÆNIMA

Tool

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.07 | 666 ratings

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JJLehto
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Ænima is the continuation of Tool's progression. While this album is a far departure from their first release, Opiate, you can still here there metal roots. Whether it is in some of the heaviness, the use of double bass, or just the overall feel. That being said, the level of musicianship on this album is astounding, especially the drumming of Danny Carey which is just mind blowing. There is also all the Tool standard features like humor, deep lyrics completely open to interpretation, segues, and of course some longs tracks.

This album appears to be dedicated, in a way, to comedian Bill Hicks. There is a picture of him on one of the pieces of cover art with the caption "Bill Hicks. Another Dead Hero". The picture behind where the CD is held is a picture of the Western United States, and when moved around most of California appears to be covered in water. This is a reference to Hicks' comedy when he talks about the day Los Angeles will slide into the ocean. There are also more references to his comedy in some later songs.

Stinkfist is a great opening song, with some great guitar and bass riffs, and some wonderful drumming.

Eulogy is my second favorite song on the album. It begins with a strange percussion sound and lots of strange, yet beautiful background noises. Some drumming comes in after a bit. The first 2 minutes are really unique, and honestly I'm not sure what instruments are making all the sounds. Then the guitar riff comes in and some talk box-esque vocals. The song really kicks in now, with some heavy, groovy, riffs throughout. All the members in this song are great, but the bass and drumming is really stand out.

H. begins really slow, heavy and droning. However, it soon goes into a light section that is amazing. The drumming is cool but Justin on the bass is really breathtaking. He lays down a rhythm bass riff that is just amazing. Overall, a very slow song. The climax is reached towards the last half minute, and just in time! It was getting tough to make it through that song.

Useful Idiot the first segue. This one is filler and not a transition. Nothing but static. Good thing it is only 38 seconds long.

Forty Six & 2 is my favorite song on the album. Starts off with a wicked bass intro soon that Adam Jones guitar comes in. The song continues to gradually build as that awesome bass riff continues with various guitar and great drumming background. Maynard's vocals are perfect in this song as well. The middle section is heavier and bit speedier and please listen for one hell of drum fill and section!

Message to Harry Manback (LOL!) is another segue. It is mostly a sad, piano melody with a gentle ocean background noise. A man, speaking in English and Italian (I think?), starts talking. He is talking to an American, (or Americans in general) and is saying some rather terrible things.

Hooker With a Penis is a pretty heavy, grungy song. It is filled with yelling and angst and it appears Maynard is telling an original Tool fan, (who claims the band has sold out) pretty much f*ck you! Shut up or buy it. Tool may be arsty, but hey....artists like money too.

Intermission is just that. However, I like this one. It has a happy, fun carnival feel!

Jimmy begins with the same melody, but a lot heavier. Listen for some heavy bass in the beginning. A good song, but slow in some parts. However, there is some more amazing drumming here as well.

Die Eier Von Satan is yet another segue. It is extremely heavy and industrial, and played in 9/8. The overall piece sounds like a factory, while a man is speaking in German. The title translates to "The Eggs of Satan" in this case Eier (or eggs) being slang for testicles. However, the actual lyrics are simply reading a recipe to make hash cookies, (maybe thats why they are the eggs of Satan?) Anyway, a cool song especially when you find that out. The man talking, slowly builds followed by an audience cheering. The whole thing sounds like a NAZI rally, when it is actually just some helpful cooking advice. ; )

Pushit is another Tool song that has some really cool parts, and also some really boring parts. Overall, not that good a song.

After an annoying segue, we get to Ænema. An awesome song! The music is really great, but the lyrics are better! You have to listen to this song. It is cool sounding and you will get a laugh, never have I heard someone so calmly, and beautifully, asking for the end of the world and hoping for tidal waves and meteors. After all, is it really so bad if the world ended? I sure could use a vacation! Also, the whole L.A. falling into the ocean laving an Arizona Bay is a direct reference to Bill Hicks.

( - ) Ions is another annoying segue. Then it is onto the last track. Third Eye begins with some clips of Bill Hick talking about drugs. Drugs and music, the war on drugs, and what a "positive drug story" would sound like. Third Eye is also a reference to the Pineal Gland, a gland in our brain that emits the chemical DMT which is an extremely powerful psychedelic compound that might be responsible for dreams, (as well as near death experiences and alien abductions). This gland has been called our "Third Eye" which would be our eye to seeing the spiritual world. OK, enough hippie talk! Onto the song.

It is a decent song. Too long in some parts. However, just before 8 minutes an interesting part does come in, with some very unique drumming and kind of creepy vocals. In my opinion he is taking about an experience on DMT, since the lyrics "prying open my third eye" are said many times.

Overall, a very good album. Like any Tool release it has some boring parts, and some parts that go on way too long, and not to mention some segues that are just irritating. However, the rest is solid, they are some great songs, and as mentioned in the beginning lots of humor and lots of lyrics with multiple, multiple meanings.

A solid four stars.

JJLehto | 4/5 |

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