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TOOL

Experimental/Post Metal • United States


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Tool biography
Formed in Los Angeles, California, USA in 1990 - Still active as of 2019

TOOL formed with Maynard James KEENAN (vocals), Adam JONES (guitar), Paul D'AMOUR (bass) and Danny CAREY (drums). The band is well known for their disturbing lyrics, creative groundbreaking musicianship and imaginative music videos.

Singer Maynard James KEENAN has collaborated with bands such as NINE INCH NAILS, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE and provides vocals for A PERFECT CIRCLE. The singer is well known for having a supernatural ability to hold long notes with his voice. Adam JONES is a very skilled guitarist who also creates the band's videos and artwork. He was also chosen to be on the effects team for the movie "Terminator 2". The band often spend quite a few years writing and recording their albums in order to make them perfect and there is often a gap of 5 years between each studio album.

The band's first full length album is 1993's "Undertow", which played an important role of sculpturing and pioneering the prog metal scene that exists today. TOOL mastered the lengthy song structures, guitar effects, unique riffs and solo's backed up by KEENAN's amazing voice that can stretch long notes. Three years later the follow up "Aenima" was released, a masterpiece which received excellent reviews and was a clear step up from the previous album. This includes a mixture of anger fueled songs and emotional, tortured songs. The album also settled for a more progressive sound and contained many lengthy pieces.

2001 saw the band's masterpiece, "Lateralus". It was almost impossible to better the last album but they pulled it off. This lengthy album showed off the band's lyrical and musical skills to the maximum. One of the best prog rock albums I've ever heard. The album was succeeded by another five year hiatus where the band members worked on their side projects.

2006 finally saw the band's eagerly awaited new album "10,000 Days" which was initially met with praise from both the fans and critics, making it their second album to top the Billboard 200. Over time, the album began to lose some of its initial praise due to the material's less ambitious content when compared to "Lateralus".

The band is currently on another hiatus where KEENAN is mainly occupied with his latest side project PUSCIFER while JONES and CAREY have began to do the ground work for the band's fifth album. ...
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TOOL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

TOOL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.23 | 653 ratings
Undertow
1993
4.07 | 1013 ratings
Ænima
1996
4.22 | 1665 ratings
Lateralus
2001
3.87 | 1012 ratings
10,000 Days
2006
3.70 | 327 ratings
Fear Inoculum
2019

TOOL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TOOL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.25 | 4 ratings
Opiate²
2022

TOOL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.65 | 146 ratings
Salival
2000

TOOL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.54 | 26 ratings
72826
1991
2.84 | 252 ratings
Opiate (EP)
1992
3.76 | 33 ratings
Prison Sex
1993
4.30 | 44 ratings
Sober
1993
3.83 | 40 ratings
Stinkfist
1996
3.90 | 41 ratings
Ænema
1996
3.57 | 7 ratings
H.
1997
4.04 | 40 ratings
Forty Six & 2
1997
3.56 | 60 ratings
Parabola
2005
3.90 | 66 ratings
Schism
2005
3.75 | 59 ratings
Vicarious
2007
3.93 | 41 ratings
Fear Inoculum
2019
4.11 | 9 ratings
Opiate²
2022

TOOL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Undertow by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.23 | 653 ratings

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Undertow
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by DangHeck

3 stars Their first LP, Undertow (1993) is the album that put Tool on the map, featuring one of their biggest hits, "Sober". Certainly then, by enough accounts, a highly successful debut. My problems start here, as the Tool Problem starts here: too long, not enough substance for me. At least this is my feeling going in. [And coming out.] Last time I listened through their discography, it was my first time, and I listened through their discography. Absolutely exhausting haha.

"Intolerance" starts off the affair with their style, now well-known, put firmly and pretty strongly in place. A lot of good things here. Not super, though. One of the other better known songs is next, the awfully Tool-entitled "Prison Sex". This'n honestly has a very cool main riff, starting us out from the void. Keenan has a pretty interesting melody here in the verse. But in that, its potential is lost by just being plain flat, static. This is the mode Tool takes unto themselves that I find most unappealing. Our song's bridge begins right around minute 3, a very cool, ominous shift in tone. Then it's back to meh.

On we are to what always felt like the main event, the not-surprising radio hit "Sober", a song I genuinely enjoy and have of course known for as long as I can remember. A winning melody, eerie lyrical content and plenty of Alt Metal beef. The most progressive this one goes, though, is with loud-quiet dynamics. Next is the heavier... and I did not try this... the heavier "Bottom" haha. Unlike Opiate before it, Undertow is the start of more longform material for the band, everything right around 5 minutes or more. "Bottom" comes in around 7 minutes. I frankly don't recall this one. There is a classic slowing, reminiscent honestly to me of some of the earliest Heavy Metal, to early Black Sabbath. And with this change in feel comes a very-Tool section of ambience, fitted honestly very well with a still-surprise Henry Rollins feature. This will be familiar tonally to certain tracks from his Rollins Band, in my opinion one of the best Alt Metal has to offer, and at times equally as progressive and daring (my favorite has always been End of Silence). Anyways, pretty good. Still not much in the way of a Proggy wow factor.

Slowly exiting the first half, our next track is "Crawl Away". This has some of the best guitar work yet. Sort of gives me early Stone Temple Pilots feelings. Which is a good thing. I love Core, frankly. But I was curious, coming off of Opiate, how much post-Grunge would come out of this one with my second listen-through. In other ways, through and through, this track is a new favorite. Of course Carey is on fire. But everyone here is working impeccably together. Progginess maybe still wanting for some. But I'll gladly take a good track regardless. Entering into a far-less-than-favorite, we have "Swamp Song". Just boring. Another track that just couldn't possibly be saved by a more-than-decent bridge. Onto the title track, "Undertow" has some spunk. And a lot of Tool. But this one also, on a positive note, has some of the more unique guitar work as well. Another breakdown bridge here, which has some positive results.

On the backend, we have a track I remember pretty well, one of the sure highlights in my opinion, "4°". Eastern influence clear at the start. The majority of the track is nearly played clean, and Keenan sings more melodically here than most tracks. This near-instrumental bridge certainly has nothing to save haha. Features some, again, Eastern percussion. It's not a wildly experimental track or anything, end of the day, but it is good. Next we have "Flood". Low and slow start... and pretty much nothing happens for about 4 minutes. Yawn. Shifts around then in its second half, but I'm just not enthused. Finally, we have the otherwise only ~7 minute-long "Disgustipated"... Great name, guys. We love it.../s This is the most experimental track by far, featuring sort of Industrial sounds and other various, nontraditional sounds. It's not really doing it for me though. I'd rather listen to "Revolution 9". Also, the lyrics I can hear just strike me as cheesy. It's not really a hidden track to follow, just 7 more minutes of crickets. Interesting choice. In general, I can get behind it.

A rarely rounded-up True Rate of 2.5/5.0.

 Opiate (EP) by TOOL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1992
2.84 | 252 ratings

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Opiate (EP)
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by DangHeck

2 stars Lest we forget that "Tool" is not at all subtle code for genitalia, Keenan and Co. give us plenty of unabashed, adolescent cringe on this, their first major-label release (Zoo Entertainment, 1992). The Opiate EP features a few tracks previously found on their true debut, 72826 (1991), a title phone-coded to mean "SATAN". Preceding their more progressive, (slightly) compositionally adventurous material, much of this EP has positively of-the-time sonic choices. You may be able to compare it to other Alt Metal acts such as Helmet or even (eventually) Deftones. The first thing that may be noted is the lower quality recordings, resulting in a more quiet and muddy release.

"Sweat" is our opener, a firmly Alt Metal number featuring decently memorable melodies and solid performances, most notably from drummer Danny Carey (shocker). His performance provides some major groove and general rhythmic interest. Most interesting of all to me is "Sweat"'s appearance on the OST to the much-later-than-I-thought Escape From L.A. (1996). "Hush", next, features some big, classic metal riffs and a pretty stellar vocal performance from Keenan. Not a lot of interest here, perhaps peaking with a sort of breakdown at the end. We return to rhythmic interest on "Part of Me", so much so that it could very well have been a mid-period Rush track at times. The chorus reveals some Post-Hardcore roots, also shining through on some of the guitar work in riff and melody. Post-Hardcore always had plenty of potential for experimentation. Pretty good.

"Cool And Ugly", a live performance, begins with the call to "Throw that Bob Marley wanna-be mother[%*!#]er outta here." Doesn't that just make you feel warm and bubbly? Anyways, decent Metal riffage. But pretty meh, pretty lackluster track ultimately. Worst of the bunch? [Yep.] This performance seems to go right on into our next live track, "Jerk-Off", another return to some interest, methinks. There are some stylistic markers that definitely feel like a glance forward into material off Undertow (1993), especially with the more free, softer vocal performance. Keenan jumps back and forth between this and, moreso, punky atonality. The bridge here has something going on, but not a whole lot to save the track's single-minded nature. Finally, the title track, "Opiate", a continuation of that melodic, softened vocal style. This is also the second track that strikes me as, admittedly unsurprising, post-Grunge affect. Alright if you don't hear it, but there's much that sounded like this in the coming years, enter the mid-90s. Some of the melodies didn't age too well to my ears. Corny. Slightly longer-form at maybe 5 minutes (featuring a hidden track), "Opiate" wavers in and out of post-Ambience. The rolling drums around the middle mark is definitely one of the greatest moments on the album. This hidden track has a surprise Psychedelia about it, "The Gaping Lotus Experience", which at times also reminds me weirdly of some of the vocal absurdities of Frank Zappa(?). There are certainly higher compliments from the possible comparisons one can make to Frank though.

Anyways, fairly decent early release.

 Fear Inoculum by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.70 | 327 ratings

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Fear Inoculum
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars We had to wait thirteen years for Tool to offer us the follow-up to the successful "10,000 Days" with this dense, simmering "Fear Inoculum".

Unfortunately, much of the grit of the past was lost on this record. It may be because of the lack of punch in Keenan's voices, or because sometimes it seems that we are listening to a rehash of previous albums.

The fact is that despite the undoubted quality of all the musicians, "Fear Inoculum" is the first Tool album that has hardly surprised me at all.

In any case, the return of this band is always cause for celebration. Let's hope it doesn't take so long for the next one!

Best Tracks: Pneuma (perhaps the best song, compositionally speaking), Invincible (my personal favorite) and 7empest (absolutely impressive guitars)

My Rating: ***

 Undertow by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.23 | 653 ratings

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Undertow
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

4 stars Metal is a genre I am fairly familiar with. Hard basses, slamming drums, shredding and hard guitars. However Metal and Rock co-exist together. One can balance itself onto another if so desired. Hard Rock - Hard Metal, Post Rock - Post Metal, Jazz Rock - Jazz Metal, the list goes on and on. This also applies to Prog Rock. There is Prog Rock bands and so there will be Prog Metal bands. One of the most inspiring and interesting of these Prog Metal bands is TOOL. Most people at least know TOOL for their albums 'Ænima' and 'Lateralus' but their first LP is also fairly well know and beloved, and for good reasons.

Undertow, released in 1993 is an album that I feel can be best described as a living, breathing, nightmare. The first track, Intolerance, showcases the band's sound. A sort of mix of No Wave, Metal, and Prog. It holds a lot of merits and details and textures within themselves. It's slow, rising, patient, but it is dark, horrifying, and grim. I think the best track on this album has to be Sober. It is the best track to introduce someone who hasn't heard this band. That guitar riff at the beginning of the song that goes around for most of the song. It's almost like it's own beat. It is incredibly calming but nightmare fuel, especially with the guitars, almost sounding like screams. This album keeps these nightmarish sounds until the last song, Disgustipated. This song is way different from anything else. It is more experimental, and kinda difficult too get through. It uses less guitars and more drums and has a sort of war song feeling, especially with the radio at the beginning sounding like a news caster talking about a war that is about too go down. Until the song devolves into this drone pitch that goes on for like 7 or 8 minutes. It's weird, it's creepy, it's almost like you are in the bottom of Hell kinda?and I think that is a big reason why this album is so beloved for me.

It's awesome how nightmarish and hellish these songs sound with their abrasive guitars and vocals and their complexities. It is like listening to those paintings of what the deadly sins represent. It's Satan on earth, and if Satan sounds this good, I am not complaining. I really really like this album.

 Lateralus by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.22 | 1665 ratings

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Lateralus
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Lieutenant_Lan

5 stars Lateralus, released in may of 2001, as the third album by American metal band Tool. Tool is considered to be one of the best progressive metal band of all time, and for good reason, the amount of thought that goes into there music and lyrics is unreal. Lateralus for example makes use of the Fibonacci sequence in the lyrics and music which goes well with the lyrical themes of overthinking about how the universe works. This album is considered to there best work, and I can see why, the thought that went into it, the instrumentation, the lyrics, the production, its just perfect. I will give it a 5/5, its an essential in any prog or metal collection.
 Fear Inoculum by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.70 | 327 ratings

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Fear Inoculum
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Isaac Peretz

3 stars Fear Inoculum is Tool's fifth album, it sounds like a simple statement but considering it came out 13-Years after 10.000 Days... It's a pretty important statement. After 13 years, you would expect a fresh Tool with new ideas and ways to impress people right? After all it's been thirteen damn years.

What Fear Inoculum presents us is eighty minutes of the same ideas over and over again. That doesn't necessarily mean it's bad, Danny Carey is still a beast, Justin made some awesome bass work, Maynard impregnated his trademark Tool voice and Adam Jones was an incredibly boring guitarist as usual, so nothing really changed that much. To be honest this album is pretty good for any die- hard Tool fan that enjoys any of their songs, I am one of those fans. The problem comes in how dull the music itself is.

Take as an example the title track. Odd time signatures, Danny Carey using percussion instruments (Like in reflection), Justin Chancellor providing something nice bass, some atmospheric segments around the middle of the song... this is all great, but the thing is that these characteristics can be applied to every single other song in the album. Aenima, for example, had songs like Stink Fist that were serious head banging material, Eulogy which felt like four songs in one, Third Eye which would send you to another world with its Trance-ish vibe.... all those songs have unique characteristics that the rest of the album didn't have. In Fear Inoculum, all songs feel like one. You could've merged all those six songs into one and it would literally feel like one. Not to forget how even the points that are meant to be a climax aren't that impactful. Pneuma's climax which is at the end, is the same verse that you had been hearing throughout the rest of the song, same with 7empest and Descending. Invincible is the only one with a climax unique compared with the rest of the song, but then it just gets ruined by the album's mixing, which is the next point.

Nothing sounds too heavy. One of the things Tool is pretty known for is their capability of banging your head with an incredibly heavy odd-time-signature riff, take as an example Forty Six & Two, Vicarious, The Grudge or Ticks & Leeches. When Fear Inoculum throws you a climax that's meant to punch you towards the sky, it gets softened by the albums mixing: It's way too polished and it removes the raw emotion of the track and album itself. Finally, the four interludes of the album are a colossal waste of time. Boring, uninteresting, un memorable, and annoying like Chocolate Chip Trip. Doing a full listen of this album is almost impossible because of these tracks.

Overall: It's good, but more of the same, and overly dull. I still find enjoyment in it but honestly? It's Tool's worst album.

 Fear Inoculum by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.70 | 327 ratings

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Fear Inoculum
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by dougmcauliffe

5 stars When this album came out I watched a vocal group of Tool fans tear it to shreds and endlessly crap on it. Was it really a big disappointment? A stinker perhaps? Or was it just that it could never live up to the hype and expectations in the heads of Tool fans after over a decade wait? All of that is irrelevant to me, general consensus is determined by the first people to put their opinions out there. That or reviewers on the internet with influence (Anthony Fantano gave this album a 4/10). When this album came out nothing by this band ever did anything for me, and I really tried. However, this album swept me off my feet and continues to do so today easily cementing itself as my favorite Tool record. I've come around a bit to Aenima and Lateralus, but I don't often sit through those albums front to back. If I want to hear Tool, this is what i'm reaching for an overwhelming majority of the time. This is a cohesive and dense album with nearly every track stretching over 10 minutes taking you through these polyrhythmic mazes of unconventional riffage and incredibly developed drumming. On this album Tool has mastered the art of subtly sleekly building up each song taking you on a journey into the depths of a very dark place. The production is ear candy with these crisp and layered electronics, clear and punchy bass, incredible drum sound and a simply nasty guitar tone. The title track kicks things off with this brooding and menacing introduction that just gets me fired up with these kinda tribal-esque drums and reverberating bass all around you. The vocals hit you in flowing waves while the guitar teases you in the background. The song reaches a satisfying and powerful payoff eventually transitioning into twisting and more striding passage in the second half. For the final minute and a half they start firing on all cylinders with great aggression and intensity ushered in by filthy guitar tones. The second track Pneuma is my favorite on the album, it melts my brain every single time. It opens with this earthy and more free flowing introduction kicking into amazing and complex bass and guitar riffage enhanced by the drum parts accompanying and playing around it. The chorus is just head-bobbing ecstasy. At around the 6:08 mark it kicks into this indescribable passage with steady electronic drumming and penetrating face-melting synths/electronics. Every time I hear those drums fade in I can't help but smile, there's something so psychedelic about this passage as layers upon layers stack and soar around you. This leads back into the main riff, now heavier, faster, and slightly altered concluding on an explosive note. Invincible opens with windy riffage while the other instruments set the stage and play around this lead guitar line. For several minutes this song quietly grows until the band is coming in full power underneath a memorable hook. They break into a thundering instrumental break briefly before kicking back into that chorus which leads right back into another incredible instrumental playout where the drumming is just baffling. Those tasty electronics join back in with these hypnotic vocals mid way through this jam. The song reaches an intense crescendo reprising the intro guitar riff at full force. I found this song to be more of a slowburn and one that really grabbed me after a few listens. Descending is possibly the least conventional song here opening up with a few minutes of these ineffable and subtle instrumentals melting, or properly descending around you. I just don't understand how people can reach this level of musical creativity. It's the point where I struggle to even write about this track because there is just so much going on at all times, the meter is completely off the charts while never sounding forced or out of place. Culling Voices has these more melancholy guitars starting the song off. The vocals join in creating one of the more minimal and intimate feeling moments on the album. While to vocals are delivered with great emotion, the guitar contrasts it with a more off kilter and slightly uncomfortable choice of notes and chords playing beneath it. This meditative section goes on for quite a while actually really taking its time and when the rest of the band comes in, it doesn't immediately explode into a fiery jam like you would expect. Rather they kinda contribute to the already existing somewhat droning feel of the track. At 6:33 things noticeably pick up before reaching that big heavy pay-off you could feel coming. Chocolate Chip Trip is a bizarre somewhat avant garde electronic backed drum solo like nothing else I've ever heard. This unorthodox atonal electronic melody pierces in and remains a constant as Danny Carey goes absolutely ham alongside it. The track eventually sorta fizzles out. 7empest is the closing track and it's really just exciting start to finish. Out of all the songs this one is the most immediately heavy and "straight out the gate swinging." It opens with a short little picked guitar riff with what sounds like an electric harpsichord (my best guess) accompanying it. Soon after it drops into an awesome looming riff with the vocals following thereafter. Of all the songs on the album this one to me sounds the most like some of the material off whats generally considered the classic tool albums with its alternative metal tinge in the vocals. I love the kind of alarming guitar section that starts at 5:38 playing on top of a headbanging rhythm section. This extended solo really develops seamlessly leading into the next section of the song with some harder hitting slightly harsher vocals. The passage straight out of this is glorious with its trash-crash symbol and groovy guitar/bass riff. The finish to this song is great as it eases and settles out of the heaviness combining both a reprise of the opening section with the rhythm section playing another riff from the song on top of it. It took me a bit to pick up on this but it's very creatively done. It's a really fantastic conclusion to this staggering album.

I bow to no one, I love this album. I rarely sit down and listen to albums start to finish that stretch over an hour, but at about 80 minutes, this proves to be an exception to that. I don't know what else to add, it's just creative, massive, rewarding and flat out awesome music. I was not a Tool fan until I heard this album but even with that it proved to be a very challenging undertaking that I still am continuing to wrap my head around with each successive listen. Do not enter this album with any preconceived notions based on some of the stuff you can hear on Rateyourmusic or Tool forums. Give this album time and it will reveal itself.

 10,000 Days by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.87 | 1012 ratings

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10,000 Days
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Hector Enrique

4 stars 5 years after the acclaimed Lateralus, Tool presents 10,000 days, an album that without reaching the compositional or musical levels of the previous album, leaves us excellent songs and that to this day continue to form a fundamental part of their live concerts. Two approaches have been mentioned regarding the origin of the album title, one is that the mother of singer Maynard James Keenan suffered a brain aneurysm that had her prostrate approximately 27 years (almost 10,000 days) before dying in 2003, and the other that has to do with the time it takes Saturn to orbit (a little closer to 11,000 days), and the opportunity that time gives humans to transform and leave behind behaviors that do not allow it to develop to have a fuller life .

As for the musical aspect, we find fundamental songs that are part of the indelible seal of Tool, starting with the powerful Vicarius, a criticism of the insensitivity of society to the mountain of violent and dark news to which the newscasts constantly subject people. An excellent song, followed by the no less powerful Jambi, which shows the influence of the Swedish extreme progressive metal group Messhuggah on Adam Jones' riffs, after previously sharing touring together.

They are followed by Wings for Marie part 1 and 2, composed in gratitude to Keenan's mother, Judith Marie, previously mentioned,. Part 1 is very heartfelt and has excellent musical content, which has an extraordinary moment in its development when both Carey on drums and Jones on guitars make it in seconds that the calm and dense song enters a tumultuous roller coaster for then return to its resting state. In my opinion the second part doesn't add much more to the first, being extensive and monotonous at times.

Then The Pot, excellent song, trademark of the group, where we find an impeccable presentation of bassist Justin Chancellor, with a wide variety of effects that at times can confuse the bass with the sounds of a guitar (wah-wah, delay, among others).

Lipan Conjuring, is one of the usual interludes in Tool, but they don't add points to the album in musical terms, like Intension and Viginti Tres, in my opinion without much relevance and dispensable.

Then we found again a very good song of more than 11 minutes (Rosetta Stoned), and a long introduction (Lost Keys- Blame Hofmann) of almost 4 minutes, dramatic and very well done. It is the apparent journey under the influence of LSD of a patient, who talks in the introduction with his doctor and nurse, and refers to the discoverer of the hallucinogen, Albert Hofmann. ' Right in Two, the last great song on the album, is in the same vein as The Pot and Jambi, and reflects on the good and the bad of the human being and on the unpredictability and volatility of their actions.

In general lines a very good album, perhaps a little step behind the Lateralus. After 10,000 Days, Tool took over 13 very long years for its next and long-awaited Fear Inoculum.

 Ænima by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.07 | 1013 ratings

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Ænima
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Hector Enrique

4 stars The second album by Tool marks the change of Paul D´amour on bass by the Englishman Justín Chancellor, and with it also a more consistent proposal in the band's musical structure. In this second installment, the sound takes on a depth and darkness clearly represented in Keenan's lyrics and Jones' guitar, whose distinctive riffs have been maintained throughout his subsequent discography, and are those that accompany them until his recent Fear Inoculum. .

Tool's unique style is defined from the Aenima, and leads us through diverse topics as deep as controversial (the presence and role of Jesus on earth in Eulogy, the evolution of the primitive human and his next stage in Forty Six & 2, the constantly being at the limit of doing something that should not be done and falling for it in Pu[&*!#], the criticism of the way in which society is structured and the need for a profound change starting with the purification of the soul in Aenema, among others).

In the musical aspect, the album maintains a very high level, where we can clearly highlight Anema, which during the more than 6 minutes long they take us through a slide of emotions from the hand of the masterful Jones and Carey's excellent drums, going from calm to chaotic tempos without ever losing composure. In my opinion it is probably one of the top songs of the group of all time. At a similar level we can highlight Forty Six & 2, where again Jones's guitars, this time combining a clean and distorted sound, and Carey's drums, give us another anthology song. Unmissable within the most representative themes of the band. Stinkfist follows in their footsteps, like a fundamental piece of the album.

Both Pu[&*!#], H, Eulogy, Jimmy and Hooker with a Penis also show us the high level of the group but without detracting from them, I consider that they are a slight step below the previous songs.

Useful idiot, Ions, Cesaro Summability and Message to Harry Manback, beyond some dramatic sounds and the disturbing message on the answering machine, are the additions that Tool usually incorporates in his recordings but that in my opinion do not add much value to the album.

A special consideration for Third Eye, the final song on the album. The spectacular almost 14 minutes of the most progressive song and we could say dark and reflective, become an exploration of the human psyche based on what is considered the third eye.

A fundamental album to understand much of the appeal and why they have a large legion of fans. An album that combines unique music outside the standard and lyrics that accompany it to the height.

 Ænima by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.07 | 1013 ratings

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Ænima
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars When the topic of prog metal gets brought up in a discussion about music at any point, Tool is likely one of the bands that you'll hear being mentioned, with their mix of prog and alternative metal being able to appeal to quite a wide audience in a compelling, intelligent way. That is of course, when they're at their peak. While Aenima is undoubtedly a huge step up from the extremely one note Undertow, I personally still feel as if the band hadn't quite matured at this point to be able to make an album that was truly great. While the compositions became far more complex, refined and explorative, I believe that the album lacks a couple of extremely important things, the biggest being variety. This album mostly conveys a very limited range of emotions such as anger and hatred, without much positivity to go around, something that probably could have worked better if not for the other issue here, a lack of restraint. Most of these songs could probably be cut down by a couple of minutes without much hassle, and the interludes throughout also weaken the overall experience, especially when you take into account the length of this album, overall making it an impressive album in some regards, but one that fails to completely stick the landing.

With all that said, the album opener, Stinkfist is extremely strong, with an incredibly groovy riff that gives the song a really fun energy that carries on throughout the entire song, with the nice, mid-tempo feel being absolutely perfect. The other aspect of the song that really solidifies this being as good as it is is how smoothly, yet effectively the chorus escalates the aggression of the song. Eulogy continues this trend very nicely, starting off with a similar sort of minimalistic intro before the dense instrumentation bursts in. While I may have complained about the limited emotional range here, I cannot deny that when Maynard goes all out, this vitriol is so powerful, as it is here. The sarcasm that can be heard through the heavily distorted vocals of the verses is a prime example of this, even if the chorus may be a bit on the lacklustre side. The best moment of the song is easily the last couple of minutes where Maynard just starts shouting and the sarcasm becomes pure rage backed up by some amazing riffing. Similarly, the song Hooker With A Penis stands out for almost entirely ditching the slower prog sensibilities in favour of creating a hard hitting metal track that is absolutely full of aggression in an entertaining way, especially with how clearly pissed off Maynard is throughout, even compared to most of his other songs.

Usually on this album, when a song is good it's because of one of 2 reasons, either the riff is good, or the chorus is good, which is what makes the eerie, mysterious sounding Forty Six & Two such a beloved song amongst fans, beginning with one of their absolute greatest intros, with a slow, sinister buildup backed up by an incredible riff. The quieter nature of this first couple of minutes is easily one of the best cases of Maynard being more nuanced in his delivery as the band backs him up perfectly, with a much less dense instrumental section creating one of the only truly different sounding songs on the album. The 2 other songs that deserve a lot of praise are the title track and Third Eye. Aenima is an entertaining, fast paced song with a really fun chorus, and while it may not do anything too out there or unique, it definitely is one of the best realised tracks on the album. It's pretty clear why Third Eye is considered such a good track on the album as well, being 12 minutes in length and not wasting a single one, fully embracing their proggy side to create such an expansive track that demonstrates just how great prog jamming can truly be under the right circumstances, all leading up to the greatest moment on the album, where everything stops outside of Maynard screaming 'prying open my third eye' as the drum beat feels as if its thrashing you on the back of the head with a hammer, bringing the album to a close on an incredibly high note.

Of course, as previously mentioned, I don't think that this album is all good by any means. The biggest problem I hear is a combination of issues that ultimately result in a large issue, and that's the mixing combined with the lack of variety that can be found here. Despite some songs being able to make the best out of this, I often found the songs here to sound extremely muddy with a lot of the finer details feeling completely washed out, which when combined with a lot of the songs sounding very similar, leads to an album that I end up forgetting a number of the tracks outside of very specific moments within them. I also feel like they could have cut out a good 20 minutes of this without anything too major being lost, in terms of songs, this especially rings true to both Jimmy and especially Push-it, neither of which managing to leave much of an impression on me at all outside of it being cool that Jimmy's opening riff is a slowed down version of Intermission. The interludes are where the album really becomes less enjoyable than it needed to be, since it hits a point where after H., literally every second track is another pointless interlude, with the only one that's even marginally of value being the aforementioned Intermission, simply because I love the Monty Python and the Holy Grail vibes it gives off.

Overall, while I definitely believe that this is a much better constructed and written album than Undertow, I still don't believe that Aenima is truly where Tool displayed a lot of their potential, with a lot of the incredible stuff being balanced out to a degree by mediocrity and pointlessness. I definitely find this an album of merit, even if a lot of it comes down to some individual moments rather than a case of being consistently great, but I really think that this could have been a much better album if it were only 50 minutes and they cut out the pointless filler. At least Tool stopped having so many interludes after this album, at the very least.

Best tracks: Stinkfist, Forty Six & Two, Aenima, Third Eye, Hooker With a Penis

Weakest tracks: Literally every interlude, Jimmy, Push-it

Verdict: Better than mediocrity doesn't necessarily mean amazing, as Aenima proves. For as great as some of the songs here can be, the album is needlessly long and bears a similar problem to Undertow in terms of being at times painfully one note. Fortunately, despite saying that, I feel like there's a really great 50-minute album hidden in here, and many songs are just straight up incredible to the point where I can forgive it to an extent.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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