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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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Fear Inoculum - Expanded Book EditionFear Inoculum - Expanded Book Edition
RCA 2019
$29.07
$16.49 (used)
LateralusLateralus
Sony Legacy 2001
$10.40
$2.83 (used)
AenimaAenima
Explicit Lyrics
Sony Legacy 1996
$7.95
$3.69 (used)
Fear InoculumFear Inoculum
RCA Records 2019
$52.00
$37.77 (used)
10,000 Days10,000 Days
RCA 2006
$10.89
$3.45 (used)
UndertowUndertow
Explicit Lyrics
Sony Legacy 1993
$10.79
$4.07 (used)
Opiate EpOpiate Ep
Explicit Lyrics · EP
Sony Legacy 1996
$7.49
$14.29 (used)
Fear inoculum Limited Edition w/ HD Screen Video Player & Download Card Variant 2 : Priest BowingFear inoculum Limited Edition w/ HD Screen Video Player & Download Card Variant 2 : Priest Bowing
RCA Records
$67.99
Fear inoculum Limited Edition w/ HD Screen Video Player & Download Card Variant 1 : Priest UprightFear inoculum Limited Edition w/ HD Screen Video Player & Download Card Variant 1 : Priest Upright
RCA Records
$62.98
Tool - SchismTool - Schism
Multiple Formats
Sony Legacy 2005
$7.67
$3.99 (used)

More places to buy TOOL music online Buy TOOL & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

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)

3.20 | 574 ratings
Undertow
1993
4.09 | 906 ratings
Ænima
1996
4.22 | 1521 ratings
Lateralus
2001
3.87 | 923 ratings
10,000 Days
2006
3.70 | 217 ratings
Fear Inoculum
2019

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

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

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

3.65 | 134 ratings
Salival
2000

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

3.89 | 18 ratings
72826
1991
2.83 | 224 ratings
Opiate (EP)
1992
3.83 | 32 ratings
Prison Sex
1993
4.34 | 41 ratings
Sober
1993
3.86 | 37 ratings
Stinkfist
1996
3.89 | 36 ratings
Ænema
1996
4.00 | 2 ratings
H.
1997
4.03 | 36 ratings
Forty Six & 2
1997
3.56 | 54 ratings
Parabola
2005
3.89 | 60 ratings
Schism
2005
3.78 | 56 ratings
Vicarious
2007
3.97 | 29 ratings
Fear Inoculum
2019

TOOL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Fear Inoculum by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.70 | 217 ratings

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Fear Inoculum
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by uribreitman

4 stars There are three great pieces hidden in this over-long project: "Pneuma", "Invincible" and their masterpiece - "Descending". All the rest is not good enough. "Pneuma" is far from perfect but has that old Tool magic; it gives you the feeling of birth, that first breath of life, and it's even optimistic. "Invincible" is the ultimate old-warrior epic. Tool recount their tales of glory, admit they're getting old, and still trying to win some battles here and there. Feelings of nostalgia mixed with the same old rage and change-the-world spirit - a very mature track which doesn't sound too long, although it could have been produced with a richer wall of sound. "Invincible" is the album highlight. Much more than just an anti-Trump piece, it's almost a religious call-to- arms epic. The amazing lyrics by Maynard James Keenan get uplifted with Danny Carey's unbelievable drumming abilities. Not only is this a musical speech to be remembered, it's almost an artistic last will and testament. Only a huge band like Tool can deliver such a triumph to its humble fans. All the rest of the material is almost negligible, or at least way too long, plodding, smeared and sometimes even "filler" to my ears. Was it worth the wait between albums? probably no album in history is worth such an arduous wait. I take these three mini-epics to my heart and carry on. If this is their last album, so be it. I highly recommend "Descending" to any young man in America today. Now we must carry on this heavy burden forward, keep on the fight, because the three Tool guys seem a bit wasted.
 Fear Inoculum by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.70 | 217 ratings

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Fear Inoculum
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars New Tool. Enough said. Of course every proghead worth their salt should find themselves gravitating to this. 13 years later Tool return to the sound that have made them one of the most accomplished bands in recent years and Fear Inoculum does not disappoint as its Tool through and through. Some may argue its too much like old Tool but would you have it any other way. Too many bands try to reinvent their sound and end up destroying what they have. Tool sticks to their trademark sound and then takes us into another realm by the end of this 80 minute opus. The traditional sound is virtuoso musicianship by the drumming powerhouse playing of Danny Carey, the bass masterclass of Justin Chancellor, the guitar technical supremus of Adam Jones, and the clean reflective vocals of Maynard James Keenan.

It opens with Fear Inoculum and a droning buzz guitar heralds proceedings, slow and menacing like The Patient, and as brooding as anything from Lateralus so no complaints from me as i still regard that to be their quintessential masterpiece along with Aenima. The tribal rhythms and nasty bass sound permeate the album and are as good as it gets.

Pneuma follows with a showcase of musical excellence including a melting pot of acoustics, heavy bass, off kilter drum patterns careening into time sigs off the metronome from 5/8 to 7/4 and back to 4/4. The grunge guitar and clean vocals are a chemical balance that resonates perfectly. It ignites into a paroxysm of lightning guitar strikes with 3 chord structure and cymbal splashes. Chancellors bass is incredible 7 mins in and its so refreshing to hear a band experimenting with music the way Tool does. A masterpiece of the album for my ears.

Invincible is even longer at almost 13 minutes, opening with a finger picking solo that i would like to hear someone attempt in a guitar store. It builds gradually with some compelling lyrics about a warrior struggling to remain consequential. A reverb bass takes us deeper into the Tooliverse til it breaks into metal axe chops that slice up the atmosphere, joined by kalimba, didgeridoo and gamelan bells. The odd meter at 6 mins is complimented by a dirty guitar sound and the drums get frenetic with double kicks at the 8 minute mark. Spacey psychedelic vocals augment the trippy music and it gets heavier to its conclusion.

Descending has crashing waves intro generating an atmosphere of blissful isolation.The song begins gently with Keenan in a contemplative mood. The guitar polyrhythms are present and then it gets aggressive at 6 mins in, vocally and with amped up guitars, the type of sound on Parabola. This is dramatic, powerful, exceptional Tool.

Culling Voices starts quietly with angelic guitar picking and gentle vocals, singing Psychopathy misleading me over and over again, judge, condemn and banish any and everyone without evidence, only the whispers from within. Bass adds to the haunting ethereal atmosphere, and a guitar riff sounding similar to intro of Sabbaths Paranoid. The guitars are sharpened with a distorted edge and then it breaks down into reflective nuances with Keenan whispering Don't you dare point that at me. I wouldn't dream of it.

Chocolate Chip Trip is a low point of the album that fills like filler. King Crimson have done similar kanoodling with synths and gamelan bells or chimes, and i was not that impressed with that either. However the track is saved by Careys precise percussion which is killer and as a drummer i cannot help but to simply be in awe of his virtuosity.

Ok 7empest. This is the way to close an album with your best work. It is a 15 minute triumph of progalicious tempo switches, extended soloing, and virtuoso musicianship. It takes the album to another level. Its the go to track for anyone who wants to hear the new Tool. There are blazing guitar solos, tribal drum beats, impressive vocals, and dynamic bass lines. It took me back to the experimental brilliance of Lateralus. Jones is in full flight here as he unleashes fury on his guitar with incredible lead breaks and screaming wails that sound like a banshee. The bass pulsates like a rippling wind as the stormy guitars howl and strike into the heart of the beating drums. I am running out of superlatives. The lead guitar on this is phenomenal. The way Jones punishes his guitar at 7 minutes in is mind blowing. This must be rated as one of the greatest Tool tracks, showing that they still can produce masterful performances.

Of the other instrumental bonus tracks they are atmospheric and a bit weird, especially Mockingbeat not bird that is basically bird noises synthesized. They add nothing to the album which is already a decent enough length.

Overall Fear Inoculum is a great return for Tool, an immersive experience designed for headphones, ticking all the Tool boxes so should not disapoint, unless you are after another Lateralus which is possibly not going to happen. In any case the album delivers and is one of the stand out releases for 2019.

 Lateralus by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.22 | 1521 ratings

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Lateralus
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by mental_hygiene

5 stars I started reviewing Tool albums in late august. I was pretty productive with it until I hit Lateralus. This is the big one, the one I've been looking forward too. I literally listened to EVERY track on undertow knowing that something good was coming. Aenima was a bit of that prize, it was an album I wasn't expecting to enjoy as much as I did. Then, I hit Lateralus. It might've been that it was on a road trip, but I didn't get it. It's so much more laid back and spacious, very little of the "in your face" values of their last two. Whereas the last 3 Tool releases were confrontational, Lateralus is like that pool of souls from Hercules.

My criticisms from my first listen (that I took note of) was that this was long and possibly boring. So I tried again and again for about 4 listens doing the usual idle things I do while listening to music (minecraft!!). Then, I put this on while working out. This actually helped me hone in on the first half of the album, through the opening of Ticks and Leeches. But, if you're running, the extended ambient sections starting at that point kill the energy when you need it most.

The Grudge is an awesome track, something that I always found engaging. While the palm muted riffs on the guitar manage to chug along at a rather even pulse, the track never speeds up where it doesn't want to. Danny Carey masterfully plays with the guitar line to build energy or take it away when need be. There's a lot of development that happens in its runtime. "Wear the grudge like a crown" becomes a connecting motif with a characteristic rhythm that pulls together every section. Almost everything repeats at some point, but it's never the same. There is also nothing like the scream around 7 minutes in. The Grudge is also a great introduction to the more thematically mature and introspective Tool. 10/10

Eon Blue Apocalypse is an echo filled ambient interlude that builds from tremolo picked guitar and sets the stage for the Patient. Fun fact, I knew this song before Schism because its name was also the name of a preset in some lighting mod I had for Fallout: New Vegas. That aside, I hated the patient when I first heard it. I can't explain or rationalize how I felt from an experience that happened 2 months ago, but it still stuck with me until I started running to Lateralus. Now I recognise it as another fantastically developped song. The vocal delivery between 3 and 4 minutes is a great moment. The first time I really started to appreciate Adam Jones' riffing was exactly the 2nd time I ran to this, and I just had a moment of awe at 5:30. So much comes together at once that it's hard to process. How do you explain the way a great chord change makes you feel? I think that's a fool's errand, just listen to the track. 9/10

Mantra is another cool interlude that reminds me of what being underwater sounds like. Next comes Schism, a track that has a riff that, while cool to play, does not work out of context. I loathed this song for the longest time because all I knew was the riff. If Schism was just the first section of the song, I would probably not like this song at all, but thankfully we exist in the alternate universe where Schism is a whole 6 minute song. But really, the first half is just a pickup to the second (and better) half. Tool is at their best when they use harmony, and especially vocal harmonies. "Cold silence has a tendency to atrophy any sense of compassion between supposed lovers". That's a mouthful of a lyric, but I couldn't think of a better way to phrase it than what happens here. 8/10

After the relative upbeat-ness of Schism (which is a lie) , everything comes down to a crawl with Parabol. This is a quasi-religious meditative song, brought to you by a band that was literally founded as a dick joke. Now that's what I call progressive. What I just wrote does sound pretty sarcastic, I think it does hold true. I mean, we can put it aside when Devin Townsend has done the same thing, so why not for Tool? On the note of "pain is an illusion" we hit Parabola, the best Tool song. This song actually has the greatest Adam Jones solo, it's tasteful and doesn't at all feel technically limited nor showboat-y. I'm trying to put to words something that is grand but not ecstatic or self- celebratory. Please listen to Parabola. 10/10

What I like about Ticks and Leeches is how much energy it throws at you. This is the heaviest vocal performance thus far in Tool's catalog. Juxtaposed with the spiritual introspection of Parabola is Tool's diss to the music industry. I think it makes thematic sense, having all this introspection put against the harshness of reality and egoism. At risk of becoming vain, Ticks and Leeches cools down for the middle section. The guitar vamps while an angry... rant or whisper (it's hard to tell) goes on quietly. It's almost like this song lights a fire and then immediately extinguishes it and sifts through the ashes, and then it remembers why it started that fire and goes right back into it, but with greater command and maturity. 8/10

Lateralus is another highlight of rhythmic prowess and a great sense of how to develop a song. While Danny Carey hits a tribal pattern on the toms, MJK starts chanting about colors. You have me 100%. But I love the chorus, "Overthinking, over analyzing, separates the body from the mind". It's not just a music thing, it's something that actually made me pause and think about the way I go about music. We have our own experiences of music that are very much entrained reactions to physical phenomenon. When you think about it, analyse it, you risk creating that experience as a monolith within your mind, something that you did not perceive or digest in any way. When this happens, you have a (drumroll) schism between your body and mind. Point is: accept your experience, live through your experience, think about your experience, but if you try to block it into every detail so that it makes sense to maybe a computer, you've lost the experience that made it important to you. That was a great lesson that this album gave me, and I really hope this doesn't come across as pretentious nonsense because I felt really moved by this. 10/10

Around this point I was trying to understand the final quarter of this album. You might think that it would be a matter of substances as per usual when trying to "get" stuff that is progressive or psychedelic. I found the opposite was true, just my opinion. It makes it harder to latch onto anything, which may make the droning parts cool, but the active parts (aka the whole other half of this album) breezes right by without a thought. So I exercised again, but this time I lifted weights through Ticks and Leeches, took a break for Lateralus, and ran for the rest.

Disposition is a collage of guitar harmonics and some really soothing buzzing noise. There's a lot sprinkled in here, like an acoustic guitar. It all forms a cohesive and almost ambient drone. After some distinctive percussion comes in, a very pitch shifted guitar signal starts sparkling from above. This fades into Reflection, which continues to be meditative in the same vein. This is a hard song to keep track of, and I think that's the point. It's not ambient, but it does just "happen" in front of you. There's a lot of reverse-reverb chanting and guitar tracks that come and go. By 7 minutes, the song has snuck up on you. Reflection is the most fluid song off of Lateralus. 9/10.

Coming second to last is Triad, a very menacing prog metal instrumental. What I think is really interesting is how cyclic it feels without necessarily being predictable. The first half of it is spent building up to a climax that happens 3 minutes it. This is an exhiliarating finale to the album in that the next track is the cooldown to this, but not in a traditional sense at all. 9/10.

Faaip de Oiad is terrifying. There's something about the way the manic drums and disturbing electronic noises combine with the area 51 call that gives it a sinking feeling. This reminds me of the experiences I had when I was younger watching Aphex Twin music videos like Rubber Johnny and Come to Daddy. Tool took this prank call and essentially turned it into a lynchian nightmare of a finale. 8/10.

I went through many phases of inner conflict, hours of listening, and 2 ½ scrapped reviews in the process of trying to "get" Lateralus. I felt really driven by the fact that this is at the top of the post-metal charts. While I've been cynical about Tool, there's no questioning here that they made something worth listening to at least once. I'm glad I kept pushing myself to listen to this because I think that Lateralus is an essential album of 2000s prog.

 Fear Inoculum by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.70 | 217 ratings

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Fear Inoculum
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Hector Enrique

4 stars The fifth album came after a long wait, exasperating for many of whom are fans of this extraordinary group. I cannot deny that I had my doubts if a new album would finally be released. And of course, after so much waiting, and knowing that finally the album was released, the expectations were very high, since the time they had taken, between the compositions and partly for legal issues that it seems they had many in these times , the music would come with different surprises and nuances, as they have accustomed us.

After listening to the album a few times, I find it as a continuation of 10,000 days, with airs in Right in Two, Wings for Mary and Rosetta Stone everywhere. As someone said, nothing new under the sun in the Tool world. That does not mean that it is not an excellent album, whose 6 songs of more than 10 minutes live up to their best compositions.

Fear Inoculum, Pneuma, Invicible, Descending, Culling Voices and 7empest generate feelings of being in front of the best Tools, and we are talking about practically the whole album. I understand that they are probably all within the same cut and that can generate the feeling of repeating the same formula of the success of the previous album without taking too many risks, which we could take as the most debatable point, but in my opinion Jones's guitar remains as scratchy and dramatically dirty and powerful, Carey's battery as always lives up to the demand and Keanan and Chancellor in their best condition.

I particularly enjoy Pneuma, the last section of the song delivered to a Jones riff is the best, and both Descending and Invicible also make us realize that we are facing authentic Tool, and the more than 15 minutes of 7empest with his constant changes of rhythm remind us of the best progressive side of the band, a must. The songs of shorter duration don´t add much value of the disc and I consider them expendable.

In short, some authentic Tool, which have maintained their successful formula and achieved an excellent record. We hope that another 13 years do not pass to meet again and enjoy their music.

 Fear Inoculum by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.70 | 217 ratings

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Fear Inoculum
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by steamhammeralltheway

4 stars Tool heads have waited 13 years for Fear Inoculum. The largest burning question was whether it was worth it. No, it is not a perfect album, but yes, I would say that it demonstrates very clearly that Tool's genius never left them and that they are solidly among the brightest, most innovative spots on the music scene. I will caution that Fear Inoculum is Tool's proggiest album to date, and they're damn proggy already. Thus, Tool's work as their career progressed could not always be fathomed in a couple listens. Luckily we got a little time, as the title track release preceded the rest of the album by weeks. I struggled to internalize the new song. I think this experience is not a detractor at all. Easy come easy go. Think of those catchy little pop ditties that zoom up the charts, only to be quickly forgotten. I remember how In a Glass House, one of Gentle Giant's most exquisite albums, took me four listens to appreciate.

Fear Inoculum succeeds because the band takes some brilliant steps forward and because it soothes the soul. Alternately cathartic and mediational, Tool is closer to a religious experience than an ordinary band. Cosmic highlights of Fear Inoculum are the tranciness and intricacy on "7empest", the title track and elsewhere, the almost synesthetic moments of "Culling Voices." No, I wasn't high or impaired but perhaps exhausted or exasperated. I sure need Tool's healing properties!

Fear Inoculum highly benefits from stellar musicianship. As usual, it's Danny's party. The others tag along to add some more tonality to Danny's trademark polyrhythms and toms. Fear Inoculum presents more consistent conga and tribal beats than any other Tool album. Yet fans of Danny's hard-hitting moments and Tool's abrasion won't be disappointed. Meter is plenty complex. For example, "Pneuma" shifts from 5/8 to 7/4 and beyond, all with incredible fluidity. Drummers have reported throwing their sticks against the wall trying to learn that one without a score.

Maynard's voice, one of my fave, is incredibly beautiful on Fear Inoculum. Gone entirely is the grungy/ alt. rock warble of older albums, enabling his natural voice to be heard more. It's very moving on "Descending," particularly lovely at the 13th minute mark. The vocal nuance Maynard displays on "7empest" may not be equaled by prior Tool work. He gets fierce there too. The vocals on the title track and "Culling Voices" interweave with the guitar and instrumental work, an impressive technique I don't recall much on prior Tool or anywhere really.

The guitar solos on Fear Inoculum really shine. A lot of energy was taken to write memorable solos. The guitar work on "Pneuma" in particular is novel and varied. "Invincible" has a synth solo at the seven-minute mark and pacing changes that keep one on the edge of one's seat. Each Tool album has particular far-out sounds associated with it, synthesized and not. Here gamelan bells, kalimba/ thumb piano and something on the didgeridoo spectrum give the album an exotic, ancient mood, perfect for its greater spirituality over prior Tool work.

I felt that certain Fear Inoculum songs are better than others. I'm sure you'll have your rankings too. I feel that the title track was made the single because it's both the most delectable and most original song. "7empest" tags close behind in my book. Tool songs usually build to a crescendo. "7empest" has an incredible peak 11:30-12:10. Another point of note is the unusual scales and chords in spots. "Invincible," another great track, evinces considerable experimentation, as well, and rarely has a dull moment. Of the six long tracks. "Culling Voices" is also strong. I was less roused by the other two long tracks, "Descending" and "Pneuma." They show some recycling from prior Tool efforts. "Pneuma" 's extended instrumental passages break new ground, though. The four short instrumental tracks, three only present on the digital download, not the CD, are pretty pointless. "Chocolate Chip Trip," the one short instrumental present in all formats of Fear Inoculum is a drum solo extraordinaire from Danny, but it's almost derailed by a slightly irritating and incredibly repetitive custom synth riff. The key is listening through headphones and when relaxed. I understand it's better in the live show, where it was unveiled a while back. The other three short instrumentals, all download only, are mainly ambient sound effects. To me this is not a big contribution to the Tool experience. Prior Tool albums had some short bizarre tracks of a more structured nature such as spoken word or old-timey mood music.

I guess because the protracted wait for the new album became a standing joke, fans don't have any reservation about loudly proclaiming that Fear Inoculum is no Lateralus. I won't deny that 2001 offering was probably the band's peak. There commenced the band's divorce from '90s alternative and expansion of their post-rock, experimental, meditative and progressive elements that set them apart from the get-go. Not only was Lateralus more complex and mature, almost every song was a gem; filler was minimal. 10,000 Days in 2006 continued the new Tool. Dead by this time was the Tool of the '90s, masters of angst-filled if eerie melodies. The new Tool seared to the core of your being and fanned every fiber of your existence. The awe continues with Fear Inoculum. Savor it.

 Undertow by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.20 | 574 ratings

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Undertow
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars While TOOL gets much of the credit for keeping the metal universe relevant during the early 90s at least in commercial terms, the truth is that the band was simply riding the wave of the harder edged alternative rock bands like Jane's Addiction, Alice In Chains and Faith No More that were finding commercial success however as the glam metal world experienced a sudden upheaval and suddenly grunge was the dominate commercial force with Nirvana and Soundgarden suddenly becoming household names, TOOL was right there beside them. The band of Maynard James Keenan (vocals), Adam Jones (guitar, sitar), Pal D'Amour (bass) and Danny Carey (drums) gained momentum on the 1992 debut EP 'Opiate' with a fiery aggressive brand of alternative metal that focused on lengthy progressive cyclical grooves but on the band's full-length debut UNDERTOW the progressiveness had really blossomed into a totally unique sound that implemented crazy time signatures that once taken further on future albums like ''nima' and 'Lateralus' would make TOOL one of the hottest bands of the entire 90s.

Love em or hate em, one thing is is for sure. When TOOL debuted with UNDERTOW there was nothing that sounded like the dark, angry and lengthy complex sprawling soundscapes that TOOL had crafted. While bands like Alice in Chains and Soundgarden were still reliant on blues rock constructs for the compositions, TOOL completely eschewed the familiarities of what came before and crafted a mysterious mix of metal, grunge and even post-rock however the music itself sounds like none of those genres but usually gets lumped into progressive metal or in the case of UNDERTOW simply alternative metal. Having settled on Zoo Records, where both Keenan and Carey experienced a surprise gold album as a part of the comedy metal act Green Jell', the album struck a nerve with the public with the creepy stop-animated videos for 'Sober' and 'Prison Sex' and shot up to the top 20 albums in no time. As of 2010, the album has been certified double platinum which shows TOOL's

Unlike 'Opiate,' a hard hitting more straight forward slice of alternative metal, UNDERTOW displayed a more focused sprawled out series of guitar and bass riffs augmented by Carey's percussive delineations that often took on the characteristics of an African drum circle or an Indian tabla session. Eastern elements occasionally creep in as heard with the sitar addition on 'Bottom' (Henry Rollins also appeared as a guest vocalist on this one).There is a resolute industrial grittiness to the music as well coming to full roost on the album's closer 'Disgustipated' which included Henry Rollins' guitarist Chris Haskett playing sledge hammers. The final track 'Disgustipated' displayed another factor that would make TOOL standout from the pack namely social commentary in the form of spoken narration, extended noise effects, darkened whispered singing styles and a propensity to end an album with a series of noises and silence before a final musical statement which nixed the main guitar and bass sounds. In this case at 6:45 the sounds of crickets are heard for just over seven minutes. This was actually a popular but annoying trend of 90s alternative music.

While UNDERTOW was somewhat of a rough draft for the more artistic statements that followed, the band's basic stylistic approach had been laid out here. The rhythm section had already developed the crazy polyrhythms, Carey's drumming style had already adopted the tabla percussive style at certain points and although the musical flow is a more nonchalant shuffle, the time signatures offbeats have awoken to realize the far reaching potentials. Another proclivity of TOOL's albums is that they insist on lengthy albums that take up as much playing time as possible. UNDERTOW clocks in at 69:13 and even subtracting the final several minutes of cricket chirping time is still over an hour's run. While steeped in the experimental elements that would continue to expand their horizons into the stratosphere, UNDERTOW is still firmly planted in the world of alternative metal without all the crazy artsy extras that decorate ''nima,' therefore the album becomes a bit tedious to experience in a single listening session. Overall not a bad debut at all but in the end UNDERTOW lacks the excitement of what was to come and i didn't discover this debut until after the rest so i've never been blown away by it.

3.5 rounded down

 Fear Inoculum by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.70 | 217 ratings

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Fear Inoculum
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by NickCrimsonII

3 stars The much anticipated new Tool album is here, after thirteen years. Was it worth the wait?

So, here's how I find it (guess it's a bit too early to review it but I wanted to express my initial impression on the record): 'Fear Inoculum' kicks-off with the title track that was initially released to promote the LP, and I don't think it is astonishing or monumental, at all (Actually, I find myself thinking the same about most of the tracks here). It starts slowly, quietly, tabla kicks in at the first minute, accompanied by Adam Jones' signature style of playing, just to evolve into something more mysterious around the sixth minute. Maynard's vocals are lovely on this one (He actually saves the day for the record, absolutely flawless performance on vocals throughout the whole album). The lyrics, of course, are quite Tool-ish, intelligent, implicit, and allowing you to make up your own story out of them.

The second track is 'Pneuma, and honestly, it is my least favorite so far. Most of it sounds like bragging, repeating the same stuff over and over again. Nothing grabs me in this one (probably the beautiful phrasing of MJK, but nothing less is expected from him).

Next up is 'Invincible', one of the two tracks that the band played live before the release. Thoughtful lyrics, fantastic bass line, great work by Danny Carey. The song becomes a bit heavier in the middle, after which we are introduced to some keyboard work that fails to save the second half of the song from the feeling of Tool-ish bragging that creeps over the whole album.

The fourth track on 'Fear Inoculum' is 'Descending', the other song introduced live by the band alongside with 'Invincible'. So far, it feels like the band follows the same formula for writing the material for this album: a calm, even soft beginning that goes through a sonic crescendo in the middle, and the song becomes heavier. The keyboard enters the song once again, at around the same time as it does in 'Invincible', followed by a trippy Adam Jones solo that is the highlight of the track. However, the 14 minutes are too much for 'Descending'.

The fifth entry is 'Culling Voices'. The most delightful listen on the tracklist so far. A song that puts you in this state of timelessness that Tool can easily create, although the previous tracks fail to do it. 'Culling Voices' could perfectly fit 'Eat the Elephant' or even 'Lateralus'. Not too heavy, not too slow, it feels like a song that I could find myself going back to.

'Chocolate Chip Trip' is the biggest surprise on the album. A 5-minute electronica-driven instrumental, full of noises and effects, combined with some Danny Carey outburst on the drums. I think this one could be perfect for the score of some sci-fi futuristic movie.

'7empest' closes the album and I should admit that it might go down in history as one of the best Tool tracks ever. Undoubtedly the pivotal moment on 'Fear Inoculum'. It combines the nature of the rest of the record with the aggression of the early Tool stuff. Brilliant performance from everyone, especially Maynard, as he once again manages to deliver a message in a hypnotically emotional way. A delicious solo from Adam Jones, amazing bass tone throughout the whole song. Odd time signatures, obscure lyrics and crescendos are all on point here. Fifteen minutes that are absoluty wortg experiencing.

The interludes (namely 'Litanie contre la Peur', 'Legion Inoculant' and 'Mockingbeat'). Ambient pieces that sound quite surreal. And that seems to be all I could say about them. I don't think they contribute much to the record, they're not terrible but definitely disposable.

So, 'Fear Inoculum' turns out to be one big patience-test in my ears (so far, of course), the last two tracks save the record. In their strive to make a Tool-sounding album, the band fail to make a record that could stand along the monumental works of their career ('10,000 Days', 'Lateralus', 'Ã?nema'), most of 'Fear Inoculum' feels like bragging, to be honest. When you see the monstrous lengths of the songs, you expect many shifts, both sonic and dynamic. However, that's not the case. Still, the quality of '7empest', 'Culling Voices', and occasionally 'Invincible' is indisputable. The album has many fantastic moments, and some painful ones that make those 80 minutes feel like 120. It could have easily been an hour-long and, I believe, it could have ended up as something much more enjoyable.

[I respect the fact that the band decided to embrace the streaming culture with open arms for the new album and the fact that they provided their whole catalogue online, which indicates, I believe, not a surrender but a progressive mindset, an ability to adapt in a messed up time to be a musician and to sell the fruits of your work]

Still, I keep an open mind about 'Fear Inoculum', I am curious to see what people loved or hated about it, as the reviews are quite diverse. I might be completely wrong about some things, but this is the initial impression I got and it remains the same even after a few more listens. It's interesting how this one will age, and where the band will go from here.

 Fear Inoculum by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.70 | 217 ratings

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Fear Inoculum
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Necrotica
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Tool's fifth studio album is one of those projects that I don't think most people had much faith in. Over a decade was spent waiting for it, getting to the point where several memes online mocked the band for their inability to stay on the same page and get the record done. I get the feeling many of us thought it would go the way of Half-Life 3 and become the musical version of vaporware, and the constant rumor mill from the band and media wasn't convincing people otherwise. And yet? somehow, we actually made it. Fear Inoculum is out, and critics are already stumbling over each other giving the album (mostly) rapturous praise. Most of the public seems onboard for it too, giving kudos to the band for not missing a beat and swinging back stronger than ever. For the most part, I can agree with this.

Fear Inoculum is not the easiest experience to dive into; it runs at 80 minutes (86 if you're talking about the digital version) across only 7 tracks, which means almost every song is over 10 minutes. That's a lot to digest, and many of these songs run at very slow, almost doomlike paces. But, as usual for a latter-day Tool album, there's plenty of dense progressive metal to sink your teeth into. You'll find all the typical Lateralus-era stuff here; tribal rhythms, post-metal buildups and payoffs, subtle polyrhythms, and frequent dynamic ebbs and flows all make their way on this record. However, it's important to note that the buildups are much more lengthy and detailed this time around. In fact, I'm a little shocked that the title track was able to become a charting single, given the fact that the song doesn't really get off the ground until about halfway into its 10-minute runtime. I suppose that's the power of hype and expectations after such a long wait from the band's devoted fanbase! Anyway, these long runtimes work better for some songs than others; "Pneuma" and "Invincible" are fantastic examples of balancing their buildups and payoffs perfectly for emotional effect, especially in the way the latter combines triumph and resignation to flesh out the story of an "aging warrior" (see also: Maynard Keenan himself). The former presents itself in a darker and almost ritualistic manner, with Maynard repeating several lines over and over while the stuttering rhythms are constantly throwing you off in the process. Every time the heavy Drop-D riff comes in, it's a welcome release from the tension.

The band members themselves have clearly grown over the years, and they sound even more comfortable than ever when flexing their virtuoso muscles. However, one thing that I've always loved about Tool over the years is that they never really beat you over the head with their instrumental prowess, instead preferring to showcase their skills in more subtle ways; Fear Inoculum definitely sticks to this. Instead of doing a giant shred solo, Adam Jones might lay down some simple guitar chords that are played in a slightly off-kilter or wonky manner, such as he often does in album highlight "7empest." The entire song is like a giant experiment where the band members all try and see how many cool things they can do the metallic framework they're given, and the outcome is just phenomenal. As far as vocals go, Maynard is more reserved and introspective this time around; but given the structures and dynamics of the songs here, that's the perfect route to go. Plus, given his age, he still sounds excellent. Still, I don't think many people are going to doubt that this is absolutely a rhythm section-centric record. Justin Chancellor and Danny Carey absolutely tear up this album, providing both an incredible backbone and an infinite stream of ways that Adam Jones could work his guitar magic over them. "Chocolate Chip Trip" might be the most inconsequential and skippable song on the album in the grand scheme of things, but I still don't advise missing out on that sweet drum solo that Carey lays down on it. It's one of the great highlights of his recorded output.

So what's wrong exactly? Well, just one thing? and it's a pretty important thing. Let me start this off with a movie analogy: have you watched an actor that you can only see as that actor and not a character they're playing? A big example in my case is Tom Cruise. Every time I see him in a role, I just see Tom Cruise; I don't see a character, because Cruise just kinda overtakes the role itself. It's a really frustrating situation, because it constantly sucks me out of the immersion of a film when I can constantly see the "man behind the curtain." And unfortunately, Tool fall right into this trap. One of the things that made Lateralus and even 10,000 Days so great is that there was always that additional instrumentation that fleshed out the atmosphere of those records. There were always Jones' guitar pedals and a bunch of warbling industrial effects lending to the dark, eerie vibe Tool succeeded so well at crafting. Sadly, on Fear Inoculum I just hear 4 guys jamming out in the studio. The atmosphere is so empty and sparse on this album, and it doesn't help that there usually aren't many extra synthesizers or pedals to spice things up. That's not to say the entire record is like this; "Pneuma" has an excellent middle section with a buzzing electronic effect alongside some beautiful clean guitar melodies from Jones, and of course the tribal drumming in the majority of the title track is always welcome. But considering this is Tool's longest and most dense album, it would have been nicer to hear some more little touches to provide extra detail and texture to the experience.

Still, I'm really glad Fear Inoculum is finally here. I'm glad that we're finally able to let all the old memes and jokes about Tool's constant delays finally die. And unlike Duke Nukem Forever, we have a delayed product that's actually incredibly solid and worth the time it took to make it. If you enjoyed Tool's prog era, you'll most likely love what they did here. Fear Inoculum is the logical outcome of the band's constant flirtation with complexities and intricacies over the years, as well as how much they'd grown personally and creatively to get to this point in their lives. I can't say that this is a better album than Lateralus - which I still consider to be the band's gold standard - but it's definitely my second favorite of theirs so far. There's just too much ambition and quality songcraft here to pass up or ignore. So was Fear Inoculum worth the wait? I wholeheartedly say: yes.

 Fear Inoculum by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.70 | 217 ratings

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Fear Inoculum
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by saponaope

5 stars Fear Inoculum's seven songs - which in digital format come with three more songs: "Litanie contre le peur", "Legion Inoculant" and "Mockingbeat", in practice three climatic and instrumental interludes - feature pretentious, original and hypnotic work . Six of the seven tracks exceed ten minutes (with the exception of "Chocolate Chip Trip", another instrumental interlude) and feature chords, harmonic progressions, rhythmic scales and predominantly ascending melodies, which makes the album have a very strong sound magnetism. In practice, this translates into a hearing that causes a kind of hypnosis as the songs unfold. The choice to construct the songs using sister chords and notes, coupled with Keenan's mostly ethereal vocal melodies, intensifies this mind-numbing sensation while opening new untapped songs in the listener's brain.

The rhythmic part remains one of the highlights, with unconventional movements and an approach that talks with fusion, always supported by the univiteline union between bass and guitar. Chancellor's instrument, always a highlight, continues to play an almost percussive role and fills the spaces omnipresently. Drummers will still love Carey's work, while Jones maintains a guitar playing that, especially in Fear Inoculum, is much more interested in creating sound atmospheres than riffs.

However, the weight comes. And when it comes, it arrives beautiful. The apexes of the songs, with instrumental explosions full of rhythmic turns, are chilling to even the most bald of fans. It's an original, unique and beautiful song that could either be defined as a hypnotic prog metal or a meditative fusion.

The fact is that in Fear Inoculum the Tool requires a listener partnership so that what the band is proposing is effectively assimilated. This means that in a world where urgency predominates and anxiety is no longer an exception and has become the company of most individuals, a disc that is over 70 minutes long and tracks that are over ten minutes need some effort. from most listeners. Fear Inoculum is not one of those albums made for occasional and occasional listening. It demands an immersion, it takes time from those on the other side of the headset. But in doing so, it rewards you with creative delivery, a song that is totally out of the box and delivers incredible sensations.

Among the tracks, highlight the sensational song that beats the album, "Invincible", "Descending" and the incredible "7empest", the longest and heaviest of the album and where the full protagonism goes to the guitar of Adam Jones.

Fear Inoculum makes up for the thirteen year long wait for a new Tool album with a complex, extremely immersive, musically rich work that carries both the seal of quality and the original aura the band has always possessed. One of the biggest albums of 2019 and one of the best albums of the quartet's career.

 Fear Inoculum by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.70 | 217 ratings

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Fear Inoculum
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by pzurden

3 stars The first thing i tried to do is to put aside the tremendous amount of hype that had around my head over this new Tool album to get a more objective listening. It was really difficult though, because 13 years have passed and we diehard fans were really excruciated by this wait.

On my first listening i only liked "Culling Voices" as i thought that it was the only song that didn't really reminded me of any previous material from the band. And then on my second listening, a couple more songs were appealing like for example 7empest but nonetheless the feeling that predominates over and over again in this record is pretty much the same: I've already heard this.

The opening track is the homonymous one, and for me is a really bad start to the atmosphere because it never resolve the progressiveness although it is 10 minutes long. The riffs and melody changes as also the addition-substraction of instruments in the melody is confusing and doesn't really act cohesively. It sounds as if Tool is trying to make one song out of Parabola, Rosseta Stoned and Right in Two altogether.

The second track, Pneuma is an overall Jambi and Lateralus wannabe. The band reproduces perfectly the dense and time complex atmosphere of these anthems but as hard as they try, it doesn't add any new flavours to the recipe. Also, in the case of Lateralus, there is a tone preparation with the previous tracks that added to the mysticism around the sound, that doesn't seem to happen in this case. Every song in this album seems to exist by itself, as if no album concept existed.

Then we have Litanie Contre le Peur that acts as an Interlude. It is a 2 minutes track in which Adam Jones emulates a continous synth tone with tremolo using his guitar. The atmosphere that he creates is very immersive but i think it is something that every guitarist can do when playing with the effect pad possibilities. When comparing it to other tool famous interludes like Message to Harry Manback or Lipan Conjuring it really stays out of reach. In this aspect, the second interlude of this album Legion Inoculant is much more serious and convincing in creating auditive context and subjective rest for the remaining part of the record.

Invincible and Descending are very similar tracks and thats why I put them together. The first one is a perfect copycat of Right in Tow's tone, instrumentation, song scheme, and overall vibe but with a Lateralus-esque sustained solo almost at the end of it. Descending is a little bit longer and one of the things that I liked about it is that it starts and ends with wave sounds, an intro a little bit different from the hindi arpeggiated ones that Tool uses as a common resource. Then it becomes a Schism-like bass line but with a Vicarious flavour that contains really juicy guitar lines but in spite of this, the songs are really another Tool songs.

Culling Voices and 7empest are my favourite tracks of the record, because they try effects and melodies unused before by the band and in the case of Culling Voices it is clear that the punkish riffs and clean distortion is a shot-out to Tool's first EP Opiate (Hear the song Hush for example). As far as it goes for 7empest, i think is the most organized and better orchestrated piece on this project. It reminded me to APC's "The package" specially in the sudden contrasts and agry moods. It also has specks of The Grudge and Forty Six & 2.

Chocolate Chip Trip is the worst track of the album in which we can hear that in spite of the always excellent performance of Danny Carey and electronic experimentation the band fails to create this chaotic instrumental tune that, in the end, seems more like a bad Zappa tribute than an experimental odissey.

The ending of the record is carried out by Mockingbird, a mediocre outro if compared with Viginti Tres or Faap the Oiad but that nevertheless gives a nice vibe with the bird samples and stuff.

To finish with this long and dense gibberish, and more in terms of the album as a whole i really think it's good, but non-essential. It is It is not a record that i will come back later very often, as Tool has another projects that are highlighted with excellency that i'd rather revisit .It definitely didn't worth the 13 year wait, as it never reaches the mystic and mathy lyrics and harmonization of Lateralus and AEnima for example (that were made 5 years apart). In spite of this, it is not a bad record, and has every piece of the Tool's essence that fans love.

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

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