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Tool - Ænima CD (album) cover

ÆNIMA

Tool

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.09 | 860 ratings

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Bonnek
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
2 stars Aenima is an improvement over the debut. Right from the opening Stinkfist, Tool goes beyond their earlier grunge confines and gives the music more time to develop, resulting in quieter sections with some world percussion and more intricate riffing. The song itself doesn't grip me though. I think it's due to the vocals which are fairly standard melodically and lack soul. I am aware that this is not the prevailing point of view in the world but I hear what I hear, and I sure don't hear passion here. As I've pointed out in my Undertow review, I enjoyed Tool in concert so the sterile sound must be partly due to the studio recording.

Eulogy goes further in experimenting and expanding the grunge format, adding weird sounds and effects. Despite this disguise, the music is still fairly straightforward grunge/stoner riffing known from acts like Soundgarden, Kyuss or Rage Against The Machine, who were actually a lot more innovative years before Aenima. But the biggest disappointment comes from the vocals again, both the soft musings of Maynard James Keenan and his hysteric outbursts leave me completely untouched. He's not bad but his vocal melodies are average and his delivery inexpressive and characterless. After the average H, Forty Six & 2 starts out better with an appealing bass loop and pensive vocals and moody effects. The heavier sections are predictable but the rhythmic qualities keep this song going.

Another grudge I have with this album is the monotony of the material. Hooker with a Penis applies exactly the same approach as all other songs: rhythmic percussion, nicely circling bass, unremarkable grunge guitars and vocals alternating between quiet and loud as if by prescription. I usually don't get any further in this album then Jimmy, an ok song but I'm long worn out by the time it comes along. I'm actually worn out reviewing as well now so the remainder will be for your own discovery.

Be not mistaken, Tool is an interesting and important band that might work just fine for you. For me, their first two albums offer nothing that the previous generation of grunge bands hadn't done much better years before. So I was most pleasantly surprised when Tool's next albums finally evolved towards stunning and challenging music.

Bonnek | 2/5 |

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