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Tool - Ænima CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.09 | 890 ratings

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3 stars From the menacing opening riffs of Stinkfist to the dramatic closing crash of the mammoth Third Eye, Aenima is a masterful work of progressive metal. With roots in both grunge and metal (and yes, I've heard this band compared to both Bush and the Smashing Pumpkins as well as the infintely more respectable Red-era King Crimson) Tool generally rises above its peers because of a combination of Maynard's fine (often distorted) vocals, its skillful mastery of dynamics and the percussive talents of Danny Carey (one of my favourite drummers of the 90s).

Now I won't deny that Tool could have done with a sympathetic keyboard player to add some variety to the arrangements, but in general the album ebbs and flows engagingly. The two monsters Push It and Third Eye are probably the standout pieces for me, but I must say that the songs often blend into each other. The percussion heavy build-ups and the occasional psychedelic guitar breaks can be found all over the place.

I must say that after a while an element of predictability creeps into the material. One can almost sense Maynard waiting to explode with anger even when the song doesn't necessarily call for it. I also don't always appreciate all the aural soundscapes (snatches of dialogue and interminable sounds of distant wind) that Tool seeks to create.

Despite its flaws, this is one of prog-metal's greatest albums. ... 59% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 3/5 |


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