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Tool - Ænima CD (album) cover

ÆNIMA

Tool

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.10 | 898 ratings

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AtLossForWords
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Throughout the careers of legendary bands which have broken more into the mainstream than others, a reviewer or listener can often find one true masterpiece from a band. An album who's quality soars far above that of the rest, an album that recieves a similar amount of praise from both casual and dedicated listeners of the band. For Tool, 1996's Aenima is such an album.

Aenima is a work that has been unmatched by Tool. There are so many unique creative aspects to this album that simply cannot be repated. The ambient tracks like "Ion" and "Cesaro Summability" are among the most creative of any band, certainly in progressive metal. What is even more interesting are segue tracks such as "Message to Harry Manback", the organ-happy "Intermission", and the bizarre "Die Eier Von Satan".

I suppose the composed music for this album is good too. On Aenima a listnener will be introduced to unique sonic soundscapes. The chordal harmonies and the harmonies between the instruments are not unique, but inventive. Tool doens't stick to the classical rules of how to harmonize a melody, but rather uses odd and misplaced intervals to bring character to a song.

The timbre is one of the darkest possible. As diverse as the harmonies are, there is nothing that is particularly bright. The organ on "Intermission" is as joyful as this album gets. The relentless dark atmosphere never fails to hit a listener in a different way with each listen, Aenima is a new universe of dark emotions.

Danny Carey is one of the few drummers in the world that non-musicians/non- drummers can appreciate to the fullest extent. Never had I been able to believe that such a thing as "melodic drums" existed. That being said, Carey is the musical force that brings this album's excellence to be. Carey has unmatched creativity on his toms. He can roll with amazing proficiency coordinating with his bass drum in unique ways, but more importantly he can use single toms to mimic some of the bass melodies throughout the album. Carey is a musician that has almost equal musical possibilities on a drumset as a percussionist has on vibes. That may be a bit of a stretch, but the drumming on this album is nothing short of creative brilliance.

Justin Chancellor only excentuates the rythymnic prowess of this band. Like Carey, Chancellor is playing a traditionally rythymnic instrument and using it to make up the main melodies of the songs. Chancellor's part of "H" is an absolute masterpiece. He uses such a consistent high range throughout the body of the song is parts and guitarist Adam Jones' intervals may even cross easily fooling a non-musician that it is guitar and not bass playing some of the main melodies of this song.

Adam Jones is anything but a leader player. That by no means infers that he isn't a candidate to be considered one of the very best rythymnic players in music. What is impressive about Jones is the chordal harmonies he creates. Jones is able to use inventive chordal intervals to give the songs the most unique character imagineable. The overdubs from Jones are not only rich, but tight. Jones is one of the few guitarists that can build a wall of sound from an orchestra full of guitar tracks, but sound as tight as a single take. Another trait Jones posesses is the ability to use the higher range of his guitar in ambient ways, not exactly feedback, but the use of slides and long tones in combination with effects to do the most bizarre musical sounds.

Maynard James Keenan is the popular vocalist of the band. His vocal abilities are perfect for the band. He isn't the most prolific singer, but the range of voices he uses fit any type of emotion Tool would attempt to communicate. Keenan's strongest musical trait is his inhuman sustain. Keenans sustain last for phrases at a time, something more than difficult to accomplish. "Third Eye" is the most comprehensive showcase of all of Keenan's abilties. Melodic, aggressive, soft, loud, short, or long Keenan can vocalize any way he needs to.

The production is as good as the band. The clarity of the drums and the tightness of the guitars are the first things which come to mind. The definition of Carey's toms is what impresses me the most. The micing and mixing is able to capture more of the pitch of Carey's drums than the tone. Something which is a lost art in metal production. The tightness of the guitars is also worth mention and I said earlier. I'm not fluent with whetherTool uses digital editing to get these guitar tracks so tight, but the abscence of ambient noise and noise "hangover" is unbelieveably perfect. No notes ever leak into any unintended beats. The bass is a little dirty for my taste, but when listening to such a great player like Chancellor, the tone is a minor taste issue. The vocals are mediocre. There isn't enouch harmonization to tell how well the mix for the vocals were, but the important thing is that the vocals fit the music.

I know I don't need to say how many stars this album is. All you have to do is read the first or second paragraph.

AtLossForWords | 5/5 |

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