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Tool - Ænima CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.07 | 1055 ratings

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3 stars Ænima is a very bipolar album for me. At times, the musicianship is strong and the songwriting conveys a clear sense of development and intent, but at others, it falls flat on its face, tripping over its forced anger and becoming mired by its juvenile themes. This really is a case of a strong musical album being truly held back by tasteless lyrics. I understand and respect the idea of trying to communicate messages in an unapologetically direct fashion, but there are proper and improper ways of doing so while preserving artistic integrity. I get that's ultimately a question of opinion and taste, but Maynard's vehicle for expression presents itself here is very unpleasant to me.

There are numbers that are strong, but similarly to my review for Lateralus, a complaint I have is that they don't age well. I feel like once I heard them a few times, I had everything pretty much figured out and I stopped being surprised. Even my favorite track, the evocative "Third Eye", has lost some of its luster, and I fear it will continue to do so. I'll remain optimistic for now and not bury it as of yet, but it very well stands to reason that the review may become more appropriately critical and the number of stars may proportionately fall over time if things don't turn around. 3 stars until further notice.

Neo-Romantic | 3/5 |


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