A Brief Review of TOOL’s ‘Fear Inoculum’

 

 

 

::: A Soft Review :::

ogTOOL head here. Not since 92, but 95. We’ve all been waiting for this LP for a long time now and it’s still wild it finally, actually happened. Obviously there are about five million reviews on this already everywhere because it’s 2019, so the goal here is to review the LP from the side, and not head first.

I don’t really do expectations, I believe they ruin things. People, music, film, etc. Knowing so many TOOLheads out there, I was worried for most of you expecting too much from this album. It’s been 13 years. Most of these songs were written around the Lateralus B-Side and 10K Days era then slowly reworked a bit over these 13 years to produce Fear Inoculum.

As many of you have stated already, this is TOOL doing what TOOL does best: TOOL. Nothing more, nothing less. The Boys really hit a stride when they dropped what I personally believe to be one of the most important albums ever, Lateralus. That stride has stretched now since, and for a good reason – there have only been two album releases since Lateralus in 2001, or in eighteen years. Think about that – two albums in eighteen years since Lateralus. So many other bands would put out countless more releases than that depending on the band, if they even made it to ten years!

To be honest I wasn’t ever fully sure it was going to happen sometime after 2012. I’d heard rumors they owed Volcano another LP, so it would happen at some point, then they split up with Volcano, and I cannot fully remember how and why.

So here we are, in 2019, mainstream music is worse than ever, and TOOL drops an 85 minute album on us with seven distinct movements, or songs, and then tops the Billboard 200 over the new Taylor Swift about it (or will soon). I’m not going to digest them all for you, I’m having a hard enough time unpacking them myself, which already says a lot.

What I am going to say is this:

– You give Danny Carey 13 years to hammer out the same drumlines, you give us a gift from the spiraling center of the Universe.
– Also completely stoked they give DC the level of volume he deserves on this record. He’s pushed to the front, and you’re goddamn right he should be, he IS this band.
– MJK has taken a step back here, but sounds clean and efficient.
– Adam and Justin play they’re parts perfectly. Swirls of psychedelic guitars for 80 mins straight (no segue version).
– Each song (except for Culling Voices) gets to a giant mid-way point inside the song where they do something that TOOL hasn’t really done before – they jam. It seems to be over these first listens that they hammered the songs proper themselves years ago, and then at some point, decided to actually do something I’ve been waiting for forever, which is actually JAM the fuck out – now if they would only do this live!!! These mini to half song long jams the last half of each song have cohesiveness from the song itself, but also go outside the normal TOOL construct, and space out quite a bit, especially on Descending.

Personally, it took two listens for me to ‘get it’, but now that my head is in that space with them, it all just rolls right over like the steamroller that TOOL is. Sure do some of the songs almost have the exact same synth lines from Lateralus, or does Danny hit moments where the drumlines are similar? Yup. It doesn’t matter, as it’s TOOL, and is probably the last record we’ll see from them as four-piece band.

Just enjoy it.

Let go.

 

:: A Few Related Links ::

Fear Inoculum on Discogs

An Adorable Review of an Insanely Over-Packaged & Beautiful Deluxe Edition CD for $50

 

: Sidebarsidenote :

A big FUCK YOU to Pitchfork for reviewing material you apparently know nothing about.  Their 1.9/10 review of ‘Lateralus’ back in 2001 still annoys the piss out of me to this day.  Stick to reviewing what you at least mostly sound like you know what you’re talking about – electronic music.  Go give Pitchfork a piece of your mind about it on Twitter at @pitchfork.  I have been all week 😈.

 

 

 

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