Metal, Progressive Metal

Tool – Fear Inoculum (Review)

Artist: Tool
Album: Fear Inoculum
Genre: Progressive Metal
Country: USA
Release Date: 30th of August, 2019
Released via Tool Dissectional
Cover Artwork © Tool 2019

Expectations are a funny thing. From the eager anticipation to the fearful waiting for the outcome of an unsure event. The new Tool album is on both sides of this.

Hope and confidence are words often used with the same intention, but are profoundly different regarding what comes with it. Hope has always a little bit of fear in it, because you can’t control the outcome.
Confidence is in your hands, the more confident you are about certain things, the more likely they will happen the way you want it to.

Let’s face it, Tool are not Self Defense Family when it comes to releases. It has been 13 years since their last record 10.000 Days. Like any other band when it comes to a new release, the longer the time between releases, the higher the expectations tend to get. With 13 years we are talking about heights off the charts, especially when it comes to a good discography like Tool has.

When Tool dropped the title track “Fear inoculum” I couldn’t wait to hear it. Would there be changes in sound or mood? Would it be a departure?  After the first run, the answer was: no. It is a Tool song, nothing more, nothing less. The guitars sound a bit like “Pushit” and the tablas remind me of “Right in two“. In hindsight it was a fitting preview of the whole album. The other two songs, which were “released” (Youtube live videos) prior to this album “Invincible” and “Descending” sound as great as expected in their studio versions.

So, was I hoping for a good Tool album, or was I confident, the new Tool album would be great?  Let me put it this way: I hoped for a superb album but was confident, that it would be a great album.

The tracks on Fear Inoculum are Tool through and through. When listening to this album I thought to myself that every instrument has a unique Tool-sound to it, they sound the same on every album since Aenima. That is a great thing in my books, because the instruments just sound great. The production is crisp and clear and every band member can shine in their abilities.

Just like “Fear inoculum” nearly every song on this album is a slowburner, there are no singles like “Stinkfist“, “Schism” or “Vicarious” (which has the worst lyrical opening of any Tool song ever, the “zombie – TV – rhyme” is very cringeworthy to say the least). Six “real” songs, all clocking in around the ten minute mark (three interludes and the trippy instrumental “Chocolate chip trip” which are skipped by me every time).

The songs that are the most memorable on the first listen were “7empest“, a 15 minute rock of a song, which twists and turns, but stays heavy all the time and “Pneuma“, which has a very “Schismy” riff and sounds to me like a Tool meditation.

Every song on this record is a journey, to use this corny metaphor. You will need time, just to get through it, but it is a nearly meditating experience to sit down with this album.

This is a worthy entry in the Tool-catalogue. I like it better than 10.000 Days, because it works better as a whole and the lyrical content fits more my personal interests (more abstract approach, not the blunt society criticism of 10.000 Days, but that’s just my opinion). The songs just seem to get more interesting, the more I listen to them. A very rare quality in this time and age.

I am confident, that this album will stand the test of time and I hope that the next entry won’t take another 13 years.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆


As usual, we added the favorite track(s) to our Transcended Review Playlist.

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