August 30, 2019
After a 13-year layoff, the art-damaged metal of Maynard James Keenan and company is back, as challenging and satisfying as ever.
Album Review: Tool’s ‘Fear Inoculum’
Tool is heavy metal’s great anomaly. Though bathed in the rhythmic complexities of King Crimson, the decaying doom of Black Sabbath and the harshly twisted absurdity of Faith No More, the band’s thing was always comprised of a focused ferocity and a precise, unyielding aggression singular to them. For better or worse, no one comes across like Tool — yet it’s been 13 years since the group lent that sharp focus to new music.
Tool is a unit of snipers who displayed that blunt force intensity through each of its five gold and platinum albums, from 1993’s “Undertow” through 2006’s “10,000 Days.” With a sound as eerily enigmatic and algebraic as theirs, holding onto the imagination of a platinum-sized listenership would seem a rough task. But rather than go to pains to maintain that fan base, Maynard James Keenan — math-metal’s answer to the Night King — devoted his time in recent years to ongoing solo concerns such as A Perfect Circle, Pucifer and being a vintner (his 2010 “Blood into Wine” filming about growing grapes in Arizona is one of the finest things he’s ever done). Tool even kept its mellow-harshing catalog away from digital platforms such as iTunes and Spotify (a service that was born the year Tool released its last album) until earlier their month.
Thirteen years after that last group release, their return to recording with “Fear Inoculum” is split between between prayerful songs that top the 10-minute mark and cuts as short as two minutes. In the nearly 11-minute opening track, Tool at first comes on all slithery and cool before beating the listener over the head with Danny Carey’s pitter-pattering drums, Adam Jones’ clarion-clear, cracking guitars and Keenan’s high, breathy vocals and William S. Burroughs refrigerator magnet poetry kit. Starting with a tinkling cymbal and a hollow tabla’s tappity-tap, Tool groove pensively, even softly, through that first song’s vaguely Middle Eastern melody until hitting upon the roaring thunder of its chorus and the line, “Exhale. Expel. Recast my tale. Weave my allegorical elegy.”
The quiet/loud/quiet dynamic has been a thing since the days of mad, bad post punks such as the Pixies and their grunge children, Nirvana. Only those bands gave it four minutes, tops, then out. Tool, however, turn that dynamic into a long night trip through a moonless desert. It takes patience to compose and produce songs with painstakingly time-consuming intros and then keep that tension going for 11 minutes.
“Pneuma,” with its strummed/slashed guitars and bone-rattled rhythms, has a similarly foreign and crepuscular melody, here with a set of lyrics grounded in how the spirit is “bound to this flesh” but “bound to reach out and beyond this flesh.” The steady majesty of this song is something to behold, a torrid tone akin to the ritualistic reach of David Bowie’s “Lazarus,” albeit without the creeping intensity of death’s door at hand. A similar “Lazarus”-like click and a tale of disembodied voices can be heard on “Culling Voices” as Keenan happens upon a rare thing for Tool — a definable, undeniably catchy chorus — in the phrase “Psychopathy / Misleading me over and over,” before the loud/quit/loud dynamic strikes hard again.
With a slight quiver to his occasionally shockingly smooth voice, Keenan jumps into the tubular percussion tics and clicking guitars of the nearly 13-minute long’s “Invincible” phase-shifting intervals. No sooner has Justin Chancellor pulled a thumbed bass flip than the entire track moves towards a chugging rhythm, a fuzzing guitar solo, and vocal FX that are half-Kanye “808s and Heartbreak” and half-Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman.”
The wild winds and rippling waves of an instrumental “Legion Inoculant” roll peacefully into “Descending,” with its feel (and lyrical verse) dedicated to free falling, floating and boundlessness. Yet before we get too comfortable with the notion of sky-high freedom, Keenan reminds the listener, in a deeper voice than usual, that, “Falling isn’t flying. Floating isn’t infinite…” Not long after his ominous warning, the quiet storming guitars grow duskier and crunchier – even finding their way through a bluesy slide run – until everything chills again, and the waves hit the shore. With “Descending,” Keenan and company have found their most cinematically evocative moment, something equal parts Michael Bay pre-battle scene and a sheltering sky worth Bernardo Bertolucci’s time.
Weirdly enough, the catchiest — even most conventional — rocker here is the expansive, 15-minute “7empest,” with its mix of stuttering rhythm guitars and flanged solos, hard-rolling drums and a sneaky, growly vocal from Keenan where his chorus points accusingly: “We know better / It’s not unlike you / We know your nature.”
Neither that track nor this album — all 85 minutes of it — is as catchy, rangy or amorphously composed yet tight as Tool’s raging smashes of the ’90s, such as “46 & 2” or “Sober.” Not attempting to return to those particular commercial glories will be just fine by the group’s most ardent fans. They wouldn’t stick around for “Fear Inoculum’s” nearly hour-and-a-half stretch, let alone have endured a 13-year wait for new music, if they weren’t expectant of having fresh changes and new dramas added to the vintage wine of the quartet’s heady mathematical intelligence.
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Julia Fox defends viral ‘Uncut Gems’ interview moment: ‘I was stoned’ | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
4m-p0_-ePd8
Alexia Echevarria pushed ‘RHOM’ producers to show more of son Frankie’s recovery | Page Six
February 17, 2022
E-wTaN9NfkI
Pete Davidson rejoins Instagram amid Kanye West drama | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
SsC3dmsI6t4
Aaron Rodgers And Shailene Woodley Reportedly Break Up | TMZ LIVE
February 17, 2022
FoErdRE8Qe4
Chet Hanks Done Talking About Famous Parents, Becoming Personal Trainer | TMZ
February 16, 2022
5_UrULOkQ6o
Woman Stabbed at Foot Locker During Nike Shoe Release
February 16, 2022
TfuXMs1JdVg
Steph's Freaky Side, "Summer House" & "Love During Lockup"
February 17, 2022
9W_raO0zlA8
Tay or Nay, Offset's Sushi Anxiety & Nick on Monogamy
February 17, 2022
PauYHpJRA6o
Kim Kardashian & North West TWINNING in Matching Pajamas | E! News
February 17, 2022
b-_Oib6R108
Adam McKay - Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony
February 17, 2022
tYtzsHoOZzo
Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, and the Cast of 'Uncharted' Talk Most Challenging Stunts
February 15, 2022
d3ksX-SKi8c
Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell on ‘The Adam Project’, ‘Deadpool’, and Possible ‘Star Wars’ Role
February 16, 2022
5TxJsbJr9Dk
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
04
May
CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Playoffs
Seattle Sounders - Pumas
04
May
USA: Major League Soccer
FC Cincinnati - Toronto FC
03
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Bournemouth - Nottingham Forest
02
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Brentford
02
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Fulham - Luton
02
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Real Betis
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Eintracht Frankfurt
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Monchengladbach - RB Leipzig
02
May
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Salernitana
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Leicester City
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Mallorca
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Bologna
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Arsenal
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Chelsea
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Inter Milan
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Fiorentina
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Venezia
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Rayo Vallecano - Real Sociedad
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Mainz - Bayern Munich
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bochum
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Liverpool
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Athletic Bilbao - Atletico Madrid
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leeds - Manchester City
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Espanyol
30
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Sassuolo
28
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Chelsea
27
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Liverpool - Villarreal
27
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Inter Milan
26
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Manchester City - Real Madrid
25
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Sassuolo - Juventus
24
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Rayo Vallecano
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - AC Milan
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Everton
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - West Ham United
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Empoli - Napoli
23
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brentford - Tottenham Hotspur
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.