4,872 Days Since 10,000 Days




Chris Shields, Writer

If you aren’t familiar with 90’s metal band Tool, you need to seriously question your taste and knowledge of music. In 1993, Undertow, Tool’s first album was released, from that point on they quite literally demolished the boundaries of what people previously thought was possible in music. An extensive and unique use of music theory throughout every one of their songs earned them a large following since their beginning, and now, 13 long years since their last album release, they have finally brought us new material with Fear Inoculum

Fear Inoculum is the band’s fifth studio album and was produced under Volcano Entertainment and RCA Records. This release was the band’s third album to top the Billboard top 200 chart, and it even beat Taylor Swift’s new album Lover this time around. With 10 tracks total, this album is about an average length for a Tool album; however, the song lengths are far greater than most of their previous material, making it a longer listen. 

The hype surrounding Fear Inoculum has been surreal since it was announced, and long-time Tool fans were worried that after such a lengthy hiatus the group may have lost their original mojo. Instead,  not only did it live up to the hype, but it exceeded expectations, leaving fans both relieved and ecstatic. The 90’s metal group everyone knew and loved is back and they are better than ever, and people all over the world are raving about this album.

Tool once again shows their technical prowess in this release with insane keys and seemingly impossible time signatures. Heavy riffs, powerful bass lines, and intricate drum patterns consistently keep the listener hooked throughout the entirety of this album. Some songs, like “Litanie contre la Peur” for example, may catch the listener by surprise with their wacky experimental nature and almost unearthly sound, but other songs like “Invincible” and “Pneuma” give plenty of epic head bang oppurtunities. 

Recording technology has come a long way since 2006 when they released 10,000 Days, and the better quality is definitely noticeable in this album. The songs sound modern and fresh, yet Tool still maintains their unique sound fans know them for. It’s as if someone jumped back into the 90’s while the band was reaching their peak of fame, and introduced them to all the modern technology and equipment that could take their sound to the next level.

The title track “Fear Inoculum” kicks off the album with a bang that will take you by surprise every time. It was released prior to the album as a single, but now that the rest of the album is released, it fits perfectly with all the other songs. Every song on the album is like a puzzle piece that is amazing on its own, but when put together, you get a total masterpiece. Some songs exceed 10 minutes in length, but then there are other songs sprinkled throughout that are under five, so it breaks the album up very nicely. 

Tool may be just as famous for their trippy psychedelic album cover art as they are for their music, and the work on this cover does not disappoint. It’s tough to say exactly what the art is exactly, but whatever it is, it’s badass. The band also shows off a sleek new logo broadcasted all over the album in shiny gold letters. In a weird way the art encompasses the entire album some how. 

One of the many things that make Tool so unique is the lead singer Maynard James Keenan, who absolutely kills it in this album. Unlike most vocalists in his genre, Keenan’s voice isn’t deep and raspy and constantly screaming. Instead, Maynard’s voice is almost operatic and brilliantly under control which adds to Tool’s already unique sound. His singing is so emotional and powerful that the listener easily connects with everything he is feeling.

After waiting for well over a decade for new material, Tool did not disappoint with Fear Inoculum. Everything in this album was brilliantly put together and well-thought-out, aiming to bring fans something that was well worth the anticipation. The band is back, and dare I say, better than ever. This album is perfect for lovers of metal, prog rock, alt rock, alt metal, hard rock, and psychedelic music due to its broad genre. Fear Inoculum gets a solid 9/10 for living up to and exceeding the hype that’s been surrounding it for so long. Tool fans will be patiently waiting for whatever the group brings us next.

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