It’s Friday, August 30th, and you know what that means…Tool are back, and they’ve given us something serious to chew on – their 85-minute long progressive soundscape of a new album entitled “Fear Inoculum”. Surreal moments abound for Tool fans over the past few years of waiting for signs of new material, to the last month of honing in on the album’s title track, which the band shared a few weeks back.
It should come as a relief to any fans worried about the output here that the songs sound very much like Tool songs. As other reviews have stated, this is music you need to soak in for a while, ok? Get your good cans and bring this album for a long walk in the forest. Repeat listen are a must, because what the band are doing here musically, contrary to what the naysayers point out (where is the groove?) is grooving – they’re just grooving to their own prodding, precise beat. It’s all groove here. Don’t just look for the big thrills – this is a ride, a journey.
“Fear Inoculum”, album opener/title track, starts with an alien photocopier (correct me), followed by tablas/percussion that sounds familiar a la Pushit, but the song quickly develops into it’s own hypnotic entity, with Maynard’s vocals doing pretty much what they need to, contributing some powerful spiritual suggestion through angelic, melodic tones and reflective lyrics. The proggy arrangements are familiar, borrowing from various stages of the band’s career, but to be fair, they’re copping their own sound and no one else’s, and the familiar chords/tones often feel like the revisiting of an old emotion while progressing to new ground.
“Pneuma” is already fast-becoming a fan-favorite, and for good reason. The band lean into a punchy, swinging downtempo drone accompanied by a memorable Adam Jones riff, and some motivational rhetoric from MJK to go with. It feels fresh, only getting bigger and more impactful as it goes. The call to “Wake Up. Remember.” sounds urgent.
“Litanie contre la Peur” is a superb little Eastern interlude, leading us into “Invincible”, which introduces a slightly more Radiohead-inspired side of Adam Jones. As a Tool fan, you notice any chord or note not normally in the band’s repertoire, and it’s certainly different to hear this kind of finger picking from a Tool song. The track moves through synth-heavy psychedelic jams that wouldn’t be out of place on a Pink Floyd album before exploding into pummeling riffage for the ending section.
“Legion Innoculant” is another interlude, seemingly inspired by more ambient, electronic artists, Brian Eno, Vangelis, etc. It’s a natural transition for Tool.
“Descending” is a wild ride with one of the greatest second halves of Tool’s career. Melodic and devastating.
“Culling Voices” is a slow burner, opening with and staying with another slightly unusual Adam Jones melody, opting to develop in subtle stages, only opening up towards the end. The band could have capitalized on Jones’ early riff and jumped in somewhere, but they wait 6 minutes and go in a more familiar direction with the closing riffage.
“Chocolate Chip Trip” will probably go down as one of the coolest drum solo tracks ever recorded. And there are quirky synths too.
“7empest” is the chosen ‘rocker’ on the album, and this one seriously grooves. For 15 minutes and 44 seconds, bruh. That’s what is required when approaching the end of a Tool album. My personal opinion is that Tool are just ridiculously in SYNC on “7empest”, and it succeeds in spades even though it embraces some similar chord arrangements of “Right In Two” (not the first time that was noticed on this album). My favorite track, with “Pneuma” coming an extremely close second.
Tool have succeeded here in making the whole greater than the sum of the parts, all plunking in their contributions with care and passion. “Fear Inoculum” is big, beautiful, thought-provoking and….fun?
Listen for yourself on Spotify.
“Tool’s Fear Inoculum is a masterpiece to be dissected for years to come.” – Revolver
“absolutely gobsmacking” – Kerrang
“Fear Inoculum is a beast of an album” – Consequence of Sound
“A languid and blissful work.” 5 Stars – NME
“TOOL’s Fear Inoculum is a transcendent return” – SPIN
Aug. 30, 2019, LOS ANGELES – Fear Inoculum, TOOL’s fifth studio album and 2019’s most anticipated release, is available now. Listen here: .
The news arrives as the band announces a six-week North American tour, launching the trek on Oct. 13 at the Aftershock Festival. Tickets are on-sale Sept. 6 at 10 am local time, with a limited number of tickets will be available to Tool Army members on Sept. 4. Tool Army information, as well as VIP package details, can be found via Toolband.com.
TOOL TOUR DATES, CITY, VENUE AND TICKET LINKS:
TICKETS GO ON SALE FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 6 at 10:00 AM LOCAL TIME.
ATTN: TOOLARMY MEMBERS
There will we a limited PRE-SALE on WEDNESDAY, SEPT 4 at 10 AM local time on the BAND’S WEBSTORE.
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
10/27/19 Houston, TX Toyota Center
11/3/19 Chicago, IL United Center
11/6/19 Cleveland, OH Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse
11/16/19 Newark, NJ Prudential Center
11/18/19 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center ;linkID=global-wachovia&shopperContext=&caller=&appCode=
Earlier this week we featured a Canadian artist who has taken on the daunting task of covering/arranging a triad of Tool albums, Aenima, Lateralus and 10,000 Days, all on solo piano.
Listen to our curated playlist of modern, underground Bands with heavy Tool influence in their music below on Spotify. Featuring Windhand, Pinkish Black, Jane in Space, Russian Circles, Pallbearer, Ufomammut and more.
“Fear Inoculum” was recently included on Jon C. Ireson’s “Best Albums of the 2010’s” List.