Reviews

Tool Makes Their Epic Return With Fear Inoculum

It has been 13 long years, and now Tool fans can finally rejoice. The iconic progressive metal band has made their return with their fifth studio album Fear Inoculum. The band officially announced the release of the album back in July with a series of posts about their previous releases leading up to it.

The four-piece didn’t stop there. They also announced that their entire catalog will finally be available on all streaming services beginning August 7.

The album starts off with the title track “Fear Inoculum,” a with heavy Middle Eastern influence. The song is hypnotizing with meditative clangs of chimes, before drums, guitar and heavy bass join the fray. Frontman Maynard James Keenan shows off his unique range as a singer, sounding just as good—if not better—than he has on previous records.

His vocals are reminiscent of a chant, building with strength before hitting listeners with heavy instrumentals and a frantic drum roll to the end.

The album’s second track, “Pneuma,” gets into the heavy sound instantly, with strong feedback. Synth snakes its way throughout the track, keeping with the haunting and hypnotizing sound of the album. The album’s four shortest tracks, “Litanie contre la Peur,” Legion Inoculant,” “Chocolate Chip Trip” and “Mockingbeat,” serve as interludes, showcasing the intrinsic and incredible talent of guitarist Adam Jones, drummer Danny Carey and bassist Justin Chancellor.

The album combines themes of impending doom and mythology. On the track “Invincible,” Keenan chants, “Tears in my eyes // Chasing Ponce de Leon’s phantom // Soul filled with hope // I can taste mythical fountains.” The 13-minute song “Descending,” opens with the sounds of waves crashing, and once the distorted guitar comes in, it becomes a siren song, pulling you further into its depths. Keenan pleads with listeners to “Stay the grand finale // Stay the reading of our swan song and epilogue.”

The album’s longest song, “7empest” is the most hard-hitting and the highlight of the album. The track still embraces and showcases the exotic sounds and instrument choices, before kicking into high gear with the intensity and aggressiveness Tool is known for.

Fear Inoculum is an album that requires and, more importantly, deserves multiple listens. It can be a lot to take in upon the first run through. However, each subsequent listen pulls back the intricate layers the band members have created in their arrangements.

Tool had a lot riding on the release of this album, with fans and critics alike waiting to see what the band can still do after 13 years of no new music. If anything, Tool has shown that they haven’t missed a beat and still have quite a few tricks up their sleeves.

Tool will be heading out on tour this fall. Check out the tour dates below.

Featured Image: Tim Cadiente

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