Review: The new album of TOOL „Fear Inoculum“ is a masterwork

The singing bowl of Zen rings, Indian tablas, a meditative guitar riff and at some point the singing begins. Even without it, you immediately hear that Tool is at work. How come? Because they are the only ones who live this diffuse melancholy over raptured rock riffs. The rhythm remains almost constant at the opener „Fear Inoculum“, which fits in with the oddly morbid text about „exhaled plagues“ and a cheater who warns against inhaling the light of others. Lyrics from the imaginary world of Maynard James Keenan, Justin Chancellor, Adam Jones and Danny Carey. This Friday, the album is finally for sale. We already heard it.

By Dylan Cem Akalin

The biggest disappointment of the year?, the American musicmagazine Guitar World always asks just before Christmas. Readers wrote every year how disappointed they were that Tool did not release a new album. They always put this on top oft the list. Tool is probably the rock band with the most conspicuous, loyal fanbase ever. And the band is less revered for any Startum, but rather for their immensely profound musicality.

Waiting was worth it. There is not a single track on the album that is disappointing. „Pneuma“ sounds like Asian culture oriented hommage to the old experimental rockers Can. This growing speed increase, the suspense is as strong as if archaic warriors drumming in a trance. And then there’s the guitar, which is as voluminous as if a cargo ship were slowly floating through the air to you. The lyrics might be by Jon Anderson (Yes).

Enigmatic rust

„Invincible“ starts with a series of clear guitar arpeggios, the percussions sound as metallic and clay ound like Hangs do, the bass groans with a puzzling rusty sound, the guitar cuts the air into stripes in long lines. The vocals, typical Tool, melodic and insistent with syllables that are distorted as if they came from the Twilight Zone. The fascinating thing about this Tool-so-typical piece is how the individual structures come together though moving against each other. Just when you think the song is coming to an end, it unfolds more dimensions with tribal drums, stomping riffs, a bony solo guitar and sardonic vocals with the prompt: „Feel the sting. Feeling time bearing down „. With incredibly fat guitars and drums, the song gets to the last stitch.

Tool FOTO: Promo/Travis Shinn

Long rumble, waves on the beach, vocals accompanied by contemplative bass and delicate guitar. This is the beginning of „Descending“. It’s about free fall till midnight, headless asleep, an epilogue of a fairytale. This piece moves textually and musically between dream and reality, between the idea of its own weightlessness and the fear of the boundlessness of people. Again this suspense, which finds its summit in a rocking, almost Wishbone Ash-like guitar. It is melodic and aggressive in its subtle way with slight blues hints, but falls into a fragile sawing, like the chant of a primal animal. The title „descending“ fits really well. And then there’s „One drive to stay alive“, that’s a line, the guitar is as present and expressive as a church organ in a cathedral.

Psychopathic inside view

Light folk marbling is in the vocals of „Culling Voices“, and sometimes it reminds me of Jethro Tull. There is hardly a band like Tool that can empathize so intensely with the inner life of another person. The piece is an inside view of a person with dissocial personality disorder. We feel like beeing in a big black room with no beginning and no end, the cymbals sound indefinitely, the music seems to flow from one side to the other until the guitar is played very close to your ear. And then it starts so powerfully. The song is screaming. But all that sounds like the power is somehow held back. And so suddenly the instruments fade away again in an immaterial distance. Just crazy.

At „Chocolate Chip Trip“ we feel like beeing inside a machine. Dissonant tones to industrial rhythms, which dissolve and develop into a drum thunderstorm, while the discordant tones continue to work as on the assembly line. The first gong slowly gives us something like salvation.

Master of Metal

„7empest“ starts again with a rhythm like that of a folklore group from Bali. Weird. But is soon this all is replaced by the metal guitar and a loud voice warning to keep calm. A storm that is summoned. Oh man, what guitars! They break, burst, sail, split riffs, weave lines to trapezoids where we swing weightlessly. And then the structure explodes into a thousand particles to slide back to new form.

Tool is considered to be the intellectuals of Metal, masters of rock, musicians who create thoughtful complex song structures that are still so full of magic. They proved their mastery once again.