Tool – Fear Inoculum
Released: August 30th, 2019
Maynard James Keenan // Vocals
Justin Chancellor // Bass
Adam Jones // Guitar
Danny Carey // Drums
As of this writing, it has been 4807 days since the release of Tool’s, 10,000 Days. In that time, your body has slowly degraded, you get aches for no reason, your libido is non-existent and you’re currently reading this while your four kids scream around you, begging for your credit card details so they can blow your paycheck on Fortnite skins. I mean, I’m kidding, you’re awesome, I’m sure your life is great. Probably.
So enter their latest album Fear Inoculum.
Opening with the title-track, it’s clear from the onset that this is indeed the same band who brought you masterpieces such as Lateralus and Aenima. The song ‘Fear Inoculum’ in many ways distills everything this album, and the band is about, It’s still Tool, but refined, honed on a razor edge of riffs that slowly unfurl, as they dance on the backbone of Danny Carey’s awe-inspiring drum skills. Maynard James Keenan ties this all together with his vocals, best described as a tether as his hypnotic voice reaches for your hand and takes you on a journey as he sings, whispers and gives you even a spoken word section before the chorus pulls into the clouds.
Moments like this are packed into every inch of this record.
‘Invincible’ and ‘Descending feel like two pieces of an absolute whole. ‘Invincible’ is perfectly primed for the live stage with its energetic vocal lines and epic chorus turning it into a battle cry for the world before it disintegrates at the seven-minute mark with the band getting their band jam freak on with an instrumental section that utterly transfixes you with the way the guitar, drums, and bass coalesce together, only for the drums to fade out and leave you with only the slow, invigorating dirge of the guitar and bass before Keenan returns and the band blast the song into oblivion. Whilst ‘Descending’ is the more sorrowful twin, aching in fragile guitar lines and beautiful vocal melody before it reaches hyperdrive and Adam Jones takes you straight to the gods with his guitar majesty.
‘Culling Voices’ slows things down for just a moment with Keenan giving you one of his most stirring performances as he opens his soul to the world, while the slow-moving guitar lines envelop him from every angle.
Saving the best for last ‘7empest’ is a fifteen-minute long epic that may be one of the greatest songs of their entire career. Opening with a slow, ebbing guitar section, it quickly turns into one of the fastest, most energetic songs on the entire album with Keenan going into full Undertow mode and giving you his hardest vocal performance in years. The instruments match this performance with fiery rage as they pull out all the stops with Jones and Carey and Justin Chancellor exposing every inch of themselves through their musical mastery. By the time it’s over Tool have reduced you into a mess on the floor. Because I cannot overstate how much this song fucking slays. It’s jaw-dropping.
Fear Inoculum is a masterpiece that will be unpacked, studied and scrutinised over for years to come. Tool has not so much reinvented the wheel, as they have refined everything about this band that makes them so special in the first place. So for the next 79 minutes forget your life for just a moment, smoke a bowl and ride this journey into infinite time and space.
This album is the only high you will ever need.
Tool – Fear Inoculum tracklisting
1. Fear Inoculum
5. Culling Voices
6. Choclate Chip Trip