01. It is Tool’s longest album to date
The Fear Inoculum we heard lasted 85 minutes, not counting the addition of “Litanie contre la Peur“, one of the three segments of the album that complement its seven main songs in the digital version (the physical CD will only contain the seven main songs) Each of the main tracks records an epic runtime, as evidenced by the recently revealed title track, which recently set the record for the longest song to enter the Billboard Hot 100 singles list. Meanwhile, the latter work similar to the segues in Failure’s Fantastic Planet: palette cleaning moments that help divide the dense amount of music on the album.
02. Maynard James Keenan has a fleeting yet powerful presence
Maynard sings on all the tracks that are not segue (except “Chocolate Chip Trip“), but often only briefly, since the album gives way to many instrumental passages and episodes of spacious psychedelia, her voice is more a textural accompaniment. In fact, it seemed that Keenan appears only during verses and deliberate choirs, disappearing for minutes at a time on many of the tracks, but making his presence even more powerful when it sounds, especially on tracks like “Invincible” and “Culling Voices”.
03. Drummer Danny Carey takes the spotlight
Carey’s battery expertise has been the central force behind Tool since its inception, but the battery-centered fear Inoculum is an exercise in its virtuosity, as evidenced at the beginning in the second track, “Pneuma.” Carey’s drums are pronounced significantly in the mix throughout the album, possibly more focused than Keenan’s voice. It is the only consistency on all unsafe tracks.
04. There is a clean, digital sheen to the recording itself
For curious fans about the recording itself, what does a Tool album really sound like in 2019? – The answer is: digital. It is not an amplifier buzz or study room noise anywhere. The entire Fear Inoculum is clean in this way, which can be frustrating for analog purists or for those who expect the album to sound like Tool’s last material. This can be heard in the main single and in the main song.
05. Each track is an opus unto itself
Like 10,000 Days, the songs extend into long progressive explorations of various movements. Standard song structures are avoided for a cinematic rhythm, feeling through its progression instead of being cut and hacked into place like a typical pop song. Vocal verses that would normally be followed by a choir instead of falling into psychedelic wanderings, a trick often used in the album, before finally returning to the chorus or eventual chorus that was initially implied. Everything said …
06. The album is best experienced as a whole
Listening to the single “Fear Inoculum” outside the full context of the album was certainly discordant, and the song lost some of the initial brightness that I remember from the reproduction of the entire album. Of all the Tool albums, this one feels especially like an autonomous experience. The use of the segments also works to maintain disc flow and limit dead air, and the fact that the band added a final segment just a few weeks before its release means that they felt that the album’s linear narrative needed an additional adjustment. .
07. It is purely and thoroughly a Tool album
Finally and in general, from a top-down perspective, the album certainly sounds like Tool and does not throw too many curved balls, except perhaps the instrumental track “Chocolate Chip Trip“, with its experimental electronic sounds and its tribal drums solo , and the closure follows “Mockingbeat”, with noises that appear to be monkeys in a jungle. Apart from that, there are no forays into glitch pop or rare genre experiments; The band held on to its established formula as musicians and expert composers, creating a dense progressive rock album with metal and stoner rock dyes, as Tool usually does.
The tool does not reinvent the wheel here or try to raise its sound. For those who anticipate a more oblique or shocking reinvention of the band after all these years, this could be a disappointment. Otherwise, it fits perfectly in the discography of the band and will not insult those who anticipate a sonic extension of the direction more oriented towards the progress that Tool took with 10,000 days. If it’s worth waiting for, it’s a purely subjective question that can only be judged based on the listener’s personal expectations, but loudly, based on a single listening, Fear Inoculum is a beast from an album.