Tool: Fear Inoculum

ALBUM REVIEW:

Yes, the rock world has a new Tool album in 2019 (not sure if it has been 10,000 Days).

From a theoretical standpoint nearly anything is achievable; save the limitations of human creativity.  At the point where art and science meet, the line into the extraordinary had already been crossed by those who asked the question, in some form or another, “Is it possible to live in the present and exist in the past, simultaneously?”

Fear Inoculum delves deep into this issue on at least one track, ‘Invincible’, in an effort to address the paradoxical conundrum of an aging warrior struggling to remain relevant.  While it could be a nod to the length of time it has taken Tool to release new material (over a decade), it could be effortlessly applied to most any band, athlete, artist, etc.

And this is what this particular album does.  It doesn’t stray far from the group’s older material which would’ve alienated listeners in 2019 and yet, the universal concepts presented will continue to hold true well in to the future.  Once a relatively new and novel idea, the dreaded concept album is now past its prime with the advent of the digital marketplace.  However, much like every previous Tool release the group seems to find its collective purpose in centering themselves within the given constructs.  Put simply, each song is a veritable soundscape focusing on a theme or premise in twisting and turning ten-to-fifteen minute increments.

In making the most out of content delivery modes these days the band has decided to go all in by releasing the album (as well as past catalog) on all streaming platforms.  The dive is also evidenced by the appearance that the company responsible for distribution has only allowed for a certain, limited number of hard copy availability (I still have yet to find one).

The level of production is second to none and is so layered at times it sounds like the band members evolved extra limbs to pull off what should be recognized as a true masterpiece (and possible farewell).  Songs like ‘Pneuma’ take a minimalist approach with regard to lyrics but the driving force of the bass and stirring melodies stimulate all senses.  Other tracks like ‘7empest’ sound like an amalgamation of every signature Tool song rolled in to one and that isn’t a bad thing.  In fact, it’s so rare that a band survives superstardom but it stands as an even greater accomplishment to have been gone as long as they have and still deliver.  If fear can be a determining effect of the survival of a species, well, these guys are thriving.  Rock and roll is alive and well.  Who needs inoculation?

The moody, almost brooding tone of Tool is a quickly welcoming sound from the moment you, on whichever device you choose to listen, press play.  They are truly unique, pushing the boundaries of what is expected from a “prog-rock” band (notice the quotations) and are somehow firmly planted in today’s musical landscape and continue to draw from, and build upon, their past.

Yes, we have a new Tool album in 2019.  And yes, it was worth the wait.  They have no peers.  Take a listen, better yet, experience Fear Inoculum.

 

 

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