Album Review: Tool “Fear Inoculum”

Review by Mike Thomas

Four thousand, eight hundred and seventy-three days. That is the number of days. Tool fans have waited. Waiting for what they hoped would be something incredible, but as the years went by hope faded, And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became a legend. Legend became myth. What was almost forgotten was that TOOL had written their long-awaited sequel to 10,000 days roughly eight years ago, but the fear of not being their “BEST” work bestowed them with a meticulous scope of self-criticism. The same detail found in each song was spread across each bar, each riff, each word Maynard sings. Now, with it all out in the musical Æither of the scene. One has to take time to digest what TOOL has created for us. 

With each new musical adventure, it’s hard to determine what the best course of attack is. While I’m a suck for most bands to release each single, and dive on them as soon as they are released. TOOL was different, Any mention of the name, and I ran, I found the initial announcement stating they were releasing the album August 30th, and well.. I waited. I set aside a few hours last Friday, and I sat down after work, head on the pillow, and let Fear Inoculum consume my proverbial soul. 

After almost 90 minutes, the experience was over, and I was left wondering “what the hell was that?” I sat in silence, attempting to sort through what 13 years of waiting was.. I eventually fell asleep. the next day as I drove to work, I played all of TOOL’s tracks on shuffle, what I immediately discovered was the complexity of Fear Inoculum was more intense than any of the four predecessors. 

Photos by Mike Thomas

To give you a break down of each track I would feel is a disservice of this band and this album. To be quite honest, TOOL never created their music to be listened to one eight-minute song at a time, but instead, think of TOOL in this way.  When i first heard tool in grade eight or 9 (over half my life ago) they weren’t a band I could just put on Schism and think “wow that’s amazing” instead, as I first listened to Lateralus in my best friends basement in high school, to 10,000 days to Fear Inoculum. TOOL has always been a band that celebrated the full experience of a tale, an adventure, and although my love for this band has changed over time, I do remember the excitement I first felt when I saw them perform in 2017, ironically. the familiar feeling overcame me as I first listened to Fear Inoculum. 

I believe this is a record that should be heard by all, in the mid-2000’s I was not a fan, but TOOL’s presence ushered in a new genre of music into my life, and I am forever grateful for it.

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