Today I am doing something I never thought I would ever do, review a current Tool record.
*First things first, I am not going to delve into the darkest reaches of this album, if I did we could spend weeks on it, so consider this the more "quick review".
Let's get the cat out of the bag straight away, shall we? I do enjoy Fear Inoculum. But... I don't love it as much as some of Tool's earlier albums. There, I've finally said what I've been thinking for almost a month now and feel so much better for it.
Now, before you light your torches and grab your pitchforks to lynch me, hear me out first please?
So, it's been 13 years, and in that time we've only had Tool's back catalogue to listen to on repeat to feed our addiction to their music, meaning we've grown with it, heard it so much that we know it better than the sounds our own bodies make. Maybe not enough time has passed for me to love it just yet, I mean Maynard himself compared Fear Inoculum to a slow burning film, saying we need patience and multiple listens to get the full experience.
But the important point I would like underlined is, Fear Inoculum is an amazing album. It's the perfect mix of old and new styles, I mean, one second it sounds like the band never took a massive hiatus and Fear Inoculum was recorded right after 10,000 Days. Then the next moment there is this completely new sound that takes you by surprise. I don't know about you, but that's impressive, especially when they do it in a single song, let alone the whole record.
Despite the length of some of these tracks, they are all easily listenable and nothing feels too long, meaning you loose yourself in the music, I've given up counting how many times I've stopped to think about the next sentence of this review, and had to snap out of a music induced reverie.
Highlights on a Tool album are hard to come by, the thing as a whole is always top shelf, and needs to be experienced in one sitting.
But, if a gun was pointed to my head and I was asked for top tracks, and saying the whole thing isn't an option, I'd have to say, and in no particular order:
'Fear Inoculum', it is a great opener, slow burning, haunting and despite its length (10+ mins) leaves you craving for more. Next for me would have to be 'Descending', I love the ocean sounds at the beginning and once the song actually starts, it's some of Adam Jones' best work, not to say the rest of the song is just there for Jones to shine, but... my god it's good.
Finally, '7empest', it's the track that comes to mind when I mentioned the mixing of the new and old styles in one song and really shows off how far Tool has come, and also that they don't intend to slow down again. But special mention has to go to 'Chocolate Chip Trip' which is a Danny Carey drum solo with a weird ass synth backing!
To sum up I'd like to repeat what I said at the start, I really am enjoying Fear Inoculum, but not loving it as I do the older records just yet. Will I listen to it for the rest of my life? Yes. Will it get as much playtime as the others? Not at the moment, but I can perhaps see that changing in the future.