Nora is a sophomore and in her first year of Journalism. She likes to play guitar and watch Netflix.
October 30, 2019
On August 30, 2019, Tool’s first album in thirteen years was released. Fear Inoculum is the album that every hardcore Tool fan has been waiting for. The word inoculum is a synonym for vaccine, so the title of the album literally means fear vaccine. The album contains only ten songs, but is almost an hour and a half long which makes this album their longest ever. Songs on the album include Fear Inoculum, Pneuma, Litanie contre la Peur, Invincible, Legion Inoculant, Descending, Culling Voices, Chocolate Chip Trip, 7empest, and Mockingbeat.
Lead singer, Maynard James Keenan, has a soothing soothing howl and curious creativity that floods each song in a beautifully interesting way. Drummer Danny Carey’s extraordinary rhythmic input has had an amazing effect on Chocolate Chip Trip. His five-minute, multifaceted solo in the song started out with bells and gongs and ended with his beats from his drum kit along with electronic chirping. Adam Jones’ creates a surreal experience with his lengthy guitar solos while Justin Chancellor’s bass skills allow for a nifty addition to all of these songs.
However, after all of the awesomeness they put into Fear Inoculum, there are a couple of downers in this album. First, it doesn’t really have the progressive metal feel that their past albums have had. Albums like Undertow and 10,000 Days were a lot rougher in the way of rock music, which may make their new album less desirable in the eyes of metalheads. Fear Inoculum still has the angsty mood that Tool has always put forth, but it’s calmer.
Also, most of the songs are very long, almost too long. 7empest (a song that shows just how much of a guitar god Adam Jones is) is over 15 minutes long. Metallica has a similar length in their songs, but their intros aren’t composed with bongo drums and electronic chiming. The length of the Tool intros could scare away newcomers as well. If a new listener were to choose Fear Inoculum to introduce them to the world of Tool, they wouldn’t get that true Tool experience.
All in all, Fear Inoculum is a pretty okay album. The band’s newfound style has its pros and cons. On one hand, it seems like a joke with its bongo drums and the entire track Litanie Contre La Peur. On the other hand, the band’s collective musical knowledge and skill really lifts up this album and makes it interesting. Keenan directly conveys a sense of strength with his “fear vaccine” as well as a celestial feeling created by the eerie ambience and white noise. Most of the album had a hint of religious chanting and tribal drumming which was odd. Fear Inoculum earns a 3.5 out of 5 possible stars. It requires a specific taste to really be appreciated, but it is interesting and enjoyable.