Tool returns with long-awaited 5th release 'Fear Inoculum'

Category:  The Arts
Friday, September 13th, 2019 at 11:22 AM
Tool returns with long-awaited 5th release 'Fear Inoculum' by Rhiannon Pushchak
Progressive/alternative metal group Tool is back with their fifth release after a 13-year silence. | Speakeasy PR

There are very few modern bands in the world that are as innovative as alternative and progressive metal band Tool. Bands who claim to be of this caliber are pale imitations, and there are many who try and fail. Tool, on the other hand, has always had an extreme attention to detail when it comes to their albums, thus leaving long gaps in between releases.

After a 13-year long hiatus following their fourth album, “10,000 Days,” Tool came back into the limelight with their newest record, “Fear Inoculum,” and the world is again divided down the middle. Some are in complete awe, others are, to an extent, underwhelmed. In my eyes, the album is nothing short of astounding, and to be underwhelmed is to not fully appreciate all of the creativity and time that goes into each record.

This creativity even goes down to the album packaging. Their previous release came with a set of goggles and a series of 3D images that moved when you changed the way you held the album in your hand. We’ll come back to the packaging of this release.

While people like myself absolutely adore the album, there are critics of the record who describe Tool as a one-trick pony. I am not one of those people. This is their best record yet, and they can only get better from here. The album clocks in at nearly two hours long and every track moves seamlessly into the next, making the album one entity, as is common with Tool’s other releases. It was exceptionally difficult to pick my favorite track from the record for this reason, as I was so enamored with it as one big experience where no one song is more important than any others.

Each song is unapologetically a Tool song, which is the best way to describe it. Mystical, heavy, philosophical, spiritual, somewhat Darwin-esque or even Lynchian, but never boring.

In addition to this, the packaging itself is just as mind-boggling. The extremely limited physical release of “Fear Inoculum” includes its own rechargeable HD screen that plays a small video when you open it, complete with its own charging cord. But it doesn’t stop there: the box houses the CD and a digital download card with three extra instrumental tracks not included in the original tracklisting (these tracks do appear in digital versions of the album, though). I can imagine this has never been done before now, and it only makes sense for Tool to be the first band to do it.

One can assume the album will receive attention at the Grammys this year, as the band has previously won the award three different times: Best Metal Performance for “Ænema” in 1997 and “Schism” in 2001, and Best Recording Package for “10,000 Days” in 2006 (because of course they did). As I mentioned before, Tool is one of those bands that no other group can replicate, nor will there ever be a band like Tool again. “Fear Inoculum” is another reason why they are still one of the best modern progressive bands of our time, or any time before or after.

Tags: music review

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