REVIEW: 'Fear Inoculus' a lukewarm return for Tool

Like everyone else in the world that is a fan of the band Tool, I was eagerly waiting for Aug. 30 to arrive. This would be the release of their highly anticipated album, “Fear Inoculum.” After an astounding 13 year absence, Tool was finally about to come out with a new record. I was more than excited to listen to it. I got my first taste of the album when Tool released the title track, “Fear Inoculum” a couple weeks before the album. Overall, I enjoyed the track. The song reminded me of the older Tool songs, which I really enjoyed. I was a bit disappointed that they decided to drag the song out to 10 minutes, but I didn't think much of it at the time.  

When the day finally came, I rushed to look at the new album's track list. I was astonished to see that all the songs were over ten minutes, except maybe 3 short instrumental tracks. With songs titles like “Invincible” and “Culling Voices,” I knew this was a Tool album, all right. Then, I began listing to the album. Out of the gate, I was expecting a song that was fast paced, had rocking guitars, banging drums and crazy vocals. The song “Pneuma” met these expectations with a reasonable degree. 

I was a little bit disappointed with Maynard James Keenan’s vocals because they kind of went in and out as the track progressed. As I approached the next song, I was thinking that might be the song to set the tone for the album. In a way, I thought the past two songs were appetizers. I wanted to get one to the main course. The track “Invincible” was decent, but it sounded strikingly similar to the past two songs. It was just 10 minutes of drawn out instruments with some vocals sprinkled in. However, I really liked the ending of the song. It was fast, and it rocked pretty hard. I wished the song’s middle got cut out to be replaced with the ending. Sadly, the song still felt like a dragged-out appetizer. I was still hungry waiting for my main course. “Fear Inoculum” is an eighty plus minute album. It is a lot of material to digest. After finally listening to all of it, one song out of the 10 stood out to me. The song is “7empest.” It is what I expected the entire album to be. For some reason, it is buried towards the end of the album. But, when I heard it, it put a smile on my face. The song is packed with fast guitars and drums. Keenan’s vocals also stand out the most out on this song compared to any other on the album.

After listening to this album, I am a little disappointed to be honest. I was hoping for something that would exceed all my expectations, but I think my expectations were way too high for waiting 13 years. Overall, it is a good album. It's not something of which Tool will be remembered forever. It has everything needed to make a Tool album great. It's just not done right. I would have to rate this album a solid five out of 10. It's not really bad, but it's not really that good either. 

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