Favorite track: Pneuma
I actually listened to Fear Inoculum for the first time like a day or two after it was released. It was a real exciting moment as a TOOL Fan™! Finally I wouldn't have to keep watching that old music video for The Pot and could finally listen to something NEW! Funny thing is, I don't even remember what my thoughts were! I just remember it being divisive between fans!
I relistened to Fear Inoculum today because it came on autoplay after I finished listening to AEnima. I actually was about to skip the song that came on (Pneuma) because it sounded like one of those tracks I tend to skip when I'm listening to TOOL, but turns out it was off of their most recent album! Shocked, I continued on...
This album is so peculiar.
I feel like Fear Inoculum is a real first for, really, any rock band. It manages to somehow stick very close to their sonic roots... it sounds exactly like one of their older albums. I even mistook it for one! James Maynard Keenan also has the exact same voice. Makes you think they just left all their equipment in a recording booth all those years and they just came in and recorded everything like usual, no tweaks. HOWEVER! The biggest difference is that this album is so damn BORING!
I am sorry, but nothing on this album is interesting even in the slightest. Yes, they are doing the same little tricks (weird time signatures, short riffs repeated a million times before shifting to the next one, that drifting way Keenan sings) but they still manage to somehow make it all sound so bland. Even the lyrics are boring! Even though I don't make a big deal out of it, I find all the stuff they did in their music pretty cool. I think the song Lateralus is genius. But there are no little funny novelties like that and there is no excitement to any of the songs on this. None of the lyrics or riffs are hard-hitting and soul-expanding. It's so disappointing.
7empest is the biggest slog to get through. This song clocks in at 15:45. Now, don't get me wrong, I am no stranger to long ass songs, okay? I listen to jazz. My favorite song is the 19 minute live version of Queens of the Stone Age's "You Can't Quit Me Baby." But god, nothing interesting happens in the whole of the nearly 16 minute runtime. It's not even "spiritual" enough that I am zoned out in a trance. That solo at around 8:00 nearly made me wanna blow my brains out, it was just droning on and on and on... After that was over with, I was just PRAYING for the song (and album) to hurry up and end already. How did they win a Grammy for this?
I'm just not impressed. Crucify me if you must.