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Fear Inoculum - Tool's first album in 13 years

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Francis Buck:
Because Tool deserves it owns thread.

First (?) review: https://www.spin.com/2019/08/tool-fear-inoculum-review/

Album drops August 30th, the first single and title track is available now:

I really, really wanted to like this.

Unfortunately, I don't like this.  Here is my initial thoughts that I wrote somewhere else first:

About 2 minutes in, I really thought I was going to like this song. But then it all just fell apart for me, where the lyricism (or seeming lack thereof) and the relapse back to Lateralus derivative instrumentation fail to deliver anything noteworthy to me.

Where Opiate is was kick in the pants, Undertow is a punch in the mouth. Where Ænima has your brain hit in the gut, Lateralus is where your mind tries to expand, well, itself. 10,000 days? I don't know what it is. I can't make heads or tails of it, still. Not that I am trying much. And this new song? Again, smacks of too much Lateralus detritus for me to "take it seriously." Not to mention that the lyrics fail to land anything at all to me. But Tool albums felt like a progression, from the up-front nature of Optiate, to the beginnings of that concealment on Undertow and Ænima, to the more fully realized abstractions in most of Lateralus. These later works feel, to me, like pastiches of Lateralus, a parody of it's own style.

Now, of course, I am fully not the same person who listened Ænima in 1996. So, maybe the issue is just me. But this is not what I could call music I am interested in hearing. It still upsets me, since, as one could probably tell from my user name, I was a fan back in the day. I am still a fan of their work up to Lateralus. But this newer stuff, it's just not what I can bear. But, like I said, maybe it's just me.

Francis Buck:
I actually agree with you on this song in particular (loved the first half, less so in the second), although I must say that Lateralus is my favorite style of Tool out of them all lol, so "Lateralus-detritus" is still potentially gold.

That being said I absolutely expect this album to be just as 'out there' as 10,000 days, though perhaps in a different direction. I also don't expect to even like most of the songs right off the bat aside from two or three *maybe*. Some of my favorite Tool songs took YEARS to work on me (most of 10,000 days, most of their early stuff, and songs like H. and Push It, just off the top of my head). Even though this song is kinda meh, it honestly puts zero damper on my hype for this. Tool's essentially my favorite "modern" rock band though so I am intrinsically biased here lol.

ETA: Also what the fuck dude I can't believe I never realized all this time that your name came from that, I feel so dumb lol. 


--- Quote from: Francis Buck on August 21, 2019, 02:41:35 am ---ETA: Also what the fuck dude I can't believe I never realized all this time that your name came from that, I feel so dumb lol.
--- End quote ---


Lateralus was a fine album.  But it was no Ænima, at least, not to me.  It had some really good moments, but failed to be "great," in my opinion.

But I realize this could well be me, how post-Lateralus, I simply am not the same sort of person, so "staying" in a pseudo-Lateralus state is just not where I am at.  I feel like this newer music and I are ships passing in the night.

I guess there is likely some manner of comparison, where we could run some literary analysis on the lyrics of, say, H. and this new song.  And I'm sure it would "say something."  Or some comparison of the instrumentation.  But in the end, it really doesn't matter.

Is it nostalgia for the old stuff that has me still like it?  Or is there some qualitative difference to this newer stuff?  Who knows.  Does it really even matter?

I guess, in the end, it just comes down to, either I am not the right listener for this, or this is not the right music for me any more.

Lamentable, maybe.  But like I'd imagine the "progression" of albums, from Optiate through Lateralus, "tells us" of a "progression."  These newer ones don't feel like a progression to me.

So, maybe that is a "personal problem."  Maybe I progressed and the music didn't?  Or more likely, we both did, but in different directions.

Francis Buck:
It's worth noting that I was like 12 years old when I first started listening to Tool, as my older brother would give me different albums from various bands, and of those Lateralus was like my favorite thing ever. I was listening to like, Creed and shit until I got Lateralus. I didn't realize such cool music even existed.

So yeah, to say I have rose tinted glasses for that album is an understatement. I gradually went through their discography over the years very slowly for some reason, it wasn't ever deliberate until 10,000 days. 

I actually do perceive a progression with their music, but it seems to me they were always branching out and exploring new territory for themselves, and 10,000 Days was obviously a pretty personal album in ways for Maynard, while also being more experimental and still doing some more 'traditional' sounding Tool songs like Vicarious and The Pot (I'm actually not a huge fan of Vicarious which I'm pretty sure was the first single, whereas The Pot is one of my favorites from them). I also think Wings for Marie is an incredibly powerful and extremely well-made song, even if it's not the sort of thing you just throw on and listen to casually.

It's really hard to say just going off of this one (albeit 10 minute) song, and even though I don't really see this one ever growing me, it doesn't dampen my excitement at all, probably because lots of Tool songs never grew on me (I just can't get into Sober for some reason, the lyrics are good but the music just doesn't tickle my brain the right way lol).

As for your own personal enjoyment -- I can't say, other than that I don't think it's particularly weird to be less jazzed over something that you once were really into. It happens to me all the time, anyway lol. I also think it's even less weird when the example is something like Tool. They've changed substantially enough throughout their carreer that I'd be surprised at anyone who genuinely liked every single Tool song ever. I don't even think we're supposed to enjoy a solid 25% of the actual auditory experiences that make up their discography, at least not in a conventional sense. I mean even stuff like "Life Eats Life" is a piece of musical artistic storytelling (I don't what the hell to call it really) that I mildly appreciate while finding it amusing and quite clever with the opening dramatics, but I might listen to that like, once every five years at this point lol.


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