Words that I never thought I would say or type: Tool have a new album. “Fear Inoculum” is the long awaited album, 13 fucking years to be exact. Before I get into the music, there are a few things that need to be said. I think it sucks that Tool releases their first album in 13 years but makes no standard CD version available. The limited deluxe version which costs almost $50!
[Edit: I broke down and bought a copy…]
<!–Now that it’s sold out, assholes are selling it for even more on eBay. Making matters worse, the digital version of the album has 3 extra tracks! Since CDs only hold 79ish minutes, 3 filler tracks were left off the CD but included with the digital version. Granted you get the digital version with the deluxe version but why not just make the deluxe version a two CD version? There’s another filler track on the second CD that comes with the limited deluxe edition so that brings the full total to like 90 minutes. But enough of my bitching!–>
Okay so now what about the music? It sounds like Tool. HAHA! That really should be the review. What do you think they would sound like? They have expanded their sound even more. The songs are longer, have more atmosphere and really build. The title track is a bit subtle at first listen and really I think it’s the weakest track. Although I do like the song. Things really get going with “Invincible” and “Descending” which were already played live.
But the two songs that put the album over the top for me are “Culling Voices” and “7empest.” “Culling Voices” builds up to a point and then erupts toward the end. LOVE that track. But the near 16 minutes of “7empest” are some of the best music that Tool have ever laid down. On the CD version, “Chocolate Chip Trip” is the only filler track. It’s essentially a drum solo with a synth loop. It’s fine but really not needed. You wouldn’t miss it if it weren’t on the album.
While I know that “Fear Inoculum” didn’t take 13 years to write and record, since Tool admits they really didn’t start seriously until 2013, it will never live up to a 13 year hype. Nothing really could. That said, had this album been released 10 years ago, it would have sounded just as great as it does now. It’s a great album but with the size and magnitude of the music, it will take more listens to know it’s full impact.
Tool are back. It’s a shame that the album is marred with this limited edition bullshit. Hopefully they release a standard CD version soon. And let’s hope they don’t wait another 13 years for another. Though I sense that this might have been to prove a point as much as anything else. “Fear Inoculum” is the band’s FIFTH album. I think that’s all the perspective you need. Tool have somehow remained relevant despite it’s dormancy. That’s a true testament to quality over quantity.
Rating: 9.5/10 (standard physical edition)
1. Fear Inoculum
5. Culling Voices
6. Chocolate Chip Trip
1. Fear Inoculum
3. Litanie contre la Peur*
5. Legion Inoculant*
7. Culling Voices
8. Chocolate Chip Trip
*-digital edition only
Label: Volcano, Tool Dissectional
Release date: August 30, 2019