Tool
Aenima


5.0
classic

Review

by Merkaba33 USER (14 Reviews)
June 16th, 2007 | 20 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Tool's first classic. A very dark and introspective album that will require your time. Be patient though and you will be rewarded with one of the most enjoyable and powerful albums out there.

Tool:
Maynard James Keenan –Vocalist
Adam Jones – Guitar
Justin Chancellor – Bass
Danny Carey - Drums

How do you begin to describe a band like Tool? They’ve got this secluded hobbit of a lead vocalist who uses fake breast implants to disguise himself at concerts. Then they have their giant drummer Danny Carey who seems more interested in the Occult at times rather than their own music. And what genre do you classify them under? I’ve heard everything from psychedelic, to progressive rock, to heavy metal. I’ve just settled with psychedelic math metal. (I saw it somewhere and thought it was cool.) But I think we can all agree that Tool is Tool and that they do things their own way. Even back since “the first EP” in 92’, they’ve pushed the envelope with their all nude music video and unheard of amount of aggression. In 94’ Undertow made its way into the music scene. It revolutionized the way music videos were looked at due to the strict amount claymation and dark images used. It managed to stretch the band’s potential even farther then before, and their ideas even deeper into the abyss. Then Ænima came along…

Ænima is the band’s first “full” album, and boy is it a ride. From beginning to end there are no real filler songs. That’s not to say there aren’t filler tracks, but in terms of the actual songs, you won’t be disappointed. Most of you probably know the ability of these guys. They’re all way of ahead of their time (yes, even Adam Jones), and this is the first album that truly showcases their skill. Whether it’s the electronic polyrhythmic percussion on Eulogy , the speed picking on H., or the heavenly vocals on Pu***, these guys know how to get it done musically. What amazes me is the balance of the band. No one member ever seems to be pushing the other aside. Yeah we hear a drum solo on Forty Six and Two. Yes at times it seems like Maynard sings too well to be in a metal band. But it works. Somehow they make it work. And trust me, that’s not always the easiest task with such talent. Just ask Dream Theater. Everyone always seems to be on the same page as well. And it’s not just the music, it’s the mood. Every song creates the perfect atmosphere to fit the song. Jimmy contains some haunting vocals that actually make the song feel like one big flashback. The album track Ænima creates this strange and dark apocalyptic feel to the song. And wouldn’t you know it the song is about the end of the world. Well that and a lot more. And then there’s Third Eye. It just feels like one big trip down LSD lane. (Without the side effects of course.) The mood is varied throughout the album. Sometimes it will take the shape of an enigmatic whisper like in H. Other times its harsh and aggressive sarcasm like in Ænima. It’s always enjoyable to listen to though.

So I know what your thinking if you’ve never seen this album before. “Hooker with a Penis?! What kind of sick thoughts go through this band’s head?” Well maybe not, but I know that that particular track can catch many people’s eyes. Fortunately they’re not that sick. Like most good bands, Tool likes to speak through metaphors (sometimes R rated). In fact they use them a lot. In this particular song it’s basically talking of society’s capitalistic system (the hooker) which has the power (or penis) to screw people over by selling out. I guess apparently Maynard was accused by a fan for selling out after the release of Undertow. On a side note this is partly why Maynard used his costumes. He feels that people shouldn’t judge him off one particular album or song so he doesn’t give them the “face” to associate him with. But not all Tool’s lyrics are as easy to comprehend. In fact many still confuse me. But that’s alright because you don’t have to understand word for word what the band is saying. It’s what YOU personally get out of the music. This also means you don’t have to agree with everything the band says. In fact I’ve had trouble listening to this album at times. As a Christian, it has been hard to listen to many of the songs. Tool has long been against most organized religion and they display that in most songs. Eulogy for example contains the lyrics “Come down, Get off your ***ing cross, we need the ***ing space to nail the next fool martyr." Now I don’t have to accept that literally, but I think it’s good to get a different perspective on a matter and stay open minded. Well I hope this wasn’t too philosophical for everyone, but I felt it was necessary to explain my position on the issue because I know that Tool’s disturbing lyrics and persona turn many people away. And I hope this isn’t the case! The album has an uncanny ability to strike something deep inside you without totally brainwashing you. But I should warn you that the lyrics and music is very dark on this album as with most of Tool’s music. I don’t have time to go in depth with the entire album’s symbolism. You will have to do that yourself. But overall the album’s lyrics are brilliant throughout. It really enhances the music and urges you to listen to it again. The lyrics are very clever at times. Here is an example from the album track of some of the amusing cleverness. “Some say a comet will fall from the sky, followed by meteor showers and tidal waves, followed by fault lines that cannot sit still, followed by millions of dumbfounded dip****s. Of course you have to hear it to get the whole experience.

So try as I might, it’s hard to find anything I don’t like in this album. I guess the filler tracks take away from the album a bit. But it’s filler. It’s not like the music is flawed. Tool should just wise up and use the ten minutes of filler to make another song (which they didn’t do on 10,000 days.) The strength of the songs far outweighs the useless filler. If I had to find something wrong with the album, I would say that the interlude in Pu*** is just a little long, even by Tool standards. Honestly this album has had more impact on me than any other piece of music I have ever listened to. It’s been used for inspiration and ideas, as well as something to fall back on under stress. For most people though it’s just heavy music with a brain. But remember this is Tool. It is not easily digestible. It will take a quite a few listens to sink in. Give it time though. You will be rewarded with one of the most powerful albums you have ever heard.



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user ratings (4564)
Chart.
4.5
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Merkaba33
June 16th 2007


702 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I realized all the reviews for this were tbt and felt it needed a more "full album" type review.

Just for the record I have not experimented with acid.
This Message Edited On 06.17.07

Djnx
June 16th 2007


85 Comments


I don't like track by track reviews.

Merkaba33
June 16th 2007


702 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

they work sometimes but they can get redundant.This Message Edited On 06.16.07

antihippy
June 16th 2007


696 Comments


tool have classics now?

good review.

Confessed2005
June 16th 2007


3314 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, great review.

I still listen to this a lot. Definitely their best album IMO.

Two-Headed Boy
June 16th 2007


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Album is really over-rated. I definitely have to be in a mood to listen to this.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 16th 2007


15743 Comments


Nice avatar THB.

Never bought a Tool album in my life. Keep wanting to, but then I find something obscure and alt rocky instead.

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

Patrick
June 16th 2007


1891 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I like how you described the vocals on Pushit as being heavenly. That's definitely true.

Also, I'm a Christian, and Eulogy is one of my favorite songs. It isn't making fun of Christianity, it's making fun of Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard.

Merkaba33
June 16th 2007


702 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I guess I didn't do my homework. I just looked at it for what it was. I'll read it a little deeper.
yeah Eulogy seems like the the fan favorite on the album.

Cravinov13
June 16th 2007


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think Pushit and Aenima are the fan favorites, Eulogy is the diehard fan favorite.

Patrick
June 16th 2007


1891 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

don't you fuckin lie...

Don't you step out of line!
Don't you step out of line!
Don't you step out of line DON'T YOU FUCKIN LIE!


gives me goosebumps

Aficionado
June 17th 2007


1027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

The ending of pushit is absolutely amazing and gives me chills.

kyleisgreat
June 17th 2007


79 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Eulogy is about all religion and their martyrs.

Squamish
June 21st 2007


84 Comments


Hey, I'm a Christian and I have no qualms about listening to Tool. I read somewhere that Maynard has nothing against religion, but it's when people don't think about what they're believing that pisses him off.

And yes, Eulogy is also my favorite off the album. Forty-Six & 2 comes close, though.

Merkaba33
June 21st 2007


702 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

well i listen to em all the time now so its no big deal and like i said its what you get out of the music. but songs like sober, judith and opiate sort of made me cringe initially.

donniedarkofan2006
July 12th 2007


16 Comments


Judith isn't a Tool song, it's A Perfect Circle. Just letting you know in case you didn't.
Really good review, by the way. I wish I could write really coherent, all-round reviews (or essays in general) like that. I haven't submitted any reviews for this site yet, but I might in the future.
Aenima, Lateralus are two in first place for me in terms of Tool, and 10,000 Days is not far behind. Then there's Undertow, Opiate, and what I have head of Salival.
I just got the limited edition holographic cover version of Aenima today, and I'm stoked because I thought that here in Australia they weren't available anymore, and I just found it in a shop. :DThis Message Edited On 07.12.07

Altmer
July 12th 2007


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Boring. Not bad, just boring.

Kage
July 12th 2007


1172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Tool isn't really ahead of their time at all.

Merkaba33
July 20th 2007


702 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

in reply to donnie darkofan. i knew it was apc. i should rephrase it "maynard"'s lyrics, not tool's.

and altmer are u talking about the album or my review?

Spamue1G
September 9th 2008


1292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Maynard is just amazing. Honestly, there is no way he is overrated. His lyrics are expressive in a way that not much else ever manages to be, and his voice is one of a kind. Tool ARE ahead of their time- Remember, this wasn't released last year!



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