Review Summary: Worth any sum of money, shows a different shade of beauty...
When I think of music that has changed the way I have listened to music, Tool has always come to mind. If I can point out a certain Tool album, it would be AEnima. As a musical and simply artistic achievement, this is one of the few albums that I have hailed as masterpieces in which I really mean it. I'm not sure if this is just a personal thing or not, but this seems to be one of a very select group of CDs I own that seem to be more enjoyable with every listen, rather than the common notion that the more you listen to an album the more sick of it you will get. This may stem from the idea that it's more thought provoking than most music, or that it's just plain that beautiful.
The notion behind me finding this album so grand is that every song has seemed to perplex me in some way, you can attribute this to four brilliant musicians. Because of Danny Carey, every song has some breed of unique and outstanding drum beats flowing through it. The drum solo during the track Forty Six & Two is absolutely genius. Adam Jones and Maynard James Keenan are both at the top of their games. Maynard proves that he is capable of singing in any way, mixing it up perfectly. For example, during Eulogy, Maynard sweetly commands in a dark, quiet tone, "Don't you ***ing lie," before barking out at the top of his lungs,"Don't you step out of line!" Also, the use of a megaphone at times shows another element to his versatility. Newcomer Justin Chancellor picks up exactly where Paul D'Amour left off creating bass lines that are unlike anything most anyone has ever heard, barely funky, not at all metallish, and with a tone that will make anyone drool. But what really puts the music here so high is the simple musicianship. These guys interact like none other, creating a dark, haunting atmosphere behind each and every song.
But what is just as compelling as the music is the words that Maynard sings to us. Topics range from theories of evolution to opinions on drug use, the excessess of America, child abuse, scientology and some things that seem to be to deep, dark and inexplicable to decipher. Something I've always looked for in music is the ability of the lyrics to make me think, this accomplishes that. No matter how complex or abstract they may be, they always channel some amount of thought.
Like all things Tool, the album is not light and happy, but mainly dark with a good deal anger behind it. Anyone who says that music like this is incable of achieving beauty is wrong. On the surface lines like, "Remember I will always love you, while I claw your *ucking throat away" may seem somewhat idiotic and unnecessary, but Tool have found a way.
The highlights of this album are many, but all signs seem to point out to certain songs as being more bold than others. Eulogy is a perfect emotional explosion, starting with a wonderful guitar intro followed by Maynard's powerful voice in the chorus. AEnema is another track that will wow you with the lyrics, no matter how many f words it takes. One line from Stinkfist will describe how I have felt with each of these songs, "It's not enough, I need more."
When you have four dark, seemingly demented, but creative minds that are willing to hold nothing back the results can be fantastic. All 77 epic minutes of this album can be summed up in one word: genius.