After the release of 10,000 Days
, all of a sudden a new wave of fans have begun to embrace Tool
. Even though everybody keeps saying the latest material is a step down from previous works such as Aenima
, it is still fantastic that the band are once again in full force. Put simply, Tool
make music - they do not water down any of their tracks for commercial gain or because their record label are a bunch of money obsessed degenerates. Maynard James Keenan [vocals], Adam Jones [guitar], Justin Chancellor [bass] and Danny Carey [drums] are legendary musicians within their own right - and their first truly epic album came in the form of this classic. Enough with the bio - a lengthy and literate review awaits all of you avid fans...
is often regarded as the band's first truly amazing record. It is dedicated to the memory of Bill Hicks, an American comedian whom the band thought greatly of. Many of the tracks appear to revolve around his career as a comedian and what he said. The album flows together superbly one and in all honesty, aside from the segue tracks, the album has very few weak points. Album opener Stinkfist
is a perfect introduction to what the band are about; metaphorically controversial, complex instrumentation, impressive lyrics and vocals and some truly innovative music. The song itself appears to be about how society needs to be 'fisted' in order for it to be more widely accepted; Maynard uses several references to penetration within the song. Aside from being highly controversial, it was also one of the singles from the album with an accompanying video - interestingly, because of the song's title, MTV simply referred to it as 'Track #1". Musically, it is a solid hard rock song - all of the instruments combine together wonderfully and Maynard's voice soars wonderfully over the top of it. Adam Jones' riffs on Aenima
are probably some of the most memorable he has written - Stinkfist
boasts a great section after the intro where the guitar just pounds away with a simple but highly effective riff. This is typical of the band's general style and the presentation of Aenima
boasts a huge build up as an intro - it is mostly percussive and highlights how versatile Danny Carey is as a drummer. After this lengthy display of talent, the rest of the band kick in - the song appears to be in memory of someone (most probably Bill Hicks). Lyrically, it isn't a particularly complex song. The chorus is quite powerful and shows how poignant and emotional Maynard can sound. A heavy section follows with the lyrics "Would you die for me? Don't you ***ing lie..." and it showcases the harder edge of Tool
. Great aggression; you can really feel the pure spit that Maynard delivers the lyrics with. H.
and Forty Six and Two
are about Heroin and human DNA respectively - the latter is slightly more interesting in terms of theme because the whole anti-heroin drug addiction song idea has been done a lot. Not to say it isn't a solid song - lyrically it is very expressive of the effects and emotions awoken by such an addiction. It is a much more mysterious song and less of a hard rock outing when compared to Forty Six and Two
. In between, there is a rather pointless segue which appears to have very little significance. It just appears to be some white noise which gradually builds up in volume before launching into the track.
Message To Harry Manback
is filler - but it is classic filler. The band simply played a recorded phone message, apparently left on Maynard's answering machine by some retarded American hating individual with music underneath (mostly a piano piece I think). The humour is very dark but it is a very amusing listen - has to be heard to be appreciated and whilst it is completely pointless, it does fulfill it's purpose of making the listener chuckle.
Hooker With A Penis
is probably the heaviest and most interesting of all the tracks found on [b[Aenima[/b]. The song focuses on a "fan" Maynard (or the band) met, who told them that he thought they were selling out. The song title is simply a metaphor for this fan and in fact the song isn't about some form of sick perversion the band have for that kind of thing. Lyrically, the song is incredibly aggressive - Maynard reels off some truly hilarious lyrics whilst remaining true to the main point of the song. As always, all the members combine together brilliantly. At times, it can feel as if the separate members are playing in different time signatures but when they play together it all joins up - all in all, each member is remarkably talented and intelligent. And together they are just an unstoppable force in the world of progressive hrad rock.
is simply a prelude to Jimmy
- the guitar riff featured in the track is simply played on a keyboard. The whole atmosphere sounds very circus like, as if it were the music commonplace at funfairs and the like. Jimmy
isn't a hugely amazing track - it appears to be like an anecdote from Maynard's childhood. The track that follows however is one of the biggest highlights of the album. Die Eier Von Satan
is yet another filler track, but like Message To Harry Manback
, the humour of the song cannot fail to amuse. To someone who did not know what the lyrics were about, the song would simply sound like industrialised menace. However, translate the German lyrics and you get...a cooking recipe. Yes, that is correct - and yes it is true.
is probably the most melodic and accessible track off Aenima
. The song seems to be about somebody who pushes someone to the edge of their mental strength or something along those lines. The whole mood of the song is very downbeat - the drums keep a very steady beat and the bass and guitar combine wonderfully well to keep a driving rhythmic force throughout. Maynard's vocal performance is quite exceptional as per usual. After three minutes and a bit the song kicks into a higher gear with more aggressive riffing for a short period. At nearly ten minutes long, it is quite a lengthy track - however, the mid section breakdown is quite brilliant and a departure from anything else that features on the album. A great melodic section follows and the song shifts from what was a downbeat mood to a slightly more positive one. This is definitely one of the many highlights of the album, purely because the song is so memorable and innovative.
The final four tracks of the album are a mix - the title track and the album's epic closer Third Eye
are the only real tracks left. Cesaro Summability
is simply a recording of what appears to be the birth of a baby then a lot of sound effects - I think it is meant to represent how as soon as we are born we are thrown into a society which is represented as a machine. Then again, it is hard to tell - the title track is probably one of the most aggressive songs on the album and it is also one of the best. Lyrically, it is superb - it focuses on Maynard's feelings about how he wants Los Angeles to be washed away in a serious of apocalyptic natural disasters. Apparently, some of the lyrics revolve around an act that Bill Hicks performed. The riff in the intro is incredibly catchy and the song moves seamlessly between great melody to aggression and typical hard rock with a progressive edge to it.
is yet another filler track and it simply connects the title track (which is actually spelt Aenema
rather than Aenima
) together with the album closer and gives Danny Carey a chance to shine with his impressive drumming which underlines all the electrical/storm noise. Third Eye
begins with an excerpt from a sketch Bill Hicks performed about drugs. In fact , the whole song seems to slyly advocating the use of LSD...the whole theory about the "Third Eye" relates to the use of the drug, which has led many to believe that Tool
have or do take the drug. However, what matters here is what is on offer - the song itself is huge, spanning nearly fourteen minutes. The song shifts between several main sections and features some excellent guitar from Adam Jones'. His riffs sound amazing throughout, as do the solos - the bass and drums compliment all the riffs perfectly, with Danny Carey showcasing his uncanny ability to link everything together with seemingly simple fills and beats which are actually incredibly complex. Maynard switches between his mantra-like vocal style to an aggressive edge, showcased best halfway through the song. He gradually rises from a whisper, to wonderfully melodic and thoughtful vocals/lyrics - then another whispered section occurs. The lyrics in this section are quite spectacular - the instruments almost die down completely but are re-introduced and a previous section is played again. The main climax of the song involves Maynard shouting the line "Prying open my third eye" to a wall of rhythmic backing. The four minutes that close the song are simply a showcase of the riff writing skills of Adam Jones' and the unmatched rhythm of Danny and Justin. Maynard cuts in with some lyrics every now and again amongst all the riffing and complex drumming. Truly an epic closer to an epic album. A must hear for ANY Tool
or rock music fan.
In conclusion, this album changed my whole perspective on progressive music. On the surface, it appears to just be another hard rock album. But after really listening to it, it becomes clear that Tool
are beyond their years in terms of imagination, creativity and skill. Not only is the album nigh on perfection but the material the band produce has so much depth to it that you keep coming back for more. To be honest, if you classify yourself as a rock fan or a progressive music lover, this album should be in your collection. If it isn't then you should seriously consider purchasing it. Because it could potentially change your life.
Hooker With A Penis