Tool
Fear Inoculum


2.0
poor

Review

by Slowburner USER (20 Reviews)
September 3rd, 2019 | 74 replies


Release Date: 08/30/2019 | Tracklist


Tool have always been somewhat of an anomaly to me. For the longest time, they maintained a four-album running streak of excellent and challenging progressive music, while simultaneously becoming one of the most popular and renowned metal bands of all time. It always mystified me that they managed to become so beloved, considering the wickedly demented atmosphere and the impenetrable musicianship the band so consistently created. But the fact that Tool has managed to connect with so many, never mind the fact that they’ve created one of the most ravenous fanbases you’ll ever find, is rather incredible.

With all that said, I can’t blame anyone for falling head over heels for Fear Inoculum. It sees the band returning after a 13-year hiatus, as refined and polished as they were the day they disappeared. But there’s an overwhelming sense of… familiarity when listening to every song on the record, as if they truly hadn’t changed or evolved at all in their absence. There’s something about it that feels inexplicably… safe.

And this, at its core, is where Fear Inoculum fails.

You’d think that if one of the most progressive bands of the modern age was to make an album that clocked in at an hour and a half, with not one song that dips below ten minutes (excluding the interludes), that the result of an endeavor of that nature wouldn’t be so remarkably toothless. There’s a borderline insufferable lack of flavor or bite throughout every second of Fear Inoculum’s overbearing runtime. Tool sound as though they are merely going through the motions, creating songs and melodies that give the impression of a lesser band tactlessly piggybacking off the success of their predecessors rather than a band at a creative peak.

Moreover, the vast majority of the record is indistinguishable from one song to the next. Nearly all the songs start the same way, with a clean guitar riff in a funny time signature, and slowly build into a distorted guitar riff or a bass riff in a funny time signature, over and over for more than ten minutes at a time, for seven songs in a row, only separated by some of the most unbearable interlude tracks I’ve heard in recent memory. This has always been a problem with Tool albums for me, but at least on their older output, the interludes lead nicely into the proper tracks or create an interesting atmosphere. And Chocolate Chip Trip… is just inexcusable. Like yeah, sure, the drum solo is great. But I can here Danny Carey drum his ass off on such an overwhelming number of great songs that it doesn’t even come close to making up for the fact that the “song” is just one of the band members dicking around with synths. It’s not interesting. It’s not progressive. It’s a waste of Danny Carey’s skills, and more to the point, it’s a waste of time.

The record isn’t without its positives. The title track and especially ‘7empest’ (sidebar; everyone in Tool is in their late 40s to late 50s. I hereby deign them too old to name their songs *** as dumb as ‘7empest’) are both truly stellar songs, with exactly the kind of punch and complex musicianship that I was hoping to get from the record as a whole. They feel as though they actually have something to say musically, whereas the rest of the album almost feels like an afterthought.

Truthfully, I’m glad Fear Inoculum seems to be going over well. I’m glad that most people can see it as another stellar notch in the belt of a well-weathered hallmark of the genre. And as I said, it’s not as though I don’t understand the response. But in terms of a one-on-one connection, with no outside context, there hasn’t been an album in recent memory where the widespread appeal has been so thoroughly lost on me.

Best Tracks: 7empest, Fear Inoculum
Worst Tracks: Chocolate Chip Trip, all the interludes, Pneuma



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user ratings (988)
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
TheWalkinDude
September 3rd 2019


27 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Everything I wanted to say about this is here but better than I could’ve possibly said it. Great review Mo’

Source
September 3rd 2019


13204 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

chocolate chip trip is one of the best songs tbh

BerryGarlicia
September 4th 2019


1779 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

But pneuma is second best

deezer666
September 4th 2019


4960 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I feel like if it was 3 hours long Id still be waiting for something to happen 2 and a half in

Digging: Merzbow, Haino, Pandi - Become The Discovered, Not The Discoverer

bananatossing
September 4th 2019


892 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Why all the negs? I think this is the best negative review I've read/listened for this album.

deezer666
September 4th 2019


4960 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I didnt even know you could see the pos/neg ratio



Reviews good

twlichty
September 4th 2019


4120 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This album is fucking amazing

TheMoonchild
September 4th 2019


1154 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Worst tracks: (...) Pneuma"



May I have a word with you

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Pikazilla
September 4th 2019


3545 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

He ain't wrong though

TundraL5Z
September 4th 2019


3149 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

How ironic, slowburner doesn't like the most slow-burn Tool album lol

twlichty
September 4th 2019


4120 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Go away

TundraL5Z
September 4th 2019


3149 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

who shit in your cereal motherfucker

twlichty
September 4th 2019


4120 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Wasnt taking to you, my b

TundraL5Z
September 4th 2019


3149 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Fair enough, Pika has low ratings on loads of albums that are regarded as "highly praised" etc. you get used to it

Pikazilla
September 4th 2019


3545 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

I got more high ratings on praised albums than I have low ratings, to be honest



It's just prog and progcore is mostly ass

EclipseInYourEyes
September 4th 2019


881 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

So, this thread seems a little less hype infested. I am thinking about diving into Tool and starting with this to prevent me from being overly hyped by everything they do just because some other records are kickass.

Digging: Girl Band - Holding Hands With Jamie

sizeofanocean
September 4th 2019


1425 Comments


Damn Eclipse you never started with Tool? Please do yourself a favor and start either chronologically or with any of the first four records and not this one

Rik VII
September 4th 2019


4039 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I recommend starting with Aenima and going backwards or forward depending on whether you prefer the rawness or the ambition.

EclipseInYourEyes
September 4th 2019


881 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I tried it a few times but since people hyped them into heaven already and always talking about how fancy their times signatures are and stuff, I always stopped cuz I was disappointed. There are so much more technical bands that manage to do even fancier stuff than Tool, but Tool seems to be the only technical metal band for average metal dudes. Huge turnoff. So yeah, never managed to go through a whole album. And that single they released from this album was boring as well

Eakflanderyof
September 4th 2019


2627 Comments


The amount of negs on what is a pretty solid review perfectly embodies the shitty side of their rabid fanbase



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