Tool
Fear Inoculum


2.5
average

Review

by EclipseInYourEyes USER (3 Reviews)
September 8th, 2019 | 52 replies


Release Date: 08/30/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: My first time listening to Tool and now I have mixed opinions.

At first I wanted to stay away from this record as far as I could since I knew everything and everyone will be all about it. Of course I also expected a huge clash between Tool fans and haters. Then I thought: “Why not writing a review about a band you never really listened to just to offer a neutral point of view about this record?” - or at least at neutral as it gets. Naturally I had some light expectations about Tool and listened to a handful of songs a few years ago but they never really caught me and I never really disliked them (but the music videos were sweet). Since everybody is recommending “Lateralus” or “Aenima” to start with them because they seem to be their best, maybe some people would think it is interesting what a total Tool newbie thinks about their latest record. So here we go.

Right at the start the opener “Fear Inoculum” pins down one of the biggest problems I have with this album: It consists mostly of simple and boring riffs which will repeat over and over along with the drums. The vocals are fine, since Maynard James Keenan is a good singer for sure. But even a magnificient frontman like Keenan can get boring over time if he does not change his vocal style. However, in the end of the opener, the song takes on momentum and I really liked the ending but at same time I was questioning myself: Why do I have to wait for this like 8-9 minutes? It is exactly the same problem with the following song “Pneuma”.

Then the first interlude starts and I've read that many people are kinda ignoring them and just talk about the songs. Well, for me the interludes are some highlights of this record. They deliver atmosphere and bring some variety. It's a shame that they don't blur fluently into the following songs and mostly stand alone for themselves. And yeah, I also think that "Chocolate Chip Trip" is genuinely awesome. It is one of my personal highlights here because it is unique, it brings technicality when it is needed and is still a nice piece of music without being too much of a “technical wankfest”. In fact, I thought that adding electronical effects often helped them to bring variety and catch the attention of the listener.

“Invincible” and “Culling Voices” were one of the better songs. I can not say something especially good about them, but at the same time I can not name something specificly bad either. But then I reached “Descending”.
This was the point at which I nearly broke up this experiment and thought to myself “You are wasting your time, stop this”. It contained all the elements I have heard before: simple riffs change into other simple riffs, the drums are added again, the bass gets added and some point I can hear Keenan's monotonous vocals again. I slowly started to get annoyed by this because it got predictable - a thing that no band that's considered to be "prog" should be. But then – the first time on this record – I got surprised: the guitar solo showed me that the guitarist is still awake and literally saved a “descending” song.

Then “Chocolate Chip Trip” happened. This track symbolizes the problem of this whole record: Only the drummer on this album is giving the songs creativity and variety as best as he can, but he just cannot carry all the songs. So he kinda made his own song – and the most memorable too – until "7empest" came up.

Two words: FCK! YEAH! Finally some energy! Finally a different kind of vocal style by Keenan and it seems to me that the band really wants to do this thing and is actually having fun. "7empest" must have been the first song recorded for this album when everyone was still fresh, energized, motivated and still got ***loads of ideas. Lots of changing in rhythm and melody that at last catch and require your attention instead of boring you to hell. Even the guitars manage to impress me. The changing between faster and slower parts seem to be really working here, while I thought for every song until now, they are just there for the sake of being there. If this whole album would have been the momentum of this song, I would easily call this LP a masterpiece.

After listening to this album, I mostly thought that the drummer is the only one who is bringing in creativity, Maynard James Keenan is mostly doing nothing more than a satisfying job and the guitarist(s) sound(s) like he or they didn't even want to do this record in the first place and is only in because he needs money for more weed. Maybe except for "7empest" and the guitar solo in “Descending”. The production is top notch like you would expect from a successful band like Tool, the performance is decent and - with "7empest" and "Chocolate Chip Trip" – there are some really refreshingly good and unique songs. I would give this record a 3/5, despite all the lack of creativity.

However, it's one thing to bore me a whole record long and another thing to bore me for one and half an hour. Therefore I cannot call this album better than average. In my opinion, Tool should have released an EP with 3-4 songs in the likes of "7empest" and 1 or 2 interludes (which are really good interludes btw) instead of this. They could have saved their phenomenal reputation and most fans would not be mad about an EP instead of an LP. But with “Fear Inoculum” they kind of revealed a lackluster of creativity and/or motivation or maybe this is standard Tool, I don't know. What I know is, that I will definitely check out their most hyped albums "Lateralus" and "Aenima" in the hopes that the hype is deserved. At least "7empest" made me think it is.


user ratings (968)
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
EclipseInYourEyes
September 8th 2019


872 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

and since I am still not a native speaker, all kinds corrections (especially for bad grammar and stuff) are welcome.

Digging: Girl Band - Holding Hands With Jamie

Brabiz
September 8th 2019


986 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

This is spot-on my feelings. So disappointed as a big fan



Good review btw

Source
September 8th 2019


13154 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Don't start with this one. Anything but this one

DDDeftoneDDD
September 8th 2019


7067 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It really seems you gave it only one listen and wrote this while you did it. Good job expressing your feelings though.

Digging: Chelsea Wolfe - Birth of Violence

DoofDoof
September 8th 2019


5093 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

'Don't start with this one. Anything but this one'



[2]

CosmicPie
September 8th 2019


1808 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This will grow on folks.

Stormheart
September 8th 2019


231 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah it will its growing on me fast

Digging: Glassjaw - Worship and Tribute

DoofDoof
September 8th 2019


5093 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

it's grown off me a bit

Stormheart
September 8th 2019


231 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

really? whats the departure?

RaylanCrowder
September 8th 2019


81 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Lol

EclipseInYourEyes
September 8th 2019


872 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I know people don't want others to start with this one - but that's the whole point of this review. If a band only manages to be good or enjoyable when experienced in a certain order, then it is not a good band. Since Tool is so popular, I thought it would be interesting for you people to see what a total Tool beginner would say to this album. And yeah: I listened to it only once and made notes while listening to it. I am pretty sure this is not a grower because it is clearly lacking details and depths, because otherwise it would not have bored me so much. Aside from 7empest of course.

EclipseInYourEyes
September 8th 2019


872 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

oh and thanks brabiz and DDD! much appreciated.

CosmicPie
September 8th 2019


1808 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's grown on me, s'all I'm saying. I get people thinking it's boring, it kinda is. But being that these dudes are in their 50s now... this album shows a sense of maturity that makes sense for their age. It's quality material.

Gyromania
September 8th 2019


28301 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah this is their worst by a mile

artiswar
September 8th 2019


9260 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I still have no idea where this fits in the ranking... Probably will take me months to decide.

oltnabrick
September 8th 2019


37381 Comments


maybe even years!

Digging: Leviathan - Verrter

Space Jester
September 8th 2019


7185 Comments


“I know people don't want others to start with this one - but that's the whole point of this review. If a band only manages to be good or enjoyable when experienced in a certain order, then it is not a good band.”

I think people don’t want you to start with this because it doesn’t hold a candle to their earlier work, not because you’d supposedly like this more if you heard it last. This is easily my least favorite by the band but I hold their previous work in high regard, so don’t let your opinion on this album keep you from checking their old stuff.

artiswar
September 8th 2019


9260 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Whole album is 12m+ songs, obviously it's the worst album to start with. Everyone should get started chronologically otherwise they're missing out.

hexfix93
September 8th 2019


1788 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Eh, I don't know if I think Tool needs to be listened to chronologically. I think any of their other albums are a good starting point. I usually suggest Aenima to start and then Lateralus/Undertow/10k etc. I do agree that this isn't a good start though, if only because I personally think it's their worst record. Of course, if someone likes prog they might enjoy the longer song lengths but I'd still suggest Lateralus and 10k over this.



Good review though. I love songs like Pneuma and 7empest but a lot of the songs here just don't climax the way they should. Like they build and build, but the payoff is a bit underwhelming. Still a solid record though. It's interesting you say that you think 7empest was one of the first songs written on here. They actually said the main riff was written around the time Aenima was released (if not sooner) but they couldn't find the right song to place it until this album.

Pikazilla
September 8th 2019


3389 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Like they build and build, but the payoff is a bit underwhelming



That's what I've been saying all time long.



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