Last night Tool finally blessed humanity with their long (13 years!) awaited new album Fear Inoculum. I planned on writing this last night. I also planned on doing a song-by-song breakdown, and may still do that eventually, but this album deserves to be seen as one solid work of art. After several listens I feel like I have gained a better, although still imperfect, understanding of this musical masterpiece.
The titular song has been available since the beginning of the month and, as I had hoped, sets the tone for the rest of the album. Fear Inoculum as a whole has a transcendental flow that I haven’t experienced with any album from any band since Tool’s Lateralus. This is an album that hits you in waves, often etherial and meditative, with swells of the chunky riffs that are a Tool mainstay. Each song acts as a separate movement within the work, calling on themes from past albums as well as inspired newness.
Danny Carey delivers his signature precision pocket percussion. Adam Jones seems to be possessed by 7/4, in the best way possible. Justin Chancellor lays down his glorious bass lines, which continuously give me chills. And then there’s Maynard’s vocals, which travel between subtle, almost soothing, and aggressive, almost confrontational. Fear Inoculum is a prime example of the whole being greater than its parts, but the individual parts are incredibly powerful themselves.
Tool are masters of thunderous rock grooves, progressive metal geniuses, and it feels like their entire career has been leading to this point. Their music has an often otherworldly quality to it that seems to be unattainable by any of their contemporaries. I am happy to see Tool continuing to cement themselves as one of the most legendary bands of all time.
They are Tool, and they are here to stay.
Fear Inoculum is available to stream and/or download on all major platforms now.