TOOL by Travis Shinn
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TOOL news: “Fear Inoculum”, old videos re-uploaded, tour announced

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Almost a month away from the big news about their new record, the almighty TOOL have served a number of great news for diehard fans and listener across the globe. The band have finally released their full catalog online, a batch of their official music videos on YouTube (you can watch them down toward the bottom of this post), and of course, the full stream of the long-awaited fifth album “Fear Inoculum”, which should receive a number (!) of new music videos in the coming months! On top of that, TOOL have announced they will play 26 shows across the US and Canada throughout October and November! See the details below.

“I think a lot of it just that age where you want it to be right and we’ve had some success in the past and the fear of this thing coming out and not being accepted—the fear that it’s not as good as it can be—that can be detrimentally crippling.

Probably in if I had to ‘psychology 101’ [it], I would have to say ‘Well yeah, that’s why it would take 13 years to write something, because you’re paranoid that it’s not gonna be the best that it can be and then you second guess every single step that you make’; when it was probably good enough—I shouldn’t say good enough—it was fantastic 8 years ago.

But then the crippling second guessing of yourself sets in and that psychology and that spiral you get in, it can be extremely daunting. And you can actually not even feel it happening.

All of a sudden you wake up and it’s 13 years later. The hard part is accepting the fact that maybe you’re not as important as you think you are and you should probably just get on with it.” – Maynard James Keenan for BBC Radio 1, via thePRP

Fear Inoculum is an intricate record that calls for you to reserve judgement until you’ve been fully immersed. It might be long (running to 86 minutes) but it’s a worthy investment of your time. /

Whilst some online commentators have predicted the arrival of a set of songs that will utterly change the face of what we know as music, it’s fair to say that Fear Inoculum is a consolidation and continuation of what we know of Tool up to this point. Rather than re-invent the wheel or try and compete with contemporary trends, this is a record that takes the blueprint we know and love and sees the band add even more layers – more fat, more patience – and take some of their work to its nth degree. / – GO HERE to see the full track by track breakdown. Another one has been made available at MetalSucks.

Tool have aged gracefully, and the familiarity of everything on this album is very welcome. While nothing could ever live up to the unrealistic expectations set by a decade long wait, at its core this is exactly the kind of album Tool should have released – one that displays an improvement in style and substance, but that doesn’t sacrifice any complexity for its newfound precision. If it has to be another thirteen years before another album, then this will be a welcome addition to the discography until we hit 2032. If it’s their last, Tool can say that they stopped on what shouldn’t have been, but by all accounts is, a very high note. / Punktastic

That they’ve managed to even attempt an epic work (and a surprisingly effortless listen) like Fear Inoculum is both a testament to how much talent they still have in the tank and an unfortunate reminder of what could have been. – Paste Magazine

You will need several listens to really “get” this one. It’s diverse, complex, and challenging to the ear. Masterful music made by masters. The band left everything on the table, and nothing used feels cheap. This Tool album is destined to be praised by fans, hated by trolls, studied, copied, and followed, forever. Every word and note here has a purpose. In the end, this can be a lesson to fanboys and haters of all stripes. Let artists work things out at their own pace. You may be surprised at the results. It’s a helluva ride! – GhostCultMag

Granted, it’s a bit of a slog: six of Fear Inoculum‘s 10 tracks spiral past the 10-minute mark. However, these tunes don’t resemble multi-part, Yes-style “prog epics” as much as rock songs stretched into the longform vistas of post-rock, psychedelia, experimental music, minimalism, and jazz. To be sure, guitarist Adam Jones’ riffs are still bludgeoning, virtuosic, cosmic calculus, but they hypnotically repeat and evolve glacially, the band manipulating their feel through shifts in rhythm and texture. The structures recall an art-metal repositioning of extended works by electronic groups like Autechre and Gas, art-rock drone enthusiasts like Swans and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and classical composers like John Luther Adams. It’s Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat shot through Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun.” –

Fear Inoculum lives up to its daunting expectations with songs that showcase Tool in peak performance as musicians and compositional arrangers. For the diehard fan, there’s a lot to consume here. Likewise, the album offers little respite for the uninitiated; its accessibility comes in the form of its vastness and eerie psychedelia, not through hooks or common pop structures. This is deep prog-rock as only Tool can create it, holding steadfast to the concept of the recorded album as a seamless listening experience. Fear Inoculum is best heard with full, unbridled attention, and 86 minutes to spare, which in an age of instant gratification makes it both difficult for the passing newbie and endlessly endearing for its target audience. – Consequence of Sound

The new music has a strong prog rock undercurrent. Happily, Tool did not make a super-technical, look-how-many-notes-we-can-fit-on-the-head-of-a-pin record. Even when there’s chop-shop higher math going on – and many of the rhythms are organized in fitful seven-beat groups – the emphasis is on the dramatic arc, the way things unfold in performance. This record gets the whiplash intensity that the band brings live. / NPR

Fear Inoculum is a masterpiece that will be unpacked, studied and scrutinised over for years to come. Tool has not so much reinvented the wheel, as they have refined everything about this band that makes them so special in the first place. So for the next 79 minutes forget your life for just a moment, smoke a bowl and ride this journey into infinite time and space. – WallofSound

That couldn’t be further from the truth. Fear Inoculum is a legacy album that shows the band are not some rock relic but undisputed masters of metallic churn. And if the end of the world is nigh, at least now we have its soundtrack. / The Guardian

While it’s nearly impossible to accurately describe such a dense album in only a single listen, my initial feeling is one I’ll never forget. It contains the forward thinking progressiveness and sonic capabilities of their last two albums, but the aggressive instrumental attack of their first two albums, ushering in a new experience that also pulls the band’s career together, all while retaining the signature Tool sound. Just when you thought you heard it all, Tool are back to shake things up once again! – Metal Injection

‘Fear Inoculum’ is an album – an important album, deemed so just by virtue of the logo on its sleeve – that people have made their minds up about before it’s even been heard. Like everything Tool have put their name to in their three decades with us, it’s also so much more than just an album. The more you invest, the more you let the songs engulf you. It’s also not everything you might have been expecting. In places, it’s a languid, blissful work, featuring perhaps the best collection of vocals that singer Keenan has ever committed to tape, with many lines exiting the vocalist’s lips closer to the honey daubed croon of Keenan’s ‘other’ band (or one of them) A Perfect Circle than the coarse rasp of yore. / NME

Neither that track nor this album — all 85 minutes of it — is as catchy, rangy or amorphously composed yet tight as Tool’s raging smashes of the ’90s, such as “46 & 2” or “Sober.” Not attempting to return to those particular commercial glories will be just fine by the group’s most ardent fans. They wouldn’t stick around for “Fear Inoculum’s” nearly hour-and-a-half stretch, let alone have endured a 13-year wait for new music, if they weren’t expectant of having fresh changes and new dramas added to the vintage wine of the quartet’s heady mathematical intelligence. – Variety

Fear Inoculum proves that Tool are true devotees to their craft, and sounds just as inspired as their classics. Album highlights like “Descending” and “7empest” are so dynamic and full of ideas that the band probably could have expanded on the details and made ten different songs out of them if they wanted to. Their fearless experimentation is in full form, and wisely don’t lean on previous releases to copy what was successful for them in the past. Even though it wouldn’t sound that strange if it were released ten or twenty years ago, Fear Inoculum feels singular and modern. It’s clear that at least a decent amount of the long wait time since the excellent 10,000 Days was spent carefully laying the groundwork for each musical passage, each transition, each epic climax on the record. It wouldn’t be a Tool album without curious interludes to break up the main songs, available on the digital version, with “Litanie contre la Peur” being the highlight of the less-than-10-minute-long tracks. Everything falls into place and flows with a fluidity that Tool is always able to accomplish, with the album being produced and engineered immaculately as well. Keenan was accurate to say that Fear…. would require patience to ingest, being a massive, compelling piece of music that unfolds beautifully and balances Tool’s unique style with plenty of rewarding new elements. Any fears that they would not live up to their past can be abated; Fear Inoculum is truly groundbreaking and one of the best albums of the decade. – Sputnik Music

As much as the focus of this review may seem drawn more towards the negative, it’s not intended to be a downer of a review; it’s just easier to pinpoint what stops this being an amazing album to me, rather than what makes it a great album. Personally, as a fan of Tool, I was not disappointed by Fear Inoculum, and I look forward to continuing to revisit it and further familiarize myself with it. Maybe with time I’ll even consider this review to be harsh. That said, when the dust finally has settled, I do not see it overtaking Ænima, Lateralus or 10,000 Days to become their crowning glory. MetalStorm

One of the big questions surrounding the release of “Fear Inoculum” was how, and if, the band would address the past 13 years. But it’s apparent that not much has changed for them. If “10,000 Days” gave fans a band that was scared of the future, then “Fear Inoculum” gives them one that is rising from the ashes, still anticipating the worst but more determined to make their message heard. Now, people may take them just a little more seriously. – Boston Globe

TOOL 2019 tour dates:

Oct 13: Sacramento Aftershock Festival, CA
Oct 15: Denver Pepsi Center, CO
Oct 18: Salt Lake City Vivint Smart Home Arena, UT
Oct 20: Los Angeles Staples Center, CA
Oct 21: Los Angeles Staples Center, CA
Oct 23: Glendale Gila River Arena, AZ
Oct 25: San Antonio AT&T Center, TX
Oct 27: Houston Toyota Center, TX
Oct 29: Tulsa BOK Center, OK
Oct 31: Milwaukee Fiserv Forum, WI
Nov 02: Indianapolis Banker’s Life Fieldhouse, IN
Nov 03: Chicago United Center, IL
Nov 05: Cincinnati US Bank Arena, OH
Nov 06: Cleveland Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, OH
Nov 08: Pittsburgh PPG Paints Arena, PA
Nov 09: Detroit Little Caesars Arena, MI
Nov 11: Toronto Scotiabank Arena, ON
Nov 12: Toronto Scotiabank Arena, ON
Nov 14: Boston TD Garden, MA
Nov 16: Newark Prudential Center, NJ
Nov 18: Philadelphia Wells Fargo Center, PA
Nov 19: Brooklyn Barclay’s Center, NY
Nov 21: Uncasville Mohegan Sun Casino Arena, CT
Nov 22: Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall, NJ
Nov 24: Raleigh PNC Arena, NC
Nov 25: Washington Capitol One Arena, DC

Tool will always have their detractors, but everyone is cool to someone, especially if you stick around long enough, and Tool have their share of unexpected fans. They remain relevant through force of will, the power of complex drum patterns and obsessive fandom, because they are proudly not a band that fits in with these times in any way at all. Which is only a problem if you think the times we live in are anything less than a dumpster fire soundtracked by cardio class bops. Tool remain Tool, and they’ve made a rewarding and maddening album that obsessives are never going to shut up about. Don’t let that stop you from diving in. – Stereogum

TOOL music videos:

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