Review: Fear Inoculum by Tool

By Christian Decker

News Editor

After thirteen years of waiting, Tool fans have finally received their deliverance: Tool’s fifth album, Fear Inoculum, is here. Full disclosure, I’ve been an avid Tool fan since my senior year of high school and having this album come out was a dream come true.

However, I will say that this album wasn’t exactly what I hoped for. That’s not a bad thing in this case. It lacks the aggression and anger that made Undertow and Aenima award-winning. It lacks the experimental nature of Lateralus. And it doesn’t deliver the emotional and dark impact of 10,000 Days. However, Fear Inoculum brings a powerful dreamlike quality with incredible lyricism and guitar work from Maynard Keenan and Adam Jones in that order.

The band has stated that the album deals a lot with aging and self-reflection, as one can imagine with the band being around for so long. It’s especially clear on the title track, which is very repetitive to really hammer in the meditative quality of the music. “Invincible” delivers some of Keenan’s finest lyrics yet. It is a song about a warrior who has grown tired but is “struggling to remain relevant.” Sound familiar? It gets me every time he shouts about how heavy his shield is—it’s just absolutely brilliant lyricism. The album’s climax, in “7empest”, packs a major punch that the rest of the album lacks, with amazing riffs and solos provided by Adam Jones on guitar. Even the weird instrumental tracks in between the songs with lyrics sound good. This is especially true of “Chocolate Chip Trip,” with its masterful drum techniques from Danny Carey. I would say that the album is a different step for Tool, but it’s not in a bad direction by any means.

Rating: 5 Q-Tips

Favorite Track: “Invincible”

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