Tool | Fear Inoculum | Album Review

RCA Records
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

With tracks that feel undercooked, overworked, and dry to the bone, Fear Inoculum, rock band Tool’s fifth studio album is underwhelming, poorly organized and overly boring to listeners. In their three decades of making music, Fear Inoculum runs exceedingly long, maxing at almost an a hour and half long of nonchalant percussion, ear splitting synthesized guitar and lyrics that sound like mumbled jargon rather than actual words.

The title track, “Fear Inoculum,” gives leeway to how tremendously overworked the album is. Running at 10 minutes and 20 seconds, the opening track begins with what sounds like metal scraping upon metal. Not only that, for more than half of the runtime, it is a lyric-less mash-up of instruments that is inharmonious to the ear.

Other tracks, such as “Pneuma” and “Invincible” consist of overly long intros that payoff with no reward, each also having a runtime of more than 10 minutes “Invincible,” for example, starts with steady guitar and drumstick tapping, which isn’t bad. Yet, the guitar and rhythm soon grow tiresome and monotonous, running more than a minute into the song and then morphing into a melody that sounds like it could be in a rip-off sci-fi film.

The track “Descending” opens with the sound of waves splashing against the coast—a euphoric and pleasing tone—having nothing to do with the rest of the album, is then washed out by the repetitive sound of synthesized guitar and mumbled jargon.

From how most of the tracks exceed 10 minutes in runtime, it seems that Tool is trying too hard to tell a story and find meaning within a song. Some may find this overly long instrumental mash-up of an album interesting and fun, but infrequent listeners of the genre most likely won’t. And in reality, it’s a waste of an hour and a half.

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