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Album Review

Tool – “Fear Inoculum” [Album Review]

Tool are back with another complex and thought-provoking masterpiece, Fear Inoculum (RCA Records) and, in true Tool fashion, it will take hold of you and pull you deep down into a rabbit hole of psychedelic euphoria.



For thirteen years, fans all over the world have been waiting patiently with bated breath for Tool to release their follow-up to 2006’s 10,000 Days. As time went on, memes and jokes began circulating the internet relating to the absence of new material by the band including, my personal favourite, a maze with vocalist Maynard James Keenan at the centre and the title “help Maynard find the new Tool album.” Now, finally, Fear Inoculum (stream/buy here) has arrived and the hype has erupted in a way not seen in years.

I have heard many terms to describe Tool, ranging from visionary to pretentious, genius to egotistical, and so on. The fact is, all words used to describe Tool’s music have an element of truth to them because their music is ingenious, but, to create something so unique and imaginative, they must have a degree of arrogance.

Fear Inoculum ticks all the boxes for what fans were expecting: long and complex songs, bizarre subject matter, and psychedelic soundscapes in which to become lost. Tool has never been a band that could be considered “easy listening,” in fact, to truly appreciate this album, every note, every beat, and every lyric needs to be really heard and absorbed. The title track, “Fear Inoculum,” is a slow build of euphoric sounds that suck you in and takes a grip on your senses as Keenan’s hypnotic vocals drag you deeper down the rabbit hole that is Fear Inoculum. “Pneuma” continues in this fashion, dragging you still deeper as Adam Jones’ guitar riffs will have you seeing colours as the tune increases in tempo. Before you even know it, these two tracks alone have taken over 20 minutes of your life.

Check out the title track, “Fear Inoculum.”

By now, you are now lost in the music with nothing else registering from the world around you. The only point in the record that loosens its grip on your senses is when the unusual and trippy mix of samples from “Chocolate Chip Trip” hits your ears. It’s at this time that you realize you are on the ninth track and almost an hour has elapsed since being aware of anything beyond the music!

When all is said and done, Fear Inoculum is everything fans of Tool were yearning for, and then some. Although someone not accustomed to Tool may argue Fear Inoculum is repetitive and lacks any distinctive features from its predecessors, I would say that person failed to give the album the attention it requires. Tool is not the sort of band that is easy to listen to and they demand attention beyond most other groups, but, given time, this complex album’s many layers will be revealed, and you will see it for the masterpiece it truly is. Tool has offered up the “red pill” with Fear Inoculum; will you take it and let them show you just how deep the rabbit hole goes?

Fear Inoculum Track Listing:

01. Fear Inoculum
02. Pneuma
03. Litanie Contre la Peur
04. Invincible
05. Legion Inoculant
06. Descending
07. Culling Voices
08. Chocolate Chip Trip
09. 7empest
10. Mockingbeat

Run Time: 1:26:42
Record label: RCA Records
Release Date: August 30, 2019

Listen to the album’s second track, “Pneuma.”

Upcoming Tour Dates:

10/13 – Sacramento, Ca @ Aftershock Festival
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