After more than a decade, devout Tool fans have been rewarded with a unique album that has been worth the wait. Wait, I know, you’ve heard the criticisms. Some that I have heard are: “it’s not HEAVY enough.” “I waited 13 years for this?” and “Why do I want to hear birds chirping? Play music!”
To them, I thumb my nose. Or maybe even extend my middle finger, because that would be heavier, like Tool, right?
I feel these critics have either not given themselves enough repeats of the album, or not gotten AT ALL that it, much like The Who’s “Tommy,” is an eccentric concept album that can be best appreciated when listened to from start to finish.
We got a sneak preview of the album’s opening title track, “Fear Inoculum” and for most of us, we rose like excited carbonation to the top of the 13-year abyss we’ve been sinking in. Yes, we got A Perfect Circle in between. “But Tool,” you’d silently pray. as another year passed. “Tell me they’re not done.”
No, it’s not as “heavy” but it is heavy, perhaps more in a metaphorical way. Some of my favorite tracks are “Pneuma” (Track 2) and “7empest,” appropriately, track 7. Aforementioned complainers can find their heaviness here, in the final track, crossing over the 12-minute barrier. “Pneuma” employs a staccato beat that makes the very chemical parts in your brain bounce like an enthusiastic mosh pit dancer.
In case you’re wondering, “Pneuma” means spirit. This will help you make a greater connection to the prolific lyrics contained within. And, speaking of spirits, my spirit, and the spirits of many, have been uplifted by the new album, and, what else? Hmm…oh yeah, THE TOUR. I’ll see you in Atlantic City, if you’re amongst the faithful Tool community.
For all listeners, new or classic: don’t be inoculated by others’ commentary, not even mind. Decide for yourself; but give it time.
Be well, and rock on,
P.S. The ONLY critique I have is that the amazing case with visualization and music does not have a headphone jack. That is all.