Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

Tool – Fear Inoculum

CORRECTION: In a previous post we referred to today as Rising Pop Star Wednesday. It is actually You’ve Been Trolled Thursday. We regret nothing.


Thomas Inskeep: If you go for hard, progressive rock, then you’re likely to dig this 10-minute-plus epic — complete with the obligatory change of time signature around the 6-minute mark. For my money it’s not as clever as Pink Floyd, not as hard as Voivod, and, well, at least it’s better than Jethro Tull (to be fair, most things are). And it feels like a slog.

Josh Buck: A timeline of my first listen of “Fear Inoculum”: Before pressing play: How is Tool still a thing? 15 seconds in: Wait, have I never actually listened to a Tool song? 1 minute in: Well, this isn’t so bad. 2 minutes in: Oh, I quite like this. 6 minutes in: What an ideal track to be listening to when finding out about The Matrix 4. Song ends: That was great, so what the hell band was I thinking of this whole time?

Tim de Reuse: Prog metal isn’t supposed to remind me of Talk Talk — something about those crystal-clear toms and the relatively tame guitar tone is throwing me off, and the big climax ends up less impactful than the many minutes we spend meandering between time signatures.

Ian Mathers: Some nice sounds, sometimes. Some decent playing, sometimes. Overrated? Pretty much since the beginning. But being overrated isn’t their fault; putting out a 10-minute single this turgid and this dominated by the never-that-compelling Maynard James Keenan is.

Katherine St Asaph: I guess we all forgot about that Reddit thread? Even so, in a vacuum I like this a lot — but introduce wi-fi to that vacuum (just… assume the metaphor is scientifically sound) and I’d realize that that’s because almost all of it, particularly the percussion, reminds me of “Inertia Creeps,” which I A/B’d and prefer.

Will Rivitz: The more things change, the more they stay the same. I listen to “Fear Inoculum” and I’m 14 again, wandering summer camp alone, earbuds in, Lateralus playing through my iPod Nano. Never mind my musical taste has fully shifted away from angst-rock, or so I’d believe; three minutes in and I’m ten years younger, seven minutes in and I worry I’ll never return to 24. The song itself is mostly irrelevant; it’s the emotional resonance that matters. I can’t find it in me to be annoyed by Maynard James Keenan’s antics and forever edginess while the track is playing. I’d call that a successful comeback.

Kylo Nocom: There’s beauty throughout “Fear Inoculum,” in Adam Jones’s sandy riffing and Danny Carey’s percussion arrangements, and for brief moments one could imagine being hypnotized by it all. But Maynard James Keenan has a voice that strains to pull everything down to earth, and with every single one of his gurgles the song becomes increasingly difficult to listen to. Intricacy is best held with a gentle touch; this crumbles minutes in and dissolves into a mindless drone. Had this song had more tabla, perhaps this would all be more forgivable.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: I grew up a fan of ’70s prog rock– blame boomer parents with collection of Yes CDs and a deep passion for fantasy novels– but I never really got into the genre’s ’90s revival. Those bands, with impossible-seeming technical skill and a distinctively grim vision of the world, were perhaps too hardcore for me at age 13, otherwise the prime period to get into deeply corny music. But the 10 minutes of “Fear Inoculum” stretch out before me like a vast undiscovered country that looks just like home. I can recognize each big damn gesture that the band makes, each portentous lyric sneered. It’s all so neat and organized, a well-designed bombast machine. Nothing of particular importance is being said, but it’s glorious as it works.

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5 Responses to “Tool – Fear Inoculum”

  1. I cannot believe I’m the low score for this piece of crap. (And I respectfully disagree, there is absolutely Jethro Tull that I’d rather listen to than this.)

  2. will not tolerate jethro tull slander on this website

  3. how could it be you’ve been trolled thursday if it’s still wednesday? or is that yet another troll????

  4. I figure the angry tool fans won’t find this until thursday at least

  5. Jethro Tull is an amazing band. Tool is too, but I didn’t really feel this one.

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