Adam Jones

Album Review: Tool- Fear Inoculum

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Tool’s new album is one of the most anticipated albums ever. The drama and hype surrounding this album have been astounding. Even the rumors about this album have given it all sorts of life before anyone even heard a single note. Finally, after 13 years of waiting, the long anticipated album has arrived. The big question though is, was it worth the wait? Well, in the next few minutes of you reading this, you will get my opinion on that.

I still remember hearing Tool for the first time and thinking this was really cool. The first song I ever heard was “Sober” and the video was pretty stimulating to watch. Undertow was obtained a few days later and after that I was hooked. When Aenima was released that changed everything. That album is a masterpiece straight up. Then 5 years after that, Lateralus was unleashed on the world and that left one hell of a lasting impression on everyone. 10,000 Days though, was a record though that took a long long long time to really get into but, one it finally clicked, it made sense. Especially the song “Right In Two.”

Now here we are, thirteen years removed from 10,000 Days and Fear Inoculum has finally arrived. The thing is though, was 13 years too long? Yes, yes it was. Allow me to further explain. When a band takes this long to release an album, one would expect the record to be truly masterful, evolved and takes things to another level. Each song on Fear Inoculum feels as though it was obsessed over, torn down and rebuilt to try and create a substantial song but, that amount of detail and agonizing over has provided a bloated sense that these songs are more than just a glorified wank fest.  Instead, what was released was a self indulgent piece of art that is so wrapped up in its own ego that it’s truly hard to really get to the nitty gritty of what is there. It’s not that the album isn’t good, it is, it’s just that this album is drab and feels uninspired. I’m all for long songs. I love listening to an album that really takes you on a journey. This album however, only takes me on a journey to fall asleep.

That’s not to say there aren’t moments of brilliance on this album. The odd time signatures are aplenty and the Tool sound is ever prevalent. The song everyone seems to be so jazzed about is “7empest.” That song if you were to really cut the fat out of it has the potential to be one of the most legendary Tool songs in their catalog. That song really has some defining moments for the record.  Fear Inoculum is definitely an album that, with the right amount of patience and time, one can come to really enjoy. This is not a casual listen type of album. As with every Tool album, there is a depth to it that takes time to unravel and decipher. This album not only has those elements but there also seems to be another level that they went to that isn’t quite easy to digest. Among the other gripes I have with the album is Maynard’s vocals. It’s as though his vocals were just placed in spots without the right amount of attention needed to truly highlight the singer. All the time spent working on the actual music and not having Maynard in the room really takes away from what this album could have been. Danny Carey is truly a drum champion but, even his parts on this album just like guitarist Adam Jones, tends to go on and one a bit too long and tend to drone on with no end point. That’s not to say they aren’t good at what they do, they just needed to reign it in a bit more and be more concise about the length of parts. My other issue is not having enough moments for Justin Chancellor to shine. On the previous couple albums, Justin had been at the forefront of many of the songs but, on this one he too seems to have taken a back seat and because of that, the album loses a bit of the aura it should have with Justin’s bass tone and playing. The production on the album though is stellar. Sonically it does sound good and it’s mixed very well.

As I mentioned above, it’s not that this album isn’t good, it is but, it’s just rather drab and boring. I know there are a ton of you out there that think this is the be all end all of albums in 2019 but, it’s really just hype. After 13 years, this is the best that they could do? Maynard was even quoted in a recent interview that the album could have been released 8 years ago. I will continue to go back to this album and see if my mind changes about it. I’ve listened quite a few times and even with each listen, I still find myself wanting to reach for a pillow and just drift off to sleep. One other thing, I do find it quite interesting that both the Tool and A Perfect Circle albums have been quite underwhelming. Is it possible that after all this time both bands have lost the fire that once drove them?

Overall Rating: B-

 
Tool- Fear Inoculum:

 

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New Release: Tool- Fear Inoculum

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The first song officially released from Tool’s LONG AWAITED new album, Fear Inoculum, is finally here. The band has decided to release the title track from the album as the first offering. All I will say about this is it’s very much a Tool song.
Tool- Fear Inoculum:

 

Ultimate Set List: Tool

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Today I thought I’d write about Tool. I’m getting impatient waiting for them to release a new album. I spent some time looking at their set lists that they have been playing and it got me thinking that I should make up my own [said with a ton of echo] “Ultimate Set List.” This feature has become one of my absolute favorites to do and I love seeing what your responses are and set lists you all come up with.

So, what would be your Ultimate Tool Set List?
As usual here are the rules:

Rule 1: What line up of the band would it be

Rule 2: Where would you want to see the show

Rule 3: maximum 25 songs

 

Lineup: Maynard James Keenan, Danny Carey, Adam Jones, Justin Chancellor

Venue: Forum

Set List:

01) The Grudge
02) Parabola
03) Intolerance
04) Vicarious
05) Bottom (with Special Guest: Henry Rollins)
06) Part Of Me
07) Prison Sex
08) Eulogy
09) Sober
10) Jimmy
11) Crawl Away
12) Forty Six & 2
13) Sweat
14) Rosetta Stoned
15) Aenema
16) Lateralus
17) Right In Two
18) Schism

Encore:

19) Cold and Ugly
20) Flood
21) Jambi
22) Stinkfist

Live Review: Palms at the Troubadour

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On paper supergroups sound like a good idea. Mix parts of one band with another. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. Thankfully when Isis members Aaron Harris, Jeff Caxide, and Bryant Clifford Meyer joined up with Deftones singer Chino Moreno, musical bliss was created. Last night at the Troubadour was definitely something inspiring. The bands 75 minute set was full of intrigue. Their set started off with an untitled new song, then quickly jumped into “Tropics.” The main highlight of the night was when Adam Jones from Tool got on stage to join the band in playing “Shortwave Radio.” The crowd erupted when Adam appeared, almost to the same level as when Chino took the stage. You would think that with all the projects Chino is involved with he would run out of things to sing about. That is not the case. In Palms he gets to expand his thoughts into something more etherial that at the same time fits within the music and his voice is subtle as it caresses against the musical backdrop. Closing out the night was the fantastic song “Patagonia.” Palms is the type of band that can transcend heavy music and get those listening to just relax and settle into the music.

Opening band The Beta Machine, was nothing special. Actually to be perfectly honest they were rather drab and boring. I’d almost rather it have been an evening with Palms, than have to sit through their set. Though their drummer is quite fantastic.

What a great night for music. I love shows that leave me wanting more and that make me want to go home and write songs. In the past 4 days seeing Abloom and Palms really did that for me. And despite the venues sound guy not being on top of their game when it came to the live mix of Chino’s vocals, it was a great show.

Palms Setlist:

1. New Song
2. Tropics
3. Mission Sunset
4. Future Warrior
5. Shortwave Radio (with Adam Jones)
6. Antarctic Handshake

Encore:

7. Patagonia

 

Shortwave Radio w/Adam Jones

 

By: Brian Lacy

Photo by: Alisa Diaz

Unsung Masterpieces Part 1: Tool- Undertow

Tool is one of the most artistic, innovative and creative bands to come out in the past 25 years. Each of their albums have left a mark with rabid fans eating up everything that they do. Tool’s catalog though short is very deep. The subject matter of lyrics and the depths that the music creates is not for the weak. You can tell the amount of time they band spent working on the songs is worth every second. Maynard’s vocal approach is undeniable his own. Many have tried to copy him but don’t come close. Adam Jones has one of the more intriguing guitar tones and styles. Danny Carey’s drumming is said to be created by seances and summoning sprits, to which is very believable especially with the odd time signatures. Originally on bass Paul D’amour created a bass tone that ripped through the songs with such ferocity that it became the driving force of quite a few songs. Now Justin Chancellor has taken that sound and progressed it to an etherial place. A lot can be said for what their masterpiece is. Some will debate that it is Aenima or Lateralus, Undertow is an unsung Masterpiece. Songs like Intolerance, Crawl Away, Bottom, Flood, and of course Sober all have such a well of emotion and insight into the inner workings of Tool. A bit of history about the album, Undertow was recorded between October and December 1992 at Sound City Studios, and at Grandmaster Recorders, Hollywood, California, by Sylvia Massy. Some of the songs featured on the album are songs that the band decided to not release on Opiate. Henry Rollins makes a guest vocal appearance on the song “Bottom.”

Take a listen again and see what you’ve missed out the first few times you listened to Undertow.

By: Brian Lacy