Review by Adam M on September 2, 2019.
Tool’s new album Fear Inoculum has been a long time coming. Waiting for 13 years since the last work, we finally are given some new music to wet our palette. The long and detailed compositions show that there was a lot of work put into the material. The album gets off to a strong start with the title track and Pneuma being two of the stronger tracks on the album. The second song is a bit more aggressive and catchy, while the first is interesting in its instrumental use, particularly the drums. Other songs on the disc are more innovative and show the band experimenting nicely. I question the need to insert ambient tracks that are only instrumental in between the longer main tracks of the album, though they do provide a nice breather.
The whole album is very compelling and interesting in nature and brings some nice new thoughts to the table. The problem is that the band is no longer putting forth creative new ideas like they were on Aenima and Lateralus and thus this has the feeling of re-treading familiar waters. Still, the songs are epic and weave an undeniably magical web around the listener. The album is certainly an improvement over the previous one and makes a nice use of a year that many similar albums have been released. The only problem is that albums by Soen, Sermon and Source sound fresher and more inviting and one up the band this year.
This is still in the top quarter of all the albums I’ve heard this year and one strong release from beginning to end. It’s just there have already been similar releases that go out on a more interesting tangent. The music is still really involving and much needed in what has been a pretty dry year for music thus far. Fans of the band will have no problem coming to terms with what’s on display here.
Rating: 7.7 out of 10