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The First Reaction To Tool’s New Song Fear Inoculum

Tool have finally released new music in the shape of Fear Inoculum. Here’s what we think about it…

So, it’s started. Here begins the end of the wait. In 23 days, we will have the full thing, Fear Inoculum in all its lengthy, twisted, long-awaited glory. That for the most painfully-anticipated album of the year the band have barely made a peep, teased almost nothing, and given very few proper, concrete signals on anything to do with anything, is actually the most reliably expected thing around the whole enterprise. Tool have always operated like this – and with almost a decade and a half of basically going I dunno, LOL’ as the answer to any questions about when the follow-up to 10,000 Days is coming, they have got extremely good at appearing to tease while giving away absolutely fuck all.

Now we have a piece of the puzzle, the album’s sprawling title-track, what does it all mean? Obviously, this monolithic musical maze makes much more sense in the context of its reverentially long home, with the on and off ramps to its preceding and subsequent tracks painfully crafted to perfection, but as a glimpse into a world where jokes about the album never coming are redundant, it is a fine vista. Satisfyingly, it’s enough to take a decent enough bath in to get the measure of where Tool are going, and for them to let you breathe it in deeply, rather than a quick, three-minute single and crap video. 

The big takeaway for the album here is that even by Tool standards, things are going to take a while to digest. Which is expected, but possibly not to this degree. But they haven’t simply spent the time making this record making things only’ complicated. That isn’t what this band do. Instead, it’s once again that delicate balance of making so many layers work harmoniously, and digging deep into riffs and rhythms to uncover depths you never even considered.

As an opening of the door to Fear Inoculum (the album), this is a masterful move – like a movie trailer setting the tone without actually blowing the whole enterprise. And as exciting as it is to finally have a new track, seeing how far Tool have gone down their own rabbit-hole has raised expectations for the album even higher. Only now, we know there’s no danger that it won’t live up to 13 years of expectation. 

Tool’s new album Fear Inoculum is released August 30 via Music For Nations/Sony Music.

Posted on August 7th 2019, 1:16p.m.
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