Luckily for us, rock’s encyclopedia is full of eccentric personalities. It has some artists that seem to have shown up from out of nowhere (obligatory FNM reference) and even some that are ‘in a league of their own’. Next to the entry ‘sui generis’ however, it is Tool’s logo that’s standing there proudly.
13 years after ’10.000 Days’, the ritual that is listening to a new record by these fine gentlemen is back in our lives. The title track had me worried, being much too ‘safe’ and familiar for my taste – the good news is that the rest of the songs are much more interesting. ‘Fear Inoculum’ is proof that Tool’s unique idiosyncrasy can still stand out, still impress, even be transcending, at least while the amazing ‘Pneuma’ is playing. Unfortunately, however, it is clearly inferior when compared with Tool’s past records/statements of unwavering artistic ambition and rare confidence. It uses much of the same compositional ingredients as ‘Lateralus’ and ‘10,000 Days’, but, deprived of the musical vision of the former and the sentimental catharsis of the latter, it is the band’s first ‘mortal’ album.
Because at the end of the day, whether it is Axl Rose’s megalomania or Adam Jones’ perfectionism that stalls a release, it is unlikely that it could satisfy the ever-growing expectations. Even if this is… Tool we’re talking about.