Album Review: Tool – Fear Inoculum (Music For Nations/Sony Music)

Fear Inoculum is the fifth studio album by rock band Tool. It is the band’s first album in thirteen years and to say anticipation has been high is an understatement. in fact, so rabid has the fanbase been regarding this album, you can’t help but think that it will inevitably fall short of expectations. The question is…does it?


It should be no surprise that Tool’s first album in 13 years is a huge one (at least the digital version is). Almost an hour and a half, it’s 10 track long and opens with the previous released title track. A grower of a track, the more you listen to it, the more you can appreciate the Tool proggy intricacies. Man, is it good to have them back and the drumming at the end is just sublime. You can read our separate review here.

Almost transporting us back in in time to earlier releases, Pneuma sounds like it could have belonged on Lateralus. The complexities of the guitars, the soft melodious vocals and the increasing tempo is just so Tool.

From this point on Tool vary things up, with long tracks split up with short intermission style tracks. Litanie contre la Peur with its psychedelic effect, Legion Inoculant with its eerie-ness, Chocolate Chip Trip’s computerised effects and Mockingbeat’s strange outro. Each is utterly pointless but utterly necessary at the same time.

Each one is a palette cleanser as the longer tracks are really bloody long. Not just that, each one is a journey. A journey showcasing where Tool were and where Tool are now. It’s fan pleasing but if by some miracle, this is the first Tool album you’ve checked out you’ll be totally drawn in by their unique approach to music.

Invincible’s dirty bass, the guitar riffs turning more and more trippy, the tempo edging closer to insanity, is up there as one the best tracks on the album. Although the differences between this and the unbelievable combo of Descending and Culling Voices is minute. Personal preference at best.

However, few will disagree that 7empest isn’t an absolute banger. An enthralling and mesmerising listen, Maynard’s vocals are stunning and the heavier groove is so damn infectious. The guitars take us soaring through the cosmos for a lengthy showcase of just how talented this damn band this. Yes, it is 15 minutes long but what a 15 minutes it is.

Why were we worrying about this album living up to expectations again? A phenomenal effort of a return.


Tool – Fear Inoculum Full Track Listing:

1. Fear Inoculum
2. Pneuma
3. Litanie contre la peur
4. Invincible
5. Legion Inoculant
6. Descending
7. Culling Voices
8. Chocolate Chip Trip
9. 7empest
10. Mockingbeat

Tool - Fear Inoculum (Music For Nations/Sony Music)
  • The Final Score - 9/10
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