Tool Fear Inoculum impressions


Who else thinks this is a masterpiece? Or, do you hate it? Your thoughts...
devilboy
I'm glad you started the thread. Tool is a band I always loved but never followed through with purchases. I'll be watching.....
Imho it is very different from earlier work but as that last effort was 2006 what else could one expect.
Some would say they have mellowed, I would say it more like they have matured.

Just like the latest APC effort, Eat The Elephant, was a masterpiece imho, so will this be considered so in the future.

I think it's appeal is greater and possibly a little more intellectual in its approach.

Only listened in hirez Qobuz stream but based on that I will be buying the vinyl.

Btw, just in case you could not tell, yes I give it a huge thumbs up!
I listened to it yesterday and enjoyed if very much.  In fact i'm going to listen to it again today.  two thumbs up!  I also listened on Qobuz and it sounded really good.
I think it's a great sounding record, I miss some of the vitriol and rawness of their earlier work.
Wow. Some good points.

Yes, I also feel they’ve "matured". Anyone expecting to hear their earlier material such as Undertow or Aenima (frankly, I think all want more of that), won’t find it anymore in Tool. Opiate and Undertow were more of the traditional 90’s rock style but in Aenima you can see how they started to get more melodic and mature.
Lateralus went even further in that direction. 10,000 days, I just didn’t care for. It just wasn't my cup of tea and not the sound I wanted to hear from Tool. So because of that, I was not as excited as I wanted to be a few months before Fear Inoculum came out.

That said, a few weeks ago when I heard the single, my initial impression was that it was pretty good. I didn’t love it, but I thought it was pretty good.

Now, this is a very important part of my assessment... After I listened a few times the song grew on me to the point where I couldn’t stop playing it. I played it INCESSANTLY. I just heard it in a different way that upon first listen I couldn’t grasp completely. And this is the main sticking point with me and Tool. In my 44 years on this Earth I’ve never heard a band that made music that grew on me more than Tool. It was after I listened to the single many, many times that I became extremely excited for the album.

The album is 1 hour and 26 minutes of information overload. It’s just too much to grasp on first listen. After I listened to it the first time, there were two songs that I was iffy about and they were Pneuma and Culling Voices. After a few more plays of both, I can’t stop playing them. Again, that’s the thing with tool. For some reason they make music that my brain hears differently every time I hear it. They’re ridiculously talented.
I heard 1 song from it for the first time today and liked it, but I can't buy the CD until it comes out in a normal edition that's under $100.00. 

I still like 10.000 days very much. 
Agreed Roxy, it's crazy pricing so far.
Saying that a store in Holland is offering vinyl at 35 € which is a bit more sensible.

I can wait though, the Qobuz hirez is very good listening indeed.
I bought the special edition of 10,000 days when it came out which has built-in fold out glass magnifying spectacles to look at the pages of artwork and I thought that was an extravagance at about $25.00 if I recall correctly, but this is too much.
Yea my daughter has that special edition too, I find the darn glasses are a storage nuisance though ... Lol.
You asked, so here is my opinion: it's the least good album they've produced, and by a wide margin. I didn't much care for Lateralus or 10,000 Days upon initial listen but felt they had enough potential to draw me back for subsequent listens and they grew on me. I can't say the same for FI, unfortunately. Nothing about it is grabbing me, and the sound quality suffers from some periodic distortion that makes it that much harder to enjoy.
Interesting take on it Helomech.
However your opinion is welcome and just as valid as anybody elses and thanks indeed.

Upon hearing Fear I did think that it would not sit well with a lot of hard core Tool fans.

However after 13 years there is no way it was ever going to sound like early Tool, more a progression and maturity of their sound.

To my ears it is a great album and more accessible to many I feel but I can see that die hard Tool fans of yore will not take to it easily.
I wore a Tool T-shirt the other day. I trust that doesn’t mean I’m mature. 🕺🏻
Let me know when they release it on vinyl.
Hey to each his own.

I agree with uberwaltz. Many Tool fans have a hard time accepting anything after Aenima, which I fully understand. It's really interesting to hear the progression that the band has made over the years. With each album you can see how they get more melodic and experiment with polyrhythms, time signature changes, etc. For many, that may not be as exciting as their earlier, straight up rock sound.

Personally, I think the album is beautiful and showcases just how talented and outside of the box thinking the band is as a whole.

Just a quick and funny footnote:

I find it hilarious and sad at the same time that throughout the hundreds of thousands of years of human existence, within 7 days of each other, Tool release the brilliant album that is Fear Inoculum and we also got to witness the train wreck that was the VMA awards.

Sorry GK.... That just means you are a tool......

Mature?
Not in this lifetime .... Lol.
Not sure I’m on board the compression train 🚂 Toot! Toot! for Tool, with the exception of Undertow. I do not knowingly listen to compressed CDs. I went to tool school where I learned to be a tool.

http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/list?artist=Tool&album=
I'm wondering if they hurt their overall sales, releasing it the way they did. I was all set to buy it as soon as it came out without having heard anything from it, only to find out that every record store only had a handful of copies of a "special edition" CD. With that and the fact that people can stream it now for "free", how many will buy a physical copy? I know I'll pick up a vinyl copy when it becomes available, but I wonder how many others will be content to stream it. I hope they negotiated good terms when they set up their streaming deal. 
Exactly Greg!
When A7X released the Stage with only 1 hours notice to the general public, I found most stores had lots of copies of regular CD that day.
In fact FYE was selling it at $9.99!

I found this Tool marketing release to be a little baffling to say the least.
It’s a shame how compressed the new album is. Also sad how compressed the remasters for download are.
Looking at the DR DB it’s easy to see the affect of the Loudness Wars; Tool CDs released in the 90s have lower compression, thus better dynamic range. Albums released after 2000 are super compressed. It really hurts the music of a band like tool where there are polyrhythms which cant be fully appreciated, bass and kick drums compressed together, and vocals in the middle of it all.

At least, I have a couple of original CD releases. Hearing how compressed the streaming is, I’ll pick up the other CDs.

With regard to the new album, it will take a few listens before I make a judgment.


Well, I spoke too soon. The new album is sounding very good. It’s a good mix and well produced despite what the DR scale indicates.
I’m listening to hirez on Qobuz and liking most of the tracks after playing it twice.


I am still on my first listen, got halfway through but it was time for dinner.  I will start from the beginning again tomorrow.  I may need a few listens to really warm up to it.  
Lowrider.

Just goes to show that numbers are not always the be all and end all of it.
Glad it is growing on you.
As soon as vinyl available at a fair price in the 🇺🇸 I will be buying it.
Hi @uberwaltz. 
Yeah, I know there's more to it than numbers. I think because the album is so well produced that it's able to punch through the compression added during mastering. 
Could it sound better? Yes, of course. But, it's still an enjoyable listen.



Was not suggesting that you did not know that lowrider, did not mean any offense.

But I know some here do live and die by the numbers and have gone on record saying would never buy based purely on the numbers .
So far I've gotten through about  3/4 of it on the way home from work but what i HAVE heard made me either spontaneously drive off the road caught in the daze or partially loose the ability to control anything at all. In other words in made a huge impression in a very first listen which Tool has not been known for from past releases, st least not top me. I think it may become my favorite 😮 and I'll be the first to say that i never thought in a million years,  that would be the case. Aenima was brilliant but this might be better. I'd like to think that people who enjoy their music have grown just as much as the musicians themselves and expecting a rehash of the past is not something anyone should've been counting on, especially from Tool. Besides the overtly compressed mix,  the production isn't half bad i think but i have yet to actually sit down in front of an actual system and listen. In any case the new album did not disappoint. In fact, It's surpassed any expectations
@uberwaltz,  No offense taken. I know exactly what you meant. I'm with you 100%.

"Wink, wink, nudge nudge, say no more, say no more."
 


Nods as good as a wink to a blind man.
It’s a shame how compressed the new album is. Also sad how compressed the remasters for download are.
Looking at the DR DB it’s easy to see the affect of the Loudness Wars; Tool CDs released in the 90s have lower compression, thus better dynamic range. Albums released after 2000 are super compressed. It really hurts the music of a band like tool where there are polyrhythms which cant be fully appreciated, bass and kick drums compressed together, and vocals in the middle of it all.
Ironically, Maynard is a fan of vinyl.


I agree with uberwaltz. Many Tool fans have a hard time accepting anything after Aenima, which I fully understand. It’s really interesting to hear the progression that the band has made over the years. With each album you can see how they get more melodic and experiment with polyrhythms, time signature changes, etc. For many, that may not be as exciting as their earlier, straight up rock sound.
I didn’t have much of a hard time accepting Lateralus and 10,000 Days. I think the problem I have with FI is that it sounds less like progression and more like a rehash of Lateralus’ riffs and melodies. Maynard showcases little of his talent on this one.

I’ve given it 3 full listens now and I find little worth celebrating. It doesn’t stir me in any way. In contrast, I loved 10,000 Days and Lateralus by the third listen. I can’t believe I’m saying this for a Tool album that was 13 years coming, but I won’t be buying FI on any physical format. I might give it another chance in the distant future. It seems I’m among a very small minority who dislike this album but I find it so disappointing that I’m honestly surprised by how many love it. 
I would not go as far as to say I love it but I certainly like it a fair bit.
It's playing again now and I honestly find it refreshing and not because waited 13 years for it.

Again it is NOT Tool of old and likely was never ever going to be as 13 years have passed under the bridge.

Just like Eat The Elephant was not in the same vein as earlier APC offerings.

Does not detract from the elegance of the music standing on its own merits.
Played the music in its entirety and like it quite a bit. Sounds fantastic on the big rig. 
Agreed stereo5!
I played it again this morning on my 2nd rig which has a sweet vintage Sanyo receiver at its heart and cranked the snot out of the volume.
I think the louder it played the better effect it had musically.
@helomech ...you say you listened to it three times and you find little worth celebrating. Then you say you love 10,000 days.  Just goes to show you... I listened to 10,000 days when it came out and couldn't stand it. I've listened to it on and off for 13 years and I still can't stand it. Fear Inoculum floored me on first listen and it only gets better each and every time I hear it.

Ahhhh, vanilla and chocolate, I guess. Lol.
@helomech ...you say you listened to it three times and you find little worth celebrating. Then you say you love 10,000 days. Just goes to show you... I listened to 10,000 days when it came out and couldn't stand it. I've listened to it on and off for 13 years and I still can't stand it. Fear Inoculum floored me on first listen and it only gets better each and every time I hear it.

Ahhhh, vanilla and chocolate, I guess. Lol.
I guess so. We can't all have great taste. ;-)
I'm on my 5th listen and i sill really like it.  I love the guitar tones throughout the record.  The bass tone and delay about 1:15 in on Pneuma is wonderful and classic tool in my book.  All the percussion and vocals sound great to me as well.  Not a fan of chocolate chip trip or mockingbeat.  As far as compression goes, it doesn't bother me on this record unless i'm thinking about it.  Other modern metal albums are way worse (e.g. the last two unlistenable baroness albums).  Great thread and fun reading every ones opinion.  Anyone going to see the tour?
+1 Pneuma... excellent.
I just read that Bob Ludwig mastered FI. 



Today was my third listen and I have to say I truly like it a lot. Listening to it on my main system today with the wife out for a few hours was truly amazing. It really does need to be played a little louder than you normally would to hear and feel some of the details, but what a reward when you do.

@uberwaltz...……………...

I listened today with the 300wpc Mac amp and it really sang through the GE Triton Refs. The entire room was pressurized yet the meters on the amp were only averaging between 30 and 40 watts. It was so clear and right sounding. Thank you for the kind words.
My buddy just picked up two copies (LP's) at Walmart of all places. 
Great album! 
The affordable lp may never happen :(
its supposed to be a box set of one side records :(  
Has anyone downloaded/purchased the new Tool from HDTracks?
I'm even more interested in the sound quality of the original CD releases of Tool's catalog compared to the HDTracks. I like everything about Tool with exception to the strange equalization in production. The sound quality of APC is vastly different and I prefer the production on APC albums over Tool's. I like Tool more than APC; just wish it sounded better. I’m holding out on buying from HDTracks until I can reasonably expect it to out-do their CDs.
I misinformed. When he said album, he meant CD. Huge bummer - sorry
Does HD Tracks have their own mastered file delivered to them? I doubt it. The 24/96 mastering for download is indicated in the DR Database.
http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/list?artist=Tool&album=

It’s what I’ve been listening to via Qobuz and it sounds terrific. The DR for the CD appears to have the same specs as the downloads.

Edit: Actually, the CD has higher compression than the hirez download. Too bad, the record labels will never change. With CDs we're stuck with an inferior product.


devilboy
I will start to digest this new release over the weekend. 13 years is a long time between albums per se. Including the Band, we all are 13 years older as well. Fear Inoculum, could very well be the last TOOL album.  Prog? Metal? Hard Rock?

Happy Listening!
uberwaltz
Another +vote for A Perfect Circle (APC).
Happy Listening!
Been listening since the weekend to Tidal streamed version via Roon (4-5 times), until last night when I listened to the 96.0kHz/24bit version.  The improvement was obvious (although it was not HUGE, maybe 10-15% better) in the first 45 seconds.  Mostly it was in the realm of improved imaging, as each sound comes from a tighter apparent point source.
@jafant Yes, it's probably the last album.
BUT.........I was thinking, since it took so long, maybe they have more material that they recorded. 
Wouldn't it be great if they dropped a bomb a year from now with unreleased tracks? 
Hmmmm....

Remember, Danny Carey is 58 years old. The rest of the band ain't no spring chickens either. This could very well be the final record.

My buddy and I just bought our tickets for the Atlantic City show. Can't freaking wait.
Never seen Tool live but have caught APC live twice a few years back, they came to Rockville once.
Awesome sauce, I can only imagine how cool the live Tool show will be.
This will be my second time seeing them live.
Ate plenty of acid listening to Aenima in my twenties. I would've loved to eat shrooms at our concert in A.C. In November but I'm driving home so it's a no go.
That would've been great. I don't do drugs anymore, not in a LONG time, but it would've been nice to let go one more time!
@burndonesinkchair
I don’t like the way Tool’s albums are mixed; they seem to go for the "wall of sound" type of mix, rather than placing the musicians on the soundstage.
I’m listening to the 1993 Undertow CD which has low compression and excellent dynamics. You can hear that the drums are behind the singer, but the guitar and overall instrumentation has a wall of sound mix.
It’s a great album with excellent sound, but I wish they had some separation of instruments. It would be nice to fully hear the interaction between these excellent musicians. The later CDs have higher compression so it’s doubtful that there would be any improvement.

I imagine vinyl would be the way to go for quality listening.
Anybody have the Tool albums on vinyl?



Thank you for the post!

Been curious to listen to this. More so now, and will have to be added to my "list"...

While not a huge fan, I did listen to Aenima and Undertow quite a bit.

My CD's have been in storage for years, and I recently ripped everything so I could put it all on my DAP. And, as a result was listening to Tool again.

There is something interesting that happens when a band "grows up". If they are close in age to the listener, the hope is if the listener "grows up" maintaining a certain synergy with the band, they will stay relevant.

There was another performer whom I was a huge fan of and have seen live many many times - more so than any other by a long shot. With every new release I felt as though they continued to make sense as I was dealing with new stages in my life. And, with every new release, there was a concerted effort to "give it a chance". This as the releases were evolving, as was the performer. The investment to work through the changes was always worth the effort.

Here's an interesting video. I love listening to "British" people speaking "properly" about things that could be perceived by some as being on the fringe...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3L42kKemrg

Thanks again,

P

PS - This is how threads on Agon should be discussed...