Spin #44: Tool : Fear Inoculum
SUNDAY DROP - SPIN #44
Welcome back to R'nR with Rylo and our first Spin of the year 2023! I hope that you celebrated responsibly and gave your turntables a good workout by selecting some fine records on New Years Eve. This week we here at R'nR have chosen the 5th album by Californian band, Tool called Fear Inoculum. This band is one that my sister got me into and really clicked when I first heard this album on streaming services. It took a while to get the vinyl copy in our hands and wanted to say a very big thank you to my mum for gifting the 5 LP deluxe version for my birthday last year. Grab yourself a very comfortable seat as we spin this lengthy masterpiece for our Spin #44!
This week I have decided to play Fear Inoculum on our Sherwood Turntable (PM-9805) and Sherwood Receiver (RX-4508) complete with 4 x Sherwood Bookshelf speakers spaced evenly across our loungeroom. I can also play Fear Inoculum through my Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones if I really want to hear every sound Tool have to offer but I want the kids to hear this one.
Image : Maynard James Keenan, Justin Chancellor, Danny Carey and Adam Jones
I only know one other person who has this record on the 5 LP deluxe version and I am very interested to hear what they thought of the production quality (overall package of sound/artwork). I noticed a few things that differed from the streaming version and also CD release - being the artwork and track listing. It looks as though the streaming version has all the songs plus filler instrumentals that provide the overall experience. I was a bit bummed to hear that the record didn't have 'LITANIE CONTRE LA PEUR' seeing as there is only music on one side of each of the 5 LP's. I didn't realise initially that the CD version only has 7 songs and omits the most tracks.
The booklet sleeve that the LPs are housed in showcases new artwork previously unreleased by Tool and designed by Adam Jones (guitarist). I've managed to place the gold label from the shrinkwrap onto the outer box, as it says the album name and band. The cover is very different to the CD release and is shiny/metallic looking in different lights. It also has some weight to it as I pull the inner sleeve book out and TOOL have managed to add some extra artworks in between all the record jackets.
Fear Inoculum is such a lengthy album that if I were to review each song like I usually do, It'd probably be a 50 minute review or longer. I remember when the song 'FEAR INOCULUM' was released and I knew it was a long song but I accidentally added it twice on the Spotify playlist whilst driving from work. It played twice but because it was all new to me, I didn't realise and thought it was a 20+minute track. I was blown away by how good it was and laugh now, knowing that it is half that length. The second track is called 'PNEUMA', which means in Greek "breath". I like this album as a whole and find that if I start listening to one track on spotify, that I'll play the whole album. Similar to Pink Floyd records, it is one best kept for wax and played all the way through. The only gimmicky thing that doesn't quite work on this release would have to be the etchings on the B sides. The band were in agreement that the etchings weren't really deep enough and are quite difficult to see unfortunately.
LP2 only has one song as 'LITANIE CONTRE LA PEUR' was omitted from the vinyl release. The almost 13 minute track of 'INVINCIBLE' on Side C would have to be one of my favourite tracks as the drumming is insanely good by Danny Carey. Vocalist Keenan, who also fronts bands 'A Perfect Circle' and 'Puscifer', has some well though out lyrics on this track - "Beating tired bones, tripping through remember when, once invincible, now the armour's wearing thin, heavy shield down". Because we were making New Years Day special dad burgers this morning, I ended up swapping to the Marshall Woburn II speaker and front room set up (Audio Technica AT-LP60XBT). This allowed us to keep playing the record from the front room via Bluetooth in the kitchen! I pretended to play drums with a spatula and K and Q laughed and danced along.
'LEGION INOCULANT' is a shorter track full of atmospheric sounds that build towards the almost 14 minute track and fan favourite, 'DESCENDING'. I ended up going with my sister for her birthday a couple years ago to see TOOL play at Qudos Bank Arena at Homebush in Sydney and was very impressed. I was recovering from a stomach bug and luckily felt well enough to go and experience them live. TOOL didn't want any phones/cameras at their show to be used and wanted everyone to watch. Something that stuck with me because everyone was paying attention (mostly everyone) and absorbing their musicianship. I thought it was interesting that vocalist Keenan sings from behind the band in the shadows and doesn't want the spotlight, literally. I can't think of another band that does this and they do have a pretty cool light show and weird/artsy things flashing across the screens. Even though it is a long record, it does seem to fly by because you are engrossed by everything that is going on. Hoping that they release their other albums on vinyl soon so we can add them to our collection (10,000 Days and Aenima).
Time for LP 4, yes you read that right. Side G has 'CULLING VOICES' and the robot sounding drum solo from Carey called, 'CHOCOLATE CHIP TRIP'. Coming through the Woburn II speaker and at a higher volume, you can hear just how fast and technically gifted this octopus is, I mean drummer. He hits the kit so hard at some moments that you feel the ground in the kitchen moving (not really and if it is, we have other problems). It all leads nicely into my favourite track on the album and my sister and I can claim that we were apart of the first people to hear it played live in the world. That song is the almost 16 minute epic, '7EMPEST'.
Sadly though, they didn't keep an eye on the printer during the production process and the lyrics are missing for his one. I'm not sure if this was done intentionally and could be blamed on the band just being TOOL. It has a slow build up, powerful lyrics, bass by Chancellor and guitars by Jones killing it and you find yourself jamming along. Easily my favourite TOOL song of all their albums. I remember when we were deciding to head home after the concert by train it started pouring. It was one of the biggest storms to hit Sydney and was fitting that it arrived after TOOL played this song at the end of their show - "Calm before the torrent comes, calm before the torrent comes, calm before the torrent comes, calm before the Tempest comes to rain/reign all over". We didn't bother with the train and somehow managed to get an Uber, that had found its way beyond police blockades at the front of the arena, out of there. Probably the most confronting and nonsense track is the bird sounds of 'MOCKINGBEAT'. Make sure if you are listening along with headphones that you turn it down before this track starts, unless you love the sound of birds loud in your ears. Like all the LPs, LP 5 has etchings on the other side. TOOL ended up releasing a 3 LP version that doesn't have the etchings but still managed to omit a track and lyrics like this one.
There are a couple of changes coming to R'nR over the coming weeks and please be patient with us as there might be a few teething issues. Thank you for coming along on the musical journey with our little family and I hope that you enjoyed our #44 Spin - Fear Inoculum by TOOL. If you enjoyed the music this week please make sure to add this album to your collection.
Until our next Spin, be Kind to people who like TOOL and be Kind to your Wax!
TOOL / JOE BARRESI
TOOL DISECTIONAL / VOLCANO / RCA
SPEED PLAYED AT
10,000 DAYS (2006)
OPIATE EP (1992)
RATING OUT OF 5
WHAT'S INSIDE THE RECORD SLEEVE
5 X BLACK LP WITH ETCHINGS ON THE B SIDES, BOOKLET WITH NEW ARTWORK DESIGNED BY THE BAND AND HOUSED IN A HARD BOX
"Control, your delusion. Insane and striking at random. Victim of your certainty