A Groan of Tedium Escapes Me

Group photo of the band Tool wearing old-fashioned clothes and striking poses. [Formatted]

Here are the runtimes for the non-noise tracks from Tool’s new Fear Inoculum album: 10:20, 11:53, 12:44, 13:37, 10:05, and 15:43. This means that the average song length is somewhere around 12 minutes and 24 seconds, which equates to the time needed for modern radio to play four complete songs. Another way of putting it is that these six Tool songs roughly translate to 24 Katy Perry or Blake Shelton songs.

I find it humorous that, when describing the album, many fans and critics are making statements along the lines of, “The songs don’t seem nearly as long as they really are!” This is a very peculiar sentence. I mean, what the hell does that even mean? It’s sort of like saying, “I was at the DMV for an hour and a half, but the door greeter was very sweet and made it feel like 20 mins.” Or, “I was sick to my stomach for four hours, but somebody brought me a ginger ale and then it seemed like only a fraction of that time.” Or maybe, “I dropped a bowling ball on my foot, but the cast they put on my leg was so great that it hurt for just three days afterwards!”

The point is, this is a statement a person would make to describe an experience where something unpleasant was happening, but there is a counteracting element that lessens the severity, or takes the edge off. In this case, six obscenely long and occasionally floundering songs somehow feel abbreviated, because… well… because it’s Tool! This is the band that made Opiate, Undertow, Ænima, and Lateralus!

As for Fear Inoculum, what’s the real verdict? Is it bad? No. Is it unremarkable? Yes—there really isn’t anything here that hasn’t been done better on the band’s previous albums. It hosts some nice sounds and textures, and never gets very rowdy. One of my close friends said it’s “pretty chill” and I will get on board with her assessment.

If they had churned this out 12 to 18 months after 2001’s Lateralus then there would be much to celebrate: it would be a triumphant exercise in writing and recording for a band that, even at the time, was notorious for taking too much time between recordings. However, it’s been a mind-blowing 13 YEARS since their last release and a staggering 18 YEARS since their last proper LP!

No dice, no pass… no fucking way.

This Light is Not My Own

Reflection icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 (track 11 from the Lateralus LP by Tool icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 )

Tool's "Lateralus" album cover. [Formatted]

I have come curiously close to the end
Down beneath my self-indulgent and pitiful hole, I am defeated
I concede and move closer
I may find comfort here
I may find peace within the emptiness
How pitiful

This is killing me

Then in my darkest moment, fetal and weeping, the moon tells me a secret—my confidant
“As full and bright as I am, this light is not my own: a million light-reflections pass over me”

Revealed, the source is bright and endless
She resuscitates the hopeless
Without her we are lifeless satellites, drifting

So as I pull my head out, I am without doubt
I do not want to be down here soothing my narcissism
I must crucify the ego before it is too late
I pray the light lifts me out before I pine away

Crucify the ego before it is too late
Leave behind the place that is negative, blind and cynical
Then you will come to find that we are all one mind, capable of all that is imagined and conceivable

Let the light touch you
Let the words spill through
Let them pass right through
Bringing out Our hope and reason

Before we pine away

Mention Something, Mention Anything

Disposition icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 (track 10 from the Lateralus LP by Tool icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 )

Tool's "Lateralus" album cover. [Formatted]

Mention this to me and watch the weather change

Mention this to me
Mention something
Mention anything

Mention this to me and watch the weather change

To Feel My Moment While Drawing Way Outside the Lines

Lateralus icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 (track 09 from the eponymous LP by Tool icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 )

Tool's "Lateralus" album cover. [Formatted]

Black then white are all I see in my infancy
Red and yellow then came to be
Reaching out to me, it lets me see

As below, so above
Beyond, I imagine, drawing beyond the lines of reason
Push the envelope
Watch it bend

Over-thinking, over-analyzing separates the body from the mind
Withering my intuition
Missing opportunities
I must feed my will to feel my moment while drawing way outside the lines

Black then white are all I see in my infancy
Red and yellow then came to be
Reaching out to me, it lets me see

There is so much more and it beckons me to look through to these infinite possibilities

As below, so above
Beyond, I imagine, drawing outside the lines of reason
Push the envelope
Watch it bend

Over-thinking, over-analyzing separates the body from the mind
Withering my intuition
Leaving opportunities behind

Feed my will to feel this moment urging me to cross the line

Reaching out to embrace the random
Reaching out to embrace whatever may come

I embrace my desire
To feel the rhythm
To feel connected enough
To step aside and weep like a widow
To feel inspired
To fathom the power
To witness the beauty
To bathe in the fountain
To swing on the spiral of Our divinity and still be a human

With my feet upon the ground I lose myself between the sounds
I open wide to suck it in
I feel it move across my skin
I am reaching up and reaching out
I am reaching for the random or whatever will bewilder me
Yes, whatever will bewilder me, following Our will
When we go where no one has been, we will ride the spiral to the end
And we may just go where no one has been

Spiral out
Keep going