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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: "The Scene" Online Magazine

Date: December, 1996

Transcribed by
Michael Newnam (kgeorge@rt66.com)


  page: 
 title: Tool: Aenima
author: Chris Akin

Most bands releasing music today are pleasing to the ear, yet lack a 
great deal of depth within their lyrics. Some bands, however, are 
downright inspiring. Then there's Tool -- probably the most 
thought-out band in the history of recorded music.
       
Doubters need only check out Tool's latest, AENIMA. From the cover
art right down to the messages within each song, it's obvious that 
every facet of AENIMA was meticulously scrutinized. Their fastidious 
approach, once again, has worked. AENIMA has surpassed UNDERTOW as the 
best release in the small but solid Tool catalog. AENIMA defies 
description throughout. Songs feel uplifting, yet a closer look 
reveals a downright evil intent. Silky smooth vocals are surrounded by 
absolutely pummelling guitars. Soft, circus-like backdrops bleed into 
brutal onslaughts. Preconceived notions of what music should be go out 
the window.
       
Tool's latest trip into the subconscious fears and fantasies of the 
mind begins with "Stinkfist," a track that features the smooth yet
altered vocals that Maynard James Keenan has made a Tool trademark. 
The placid vocals are surrounded by Adam Jones' churning guitar, which 
is far more powerful than on UNDERTOW.
       
Jones takes his playing to its most intense level on "Pushit,"
frantically pushing his own limitations against the spasmodic backbeat
of Danny Carey. New-comer Justin Chancellor's empowered bass is much
more visible than on previous Tool releases. Overall, AENIMA's
instrumentation is flawless.
       
While the success or failure of AENIMA ultimately lies in the
music, clearly its creation was inspired by its message. Much of the
songs' meanings are ambiguous, to be defined only by the listener's
interpretations. On many songs, second or third listens are needed to
get an accurate vision of what Tool are trying to show you.
       
Take "Message To Harry Manback," for example. At first listen,
it's a soft, piano-based romantic ballad. Upon deeper investigation, 
it is found to be a message of hate from an angry, bitter individual.
"AENIMA" brings a new dimension to the perception of individual and
universal evolution, yet the power of Jones' guitar could easily cause
you to miss the entire theme of the song.
       
This disc closes with a 13-minute opus, "Third Eye," which causes
listeners to re-evaluate their stances on the many issues of 
modern-day existence. Yet despite its extensive length, it leaves the 
listener hungering for more.
       
There are times when the band just flat-out rocks ("Hooker With A
Penis," "Eulogy"). Even if you don't pay much attention to the 
message, AENIMA is a great listening experience, and paying attention 
to the lyrics simply enhances the pleasure.
       
Those looking for a new, improved version of UNDERTOW have been
rewarded. AENIMA is a hard rock record for the thinking man: an art 
form not often explored. Look for AENIMA to take Tool over the top. 
It's truly Tool's monumental achievement.

Posted to t.d.n: 05/06/97 23:31:58