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A TOOL-Related Article

Publication: Entertainment Today

Date: November 1 - 7, 1996

Transcribed by James Surles (jose@conterra.com)


Found at http://www.entertainment-today.com/Nov01-07/cd.htm/ 


Tool
Ænima
Zoo Entertainment
by Eric Layton

"Some say the end is near," bodes vocalist Maynard James Keenan during the
title cut from Aenima, Tool's long-awaited new effort. The song is a
disgusted meditation on all of the world's dysfunction and apparently,
Keenan feels that society needs to be purged entirely-given an enema, if
you will. Never one to bask even remotely in any type of ignorant
optimism, he dwells rather in the murky recesses of the damaged human
psyche, especially his own. With delicate whispers, that gradually
escalate into unsettling primal howls, Keenan traverses Tool's jagged
soundscape like a psychotic charioteer. The band launches a multi-layered
aural attack, fraught with shifting cadences and temperament. Aenima, the
Los Angeles quartet's follow-up to 1993's incendiary Undertow, marks an
upward artistic progression for a group thematically submerged in a
self-imposed and downward emotional spiral.

Picking up where they left off on Undertow, Tool kicks things into
overdrive with the opening track, "Stinkfist." With its familiar musical
structure (crunching guitar riffs, airtight rhythms, Keenan's Jeckyll/Hyde
croonings), it conveys the fearsome, visceral tone found in previous tunes
like "Sober." One of Aenima's prime moments comes on "Eulogy," as Keenan's
twisted, imposing vocals are seemingly funneled through a distorted
bullhorn. Although the lyrics are completely unintelligible, they
nevertheless retain an unnerving beauty. Tool has a penchant for such
idiosyncratic details. The disc is full of soundbites (a relentless
tapping on a window, a baby crying) and creepy voice-overs (a German man
fervently orating is especially disturbing) that render it a
transportative yet dreadful experience. Tool doesn't compromise its art,
and fearlessly marries darkly incongruent elements into a turbulent sonic
netherworld where no one escapes unscathed (psychologically, anyway). 

Aenima is the perfect soundtrack for a mental breakdown. You may want to 
turn it off mid-disc (running time is 77 minutes, the single CD maximum), 
to regain a balanced state of mind. That is by no means an insult to 
Tool, but rather a genuflection to the devastating impact of their music. 
After a short break, you'll be compelled to turn it back on, eager to 
resume your harrowing journey into madness.


kabir/akhtar | kabir@t.d.n