Publication: University of Tennessee [paper title?]
Date: October ?, 1996
Transcribed by Robert J McCabe (email@example.com)
I go to the University of Tennessee and in today's issue of the school paper was this: title: Tool's riveting new CD displays raw, thunderous lyrics "Beliefs are dangerous. Beliefs allow the mind to stop functioning. A non-functioning mind is clinically dead. Believe in nothing . . . " The preceding quote was taken from the liner notes of Tool's second album, AEnima. In this follow-up to 1993's UNDERTOW, the Los Angeles band once again challenges socity's norms with brutally raw cynicism and hard-hitting musical force. The title of this album, a misspelling of enema, imlplies that the band sees itself as a device used for cleansing or other purposes. Aenima is a display of controversial themes and language over tight, powerful chords and steady, hypnotic beats. Regardless of controversy, the combination of these shocking effects succeed in creating an awesome composition. The album does not supply instant gratification, though. Time is needed to absorb the magnitude of Tool's apocalyptic foreboding. The CD plays over 75 minutes and most songs work slowly, but surely, towards a culmination of noise and emotion. If you allow yourself the necessary time and concentration for Tool to present their numbing anesthetic, you will receive an aural implant of conflict and harsh reality. Numerous songs on this album perpetually advance like a thunderstorm on its way. "Eulogy" begins with a few drops of percussion and proceeds into a light drizzle of cymbals, hinting of the imminent storm. Then, methodical bass pounds like the fat spheres of unwavering rain and intermittent guitars hit like flashes of lightening. Suddenly, thunder strikes in the form of power-chords and Maynard James Keenan's uninhibited voice. Keenan wields his harrowing tongue to conjure up feeling of vulnerable fear one moment and raging angst the next. His chilling lyrics only add to the effects as he whispers, then shouts, "You claimed all this time that you would die for me / Why then are you so surprised when you hear your eulogy." The title track is the album's best delivery of frightening imagination. It tackles the possibility of the upcoming Armageddon in L.A., which Keenan welcomes because of his need for a vacation. In "AEnema," Keenan describes Los Angeles as "one great, big, festering, neon distraction" and he offers up a solution for L.A.'s residents after California falls into the Pacific Ocean: "Learn to swim." Myself being a Californian, this is somewhat disturbing to hear, but it is worth pondering. Throughout the album, Tool deals with death, lies and rejection, themes which also prevailed on UNDERTOW. However, AEnima does not contain the same focused sweep of the former record and the musical experiments on some tracks fail (a song entirely in German?), despite the obvious effort of the band. Whether or not you'll enjoy this CD mostly depends on your preferences and mood. If you're a fan of Tool and the darkness which they adhere to, your purchase of Enima will serve you well. But if you are one of those shiny, happy people who will do anything to avoid being corrupted, beware! When you see Tool coming, pull a 180 and head for the nearest exit.