Review: Fear Inoculum (track)

Most of you have been paying attention, but I’ll state the obvious: Fear Inoculum, the title track from the new Tool album is out on all major music platforms.

I’ve listened to it three times now, and loving it more each listen. My initial thoughts:

  • Much like the other news songs played live, it’s very much a Tool track. They’re not breaking new ground here, more iterating on a theme.
  • The mix is pretty good. Justin’s bass sounds great I reckon. Adam’s tone sounds a little different from 10,000 Days and Danny drums sound tight! Maynard a little lower in the mix, but not too surprised about that.
  • Speaking of the drumming – holy shit than ending is HEAVY. Danny’s drumming is on song here. Can’t wait to see this live!
  • The beginning is pretty moody, Maynard’s vocals are pretty laid back, almost APCesque in parts. Not surprised or bothered by this really. Haven’t had much of a chance to delve into the lyrics, but seems standard Toolish fare.
  • It’s a long song, over 10 minutes, but doesn’t seem to drag.

Can’t wait to hear more of this album! It seems to be available for pre-order on Amazon, and the big digital stores. No suggestion of some kind of Toolband/Army exclusive at this point. I expect local record stores should start offering orders soon too (it’s slim pickings in Australia at the moment).

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Ferda
Member
Ferda

Loving it more with each listen. Very clean and well produced. Going to be rocking to it the rest of the day

Naimed
Member
Naimed

After first time hearing it, i wasn’t sure if i liked it or not. The sound of the voice of MJ was not what I was expecting. It’s not a banger like Schism, Vicarious or Stinkfist…
But after 5 times i got it and starting to really like the new direction. I am curious how this track fits in the total concept of the album.

Bagochodes
Member
Bagochodes

Maynard’s bringing a whole new vibe with his new voice iteration.

I’m liking it and it’s definitely growing on me but just like the other two songs, it lacks focus.

lumps
Member
lumps

Not what I was expecting at all, but I love it (of course though, I have no idea what to expect from Tool).
On the first listen, the beginning reminded me of Echoes by Pink Floyd, but as the song went along, it took me on a journey and then the song was over.
On a second listen, I find myself thoroughly enjoying this song.
It’s Awesome!!!!

Can’t wait to hear how Invincible and Descending sound!

Alittlevil
Member
Alittlevil

I thought Pink Floyd right off the bat too. More I hear it the better it gets.

antisol
Member

Sanity has it listed at $180 (!?!)
https://www.sanity.com.au/products/2432696/Fear-Inoculum
As someone who doesn’t use Amazon on ethical grounds (look into how they treat authors), I’m pretty disappointed that the physical copy only seems to be available via amazon, and I’m very keen to find a physical copy somewhere that isn’t Amazon and preferrably one that isn’t $180. If anybody finds a listing from a local retailer please let me know 🙂

heightofourhalo
Member
heightofourhalo

Not just 180, it’s 180 reduced from $200??? Ironic that Sanity is the height of insanity. Crazy.

heightofourhalo
Member
heightofourhalo

I stand corrected -it’s 80 Pounds in the UK! (145/150 Aud)

disog
Member
disog

Its $140 @ sanity now

gtprina
Member
gtprina

I agree with you and try to use local companies whenever possible. There is a local music shop here in Az called Zia Record Exchange and they usually get these items. They have been in business for many years and they’ve always been good to me. Check them out here – https://www.ziarecords.com/

antisol
Member

Thanks for the link but i’m getting a timeout when I try it.

To clarify, I meant “In Australia” when I said “local”. Sorry, I probably should have been clearer about that. I’m sure others will appreciate local retailers in other areas though 🙂

Z-Werewolf
Member
Z-Werewolf

I woke up at 4:45AM here in California and waited for the song to release. Had my SkullCandy Crusher Wireless headphones on. Once it released I let it repeat 6 times and each listen I focused on a different part of the song. First thing is first… PRODUCTION… Woah!!!! The production on this song alone is just so crisp and clear. Justin is a savage and just rips throughout the entire thing! The way he and Danny compliment each other is just amazing. This song is all about the rhythm without a doubt! Adam really shines in the end but… Read more »

shed523
Member
shed523

Great words Z! Fear Inoculum is beautiful in all aspects! Saw a comment saying something like “all there stuff sounds the same”. So weird how the same 4 guys make similar music what a shame!

Z-Werewolf
Member
Z-Werewolf

Hey thanks! Yeah totally! Who would figure the 4 guys that have been making music together for decades would sound like the same 4 guys making music today…? WTH? In more listens here as the day wears on I have noticed something that Maynard is doing. There are certain parts that don’t seem to be right with the timing upon first listen. Specifically around the 7:35 marker… I suspect a lot of it is the way Adam is interchanging ghost notes for that particular riff. He’ll go on a run and then the second time around he skips a note… Read more »

biff22
Member
biff22

Yea it blows my mind that people would complain about it sounding similar to prior releases. Adam lives in certain modes and it drives their sound. It has for almost 30 fucking years. It’s not different among other artists. Dean Ween might be the best guitar player on the planet and he’ll cop to using the same 2 modes for his solos his whole career. People want them to reinvent the wheel… do they want reggae? Tool are the fucking wheel. They are their own wheel and on each record they show you the best side of it they can,… Read more »

undertopiate
Member
undertopiate

My arm hairs to me: “We’ll be standing up for this song, bro”

Captain Fever
Member
Captain Fever

I enjoyed the track but think AJ isn’t trying very hard to invent great guitar riffs. Semi boring and predictable IMO. Nothing super memorable guitar wise. I almost knew that hammer-on guitar solo at the end was going down like that. The song will crush live though.

6.5/10 on the Tool scale… which is 65/10 on the scale of the majority of shit out there these days.

novaconda
Member
novaconda

The song definitely feels like flavors of past songs, but yet it is very different as I feel the band members are attempting to try some different things with their respective instruments. It definitely has some fun and interesting builds and twists. I’m loving the bass work tremendously. This was no doubt worth the wait. For what it is worth, I have a friend that couldn’t stand songs off of 10K Days and now after a looooong time of digesting them he actually places those same songs up there with older tool favorites. Give it time. It’ll be fun to… Read more »

fulcanelli
Member
fulcanelli

Now I can’t recall where I read this but there are apparently 7 songs and 2 segues. The digital pre-order is 10 minutes shorter than the download that comes with the physical copy so there may be an 8th full length bonus song. A theory that makes sense to me is it’s the new version of Opiate.

Aleks
Member
Aleks

So I make a break after second listening. I really liked it, especially while reading lyrics in the meantime. But there is something that annoy me a bit, we heard 3 songs now, so about 50% of the album, and ok this is Tool sound, ok this sounds really familliar but… A little too much. Tool always been creative in sound,each songs had its own identity. But new songs just seems a patchwork of past song. In Fear Inoculum I can hear Reflection, lateralus, third eye and…puscifer Same in Invincible ( the patient, right in two…) same in descending (the… Read more »

shed523
Member
shed523

While I appreciate your critique and of course we are all entitled to our own opinions, I love the part where you say “In Fear Inoculum I hear Reflection, Lateralus and Third Eye! Those are literally the 3 best TOOL songs ever. So I guess if “Fear” is a combo of those then they did something right lol

Aleks
Member
Aleks

I do agree ! 3 masterpieces with their own vibes.
Their own identity, I didnt said it was bad, I said it wasnt surprising.
Take three meals that you love.
Try to mix these… Dont you prefer these separetely ?

skute
Member
skute

Guys,I hate to be the negative one but I’m really struggling to appreciate Maynard’s contribution on this one. Sounds too much like Pusifer. And the chorus sounds almost like a generic 2000s era rock song. I do really dig Danny’s drumming and the instrumentals in general but I’m concerned that they’re going with this as the lead single.

Aleks
Member
Aleks

Surely a lack of creativity. a good track, but maybe not one of these who will stay in mind for years… I ll be rude but…. Fuck i got this “eat the elephant” feeling… Its ok but, i will listen it for weeks and then, never again

biff22
Member
biff22

Never go full retard.

manowarrollins
Member
manowarrollins

I have no criticism at all for this track, and I think the other two will sound great in their studio version

tOOLNZ
Member
tOOLNZ

Like any good TOOL song those riffs really start getting stuck in your head after the 5th/6th listen. Like the lyrics, they are growing on me too.

adoxnz
Member
adoxnz

I think it’s amazing. I can agree in
some ways with all the criticisms above (though the ones about it sounding samey are irrelevant IMO)

But very much agree with the fact that past material of theirs has taken years to digest, particularly in the ways it digresses from previous material. And its sheer density. I’m still unpacking 10KD.

There’s some serious release in this. Danny fucking Carey … What a monster.

Z-Werewolf
Member
Z-Werewolf

I’m on 15 listens today and can’t get the the riffs out of my head now. Our local radio station was even playing it when I got in my car to go to lunch today… Unbelievable that a radio station is playing a 10minute TOOL song. Where have they been for “Third Eye” “Pushit” and “The Grudge”?

adoxnz
Member
adoxnz

That’s awesome! I was so tired last night (released at midnight in NZ) I only got a couple listens in. Looking forward to matching your numbers haha.

Also regarding everyone saying how its length seems to melt away… I think that’s due to effective use of irregular meter / timing. Longer cycles, less predictable. Brain can’t latch onto a simple pattern as easily. Always loved that about Tool, they do it so well.

skute
Member
skute

Are you exaggerating or did you really spend 2 and a half hours listening to it today? Lol

Z-Werewolf
Member
Z-Werewolf

Definitely not exaggerating. An hour and a half before I went into work today in bed with my headphones on and eyes closed. Then my full lunch in my car seat back and eyes closed.

skute
Member
skute

Hehe I had listened to it 5 times before I realized I spent almost an hour listening to one song in a day. Will probably listen once or twice more before bed

Z-Werewolf
Member
Z-Werewolf

It really takes you on a journey and when left on repeat you just get lost. Kicking back with your eyes closed it’s just such a relaxing song. Glad some people are digging it!

Subjective Realism
Member
Subjective Realism

I’ve only had time to listen to this twice so far today…but it was awesome on first listen! The Synth up front was a great way to start, it most certainly sets the mood and starts to build the tension. MJK isn’t an angry young man anymore people. If you want angst driven screaming go back in time and listen to the earlier albums. What this is is a spiritual incantation. He’s not ranting and raving, he wants to teach. What the lyrics lack in raw, immersive delivery, they make-up for in thoughtfulness and creativity. Yes, as others have alluded… Read more »

Z-Werewolf
Member
Z-Werewolf

They have always done really well in stepping out of the light to let each other shine when necessary. I agree with your statement about Adam’s role in this particular song. Can’t wait for the full album!

adoxnz
Member
adoxnz

Where can I download high res? I bought it on Google Play but its not hi-q. Listening on my monitors speakers I really want .wav / flac or at least a 320

Subjective Realism
Member
Subjective Realism

HD Tracks dot com

Subjective Realism
Member
Subjective Realism

Sorry, not for Fear Inoculum yet. Doubtful it’s available at higher fidelity until after physical release on the 30th.

adoxnz
Member
adoxnz

Never mind, I found a pirate site. Seems ridiculous I should have to trawl so hard to get a high res I can listen to offline when I’ve already bought it.

adoxnz
Member
adoxnz

It is out there in flac, presumably from Tidal? I CBF creating a free account and un subbing for one track. A little surprised Tool didn’t have some option to get it hi res? Considering part of their reasoning for staying away from streaming so long..

Won’t post a link, I only pirated as I’d already purchased

antisol
Member

Are you sure that what you downloaded wasn’t just a youtube rip re-encoded to flac?

Phaedrus
Member
Phaedrus

Everyone’s criticism of this song: “This Tool song sounds too much like older Tool. I like older Tool better.”

Z-Werewolf
Member
Z-Werewolf

HAHAHA!!!! Yep pretty much!

bent eye
Member
bent eye

Overall its a fantastic tune. Tool aren’t reinventing the wheel. They’ve reached back into their past and taken sounds and applied them to their new work. First thing, the production on this is stellar. So much better than 10,000 Days. It’s so crisp and clear. The rhythm section. Danny and Justin have never sounded better IMO. The production allows each member to truly be heard. Maynard is fine, a little quiet in spots and he’s experimenting a little bith which I like. He does sound a little APC here and there but nothing to be concerned about. I love the… Read more »

itoolizer
Member
itoolizer

I’ll say it like this. This track and the album can only be enjoyed as an album all on its own. It can’t be compared to any other Tool album. Anybody who was expecting it to surpass lateralus or 10kD will be disappointed. Like all Tool albums, they all stand on their own and shouldn’t be compared. On its own, the new track is absolutely a quality song that stays true to the “Tool” name.

Phaedrus
Member
Phaedrus

Rhythm in 11/8 and Adam in 11/4?

disog
Member
disog

Track gets better and better on repeat listens. Just imagine if an unknown band brought this song out – the fact its tool means we have an elevated expectation. Gagging for the whole album

Ferda
Member
Ferda

Fear Inoculum is just the title track and not the lead track is it?

lettherabbitswearglasses
Member
lettherabbitswearglasses

I woke up this morning, 6:30 AM CST, and finally was able to download the song around 6:50 AM. One listen on my way to work, and listened to it on a constant loop for the 9.5 hours I was there, minus an hour meeting and lunch. I absolutely love everything about this song. From my perspective, MJK had so much passion in his song. And his lyrics, who else can have a word choice like him and be so eloquent? No one. I get tones of every Tool album on this song while still having its own unique sound.… Read more »

aflietstra
Member
aflietstra

This is a really good song. Some different sounds on here. Whats that *boing* boing* sound on some of Careys drum parts? Very interesting. Very Tool sounding with some similarities to earlier material but also stuff that’s new. I also appreciate how it’s very mature sounding and calculated. You can tell they took some time on this. Not like some of the stuff from 10k days where they were like “oh hey lets put a talk box solo here!!”. It sounds very natural and organic. I am truly floored.

bent eye
Member
bent eye

I think the boing sound is a sound Danny creates using his electronic pads. Could be mistaken.

adoxnz
Member
adoxnz

Some electronic one shots, some tablas.

Z-Werewolf
Member
Z-Werewolf

Yeah it’s gotta be those Mandala pads.

disog
Member
disog

AU pre-orders up FYI. JB hifi @ $140 Utopia records @ $110. Available via Amazon US delivered at $75 AUD. I will be interested at Amazon AU price. I expect $99 probably

heightofourhalo
Member
heightofourhalo

I purchased through Utopia – I shook Maynard’s hand there back in 97/98 from memory (APC Signing), the bastards have my sentiment (and they’ve been supporting the metal scene for years). P.S – LOVING this track, so goddam excited for what is to come!!

faaip de oiad
Member
faaip de oiad

Yeah. We should all be supporting the Utopia store. A good independent store that really is an institution. I think I will wait a couple of weeks to see how the prices go.
Also, ordering from Amazon US would mean that you don’t get it on the 30th correct?

bent eye
Member
bent eye

The Amazon price has come down a bit, putting my order at around $75. Happy to wait a bit past the 30th to get it. The local prices are just taking the piss.

Alittlevil
Member
Alittlevil

Love the shit out of this song. Keep listening to it and I think it sounds very unique for TOOL. I love the part right before the end where AJ is getting all fuzzy and loose and he does this waddlelawahh sort of quick randomness into the tight finish. I also think lyrically and if we are keeping TOOL esoteric it feels like sort of a cleansing ritual like an appropriate opener or thing to put into the world for a bit before the album releases to just cleanse the space. Anyhow spiral out, keep going.

joey joe joe shabadoo
Member
joey joe joe shabadoo

“Venom in mania…” Does anyone think the cover image could be a giant snake made out of eyes? The lyrics make me think venom/antivenom. Exposure to/acceptance of fear building up an immunity against succumbing to fear.

bonzer5
Member
bonzer5

Have refrained listening to FI but am reeeallly struggling based on everyone’s response. Sounds like it’s moody/prog Tool which is my favorite Tool.

Someone mentioned this in the forum… that there’s got to be a way to get Hellboy an advanced listen or copy. If there’s any f–kin justice in the world; reward this man for his decade plus of no BS, level-headed stewardship of this site. In the darkest hours of litigation and lethargy, he kept the flame for this band.

Us unwashed masses can wait. Tool, there’s no way you’re listening, but do the right thing.

bloo-mune
Member
bloo-mune

Fear Inoculum, Invincible and Descending each on their own are better than any track on TTDays. I’m impressed already! Wings 1 & 2 are downright amazing, but, to me it’s just too much, too personal for MJK and emotionally for myself due to how my mother lived and died by Multiple Sclerosis and brainwashed by the Mormons. I prefer the dark intense Tool of Undertow and Ænima. These 3 songs sound like a continuation of Lateralus although with some new creativity. I agree with others saying the vocals sound more similar to APC, which to me, is fine. So far,… Read more »

Maynerd
Member
Maynerd

You must be delusional if you think any of the new songs can stand with songs like Jambi, The Pot, Rosetta Stoned, Wings 1&2…
Stop being so bewildered by new music that is so significantly weaker than any of their earlier catalogue.

adoxnz
Member
adoxnz

Says you. Good thing about music that. Subjectivity.

Z-Werewolf
Member
Z-Werewolf

I’m probably up to 100 listens now… If everything else is as good or better than this song on the album… It’s going to take us another decade to fully digest it all… This is going to be an album for the die hards.

They say they don’t do things for the fans but this feels a lot like them speaking directly to those of us that listen religiously.

I’m sure some of you will disagree but this is how I’m feeling every time I listen to this song.

PUSHER
Member
PUSHER

Took the words right out of my mouth. The song has been on repeat since Wednesday. Every time is like the first time. I think Decending is totally dedicated to the die hards. Like a “thanks for sticking with us guys. Ready for more?” Kinda dorky sounding but that’s how I feel. Proud of these guys and proud to have been a Tool fan for 25 years

Z-Werewolf
Member
Z-Werewolf

Yeah i feel cheesy for saying it but I just can’t feel any other way about it… Definitely proud of these dudes man. I know we all had the fear of them releasing a total flop and for the 13 year wait we all wondered “have they lost it?”… NO… they haven’t. Great time to be alive well.

biff22
Member
biff22

Agreed 100%. I tell everyone who will listen how proud I am of these dudes and how happy I am for them that this record is happening and that it’s gonna be a monster. Unreal that a bunch of 50 year old men are the biggest and most dangerous band in the world right now with 5 albums in top tens everywhere. Fuckin legends.

Z-Werewolf
Member
Z-Werewolf

They are fucking Masters at catching lightning in a bottle that’s for sure. Wizards of our time!

bent eye
Member
bent eye

I totally agree. For real, I’m still unpacking 10,000 Days. I honestly get something new out of it with every listen. There’s so many nuances on that album. Tool’s music is like the gift that just keeps on giving.

Maynerd
Member
Maynerd

You’ve listened to the song 100 times…
Geez you sycophantic fans are so cringeworthy.
Why on earth would you want to do that?
This just goes to show that the band could have released anything and you guys would have been running around banging heads into each other yelling,
“GREATEST. MUSICAL. ACHIEVEMENT. OF. ALL. TIME!!”

adoxnz
Member
adoxnz

You’re just as cringeworthy for automatically naysaying almost everything positive that anyone says here. Seems to be your modus operandi. A bit sad really, Nancy.

Phaedrus
Member
Phaedrus

Maynerd is weird for being a hater on a fan site. But 100 times of a 10 minute song in 2 days is concerningly too many times.

adoxnz
Member
adoxnz

Lol for sure. I feel like he was maybe exaggerating, but really who cares? If listening to new Tool on repeat for 48 hours makes you smile – that’s awesome. And if anywhere is the place to come and chat about that, it’s here. Why try to ruin that for someone by being a dick?

Sick of judgemental assholes.

Phaedrus
Member
Phaedrus

Haha yeah. I at least hope z-werewolf was multi-tasking. Had it on repeat with headphones while doing the dishes, taking the dog for a walk, etc. 🙂
Just teasing a bit.

Z-Werewolf
Member
Z-Werewolf

Yea I was definitely exaggerating on the 100 listens. Although I certainly listened to it a lot of times on repeat not sure how many didn’t really count. However, all of these listens were while multi-tasking and I don’t feel the slightest bit bad about it. I have a lot of house projects I’ve been working on and that’s easy to do with headphones on. Of course so is taking the dog for a walk so there’s that as well. I also work for a software company and sometimes my job entails some really mundane work so that’s also a… Read more »

Phaedrus
Member
Phaedrus

👍

numinous
Member
numinous

it would appear that maynerd creates the sensation that he thinks for himself by critiquing the band that encourages people to think for themselves

Z-Werewolf
Member
Z-Werewolf

Feels like a “fan superiority” complex to me. We’re just here to enjoy the music.

numinous
Member
numinous

amen

MegaGil08
Member
MegaGil08

I’ve listened to it about 10 times now in various situations. Tool is Tool. There’s no denying their sound. They themselves know what they sound like now. To me, it’s how they captured what they do in this new track that excites me most. Hearing Tool in today’s production values. They always put their best work in their recordings and it shows on this track. Does the ending sound like the Grudge or how Eulogy ends? A bit, but Justin’s bass has a rattle in it’s attack that just makes it sound both brand new, and alive. I feel like… Read more »

Z-Werewolf
Member
Z-Werewolf

My favorite thing about this band is how they compliment each other and let each other have shining moments when necessary. I know a lot of people are saying that Adam isn’t doing anything ground breaking here but what he is doing is what he does best.

He is so tasteful with his parts when it comes to placement. He knows how to swoop in under that rhythm section and really highlight it as he maintains the atmosphere.

They are showing a huge amount of growth and maturity here. TOOL is a fine wine…

bent eye
Member
bent eye

With these new songs each member is truly shining. Yeah the rhythm section sticks out the most on FI, but for those of us who have listened to the live versions of Descending knows that its Adam who really sticks out the most there, and then there’s the rumored 18 minute song with a 4 minute guitar solo. These songs have been designed to really breath and allow everyone to be heard. I have no doubt there’s going to be loads of Adam’s awesome guitar work all throughout the album.

adoxnz
Member
adoxnz

Very much agree on the production. It sounds incredible.

T
Member
T

So…I know, I know…”over thinking, over analyzing…”
BUT…at the very beginning of the track, just after the intro “symbols”….. What instrument is playing solo before Danny brings in the “tabla” rhythm? Is that an upright bass??? I only ask because, if so…could it be Claypool? He had Justin do a voiceover intro on Primus’most recent album…?

hbog
Member
hbog

Some info on Amazon that I hadn’t seen earlier: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07W3NP8N5/

It shows 10 tracks, and track 9 is listed as explicit. Seems more credible that Fear Inoculum is indeed track 1.

errol246
Member
errol246

Really loving the song and have heard it many many times, as most of you surely have. My main criticisms are that I don’t appreciate the ending as much. I feel like it fizzles out a little in contrast to the comparatively very strong first half and the first half of the second half (after 5:00). Bit of an unpopular opinion there, perhaps? I knew the second I heard that short clip of the ending of Fear Inoculum on their Instagram a long time ago that I wouldn’t like that part of whatever song that was going to be, so… Read more »

itoolizer
Member
itoolizer

Having had a few days now to digest the new track, I do like it but have 1 critique. I feel like there are missed opportunities during the song for heavier parts and vocals, especially towards the middle and end. I felt like there was never an epic climax, like I’m used to when listening to tool.

disog
Member
disog

Albums reviews starting to filter through – NME 5/5 https://www.nme.com/reviews/album/tool-fear-inoculum-review

gtprina
Member
gtprina

Did the NME article reveal 2 song titles? It sure looks like it.

bent eye
Member
bent eye

Pretty crap review, but thanks for sharing. Is it Metal Hammer that’s supposed to be dropping a track by track review tomorrow?

hbog
Member
hbog

All the track titles are in this review from metal injection: https://metalinjection.net/reviews/tool-fear-inoculum-review

disog
Member
disog

Fair bit of info in the metal injection review

tOOLNZ
Member
tOOLNZ

Damn I want to listen!!!

bent eye
Member
bent eye

Adams also posted them on his IG. The new Opiate is MIA. Oh well. Plenty of other goodness to enjoy.