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Tool – Fear Inoculum (2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Tool – Fear Inoculum (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:26:38 minutes | 1,64 GB | Genre: Metal
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | © RCA Records Label

They’ve been the talk of the town for nearly 2 years. Early 2018, Maynard James Keenan nearly sabotaged the promotional cycle for Eat the Elephant, the 4th album of his “other main band”, A Perfect Circle, by announcing to much surprise that 10,000 Days’ successor was nearly done and that it would see the light of day at the latest in Fall 2018. Considering that 10,000 Days, the band’s 4th album, hails back to 2006 – another era entirely – even those without a shred of cynicism in their bodies joked that we’d be lucky to see the next Tool album in 2029. And yet, here we are. As a preview to the album of the same name, the epic, meandering Fear Inoculum is out. Once you get past the zen intro, complete with ting-sha cymbals, soft harmonies and a tabla, which could have set the scene for a massage parlor, Keenan’s voice comes as a remind that this relaxing atmosphere will soon subside, in favor of something much more menacing. The song could be construed as a retrospective piece, that touches upon all the different styles covered by the band since its inception in 1990. A great entrée for what looks like a very large menu.

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TOOL – Undertow (1993/2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

TOOL – Undertow (1993/2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:08:08 minutes | 1,42 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © RCA Records Label

Just as grunge was reaching its boiling point and radio-friendly punk-pop loomed on the horizon, Tool released Undertow, which firmly reinforced metal’s prominence as a musical style – but, for once, it had something worthwhile to say. At the forefront of Tool’s commercial explosion were striking, haunting visuals that complemented the album’s nihilistic yet wistful mood. Drawing equal inspiration from Black Sabbath, alternative theories of science, and Eastern religions, Tool’s abrasive sonic assault begins from the opening notes and continues through the final moments of the last composition, an open mockery of organized religion and its incapacity for original thought. With its technical brilliance, musical complexities, and aggressive overtones, Undertow not only paved the way for several bands to break through to the mainstream adolescent mall-rage demographic, it also proved that metal could be simultaneously intelligent, emotional, and brutal. AllMusic Review by Rob Theakston

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TOOL – Lateralus (2001/2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

TOOL – Lateralus (2001/2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:16:43 minutes | 1,54 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © RCA Records Label

After an exhaustive five-year litigation battle between the band and their label management, Tool offer up the latest chapter in their musical self-discovery in Lateralus. Make no mistake, this is a prog rock record, reminiscent of King Crimson and Meddle-era Pink Floyd, with a hint of Rush mutated with Tool’s signature sonic assault on the ears. Lateralus demands close listening from the first piece onward, as it becomes quickly apparent that this is not going to be an album one can listen to and accept at face value. Complex rhythm changes, haunting vocals, and an onslaught of changes in dynamics make this an album other so-called metal groups could learn from. While some compositions seem out of place, others fit together seamlessly, such as the 23-minute song cycle serving as the climax and resolution of the album. However, the album’s most disturbing moment arrives at the end, with dissonant electronic noises placed randomly with a drum solo over a phone call to a talk show discussing the secrets behind Area 51, once again serving as a symbolic gesture from the band encouraging people not to take things at face value and to think for themselves. Overall, a solid, well-produced album from a band that never fails to deliver with each release. AllMusic Review by Rob Theakston

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TOOL – 10,000 Days (2006/2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

TOOL – 10,000 Days (2006/2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:15:42 minutes | 1,53 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © RCA Records Label

In an age where major labels dictate that new releases from bands appear on record store shelves every 18 months or so, rare is the artist given freedom and ability to reflect and stretch out to explore creative evolution and release music as an artist, rather than the prepackaged predictability of an entertainer. Thankfully, Tool has somehow managed to circumvent these rituals, releasing a record every four to five years as they so feel the need. This ability to patiently craft their musical direction has paid off for not only the band, but for listeners, as they’ve been able to expand their musical vocabulary from album to album with great precision, all the while remaining true to the foundations that built such a loyal, if not cult-like, following. But with this absence comes changes to the popular music landscape, as new bands and sounds (as well as a new generation of heavy metal fans to entertain) replace and stimulate the charts. Namely: a lot can happen in five years, especially with a fickle rock audience that is overinundated with constant new bands’ songs. The group defied expectations (and even got radio airplay) with Lateralus, but would fans stick with them during the hiatus? There were moments when Maynard James Keenan would emerge courtesy of A Perfect Circle, and there were also several stunning video DVDs to pacify while 10,000 Days was being written, along with cryptic messages via their website, but that was about it.

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TOOL – Opiate (1992/2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

TOOL – Opiate (1992/2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 26:53 minutes | 587 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © RCA Records Label

In retrospect, Opiate seems a little haphazard, but it’s possible to hear the seeds of Tool’s oppressively bleak, cerebral metal in such cuts as “Sweat” and “Opiate.” The two live tracks, “Cold and Ugly” and “Jerk-Off,” don’t sound out of place, since they share the same churning riffs, black noise, and doom that characterize Tool’s sound. This is not as developed as either Undertow or Ænima, but it’s possible to hear the roots of those albums all over this EP. AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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