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Fear Inoculum Image
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critic Reviews What's this?

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8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 728 Ratings

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  • Summary: The long-delayed release of the fifth studio album from the Maynard James Keenan-led rock band comes after overcoming a number of issues between the 13 years since 2006's 10,000 Days.
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  • Record Label: RCA
  • Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal, Experimental Rock
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Kerrang!
    Aug 21, 2019
    100
    This is the most intricate and densely-layered album Tool have yet made, but to use the word like "complex" to describe the counting-in-prime-numbers time signatures of Invincible or digital-only track Legion Inoculant would be lazy in the extreme. ... An album that pushes and challenges its creators and its audiences in new ways, the finer details of which will probably take another 13 years to fully unwrap and appreciate. [24 Aug 2019, p.53]
  2. Aug 29, 2019
    91
    Fear Inoculum lives up to its daunting expectations with songs that showcase Tool in peak performance as musicians and compositional arrangers. For the diehard fan, there’s a lot to consume here. Likewise, the album offers little respite for the uninitiated; its accessibility comes in the form of its vastness and eerie psychedelia, not through hooks or common pop structures. This is deep prog-rock as only Tool can create it.
  3. Aug 30, 2019
    90
    Keenan was accurate to say that Fear would require patience to ingest, being a massive, compelling piece of music that unfolds beautifully and balances Tool’s unique style with plenty of rewarding new elements. Any fears that they would not live up to their past can be abated; Fear Inoculum is truly groundbreaking and one of the best albums of the decade.
  4. Aug 29, 2019
    80
    An 80-minute prog-metal fever dream that proves the band is back and better than ever.
  5. Aug 30, 2019
    75
    Before you know it, 87 minutes have gone by and you’re not quite sure what to make of it all, but you’re ready to listen again. For that, Tool are to be commended. If nothing else, the band have given us an album that could very well keep us occupied until its next one arrives sometime around the year 2032.
  6. Sep 4, 2019
    70
    Fear Inoculum is a very good Tool record.
  7. Sep 5, 2019
    54
    The hybridization that made Tool so popular on the radio in the late ’90s has rusted: They are part stoner metal, part prog rock, part mainstream metal, all working in ignorance and opposition to each other. Things do come together a few times. The 15-minute closer “7empest” brings the biggest fireworks from Carey and Jones, the two undoubted stars of the album, adding alluring melody and texture to these bloated epics. But the highlight far and away is “Invincible.”

See all 23 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 29 out of 259
  1. Aug 31, 2019
    10
    Fear Inoculum nailed every one of my expectations besides one. I don't know if I can say it's better than Aenima or Lateralus, but itFear Inoculum nailed every one of my expectations besides one. I don't know if I can say it's better than Aenima or Lateralus, but it certainly tops 10,000 days, Undertow and Opiate. They didn't necessarily change all too much (Adam's lead work has progressed as have the vocal/string section dynamics), but they have refined everything that makes them great and came out with a record that's not lazily done, nor is it compromising them as artists. Fear Inoculum is a culmination of Tool creating music as a form of art to tell complex stories in a progressive manner. They succeeded in matching the hype, which is no easy feat. It's not the best album of their career, but it certainly has what I'd consider a few of the best songs of their career. Overall 10/10 due to it surpassing everything I expected with minimal disappointment. I'd give it 9.5/10, but I can't so I'll round up :)

    The bad: No MJK screams. Little aggression in his vocals. If you expected classic Tool vocals, you won't really get em here. MJK does a fantastic job vocally and does get aggressive on one track, but his singing is very tame and well kept. It's almost APC-ish, which I am cool with, it fits most songs. Some areas I was expecting a riff to get bigger and bigger then Danny to hit the cymbals then get into a groove while the riff plays at full aggression, but it didn't happen. Instead the riff switched or Adam started playing very large space-occupying chords which then led into an area that blew me away, negating my disappointment.

    The good: Danny freaking Carey folks. The man is an absolute monster on this album from start to finish. Chocolate Chip Trip is a drum solo track, backed by synths (which you may hate the synths but I actually enjoyed them). 7emptest is the best song on the album, top 5 Tool song of all time. For the first time in Tools lifespan this song is less of the Danny Carey show and more of the Adam Jones show. He is just slinging heavy riff after heavy riff here. Around the 10:35 mark, Tool releases the heaviest section of music they have made in their career. It will become a classic to headbang to. Jones showcases some great lead work here too, which accumulates to several minutes on this 16 minute behemoth.
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  2. Sep 2, 2019
    10
    This is my favorite tool album. I don’t know what’s with all these bad reviews.
  3. Sep 11, 2019
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Worth the wait!! Best metal album in the last few 10 years! An experience from start to to finish! Expand
  4. Aug 30, 2019
    10
    Wow, that was amazing! Been a Tool fan for some time and was really excited for this album. It's something special about them. The creativity,Wow, that was amazing! Been a Tool fan for some time and was really excited for this album. It's something special about them. The creativity, vibe, the heavy parts with these crazy Tool loops, the odd time-signatures, everything was very clever. This made me even a bigger fan. They all did an INCREDIBLE job - I was blown away by Danny. Invincible was insane. Can't wait to listen more to this album in the future.
    For a prog-metal fan and music lover this was a really cool experience.
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  5. Sep 2, 2019
    9
    Not a fan of Tool but I listened to their previous albums and I think the hardcore Tool fans should be happy they put out this album after 13Not a fan of Tool but I listened to their previous albums and I think the hardcore Tool fans should be happy they put out this album after 13 years because I think they matured in that 13 years in lyrics matter. You should always listen to Tool's album thousands of times and dig deep into their lyrics to find deeper meaning. I enjoyed listening to this album but interludes makes the album weird :D Would listen to this 10/10 Expand
  6. Feb 12, 2021
    8
    Although in 2019 I had a great listen, now I can tell why this album wasn't that received well with fans. It is their most uninspired recordAlthough in 2019 I had a great listen, now I can tell why this album wasn't that received well with fans. It is their most uninspired record to date, but like with any TOOL record, I like this record as much as the next. Expand
  7. Feb 14, 2020
    0
    Made an account just to leave a review on this album and hopefully save a few tool fans some of there must valuable time. Firstly ill startMade an account just to leave a review on this album and hopefully save a few tool fans some of there must valuable time. Firstly ill start with the good parts of the album; the tittle track
    thats pretty much it rest of it is poorly produced and only has the decent reviews it has becasue of tools long time STANS
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See all 259 User Reviews