Loudwire.com 1996 Metal Album Of The Year—-Tool / Aenima


Tool is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California. Formed in 1990, the group’s line-up includes drummer Danny Carey, guitarist Adam Jones, and vocalist Maynard James Keenan. Justin Chancellor has been the band’s bassist since 1995, replacing their original bassist Paul D’Amour. Tool has won three Grammy Awards, performed worldwide tours, and produced albums topping the charts in several countries.

The band emerged with a heavy metal sound on their first studio album, Undertow (1993), and later became a dominant act in the alternative metal movement, with the release of their second album, Ænima in 1996. Their efforts to unify musical experimentation, visual arts, and a message of personal evolution continued, with Lateralus (2001) and the most recent album, 10,000 Days (2006), gaining the band critical acclaim, and commercial success around the world.

Due to Tool’s incorporation of visual arts and very long and complex releases, the band is generally described as a style-transcending act and part of progressive rock, psychedelic rock, and art rock. The relationship between the band and today’s music industry is ambivalent, at times marked by censorship, and the band’s insistence on privacy.

Ænima (/ˈɒnɪmə/) is the second studio album by American rock band Tool. It was released in vinyl format on September 17, 1996, and in compact disc format on October 1, 1996, through Zoo Entertainment. The album was recorded and cut at Ocean Way, Hollywood and The Hook, North Hollywood from 1995 to 1996. The album was produced by David Bottrill.

The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart upon its initial release, selling 148,000 copies in its first week. It was certified triple platinum by the RIAA on March 4, 2003. The album appeared on several lists of the best albums of 1996, including that of Kerrang! and Terrorizer. The title track won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 1998. In 2003, Ænima was ranked the sixth most influential album of all time by Kerrang!.

The Analysis—-

 Stinkfist—-The sounds of this release…..really have ‘experimental’ written all over it. I have never been the biggest Tool fan in the world…but I try to be objective. I love the vocal that is on this album….it really opened up a sound for many bands that still follow the recipe to this day…a nice clean vocal followed by a distorted type of chorus. There is a nice melody to the song. I love the energy….and the quirky mood swings.

 Eulogy—-Annoying toy piano sounds and odd breaths seem to open this track….it takes so long to form I find it easy to lose attention and am distracted by the acid like sounds of what is supposed to be a song. Finally by the 2 1/2 minute mark we get the formulation of a song…that is full of incredibly emotive vocals and huge power chords…why all of the bull shit to get there though? The voice ebbs and flows with added effects and reverb…..but it is not a bad song…but what is 8 minutes could have been 3.

H—-For me, this is much more accessible right from the onset. There are huge crashes and promises of things to come that fall way for a gentle and intense vocal that leads the song into the journey and body of the work. Sometimes Maynard reminds me of Jethro Tull…lol. There are many moods and ebbs on this track…as most of Tool songs are full of. This is nice though. I rather like this song. It’s dark and heavy enough to really lose yourself in.

Useful Idiot—-Building and building until you fear you may very well lose your mind this is just an interlude that leads to…..

46 & 2—-A really pleasant and accessible intro to the song…the guitars are really nice and you get teases of what the song may become. The vocal is far removed from the song…seeming to be way in the back and taking sometime to actually reach your ears. The pained expressiveness of the voice permeates your entire body. When the track opens….you are smacked with the pain and you truly feel it. This is fantastic….the deep tones of the song seem so expressive.

Message To Hairy Manback—-Gentle and expressive right from the onset, with a Pink Floyd inspired phone conversation, this is frightening and intense right from the beginning. I’m not sure what this is all about…perhaps that is my frustration….I just don’t get this…..I am lost with this recording. I don’t like this track at all…..

Hooker With A Penis—-A literal wall of sound kicks off the song…with huge incredible drums coming at you from every direction. The vocal and the lyric is odd….I guess I get it…but it all seems so overblown to me. I love the music….the guitars are so big and powerful…and the drums….my lord…phenomenal. The screams of disdain are disturbing…..and the message misses the mark with me….not a favorite track of mine.

Intermission—-Odd circus style music that breaks everything up and makes me shake my head even more…..GUYS…..I JUST DON’T GET IT!!!!

Jimmy—-Much more accessible for me and sounding Alternative if there was ever a definition. The sound is very 90’s and Seattle in sound. I love the vibe of the guitars and how they seem in contrast with the bass and drums. This is like a huge symphony….I really like this track to be honest.

Die Eler Von Satan—-Noisy and filled with an almost industrial sound, this again befuddles me and leaves me gasping for breath and questioning my taste in music. Everyone loved this release…but I just can’t seem to wrap my head around the lack of consistency and structure.

Pushit—-Clocking in at almost 10 minutes in length, I was really not sure what to expect as this track began. The intro is odd…static filled and fueled by some heavy bass drums and a guitar line that take some into the very heart of experimental metal, Maynard delivers a vocal that is mismatched and full of uneven delivery. I like the power of the song…musically the sound is huge….lyrically, or vocally….it seems filled with a drug addled idea of music that just won’t click with me. But…that is me.

Cesero Summablilty—-Eerie and leaves me feeling cold and sad……

Aenema—-Huge and much more to my liking right from the very first chords of the song, I love the music and the vocal as well. I still say Maynard reminds me of a more speed filled Jethro Tull….the vocal comes at you in short violent blasts and then settles to a pleasant tone. The lyrics are intense…the drums and the bass line lead the song in a dark filled tunnel. You actually feel the angst here….and that was what I was looking for. This is really nice.

[Ions—-Another slow beginning filled with effects and atmosphere, I wonder where this will all go. It really never goes any where…..this is just an effects filled space that means nothing to me.

Third Eye—-Another romp filled with noise….vocal effects, overlays and an irritaing high pitch line that grates me. The vocal is nice….sounding detached and removed from the song….I really must say I’m glad this is all over. This is not something i would ever listen to again.

** out of 5






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