If I could, I would put the first paragraph of this review with every album entry I see on amazon.com. Hey, music fans and others who appreciate art, at least TRY to behold all creative works on their own terms, whether you think it’s a piece of art or a piece of s**t. No, perhaps its not a good idea to listen to Beethoven’s Ninth or Metallica’s Master of Puppets just before listening to Tool’s AEnima – or maybe for some people, it’s a great idea – the point is that, if one approaches a creative work expecting it to sound or look like something else, 90% of the time one will be sorely disappointed. Advice to others reading reviews: be wary of the extremes. If someone says “this is the greatest album ever made,” don’t put too much credence in it; if someone rips an album, ask yourself why they REALLY had such an aversion to it! – and if someone says “this is not real music,” you can probably throw out that review for its snobbery! Another thing that gets tiresome while reading reviews is when people criticize music for its simplicity. Simplicity, in and of itself, is not a valid reason to criticize something any more than complexity alone is a valid reason to praise it. Hey, “music fan from Texas:” could you try to be just a little less opinionated? One could easily say that your strong aversion to this album is a damn good reason to check it out. I did not approach this album as a Tool fan: in fact, after being a late ’70s and early 80s headbanger (Blue Oyster Cult, Accept, Riot, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, early fan of Metallica, etc.) I have been mostly away from rock &roll for about fifteen years, exploring mainly classical and world music. Then, one day, I heard the haunting strains of “46&2″ on the radio, and later, the brutal frankness of “AEnima” (to which I would think most people who’ve spent any time in LA could relate), and was blown away by the raw power of this music. I still love my classical and world music collection, but now it feels like I’ve made something of a homecoming to rock&roll, and it’s encouraging to see that the “heavy end” of rock which (except for Metallica and precious few others) appeared to be going nowhere fast back in the mid-80s, actually was going somewhere, after all. I’m not a big fan of profanity in music, either, but, taken objectively, words are sounds, and if “explicit lyrics” add expression to music, then what the hell/heck? Whether they ADD anything to the music or not is up to the individual listener, but to dismiss music outright because it includes profanity seems a bit narrow- minded. Yes, every once in a while I catch myself listening to a piece of music, and thinking, “this is music?” – but really who’s to say which sounds constitute music and which don’t? Apologies for my verbosity. Bottom line: Joe Bob says check AEnima out!
No Description AvailableTrack: 10: Die Eier Von Satan,Track: 11: Pushit,Track: 12: Cesaro Summability,Track: 13: Aenema,Track: 14: (-) Ions,Track: 15: Third Eye,Track: 1: Stinkfist,Track: 2: Eulogy,Track: 3: H.,Track: 4: Useful Idiot,Track: 5: Forty Six And 2,Track: 6: Message To Harry Manback,Track: 7: Hooker With A Penis,Track: 8: Intermission,Track: 9: JimmyMedia Type: CDArtist: TOOLTitle: AENIMAStreet Release Date: 10/01/1996<Domestic or Import: DomesticGenre: HEAVY METALWith its heavy-duty distortion, weighty rhythms, and cynical lyrics, Tool is a heavy metal band for the ’90s. Rather like Metallica circa …And Justice for All, the sound is focused heavily on texture, with vocals and guitars layered one atop the other, and heart-pounding drums underlying everything. There’s not a whole lot of variety on Tool’s second full-length album–most of the songs start off fairly low-key, kicking into high gear for the chorus, and repeat–but Maynard James Keenan’s distinctive voice, the prog-rock stylings over a heavy metal base, and a supremely unhealthy dose of vitriol make this the perfect album to bang your head to. –Genevieve Williams
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Arguably the best rock album of the decade, Aenima is a dark, disturbing journey through the ugly underbelly of the human mind. In short, “Aenima” is Tool’s masterpiece. Tool explores the brooding, seething, anguished human psyche better than any band on the planet, and delivers its message of existential dread with utter conviction.The songs on “Aenima” constantly shift, morph and transform themselves, sometimes raging with fury, sometimes settling into relaxed interludes that still boil with a dark menace underneath their calm surface. Maynard James Keenan’s vocal work is the key to Tool’s power, heard to maximum effect in such songs as “Eulogy,” “Stinkfist” and the title track. No singer in rock captures the ambivalence and terror of the human experience as well as Keenan. When he and his outstanding bandmates are at full speed, they’re untouchable. “Aenima” will bore into your brain with all the subtlety of a jackhammer. Without this record, your collection can’t be considered complete.
Precise, complex, and richly textured, the songs on Aenima move rock-n-roll to places it’s never been before. This is some of the best music I’ve ever heard. The lyrics on this CD will make you think as well as feel: The vocals, guitar, base, and percussive elements combine effectively to emphasize a contrast between intricate melody and distorted screams of raw energy and emotion. Williams’ copy-and-paste editorial review above misses the true content of Aenima by universes: To say “There’s not a whole lot of variety” and “high gear for the chorus, and repeat” in the same breath as “Tool” post Aenima (or Undertow for that matter) is incomprehensible nonsense. It’s tempting to fill up the rest of the space with a diatribe on the distilled inaccuracies in Williams’ short review … but only because the review’s inaccuracies, by contrast to reality, illuminate key elements in the music.One word Williams got right was “texture”. Perhaps “vitriol” too, to be fair, although MJK’s lyrics seem to indicate his meaning is something beyond that: Near the end of the arguably (delightfully!) vitriolic song “Aenema”, he urges the listener “don’t just call me a pessimist … try and read between the lines”. But texture is certainly a key element that makes the music of Tool the rare animal it is: The very antithesis of repetitive, it turns out. The song “H.” is a good example: Even when a refrain is repeated in the lyrics (and then only once in a 6:07 long song), it has mutated into something different from what was heard the first time though. If you listen to what’s happening underneath the lyrics, the guitar, base and percussion are modulating the rhythm, note emphasis, and the notes themselves throughout the song. In a more insightful review by J. Ivey, Ivey observes: “Eschewing the time-honored tradition of repeating a hook until it’s beaten into the listeners head, Tool creates a striking guitar line and then casually abandons it. This in turn is then replaced with a new hook , only to be replaced again, all with fluid ease.”I’ve had to listen to some songs dozens of times to catch even half of what’s going on. Many of the song had a raw feel at first, but this is deceptive: Listening more attentively, I can’t help but think they are actually very precisely mapped out and must have taken many, many hours in the studio to produce.Tool’s lyrics often lay open and explore unpleasant, under-examined aspects of human nature: “Gee, what’s under here Wally? Uhg. Oh…yak.”. Sort of like a Francis Bacon retrospective.I think the heart of Tool’s appeal (for me, at least) lies in what I perceive to be a Rejection of commercialism, “pop culture”, the recording industry itself, and the insipid inanities we’ve become largely desensitized to that wash over us in waves via television newscasters, sit-coms with laugh tracks, radio talk-shows, newspapers, and the internet, as enterprises compete for our almighty advertising dollar.The form of the music follows the function of great art: An alarm clock ringing, a wake up call. Or, perhaps, like a small stake in the heart of a very large vampire, Maynard is trying to set us free from a self created, soulless existence. Then again, maybe I’ve just been listening to too much Tool lately.
These one-star biased, uneducated 1 star reviews are disgusting. If you dont like it because its “too dark” or “too grim” or whatever, what the hell are you doing listening to Tool? The whole purpose of the Heavy Metal genre is to be like this and Tool does this perfectly. If you want something lighter go listen to your Ashanti or whatever. This CD isnt for everyone!! OR if you need something a LITTLE less abstract, try “undertow” which is great, too. AND let it grow on you. IT DOES TAKE MORE THAN A COUPLE OF TIMES for this CD to grow on you. It didnt start to grow on me until like a month after constant listening. You have to be patient with this CD to notice everything that goes into the craft of these songs (or opuses for that matter). This is undeniably one of the masterpieces of the 90’s. Thanks to careless reviews, this CD has gone from its 5-star rating (where it should be) to 4 1/2… to the levels of Backstreet Boys and Michelle Branch. Tool’s better than that. YOU CANNOT DENY the raw talent of the instrumental arrangements on this album. you just can’t. I wanna see how many people looking at these can actually tell a good CD from a bad CD. click the helpful icon if you have recieved the reward from vast repeated listens of this CD.
Tool is a band whose music is pretty hard to label. They’ve been called everything from metal, to numetal, to alternative and progressive rock/metal. While they exhibit attributes to all of the aforementioned genres, it’s pretty safe to say that they’ve created a kind of music that’s timeless, transcendent, deep, mysterious, forbidding and intriguing – all at once. To me, their name sums up the music they make perfectly – a “tool” for exploring the mysterious depths of the human psyche. The music usually explores darker themes like pain, anger, frustration and guilt, then regurgitates them into a volatile, yet beautiful and alluring catharsis. How do I describe Tool’s music? I’d say they have the dark aura and minimalist experimentalism of King Crimson, the philosophical bent of Rush and the hypnotic, alluring quality of Pink Floyd – without really sounding like either of those bands. They possess their own distinctive sound. On _Ænima_, Tool creates a 77-minute gargantuan slice of thought-provoking art-metal, which mainly encourages people to look deeper and think for themselves – whether it be looking beyond the surface of cliched beliefs (examples: what people are taught to believe in church, or what’s seen and absorbed from television and more). When the mind is open to ‘too’ much outer influence, the mind is ‘dead’ – therefore, you lack your own thoughts and “you” no longer belong to “you”. Musically, the album is dark and given to adventurous, elaborate and spatial instrumentation – along with eerie and mysterious interludes. The opening track “Stinkfist” is a heavy and fairly straightforward rocker. Maynard James Keenan has one of the most distinctive and ethereal voices in rock today — displaying the innocent, sad, poignant and reflective quality of Joni Mitchell one minute, then exploding into a frighteningly explosive scream the next, which can evoke Chucky, the doll (see the horror film “Child’s Play”, voiced by actor Brad Dourif). “Eulogy” begins with some spoon-like percussion and eerie guitar lines (which evoke King Crimson). It then turns into an explosive rocker. Maynard’s vocals are particularly beautiful and impressive here. (Note: if you’re new to this, don’t make the mistake of thinking the percussive opening lasts forever – it doesn’t). “H” showcases guitar ambience, tribal-like rhythms (from drummer Danny Carey) and explosive sections. “Useful Idiot” is the short interlude (which sounds like an ending of a scratched record) that segues into “Forty Six & Two”, which is probably the most popular Tool track on this album. “Message To Harry Manback” is an interlude of an angry immigrant badmouthing the American nationality (which I find quite hilarious). “Hooker With A Penis” is pure confrontational metal at it’s best. I think lyrically, this has to do with the music business (and the whole “selling-out” thing). It may have had something to do with a fan accusing Tool of doing just that. “Intermission” is a short keyboard piece (evoking that of a sports/arena anthem). It’s actually a short ‘keyboard’ version (or opening) for the next track “Jimmy”. This along with the rest of the tracks are the most “elaborate” on the disc. “Die Eier Von Satan” (German for “The Eggs Of Satan”) is a recipe spoken in German. The backing music sounds almost industrial/death metal-like, containing shrieks and sadistic “slaps”. “Pushit” is a heavy rocker, which shows off Danny Carey’s complex, precise and intricate rhythms on the drum kit. Some of Maynard’s vocals here reach ranges that weren’t heard anywhere else (on this disc, or on any other Tool album). His Gaelic-ish vocals near the end (backed by a guitar/bass progression of 5th’s) are truly poignant. “Cesaro Summability” sounds like guitar/amplifier feedback – fronted by baby screams. “Ænema” is a profane, dissonant heavy rocker, with snaky rhythms galore. Maynard James Keenan describes the city of Los Angeles – and says that it should receive an “enema” — flushing it all away. “(-)Ions” is an eerie, dissonant and whirry interlude. I personally find this ethereal. “Third Eye” probably sums up what this album and Tool’s music stands for in general — thinking for yourself. The beginning dialogue features a sample taken from one of comedian Bill Hicks’ standup routines. He says that many people denounce drugs – yet drugs have done something powerful for us – they’ve helped ’some’ musicians provide us diehard music fans with what many of us consider “the best music of all-time” (examples: The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who – these are only a handful of ‘revered’ bands that have had certain members of each use drugs before). The ‘third eye’ is referred to as the human brain. Like the actual human ‘eye’, it absorbes and processes things (for benefit or detriment). When to ‘open’ (take in, absorb, believe) and ‘close’ (neglect, reject, refuse) the organ is our choice. The music on here features many instrumental and experimental twists and turns throughout it’s 13-minute playing time. _Ænima_ is an album that can take weeks, months and years to decipher. The lyrical and musical complexity is nearly infinite – to an almost unfathomable degree. It’s an album you can listen to for years and still find new things to discover — lyrically, musically and thematically. Tool has created music that can only be called timeless, transcendent, infinite and futuristic. _Ænima_ is a timeless masterpiece. Highly recommended.