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  • If I could, I would put the first paragraph of this review with every album entry I see on 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!

    Posted on February 8, 2010