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Tool: Vicarious

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★★★★☆
(43 Reviews)

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  • First, I don’t see how people can complain that there is nothing new about a video that is being released for the first time! Where is the logic in that?

    Now, to the actual review. The video for Vicarious is Tool’s first entirely CG music video, running just a little longer than the length of the song of the same title on the 2006 album 10,000 Days [the extra length consists of ambient noise or silence, in terms of the audio track--the song has not been lengthened]. The video is very conceptual and well thought out by all counts, living up to Adam Jones’ lofty legacy of directing and shaping Tool’s surreal videos into deeply philosophical experiences. I won’t take your time up here with any sort of analysis, but I will say that I recommend viewing the video repeatedly. For myself, the first time through I was aware of only a small fraction of what was going on in the video. Again, this is characteristic of most all Tool videos. One subtle thing that took me a long time to notice is the startling differences between the specters, and what their behavior is symbolic of. There are many such hidden gems in the video.

    The extras on this DVD put the DVD singles for Parabola and Schism to shame. Foremost is “The Vicarious Documentary”, directed by Camella Grace, documenting the creation of the video and revealing a lot of its hidden meanings. Some of the interviewees includes Alex Grey, Chet Zar, Kevin Willis, and many others, including much of the CG animation team from Hydraulx, who worked on the video. Alex Grey’s comments are particularly revealing and it is great to see him make as long of an appearance as he does here. Pay attention to his comment about our culture.

    Also included are two tracks of audio commentary set to the video, recorded by David Cross of Mr. Show fame (anyone remember where Puscifer got its start?). While they are worth not much more than a few good laughs, I have to say they are a step up in the comedy department from the commentaries on the previous two DVDs. That Cross goes to the liberty of naming the various characters in the video is pretty hilarious in itself. Take it all, of course, with a grain of salt.

    Storyboards by Adam Jones and Alex Grey are included, as well as a brief segment on Alex and Allyson Grey’s Chapel of Sacred Mirrors in New York City. Both are worth at least one watch; some of the shots of CoSM are particularly impressive, displaying some of Alex Grey’s greatest art.

    In all, I don’t think anyone has a right to complain about this DVD. Tool never purported that live material was going to be included, so there was no reason to expect it. In addition, it is not right to think of this as paying ten dollars for “just a music video”. Adam Jones’ work really transcends the whole concept of a music video. It’s more like a short film, set to a great song. If it were treated like “just a music video”, it would be hard for Mr. Jones to get the kind of recognition he deserves, seeing edited cuts of the film on MTV every few hours. This kind of art doesn’t deserve to be treated that way, and if you understand that and appreciate the work of Adam Jones and Tool, you have no reason not to pick this up.

    Posted on January 18, 2010