Friday, 9 October 2009

Cross Blogination #4 Tool - Ænima

When I put this album onto i-Tunes it knew that it was metal and I knew a bit about Tool, roughly the same amount as i-Tunes...

This is a band I should have been listening to for years. I loved it because it was the opposite of what I expected. I was waiting for the blur of industrial rock and impenetrable wailing.

What I got instead was something unusual, cerebral even. I had no idea Tool made albums like this. This is crafted metal. Dark dense and intoxicating. Sure in parts it's heavy, really heavy but then I've never been afraid of a track that pounds the senses, there just has to be melody somewhere even if you have to work at the song to find it. And there is melody here, in spades.

Take a song like 'Forty-Six and Two' as an example. Over six minutes long and full of spiralling guitars and that quiet loud aesthetic that I love. The vocals from Maynard James Keenan are buried deep down in the song at times, barely a whisper. But when he cuts loose, man can this guys rock a chorus.

And there's humour here, self depreciating and vital. Check out 'Hooker with a penis'. It sounds like it should be on a Goldie Looking Chain album from the title but it's a rebuke to a fan for accusing the band of selling out. And it's brilliantly written. 'Point that f***ing finger up your ass.' Class. The 'F*** you, buddy,' refrain at the end of the song is just so full of contempt for the idiot that dared to criticise.

I've got into this thing of sitting up close to my PC speakers, which aren't bad, and turning my music up loud while I write or tweet and I've done this three times with the Tool album. The bass makes my monitor shake. In particular 'Die Eire Von Satan' which is sung completely in German makes the whole desk rattle. I'm very tempted to type the translated lyrics out in full here for that track but the context from the sound of the song to the words would be lost. So I'll leave you to investigate that yourselves. (Consider it homework.)

I did a bit of research after listening to the album and discovered that the whole thing is a tribute to Bill Hicks one of my favourite comedians who died in 1994. That kind of made it even more special a discovery. There's a small snippet of Hicks just before the final track which is the stunning thirteen minute long 'Third Eye'.

Thudding bass. Check. Thumping drums. Check. Some screeching. Check. This is the art of noise. Brilliant. Oh and there's a bit that sounds like a fly but is actually an ion... honest. It will freak you out.

Go listen to this. I dare you.

5/5 (and I don't give them out lightly.)

Now go to Paul's (@formulaic666) blog to see what he has to say about one of his favourite albums. Go. Go now! GO HERE!

Next week my attempt to 'mess' with Paul's head.