So this leaked, the main 7 songs, anyway. I hope to still buy it on Friday. Hopefully Target will have it in store (though their online pre-orders are sold out just like Amazon). So after listening to most of the songs several times on very good speakers (it made for a great first-listening experience!) here are my initial reactions...
1. Fear Inoculum (10:21)
- This has grown on me a good bit and does seem to compliment the other tracks well now that I've heard most of the album.
2. Pneuma (11:53)
- It's hard to describe this one, but it's really good. It feels a little like Eulogy meets Schism or something to me. I liked it a lot the first listen and it continues to get better and better. Obviously about "breath" or "spirit" as Pneuma indicates both.
3. Invincible (12:44)
- F#ck, the studio version of this is soooooo good after hearing the live YouTube versions several times. I love the transitions in this, it takes several left turns and changes so much and it works so well. Great vocal melody from Maynard. This is a killer new Tool track in every way, shape, and form.
4. Descending (13:38)
- Alright, to be honest, I find the first 4 or 5 minutes of this song quite boring. Don't know if that'll ever change for me or not. But I love the rest of it. Once it kicks in it's f#cking phenomenal. The guitar finale is just orgasmic. So good.
5. Cullling Voices (10:05)
- Another one that's hard to describe, but it's sort of mellow and groovy with creative gradual builds of tension and great climaxes. Love this one.
6. Chocolate Chip Trip (4:48)
- This one to me is like the shorter, faster sequel to "Merkaba" from Salival, which I like a lot. It's Danny Carey going to town on top of a cool rhythm setting the pace. It feels very Melvins inspired, even with the title.
7. 7empest (15:44)
This one is going to take many listens to digest and I look forward to it growing on me because it's amazing. This is the "Rosetta Stoned" or "Third Eye" of this album. It's so good. The guitar tones and changes on this are just amazing. I was grinning like a school girl when I listened to this for the first time at high volume on great speakers. It has Meshuggah-esque breakdowns and killer guitar work, and it goes without saying that Danny Carey continues to pull out the chops.
Ultimately I think it's great and am not disappointed. In fact, with some of the amazing transitions and changes the songs take I can almost see how it took 13 years to shape these monster songs into what they are. I look forward to the songs growing on me more. I also look forward to hearing the other 3 bonus tracks on the 30th (although I'm not expecting much from them, probably more weirdness).
What a day: I get home from beach vacation and get to enjoy the new Tool!
But in all seriousness the new album is really, really good. I highly recommend it. Not that I don't have minor gripes, cause I do, but they're minor and expected with Tool. The musicianship on this record doesn't disappoint and the songs are brilliant.
Oh, the lyrics are printed in the packaging! Something I never thought Tool would ever do. It always annoyed the shit out of me everyone just guessing what the hell Maynard is saying. Not on this album. It's about time.
This album is amazing. Itís not what I expected from them, but this is the side of Tool that Iíve always enjoyed most. I donít mind that there are no screams and that Maynard has taken a step back from the fray; this arrangement shows Tool at their most contemplative and nature.
Iím still digesting the entirety of the thing, but my standout tracks have to be Invincible and Pnuema.
It's... eh, it's alright. I still wish they would go back to the heavier root. I'm kind of tired of the bloviating mess of snooze inducing longform riffs. I need that rawness of Undertow back. Lateralus is the peak of where they're going to get in the ethereal spaciness they seem to strive for these days.