TOOL — Ænima

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TOOL - Ænima cover
4.18 | 85 ratings | 7 reviews
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Album · 1996

Filed under Alternative Metal
By TOOL

Tracklist

1. Stinkfist (5:11)
2. Eulogy (8:28)
3. H. (6:07)
4. Useful Idiot (0:38)
5. Forty Six & 2 (6:04)
6. Message to Harry Manback (1:53)
7. Hooker With a Penis (4:33)
8. Intermission (0:56)
9. jimmy (5:24)
10. Die Eier von Satan (2:17)
11. Pushit (9:55)
12. Cesaro Summability (1:26)
13. Ænema (6:39)
14. (-) Ions (4:00)
15. Third Eye (13:47)

Total Time: 77:23

Line-up/Musicians

- Maynard James Keenan / vocals
- Adam Jones / guitar
- Justin Chancellor / bass
- Danny Carey / drums

Guest musicians:
- Marko Fox / vocals
- Eban Schletter / organ
- Chris Pittman / synthesizer
- David Bottrill / keyboards
- Bill Hicks / vocals

About this release

Label: Zoo Entertainment
- David Bottrill – keyboards, producer, engineer, mixing
- Cam de Leon – artwork, computer illustration
- Concetta Halstead – producer, design
- Bill Hicks – audio sampled on "Third Eye"

Thanks to negoba, bartosso, adg211288 for the updates

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TOOL ÆNIMA reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Warthur
Tool's second album is a substantial improvement over Undertow. Beginning in a strange and avant-leaning end of the alternative rock genre with the comparatively accessible Stinkfist, the album draws the listener in and explores increasingly complex and mysterious territory, pulling you deeper and deeper into the bizarre sonic world the band have constructed out of the emissions from industrial music and through applying an alternative metal aesthetic to the sort of sonic experimentation engaged in by King Crimson and Heldon in the mid-1970s.

Once you hit material like Pushit and the title track you're completely lost in Tool's world, and only by seeing the album through can you find your way out. It's a compelling musical experience all around; alt metal fans should approach with an open mind and not expect everything to be as easy to take in as Stinkfist, and prog fans should have patience and give the band time to work their magic, but both should come out the other end enthralled and astonished by what they have gone through. A sonic Ænima indeed.
The Angry Scotsman
Ænima is the continuation of Tool's progression. While this album is a far departure from their first release, Opiate, you can still here there metal roots. Whether it is in some of the heaviness, the use of double bass, or just the overall feel. That being said, the level of musicianship on this album is astounding, especially the drumming of Danny Carey which is just mind blowing. There is also all the Tool standard features like humor, deep lyrics completely open to interpretation, segues, and of course some longs tracks.

This album appears to be dedicated, in a way, to comedian Bill Hicks. There is a picture of him on one of the pieces of cover art with the caption "Bill Hicks. Another Dead Hero". The picture behind where the CD is held is a picture of the Western United States, and when moved around most of California appears to be covered in water. This is a reference to Hicks' comedy when he talks about the day Los Angeles will slide into the ocean. There are also more references to his comedy in some later songs.

Stinkfist is a great opening song, with some great guitar and bass riffs, and some wonderful drumming.

Eulogy is my second favorite song on the album. It begins with a strange percussion sound and lots of strange, yet beautiful background noises. Some drumming comes in after a bit. The first 2 minutes are really unique, and honestly I'm not sure what instruments are making all the sounds. Then the guitar riff comes in and some talk box-esque vocals. The song really kicks in now, with some heavy, groovy, riffs throughout. All the members in this song are great, but the bass and drumming is really stand out.

H. begins really slow, heavy and droning. However, it soon goes into a light section that is amazing. The drumming is cool but Justin on the bass is really breathtaking. He lays down a rhythm bass riff that is just amazing. Overall, a very slow song. The climax is reached towards the last half minute, and just in time! It was getting tough to make it through that song.

Useful Idiot the first segue. This one is filler and not a transition. Nothing but static. Good thing it is only 38 seconds long.

Forty Six & 2 is my favorite song on the album. Starts off with a wicked bass intro soon that Adam Jones guitar comes in. The song continues to gradually build as that awesome bass riff continues with various guitar and great drumming background. Maynard's vocals are perfect in this song as well. The middle section is heavier and bit speedier and please listen for one hell of drum fill and section!

Message to Harry Manback (LOL!) is another segue. It is mostly a sad, piano melody with a gentle ocean background noise. A man, speaking in English and Italian (I think?), starts talking. He is talking to an American, (or Americans in general) and is saying some rather terrible things.

Hooker With a Penis is a pretty heavy, grungy song. It is filled with yelling and angst and it appears Maynard is telling an original Tool fan, (who claims the band has sold out) pretty much f*ck you! Shut up or buy it. Tool may be arsty, but hey....artists like money too.

Intermission is just that. However, I like this one. It has a happy, fun carnival feel!

Jimmy begins with the same melody, but a lot heavier. Listen for some heavy bass in the beginning. A good song, but slow in some parts. However, there is some more amazing drumming here as well.

Die Eier Von Satan is yet another segue. It is extremely heavy and industrial, and played in 9/8. The overall piece sounds like a factory, while a man is speaking in German. The title translates to "The Eggs of Satan" in this case Eier (or eggs) being slang for testicles. However, the actual lyrics are simply reading a recipe to make hash cookies, (maybe thats why they are the eggs of Satan?) Anyway, a cool song especially when you find that out. The man talking, slowly builds followed by an audience cheering. The whole thing sounds like a NAZI rally, when it is actually just some helpful cooking advice. ; )

Pushit is another Tool song that has some really cool parts, and also some really boring parts. Overall, not that good a song.

After an annoying segue, we get to Ænema. An awesome song! The music is really great, but the lyrics are better! You have to listen to this song. It is cool sounding and you will get a laugh, never have I heard someone so calmly, and beautifully, asking for the end of the world and hoping for tidal waves and meteors. After all, is it really so bad if the world ended? I sure could use a vacation! Also, the whole L.A. falling into the ocean laving an Arizona Bay is a direct reference to Bill Hicks.

( - ) Ions is another annoying segue. Then it is onto the last track. Third Eye begins with some clips of Bill Hick talking about drugs. Drugs and music, the war on drugs, and what a "positive drug story" would sound like. Third Eye is also a reference to the Pineal Gland, a gland in our brain that emits the chemical DMT which is an extremely powerful psychedelic compound that might be responsible for dreams, (as well as near death experiences and alien abductions). This gland has been called our "Third Eye" which would be our eye to seeing the spiritual world. OK, enough hippie talk! Onto the song.

It is a decent song. Too long in some parts. However, just before 8 minutes an interesting part does come in, with some very unique drumming and kind of creepy vocals. In my opinion he is taking about an experience on DMT, since the lyrics "prying open my third eye" are said many times.

Overall, a very good album. Like any Tool release it has some boring parts, and some parts that go on way too long, and not to mention some segues that are just irritating. However, the rest is solid, they are some great songs, and as mentioned in the beginning lots of humor and lots of lyrics with multiple, multiple meanings. Great album.

Four Stars
AtomicCrimsonRush
Aenima is one of the darkest, most sinister prog-metal albums from these neo-progenitors of the craft. It gets a little too dark at times, particularly the over abundance of expletives, and the venomous spoken pieces that spew forth anger and bitterness in torrents. There are some great tracks amongst all the filth such as 'Forty 6 and 2', 'Jimmy', 'Pushit', and 'The Third Eye'. However I was put off by the excessive vulgar nature of the lyrics, and unnecessary undertones of nastiness, and even the air of gloom it resonates.

I am a huge fan of Tool's succeeding albums 'Lateralus' and '10,000 Days' so this was a huge disappointment. Certainly, dark metal can resonate doom, but it's done with more subtlety by bands such Opeth rather than Tool's 'Eulogy' and the vulgar title track which is over the top liberally using the F word. So for the sensitive metal progger such as myself, 'Aenima' is unappealing, however it may appeal to those who don't mind being verbally assaulted and taking an excursion down the blackened trail and vile underworld that is essentially Tool.
Phonebook Eater
10/10

"Aenima" is probably the darkest and one of the best albums of all time.

It's only thanks toTool that I now love progressive rock. When, for the first time, I listened to Aenima, my mind was completely blown. But now, for me this is the most important album of my musical life. Tool arrives at their second studio album, and from here everything changed for them. The first album, and also the EP "Opiate", were very Heavy Metal driven and they still didn't have a style of there own, and there were only a few moments prog related. So, when Aenima came out, it seemed like it came out of nowhere. The style was so diverse, and it proved that Tool reached they're maturity.

The album is probably the darkest album of all time. Sinister in almost every moment, you can't not shiver in at least a couple of moments. Ironically the album is dedicated to a comedian, who died just before the band strted to write material.Thanks to Adam Jones' noisy and shredding guitar, to Danny Carey's powerful, precise, and tribal influenced drumming, to Justin Chancellor's, who just replaced previous bassist of the band Paul D'Amour at the time, pondering and dark bass, and of course thanks to Maynard James Keenan's at times beautiful and fragile at times strong and fearless vocals which really made the album how it is, that the album is so dark, yet so beautiful, with such intense and haunting moments that no human being who loves music can forget.

The album starts with "Stinkfist", with a weird intro that sounds like something metallic is bouncing, followed by some noise made by the guitars. Then the song explodes, with a simple but effective riff. Then Maynard comes in, with a dark bass driven tune that is the verse. The chorus is violent, and quite quick, and in a moment we are back to the verse. After the second chorus, there is the experimental part, a part that is always present in all the following songs. There is still the bass that keeps the rhythm, while Jones does some crazy guitar sounds, even though they are quite emotive, haunting and creepy, but still very intense. After this part, there is the grand finale, in the beginning very mellow, then violent, then they repeat a part of the chorus, and the song ends kind of like how it started, but not as distorted and weird. The lyrical content is debatable: some thing it's about drugs, some about sex. I see it as a representation of being dependent on something, generally speaking.

"Eulogy" starts with a calm, yet kind of mysterious intro: the first two minutes are a slow but have an increasing climax, and then the song kicks in, and the first verse has started. The guitar work in this part is great, really impressive. Then the chorus arrives, the first violent part of the song. Maynard's voice here sounds great, probably this song is one of his greatest performances. After the second verse and the chorus, we have several time changes, and different melodies. But the end is what is really spectacular, the atmosphere, before the grand finale, is tense, and you can tell it will explode any second. The finale presents crunchy guitars and Maynard singing, until he keeps a rough and incredibly difficult note for a long time, while the band plays on. It gives me goosebumps all the time. A stunning piece of music, again very intense and dark, a masterpiece. The lyrical content seems to talk about religion, definitely criticizing it and martyrdom.

If I had to choose the song that I least prefer from this album that will be "H.", and it still is a fantastic song! It's one of the shortest songs ( 6 minutes), but very haunting and deep. In fact, the song is mostly mellow. It starts with a distorted bass riff, very slow and kind of doomy. When Maynard starts to sing, the verse has alread started. The music is calm, the vocals are gentle, but the lyrics are very disturbing: it's probably about Maynard being abused when he was a child. The chorus is a bit stronger, and ith crunchy guitars, and Maynard now is screaming. When the middle part starts, we have a guitar (or bass?) solo part, with nothing else to accompany it, making the music very tense. When Maynard starts to sing again, there is an increasing climax, and at a certain point the music sounds almost comforting, cheerful, nice. But it's nothing but an illusion, and right after we have one of the darkest moments of the album, very violent. There's then a short solo by Jones, then there's the chorus is repeated,and the song is over. Brilliant piece.

"Useful Idiot" is a 38 second song: it's the sound of an LP when the side is over, making a sort of an illusion for whoever was use to LPs that the side is over.

"46 & 2" starts with a brilliant and catchy bass riff, probably the catchiest of all the songs in this album. The song is simply structured, unlike all the other songs, but still amazing. After the brief intro, Maynard starts singing. It's a very mellow part, and his voice is gentle again, until the chorus, when the song explodes. After the usual structure of second verse and chorus, there are some time changes and slight modifications of that same riff. The song ends in a breathtaking way: the riff is repeated, but it now is in an odd time signature (I'm not an expert in such matters, but it does sound a bit like it), and the drums are pounding to the rhythm in a very cool way. The lyrical content seems to concern science and an excellent form of life cells that rarely human beings have.

"Message To Harry Manback" is a fun interlude, a piano plays in the background while there's a voice from voicemail that apparently is threatening Harry Manback, and sometimes he speaks Italian, insulting him.

"Hooker With A Penis" is the shortest song of the album (if you don't include the interludes), and probably also the heaviest and most distorted song. The riff is quite catchy, Maynard's voice is always rough or screaming. There are some very cool moments in this song, but it seems like nobody likes "Hooker With A Penis", probably because it almost sounds like a joke. In fact, this is the only song where the lyrical content is pretty lame, it just talks about a boy that tells Maynard that he was selling out, and he absolutely hates when somebody tells him that. Still this is an unbelievable song.

"Intermission" is, like the title says, a brief one minute Intermission that repeates the riff of the following song, "Jimmy", with a moog organ. Fun to listen to, since it makes the music sound very cheerful, even though this following piece is one of the darkest pieces of all time.

"Jimmy" starts very quickly, with no intro, since "Intermission" pretty much made it not necessary to have, and the first verse comes in: it's just bass guitar, and Maynard's soft voice, with at times some interventions by Jones. The chorus comes in, not more violent than the beginning, but still very haunting, thanks to Maynard's beautiful sustained vocals, and thanks to the guitar work. Unlike the other songs, they don't reprise the second verse, they just move on different time and melody changes, at first with Jones' shredding and noisy moments, then with a powerful bass by Chancellor.It goes on changing a lot pretty much until the end. Very underrated song, intense, dark, intriguing, and beautiful like rarely music is and like almost always is here in "Aenima". The lyrical content again concerns Maynard's disturbing childhood,which makes the song even darker.

"Die Eier Von Satan" is another fun interlude, even though the music is very creepy: it's basically very heavy industrial music, with a lot of creepy fade in or out effects. After a while, a scary voice starts speaking in German, almost like he was a Nazi german, you soon here that there is a crowd that is worshiping him, supporting him with great voice. The fun part is that what really the German guy is saying is just a recipe of some kind of Eggs. The title can be translated as "The Eggs Of Satan", or "The Balls Of Satan", if you wanted to be more vulgar.

"Pu[&*!#]" is the second longest song of the album ( ten minutes), but it's probably the creepiest, the most intriguing, and the most intense. The intro starts with a sound very similar to bees buzzing, and then the guitar plays the main riff, and before you know it the verse has started. But the really intense part starts only after a couple of minutes when, the song starts to have an increasing climax, and when Maynard yells "Piece Of Mind", the song becomes violent and crude, the chorus is very dark, mysterious, and the vocals are absolutely amazing, one of the best vocal performances ever. When the chorus ends, everything gets calm. The atmosphere is really intense, thanks to Jones's guitar playing, and also thanks to Carey's really cool percussion. Maynard's voice is very soft, you can barely hear it. At a certain point the guitars are distorted again, and the minute that follows includes a wonderful, wonderful solo of Jones', very haunting, intriguing, and even a bit creepy. There's a reprise of the chorus, and a fabolous finale, where the vocals are at the absolute peak of beauty. The lyrics are once again about Maynard's unhappy childhood, as he was abused by one of his parents. A song that never stoppes impressing me, and giving me goosebumps. The really dark side of prog.

"Cesaro Summability" is a brief and really weird interlude.Initially it's a baby crying, accompanied by strange distorted sounds, and then there's Maynard's voice talking, always really distorted, so you can't hear what he says. Interesting song.

the title track is another Tool classic for concerts. After the weird vocal intro, the riff comes in, as well as drums, and then the first verse comes. It's features only bass and vocals, and it goes on until the chorus comes. Then there's a reprise of the verse, then the chorus again, and then the greatest part. Everything is calmer, Maynard's voice is very soft, the drums are precise and very fast going, as a contrast to the atmosphere. It becomes louder and louder, and then the guitars finally come in once again, and the song reaches it's culminating point, the grand finale, always present in every great Tool song. The song is fabolous, very catchy, definitely one of their best. The lyrical content is very interesting, it talks about the possibility that L.A. could be separated from America and becoming an island.

"(-) Ions" is the greatest interlude song. It is the sound of a train passing, and eventually of a light that catches bugs. It's so great because it's a great relaxing song, and it prepares you to the most astonishing and epic song of the album, thanks to it's four long minutes, as a long break from all the intense moments that took place previously.

"Third Eye" is the final, epic masterpiece of the album. It starts with some heart beats, and suddenly we hear an excerpt of one of Bill Hicks', the comedian that the album dedicates to, most famous performances. It fades away after a brief amount of time, following some strange computer sounds, then some guitar noises that proceed in an increasing climax, until Maynard's voice comes in delicately in a mellow part. The song has started. The riff in this song is spectacular, and it quite often repeats during the song, even in this piece that follows. After that, Maynard's voice is yelling quite hard, with no lyrics, for just a couple of seconds. Follows a sort of jazz influenced piece that sounds almost like an improvisation of guitar, until the band reaches a new mood, mysterious, tense, waiting to explode. Only after a few minutes it explodes, and I really get goosebumps here. Another semi calm part follows, with the reprise of the main riff, and just a few moments later the song is about t end. Quite a masterpiece of progressive rock music, a track that you wont easily forget. The lyrical content is really interesting, that could refer to drugs or to something else. Their are quite fascinating and enigmatic.

As a conclusion, after this huge 2000 word review ( my record!), I have nothing else to say, if not that this album is probably one of the best albums of all time, because of it's unique style and because, despite being more than ten years old, it never lost any of it's enigmatic despair, and of course because of its scary soundscapes that penetrate your soul like no other piece of music. Essential.
Negoba
The Root of All Evil - Rock n' Roll is not Dead

While grunge had severed the bloating head of hair metal in the early nineties, it failed completely in making rock and roll dangerous again. The inward looking Seattle boys gave us a new combination of sounds that opened up the realm of possibility, but there wasn't a lot of new music that would really scare the pants off your parents. Until Tool. The band had a few minor hits, most notably the two chord "Sober" with it's refrain of "Jesus blows his fking whistle," which set the stage. But it was AENIMA that made Tool what they are now, probably the most influential band in modern heavy music.

The band had evolved quite a bit musically, with the signature circular bass riff taking center stage, and drummer Danny Carey starting to shine more and more. The songwriting had gotten quite a bit better, and with songs like "Stinkfist" and "Hooker with a PP," Tool firmly made a claim for being the most dangerous band out there. Maynard James Keenan's simultaneously tortured, twisted, and intelligent lyrics appealed to a wide array of young audience members. His voice would develop quite a bit over future projects but the emotional delivery was at full force from the beginning.

The songs on AENIMA are very riff based, played in straight time, and sometimes repetitive. Tool had not yet embraced prog sensibilities as full as they would on the subsequent album, and probably wouldn't still be around if they had. AENIMA was just the right degree of weird for the time. As is typical for Tool, there are a number of strange transition tracks. Some are complete throwaways but it added to the vibe. It must also be noted that some of the riffs on this album are among Tool's best, most memorable.

This album is an essential part of the history of modern rock in general.



Sleepwalker
Ænima is a big leap forward compared to their previous album, Undertow. Tool decided to focus more on creating an atmosphere than on their previous release. This doesn't mean they didn't pay any attention to the music itself though, as most of the music on this album is very good. A rough sound, which has some similarities with Stoner Metal opens the album. "Stinkfist" is a pretty accesible song with slow, heavy riffs. This isn't the only song on this album that isn't conventional metal. Songs like "Eulogy" and "Pushit" have a very atmospheric feel to them, though being very rough and aggresive at times. The album contains several songs that really stand out, like the haunting "Jimmy", the mellow "H.", the mysterious "Forty-Six & 2" and the epic "Third Eye", which is one of the most ambitious pieces of music Tool has ever made . Some of these songs are definitely among the best in Tool's catalogue.

Many people claim this album has a lot of filler and unnecessary material. I haven't heard any of it, though I know what people are pointing at. They are pointing at the several one minute songs that this album features, that are full of strange noises like crying babies, white noise, and strange, electric sounds. These songs are all meant to create a certain atmosphere, and in my opinion they definitely succeed in doing that.

Ænima is a dark and atmospheric album. It is not as diverse as later Tool albums like Lateralus, but has a great atmosphere and contains some of Tool's best songs. I give it a four star rating, as it isn't a masterpiece, but a fantastic album indeed.

Members reviews

Doomster
"Ænima" is an incredibly heavy, foreboding, dark and innovative effort by well-recieved progressive metal band Tool. Along with their following "Lateralus", 1996's "Ænima" is often considered to be the pinnacle of Tool's career. While I don't like these two albums as much as their latest 2006 effort "10,000 Days", "Ænima" is definetely a powerful release, my second favorite Tool album and definetely one of their heaviest, if not the.

Along with Sabbat's "The Dwelling" and Neurosis' "Through Silver And Blood" it is one of the darkest albums of that year, and one of the highlights. Many people call Tool a "nu metal" band and that shows most on this release (and "Opiate"). However, I personally do not believe Tool are as nu metallish as some people say. Sure, it's agressive, and filters negative emotion, but Tool mainly focus on one very intricate and interesting musical style that the normal listener cannot put their finger on.

Lyrically, this is Tool's best album. No, I take that back. These lyrics are honestly drool-worthy. There is none of the philosiphical pretensiousness that seemed to dominate their other albums. The lyrics here are incredibly varied, ranging from incredibly pissed off, angry verbal attacks ("Hooker With A Penis", "Eulogy", "Aenema"), to obsessive sexual euphoria ("Stinkfist", possibly "Pushit"), to angsty-but-not-in-a-wimpy way rockers ("jimmy", "H."), to still philosiphical but less focused on intelligence tracks ("Forty Six And Two", "Third Eye"). Lyrically, this album is Tool's high point, in my personal opinion.

So, what's the album like, musically? Well, in terms of musicianship and just plain awesomeness, it is my second favorite Tool album. Believe me, this CD has a VERY dark atmosphere surrounding it. It's Tool's most foreboding album yet. While not as overwhelming as New York doomsters Khanate or fellow prog metallers Opeth, it still carries a frightening, dense and yet fragile atmosphere, making it incredibly unique, especially among 90's albums. Putting aside the many (quite annoying, I might add) fillers included in this album, all of these songs are incredibly heavy, yet light as a feather. It sounds like a recording of the heaviest falling leaf...and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.

Now that I mentioned the fillers, I suppose I should expand on them. They are...pointless to say the least, and take away from the real songs on the album. A few are enjoyable ("Die Eier Von Satan", "Intermission") but they do nothing to the album. This CD has the most fillers out of any Tool CD (six of them) and, with the exception of "Intermission", none of these fillers segue into any of the full-length songs. These fillers are probably the only thing that really dissapointed me about the album.

All the "real" songs, however, are incredible. Perhaps my second favorite tune on this album is "Hooker With A Penis", only second to the massive, nearly 14 minute "Third Eye". The former song is the heaviest and most agressive on the album, with hilariously pissed off lyrics which shows the band's hypocritical humor. Kickass stuff right there. "Third Eye" is a sprawling nearly 14 minute epic, which twists and turns multiple times before developing into a climax which is so tectonically massive that you just have to hear it to belive it.

So, would I reccommend this album? Oh yes I would, but if you wanna start with Tool, get their masterpiece "10,000 Days" first, then buy "Ænima", then go from there. Tool as a whole are an amazing band, and their discography is loaded with good music. Get all their CD's if you're a fan of this type of stuff!!!

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