Classic Album Review – Tool – Aenima(1996)

Today I decided to sit back and take a leap into the gargantuan black hole that is Tool. Damn, I’m so glad I did. I had been a huge fan of theirs for a long time, since school and college. Yes I listened to Tool in school. As a 15-16 year old – It was way too early for me to understand their music. I even had their entire discography in college but I didn’t hear them with mature ears, until now.

Tool are a fortress of magnetic, dark, exonerated brilliance. I can’t even believe how fucking sheerly, gifted and talented they are. I mean I’m a huge Maynard James Keenan fan, to this day, I sincerely believe that everything he touches turns to gold. Ever since I discovered A Perfect Circle and Puscifer, I have been in awe of the man. But with Tool I think his work is perfection – Deserving every accolade and noteworthy praise.

Ever since news broke out that Tool are recording a new album this year – Yes it’s happening as we speak. Here is the latest.

Tool have two albums worth of new music, but only five songs meet their standard

“Be sure to look out for a new album from Tool sometime soon,” says Late Night host Seth Meyers

Exciting times ahead, indeed.

Coming to Aenima.

I’m pretty sure nobody quite understood this album when it got out because it was so fucking brilliant! It was way ahead of it’s time. I had heard some tracks off Aenima before but this album just blows everything out of the water when listened to at one go.

This album is potent and power packed and dark with intense hollow melodic riffs and bass lines. This album right here should be heralded as one of the many greatest rock albums ever made. I’m not shitting you. It’s really transporting to another level. It’s angry, it’s got those low tones and it’s extremely introspective and spiritual. I’m trying to stop listening to this on repeat but I just can’t seem to. My ears are glued to the intricacies and the raw power.

Aenima tackles themes about life, including the point of existing, frustration, anger, social issues and romantic schisms. This is a recurring theme in Tool’s lyrics throughout all of their releases but stands out on Aenima. The lyrics instigate thought and lyrical analysis to engage the listeners to look inside what Maynard is talking about.

It’s clear from the first riff of the album to the last that Aenima borrows heavily from some of the heavier grunge bands for its instrumental parts, with downtuned guitars and prominently mixed bass leading the way on almost every song. And obviously, Danny Carey is on his usual godlike form for the duration of the album.

I really don’t know how to start this because on Aenima every single song is an otherworldly gem.

Breaking the tracks down –

1. Stinkfist – 10/10
The opener  is a proper assault with a catchy predominantly blasting riff and a sick bass lines. The album opens with these lyrics sung by Maynard.

“Something has to change
Undeniable dilemma
Boredom’s not a burden
Anyone should bear
Constant over stimulation numbs me
But I would not want you any other way”

The theme of this song is about how people will take things to the extreme for pleasure by using “fisting” as a metaphor.

“I don’t want it
I just need it
To breathe, to feel, to know I’m alive”

The sledgehammer riff will make you sit up and take notice while Maynard’s lyrics take you inside out from your normal state to – Tool state of mind.

2. Eulogy – 9/10
The second track Eulogy is also a brilliant one. Starting off with a deep, trance inducing intro – I don’t know who this song is about but Tool blow you out of the water again. I like to think of this one as my old, numb and dumber, child-like self. But again draw your own meaning.

3. H. – 10/10
This one starts off with a mellow, progressive intro with piercing guitar riffs. A properly progressive song with a haunting bass line. This one is about Maynard’s experiences as a father of his son Devon H. Keenan. Hence the name H. It’s got a sweet guitar melody at around 3:30 which picks up with some percussion in the background and Maynard’s voice singing low note. This one is a drifter. The bridge is also brilliant. Tool’s amazing musical ability is on show for all.

4. Useful Idiot – IDK
Strange filler

5. Forty Six and Two (46 + 2) – 10/10

This song is a mushroom cloud of soundscapes starting from the intro’s bass line and tabla
or whatever percussion instrument in the background. The track is metallic and takes you on a trip and a half. There is a very very interesting meaning to this song as I would discover today on this lyrics website.

The meaning of 46 and 2:

“According to Melchizedek, our planet is covered with geometrically constructed ‘morpho genetic grids’. These grids extend from about 60 feet under the Earth’s surface to about 60 miles above the Earth, arranged in geometric patterns (see ‘Sacred Geometry’). Each species has its own grid, which supports life, and connects the consciousness of its particular species. Before any species can come into existence or make an evolutionary step, a new grid must be completed. When a species becomes extinct, that particular species’ grid dissolves.

“A new grid was completed in 1989 – the ‘christ-consciousness’ grid. This grid will allow humans to evolve into our next version. We’ll develop two additional chromosomes (which are really ‘geometrical images’ designed to resonate with our specific grid) for a total or 46 + 2.

“The main change will be a shift to the “unity consciousness”. Every cell in your body has its own consciousness and memory. You, the higher being that occupies your body, make the millions of different consciousnesses in your body work together as one being. How does this relate to this grid? Think of yourself as a cell and the grid as the higher being. We will still have individual consciousness, but will be united in the form of a higher being in order to work as one entity.”

Mind blowing right! Tool are known for this stuff with their fibonnacci sequence inspired work on later on lateralus.
It ends with the lyrics”By stepping through my shadow
Coming out the other side
Step into the shadow
Forty six and two are just ahead of me”

6. Message to Harry Manback  – IDK 
Strange Filler again

7. Hooker with a Penis – 6/10

Not their best work but the instrumentals are nice and dark. But the lyrics are shit. Absolute shit. A song in response to fans claiming Tool “sold out” to “the man”. The band claims that we are all “the man”.

8. Intermission – 8/10 
Funny as hell, a strange little circus sounding filler. I rather liked it though.

9 . Jimmy – 10/10

Quite an aggressive start. This one is searchlight in the dark. Probably one of the darkest tracks on the album. I stepped out to buy cigarettes and this was on my headphones and I rather enjoyed it. It takes you through another realm in your head honestly. Maynard James (Jimmy) Keenan was eleven years old when his mother was affected by an aneurism that rendered her paralysed for the rest of her life. This is one of the many songs dedicated to her. And it’s quite intense.

10. Pushit 10/10

This one is a hook and half. One of my favourites on my album. They’re all fucking mind blowing but this one is addictive. The tribal-like quieter part in the middle is perfection and mastery at the same time. It fittingly captures the essence of Tool – heavy. Maynard kills these vocals.

“But you’re
Pushing and shoving me
You still love me and you push it on me”

11. Cesaro Summability  – IDK
Filler of baby sounds.

12. Aenima – 9/10

Superb title track for this album. With a scaling guitar riff and thumping drums. The drum solo in the middle is brilliant as Maynard sings. This one is a good old electric eargasm.

The word Ænima is a portmanteau of the wordsEnema and Anima.

An enema is a procedure of introducing liquids into the rectum and colon via the anus. Metaphorically, it could refer to a cleansing of another type, such as the nationwide purging described in this song.

The anima refers to one of two primary anthropomorphic archetypes of the unconscious mind in Carl Jung’s school of analytical psychology. In the unconscious of the male, this archetype finds expression as a feminine inner personality: anima; equivalently, in the unconscious of the female it is expressed as a masculine inner personality: animus. It is an archetype of the collective unconscious and it is said to manifest itself by appearing in dreams. It also influences a man’s interactions with women and his attitudes toward them and vice versa for females and the animus.

Once again – Deep meaning and a bomb track.

13. Third Eye – 10/10 

Wow ! What a track. Really, this track is from another world, to end this album. It’s a Tool ending this album in a “Third-eye opening” track and half. A body-shaking instrumental beast of track this one.

It starts of with Bill Hick’s talking.

“See, I think drugs have done some good things for us, I really do. And if you don’t believe drugs have done good things for us, do me a favor – go home tonight and take all your albums, all your tapes, and all your CDs and burn ’em. Cause you know what? The musicians who’ve made all that great music that’s enhanced your lives throughout the years… rrrrrrrrrrrrreal fucking high on drugs”

“Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration. That we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Here’s Tom with the weather”

“It’s not a war on drugs, it’s a war on personal freedom. Keep that in mind at all times”

And I’m just gonna leave you with the lyrics.

“So good to see you
I’ve missed you so much
So glad it’s over
I’ve missed you so much
Came out to watch you play
Why are you running away?”

Prying open my third eye
So good to see you once again
I thought that you were hiding
And you thought that I had run away
Chasing the tail of dogma
I opened my eye and there we were

So good to see you once again
I thought that you were hiding from me
And you thought that I had run away
Chasing a trail of smoke and reason

(Ending with Maynard screaming)
Prying open my third eye

Album Rating – 10/10 

Progressive metal at it’s damn best. This album turned 20 this year. It’s music on beast mode. Epic.

Enough. Reading.

Now. Just. Listen. To. This

Download ->

Hope you guys enjoy 🙂

Cheers !



One thought on “Classic Album Review – Tool – Aenima(1996)

  1. Nice write up! Pretty agree with you on every point but I’d probably give every song 10/10…its by far their best work and most definitely ahead of its time.


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