Edited by Brett Buchanan
In 1993, Tool released their first full length studio album Undertow. The album was a major success, and gave the world its first major taste of the band’s distinct prog metal/ alternative rock fusion.
Three years later, on this very day 20 years ago, Tool would release their follow up record, AEnemia. Ænima is Tool’s darkest and most dense album to date, and gets better after repeated listens as it has several classic tracks. The record takes the style created on Undertow and expands on its influences, which range from Melvins to Bill Hicks.
Like normal for Tool, the album starts off with strange ambiance that eases us into the first track, “Stinkfist”. This track contains a simple yet crushing main riff, followed by Marynard’s vocals coming in. They are altered by a filter, but it works really well with the song’s lyrics. While seemingly dirty at first, the lyrics use the act of fisting as a metaphor for how society is desensitized to what happens on the news everyday. This lyrical pattern of harsh yet straight to the point lyrics (best example being “Hooker with a Penis”) will be seen throughout the album as opposed to later albums being more spiritual.
It is pretty obvious from the style of riffing on the entire album that Tool is right at home in the Grunge era. The instrumental parts are loaded with down tuned guitars and bass that leads the way on every song.
Drummer, Danny Carey also shines throughout the record. His best work can be heard on the intro to the title track, as well as during the bridge on “Eurlogy”, where he shows off his in your face drumming insanity. “Jimmy” is an ultra complex song which contains a very dreamy outro. “Third Eye” has some great trippy solos thanks to guitarist Adam Jones. The track ” 46 & 3 ” uses a similar style to give it a hypnotic feel.
Maynard vocals are top notch throughout this record. His work on the intro to “Eulogy” will send chills down your spine, while his wails on “Third Eye” will hit you like a hammer.
All and all, this is Tool’s best album to date. The style the band introduced on their debut full length album improved in every possible way and everyone is at the top of their game. While later albums would increase on a technical scale, Ænima is their most memorable in terms of riffs and song structures. Who knows, maybe one the band will top this album someday, if their next album ever comes out…