I really really hope Maynard didn't do what this person is accusing him of. Let's get that out of the way right now.
BTW, Antichrist Superstar came out that same year. Two incredible albums in artistic rock, metal, and industrial, from two very different bands. What a great year for me! I was swimming in these two albums, so dense and worth exploring every inch.
I listened to Ænima every day for about 3 solid years before I took it out of daily rotation. The change from Undertow to Ænima was like, whoa, these guys have turned it around! From Undertow's already groundbreaking original tracks--like Intolerance, Sober, Prison Sex, 4 Degrees, the Henry Rollins-featuring Bottom, and the lengthy hidden track (track 69) with three distinct parts--to Ænima's sensitive, yet curse-laden, true prog rock tracks, dropping all the uncomfortable sexual innuendos of the previous album in favor of a look at psychedelics, relationships, human evolution, catharsis, continental destruction, mother nature, and including experimental filler tracks between almost every single song, the jump was incredible. Ænima was like a strange, wonderful movie that everyone can have their own version of--IN THEIR OWN MIND. No album conjures images as well as that one, for being a work of sound. Tool had crossed canyons between those two records.
Ænima is just a monster of a concept album, all of it centering around a Jungian fantasy of California breaking off from the continental United States. It was, in my humble opinion, one the best things that had ever happened in rock music, full stop. It rivaled and even topped Megadeth, Metallica, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Pantera, Ozzy, and all the best heavy bands of the time. Tool basically took the cock rock genre, and didn't kick it in the face and eviscerate its body or give it heroin, but gently set it aside in a cushy chair, gave it a Gameboy and a snack, and let it watch, as a child, what the adults in the real band were now ready to do. Tool is, above all, mature. A band for the intellectual in us all. They're consistently meditative, exploratory, and patient.
Their proceeding albums are less exciting. Tool were showing signs of having jumped the shark, as they basically repeated themselves in a less exciting fashion. Lateralus was great, and really stands alone as a fantastic album, but it's less explosive and exploratory than Ænima, and more easily palatable. Good for some fans, not for me. I like dissonance, weirdness. Lateralus wasn't weird enough for me, but does move me to tears--don't get me wrong. The title track is my fave.
10,000 Days is so boring. I just don't care. Chug chug in odd timings. The same Drop-D tuning from Adam and Justin, the same 1 - 3 - 5 Dm progressions in all the songs. It was getting old on Lateralus, and on 10,000 Days it's just annoying. Boring performances from Maynard, who sounds like he just doesn't want to be doing this anymore. It's almost like he's phoning it in. No hooks, no memorable passages. Danny does his best to make it exciting but he's up against brick walls. They had a pretty consistent 5-years-between-albums release schedule, with Ænima dropping in 1996, Lateralus in 2001, and 10,000 Days in 2006. You can almost hear how they were all getting bored, not feeling confident in themselves, running out of ideas, knowing it, and being rushed by the record company to deliver a product. That would make any album suck.
So now that it's 2018, 12 gosh darn years since their last album, and Tool's been saying they're working on the new album, and it'll come out this year! Fans are salivating. Then a few days ago Google tells the world that Tool released a new album! It's actually by Tool$, a hip hop artist. Funny. Everyone went crazy for about 5 seconds there. I woke up to that notification on my phone, and like everyone else, clicked on it and was like, 'Yeah that was too good to be true.' That's how I find out about it? Nah, Tool had better do something cool, like release it like Beyoncé drops albums. Put some thought and planning into it. Make it big and cool.
What I hope Tool does on their new record is this--drop the Drop-D tuning on the guitars, in favor of any other tuning. Could be standard, could be Open G, whatever. The point is that it would force Adam and Justin to come up with new tricks and new sounds when writing and performing. I want weirdness. I want dissonance. I want all those small experimental filler tracks between songs that help tell a story. I want to be surprised. I want Tool to do something out of their element. Above all, I don't want it to be the same old rehashed Dm Drop-D stuff! Change key signatures for once, jeez! I'd love to see some cool guest spots and features. Lyrics about new topics. I want it to be like Twin Peaks with a bunch of stuff I can't figure out right away, but really want to! I want mystery, intrigue! And darkness. Can't forget the darkness. Make it scary at some points. Hold the releases for key moments, and make them sparse. There, that's what Glenn wants. You're welcome.
Here's Tool's first demo, I just learned about it. Has some early versions of songs. Interesting to hear. It'll be great to hear the contrast between their new album and this one. One thing I loved about them as a beginning band was Maynard's tendency to be at once brutal, and soft with his singing, but more than that--his incendiary word choices. "If consequences dictate my course of action and it doesn't matter what's right, it's only wrong if you get caught, if consequences dictate my course of action, I should, I should play God and just ... SHOOT YOU MYSEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLFFFFFFF"
That kind of incendiary, button-pushing attitude has been lost in Tool's few most recent albums, and I want it back! Fuck what people think, say what's on your mind, Maynard! Fuck it if people don't like it, stand behind what you say and mean it. That's what I want. No regard for what people like or don't like, what they want or don't want to hear. I want the truth from Tool--which means the truth from Maynard. I want Maynard's Truth .... haha that would be a good movie title.
Don't show me the boring old man who just sits in his vinyard in Ari-fucking-zona and shuns the world. I don't care about that man, honestly. He doesn't rock me.