Check out some of the new albums that drop today:

Tool – Fear Inoculum

The L.A. band’s last album came out thirteen years ago, fans have been clamoring for this release for some time, and we’ve all heard the rumores “well so and so isn’t ready”, or its coming out next week. But the album seemed like it was never coming out, leaving people wondering, if it’s really Maynard’s fault, why is he releasing music from his other projects, is the new Tool just not good enough? Let’s be honest, they have high standards to live up to, die hards will tell you that no matter what they release that it’s the best album ever released. So yeah, no pressure guys! I’ve known about Tool since Undertow came out, thanks to then label rep Kevin Estrada (you may know him for his photography), but at the time Opiate was reissued as “Sober” started getting played everywhere. He told me at the time “they’re the next biggest thing, they’re tearing it up in L.A.” I’ll admit, I liked both releases, but didn’t see it. Then the album that changed it all came out Aenima, this album changed the landscape of music. So for any curmudgeon asshole that still thinks “Nirvana ruined it all” no, you did, by not supporting the bands you loved, and by not realizing that Tool was changing the game (among others). Five years later they released another great album Lateralus, but the follow up, 10,000 Days, just didn’t connect with me. The album isn’t bad, it has some great tracks on it, but just not on the same level in my opinion as the previous two. All of these albums are now wreaking havoc on all types of charts becoming available on streaming services for the first time. I like to think that Tool, along with Fear Factory and System Of A Down where the last game changing bands in hard rock and metal. So when the title track for Fear Inoculum came out, people’s initial reaction was either how great the release was, or “I waited thirteen years for this?” because you know the new Tool song sounded like, (gasp) Tool! Seven songs, one song is a little under five minutes, and instrumental, while the rest of the tracks are well over ten minutes long, the title track is actually the third shortest by six seconds! The album sounds like Tool, it’s Adam, Danny, Justin and Maynard, there is no mistaking that. It is a continuation of what they’ve done in the past, not groundbreaking like some of their previous releases, and not shit by any sort of the imagination. The album flows really well, and no song feels bloated or too long.  This is also the type of release where NME, Q, and other magazines that don’t give a fuck about anything heavier than The Black Keys decide they need to release a review on the album. All of the metal sites are slobbering all over the album saying it’s the most dense, complex, or whatever adjective that refers to multilayered can be thrown at it. The album is good, but let’s be honest they aren’t reinventing the wheel here. Danny’s syncopated tom hits are nothing new, neither is the flange/delay on Justin’s bass, or Adam weaving his guitar web throughout the songs, adding the right amount of spice where needed. And Maynard’s lyrics are well thought out, poignant, and fantastic as always. The band kicks ass on the album, there is no denying that, it is a really good listen, and strong throughout, but just not as inventive as people would lead you to believe. On the flipside, if you’re sitting there saying “I waited this long for a Tool album to sound like Tool”, chill and enjoy the album!

Isole – Dystopia

Alongside Fear Inoculum, Isole seem like a bunch of slackers, what do you mean your songs are only six to eight minutes long? Ha, I kid, I kid! The band has been around for twenty nine years, first as Forlon, and then as Isole. They have been putting out albums steadily every few years since their debut as Isole, 2005’s Forevermore. If you’ve never heard of the band before, they’re a classic epic doom metal band from Sweden. I’ve yet to read one bad thing about this release, and both fans and critics alike are giving the album high praise saying it’s the album where they finally put all of the pieces together, and is a cut above everything they’ve previously released.

Wage War – Pressure

Yes they’re a metalcore band, and metal subgenre that I have always been into, hell if something sounds cool, who cares how it’s categorized? Provided you dig it, and it speaks to you, who cares right? So the first thing that stood out to me with the band is the interplay between their guitarists. The biggest complaint from people my age of bands that tune down is “all they do is ride and chug on the lowest string”. Sure you get that here and there, but the fret work is beyond sick, and more inline with prog metal bands like Periphery, with the added caveat of there being guttural and clean vocals mixed in. The clean vocals being very melodic, and infectious helping push the songs beyond being “more of the same” and being something that stands out.

Here are some other albums that come out today:

Elvenking – Reader Of The Runes – Divination

Entombed A.D. – Bowels Of Earth

Tarja – In The Raw

Visions Of Atlantis – Wanderers

Jesse Malin – Sunset Kids

Samantha Fish – Kill Or Be Kind

Jimi Anderson Group – I Belong

Nirvana – Live and Loud

Sons Of Apollo – Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony DVD/CD

Frank Zappa – Orchestral Favorites 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

Gregg Allman – Laid Back Deluxe Edition

Oasis – Definitely Maybe Vinyl Reissue

Serj Tankian – Imperfect Harmonies Vinyl

David Ellefson – Sleeping Giants Vinyl

Article by Victor M. Ruiz of Mars Attacks Radio & Podcast, and Galaxy Of Geeks Podcast.  Connect with him on Twitter:  @vmr907

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