Wednesday 1 October 2014

Choice Cuts: Tool - Ænima (1996)

Years Active: 1990–present
Records to Date: 4
Genre: Prog, metal
Label: Tool Dissectional,
Volcano, Zoo

The Band:

  • Danny Carey | drums, percussion, samples
  • Justin Chancellor | bass
  • Adam Jones | guitars
  • Maynard James Keenan | vocals

Additional musicians

  • Marko Fox | vocals on "Die Eier von Satan"
  • Eban Schletter | organ on "Intermission"
  • Chris Pitman  | additional synthesizer on "Third Eye


As a body of work, ‘Lateralus’ is always hailed as progressive metal band Tool’s shining moment. The record is constantly praised for its ambient flowing soundscapes and its unmatched flow which transports the listener like a lost dreamer through a wave of mad, weird and in some cases cerebral moments which weave together seamlessly.  However, the album which I think captures the band at their most awe inspiring is their preceding work ‘Ænima’

The album is everything that makes the band so great in one 77 minute burst. Containing some of the bands best work self contained, with the likes of the crushing ‘Hooker With A Penis’, the soaring ‘Stinkfist’ and the Scientology bashing title track in which front man Maynard James Keenan delivers one of his most powerful and rapid vocal performances of his career. But ‘Ænima’ was also the point where the band began their expansion into the progressive metal behemoths that they soon became, with the likes of ‘Pushit’ being a hint at were the band were preparing to head musically and the majestic closing track ‘Third Eye’ which features excerpts from the late great Bill Hicks.

Even though the album contains more expansive work than their previous album ‘Undertow’, the riffs from that album certainly made the journey over to Ænima. The likes of ‘Jimmy’ contains some of the filthiest, crushing and most punishing riffs that guitarist Adam Jones has ever written and in turn stopped the album becoming too stale.  Bringing the record back to crowd in between the bizarre sound effect laded interludes, featuring such things as a crying baby and an angry voicemail message.

Overall, “Ænima” to me is everything that my favourite band is capable of in one place. Sure ‘Undertow’ arguably has better songs and ‘Lateralus’ and ‘10,000 days’ have more to offer from a musically stand point, but it is “Ænima” that put the band on the map and show cased everything the band could do and how well they could do it.

Words by: Dan O’ Brien

Album Details

Ænima is the second full-length studio album by Tool. It was released in vinyl format on September 17, 1996 and in compact disc format on October 1, 1996 through Zoo Entertainment. The album was produced by David Bottrill.  The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart upon its initial release, and was certified triple platinum by the RIAA on March 4, 2003.

Ænima’ track listing:

1). Stinkfist (05:11)
2). Eulogy (08:28)
3). H. (06:07)
4). Useful Idiot (00:38)
5). Forty-Six & 2 (06:04)
6). Message to Harry Manback (01:53)
7). Hooker with a Penis (04:33)
8). Intermission (00:56)
9). Jimmy (05:24)
10). Die Eier (02:17)
11). Pushit (09:55)
12). Cesaro (01:26)
13). Ænema (06:39)
14). (-) ions (04:00)
15). Third Eye (13:47)

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