I'm not much of a music critic, but I do love Tool, so I thought I'd give you my take on the sixth release from Tool since I've been given access to it a couple weeks early. So here goes, song by song (I'm typing as I listen):
Vicarious - Trademark buzzing guitars, a powerful bass line, and frenetic drums mesh to form the background Maynard uses to assault the culture of violence in the US. Lyrics:
Jambi - The bumblebee rhythym guitar continues, as it will for most of the album. Hard, pounding drums and a lengthy guitar solo (at least for Tool) make two hard, grinding tracks in a row. Good start. MJK seems to be singing about bringing the country together for the good of us all. A noble concept, however idealistic it may be. Lyrics:
Wings for Marie (Pt 1) - This one takes a while to build up steam, beginning with ethereal, plucking guitars and the whispering of MJK sounding like a lullaby. Very similar to APC style. Crescendos up to a violent outburst, then drops away back to the void of whispers. Goes straight into part 2. Lyrics:
10,000 Days (Wings Pt 2) - Very ominous, with a rainstorm in the background, lyrical intensity builds with each second. A steady crescendo of bass drums, building guitars, and cymbal crashes breaks into a fantastic bass-led riff that'll make you wish you just blazed an ounce. The guitar wails in the distance while the bass just pounds in your ears. This would be a fantastic song to fuck to. The rhythym is outstanding, and it's over 11 minutes long. Now the metal guitar crashes in for the hard finish. And a gradual sendoff lets you go slowly back into oblivion. OUTSTANDING. Lyrics:
The Pot - Begins with a jumping bass line and Maynard in his APC mode (soft and melodic). Bass grooves continue as MJK comes snarling back to Tool form. The guitars wail and scream with authority throughout. Good shit. This song seems to be very similar to Hooker With a Penis from Aenima, in that Maynard is apparently letting out his frustration about something very personal and very specific, though I'm not sure what it is. It seems like it could be some court case whose verdict he disagreed with. The title is a nice double entendre, where pot means both reefer and the pot that called the kettle black. Lyrics:
Lipan Conjuring - Weird chanting.
Lost Keys (Blame Hofmann) - Strange conversation that leads in to Rosetta Stoned. Dialogue:
Rosetta Stoned - This songe should have been called Third Eye Redux, because I couldn't stop thinking that it sounded just like it. That and the fact that both songs would sound a lot better after a bowl. Lyrics:
Intension - Murky bass, ominous guitar, and tribal percussion combined with MJK's whisper/chant. This one is more APC than Tool, but whatever. Lyrics:
Right in Two - Starts slow, with the whispering Maynard talking about God, angels, and monkeys (weird, I thought he was agnostic). It takes a while to build up enough pressure to blow, but once it does, the lid comes clean off, with pounding riffs and insane drums. This is the antiwar diatribe all the lefties love and I hate. It's very general and it only bothers me in principal, so I'm not going to complain too much, as it could have been much, much worse. It basically says that war is stupid, and it's not something that rational beings should seek to take part in. Agreed, but get fucking real already. Lyrics:
Viginti Tres (23) - Weird. Like Ions (-) from Aenima.
Overall, this album is fantastic. I was afraid I'd hate it after analyzing the lyrics and overarching message given the liberal political views of the artists involved, but I think I can live with what's being said.