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on February 27, 2006
To the religious person inappropriately posting a review here:

First off, you shouldn't be talking about that here. This is a review for a CD that I would imagine most people would have either been referred to by Amazon's interest detection system, because they know someone who listens to this music, they are interested in the music, etc... You shouldn't come here to post you rheteric and personal issues against this type of music. Second off, your claims have little basis and foundation in reality as do most claims I have heard from most people who attempt to inappropriately anaylze and pin-point specific influences in a very complex social system.

I grew up listening to Tool since elementry school and it has been far more rewarding than damaging. His music inspires me and enhances my creativity in contrast to that monotonous mainstream garbage. In fact, I don't think I know any cases in my local area where people listening to Tool lead them to satanism or any of the other things you mentioned. Granted their work is heavily influenced by drugs (like alot of other musicians and artists in general), some people think they need them to really push the enevelope of creativity. Personally, their music helps me expand my mind and creativity without the use of drugs which is why I think its great. Regardless, you are basically making completely unbacked claims and you really need to show some properly documented and controlled statistical research before you can make absolute claims like that. I am not saying it absolutely doesn't effect people in a negative way, but from what I have seen, on average, it didn't make me or any of my friends any worse off than before. I am personally not religious (yes, even before I listened to Tool), but I have no issues with religous people unless they start saying nonsensical stuff that just de-educates the minds of people and attempts to regress/slow the evolution of the human race.

---

Anyhow, as a review this is a great CD. Its kinda like Pink Floyd meets metal... but thats just may way of looking at it :P

Actually have had this CD for a while and listened to it for about 10 years, but wrote a when I saw that rediculous religious person's review.

Great music, love his new stuff and A Perfect Circle too (except for that cover CD). Can't wait until the new CD comes out, def going to get that!
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on June 24, 2003
I looked through a great number of the reviews that there are for this album, and I honestly read the bad reviews more often than the good ones, because I want to see what those few people disliked about Ænima. Very few of them give any reason for disliking it. Those that do, I give you credit for at least taking the time to think it through. I do understand why some of you do not like this album. I have pictures in my head of telling my brother, whom is much older than me and grew up listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Leon Russell, to pick this up and give it a listen. He would probably hate it and not listen to more than a few minutes. That is simply a matter of what you listen to and what your ears can stand. I have heard on radio news that we are making captured terrorist types listen to Metallica and Megadeth as a form of torture. I can't understand this... (Unless they are referring to Load, Reload or Megadeth's last couple of albums.{Obviously torture for anyone}) I can think of nothing that I'd like better than to listen to Ride The Lightning and So Far, So Good... So What back to back, except listening to Tool.
I actually was going to give the album 5 stars, but I figure that the lack of a star might get this read more. I justify this by saying that if Undertow is my favorite Tool album, which it is, and it would be my standard for 5 stars, Ænima can be 4. Also, -(ions) starts to make me batty if I listen to it all the way through. We'll just say, I give this album a low 5 stars. ;)
So, I'll conclude this by saying, if you are a huge U2, or Bruce Springsteen fan, you might not like this. If you are into Cher or Mariah Carrey, you might wanna let this slide by. On the other hand, if you like heavy, blistering, scathing music that might shock you on your first listening, you might wanna give this a try... And hey, if you like lighter stuff, you might wanna start with Lateralus. (It's the lighter side of Tool, I'd say, but don't expect the Partridge Family.) A Perfect Circle might be a good intro to Maynard's vocal style too, but remember that they aren't really Tool. They're good though.
I hope this made things clearer for a few people. I'll conclude by saying that I've made some generalizations about people that like certain kinds of music and I mean you no ill will. You are certainly permitted to like what you wish, however, I'd say that everyone, even those that I discluded before might wanna try giving this album a few listens, just in case your tastes are improving. (Sorry, had to get that jibe in there.) I know many people whom hated many of the Beatles albums when they came out, only to end up loving them. Same with Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and a few other of the greats. This is bound to happen when a band is inventing the genre that they are playing in. Thanks for reading my ranting!
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on June 1, 2006
Released in 1996, right from the start you know this 77 minute album is going to be a masterpiece. The four members of Tool; Maynard James Keenan, Danny Carey, Adam Jones and Justin Chancellor, come from different parts of the United States (Except Justin - he's from the UK), but Los Angeles is where their collective creativeness began in the early 90s.

There are many standout tracks on this album (In fact every song is excellent) along with thought provoking interludes. The opening track _Stinkfist_, is a `straightforward' rocker which displays the band's more aggressive side, both lyrically and musically. This is then quickly followed by _Eulogy_. This song is very much progressive rock and it showcases Jones' guitar play, which is a real sonic assault on one's ears, often explosive and sometimes eerie. The lyrics of this song, I believe, deal with the death of the late but great Bill Hicks. Hicks was an outstanding stand up comedian, friend of the band, and without a doubt, a strong source of inspiration for the group's socially and spiritually critical lyrics.

Perhaps the best song on the album, however, is the title track. Maynard James Keenan is one of the most distinctive and powerful vocalists in heavy music today. MJK describes the city of Los Angeles, saying it should receive an `enema', "Flushing it all away". Maynard's vocals are particularly powerful and potent here. The song also contains many intricate and precise drum rhythms.

The lyrical and musical complexity of this album is nearly infinite, it's an album that one can listen to for years and still discover new treasures here and there. Over the years, Tool have created music that can only be described as progressive, transcendent and futuristic. AEnima is a timeless classic. Just buy it!
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on February 3, 2006
Aenima took me a bit by surprise. And what a pleasant one...I had once heard a song by Tool back in the early/mid 90's, something about "Sober", I figured I'd dig into it. Only to find all this criss-cross talk and to find that Tool fans were one or the either, ill-advised or just plain dilussional. Spooky. I bought this album (oops, sorry, CD) and found just what I thought beforehand, it'd be pretty daggone good. Needless to say, it's worth the bucks. Not many escape me, if I say so. I'm 44 years old, I have MD, a touch of gout and my liver is hangin' by a thread...and I'll be damned if I die before Spring. This is very, very good music, point blank and doesn't flinch like we do. Listening to it at intervals only helps...but in this case, I keep Aenima running like my fridge. Good stuff! I am forever indebted to whoever wrote H. and at the same time, I am pretty pissed at Harry Manback. Live and die by it. Just brilliant. Whole-brained, one in a million. I wish I could be of more help with anyone undecided. The whole thing starts off real nice with 2 sweet tracks and just gets better....I like the duality.
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on September 21, 2005
A strange phenomena - regardless how much new and talented music I listen to, Tool's „Aenima" remains my favourite album that is always a joy to come back to. And not only a sensitive, but a cerebral joy as well. I mean, if you do not like deep, dark, cathartic and artsy music you might not get what Aenima is about, but why uderestimate yourself?

Aenima teaches you. Not only to have self-respect and dignity, but to be aware what's going on aroud you, not to sink into a pig's existense, to (the infamous) 'think for yourself', to be human and humane, to see that people are a priori united, to reach out for others and so on. In fact, all of Tool's music does, but Aenima is the band at its best balance of focus and quality. The word 'teaches' may scare you away, but it is no brainwashing or hypocritical moralizing. Maynard shares with you his experience of searching for what is the core, the reason, and the aim of a thinking and soulful man. He seems to have found some of its characteristic traits which you are also about to discover if you are going to listen to Aenima.

What makes the album such an outstanfing landmark is that it is probably the first alternative album with such a deep and all-embracing concept. It came out in 1996, when alt rock/metal seemed stuck in pointless pitiful whining with no less pointless anger. Not that Tool lacks anger, but, as Maynard said, anger is nothing wthout compassion. Unlike other things bands that were around, Tool is not at all anti-social (don't get the title track wrong - 'read between the lines'!), simply because a human aware of his surroundings can't be one. Nor is Tool in any way pessimistic; music might seem depressing at first, but when you sink into it, you will probably be 'enlighted' and get energy needed to do positive things, to push things forward.

My review may mislead you so far as I have spoken only about Maynard, the singer. The truth is, the whole emotional and cerebral delivery is carried by all the four members of the band. All the instrumental sections are so precisely elaborated and expressive, all suit the lyrics in such a way that the music becomes really expressive and even if you do not get the lyrics, instruments will help you understand the meaning of the songs. Technically, it is absolute brilliance, especially the work of Danny, the drummer. The band is so powerful - eveything from headbanging to multi-sectional operatic is done amazingly (not that operatic means pretentious like, say, Queen; do not believe reviews that say there is too much pretence and self-indulgence). The production is muddy to further emphasize the darkness and deepness of the songs and the subjects they touch (one unexpected association comes with the books of Dostoyevsky, which are too dark for some people, but again - how can you deliver subliminal, creepy and controversial emotions in other way?).

The songs themselves (there are actually 9 of them, other tracks are interludes to catch breath) are rather long, multi-sectional progressive pieces, each one on a different subject. My favourites includes Stinkfist, Eulogy and 46&2, but every song, even enery minute is absolutely brilliant. With Third Eye, the album reaches a logical conclusion; this track might be the deepest of the deep, a tremendous cathartic experience.

Chances are that you will have a rush of happiness when you will undergo the experience of listening to the whole album in case you understand it. And it is not animal or plant happiness; it is human happiness. Enjoy.
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on October 18, 2006
This CD has been in my 1000-disk collection for a decade.

I have listened to it more times than half of my entire music collection combined.

I have probably listened to it 50 times as much as my next most-played disk.

I doubt the next decade will be any different.
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on June 24, 2005
First things first-- this is CD is not going to cure cancer... and Maynard is not some type of deity. Sorry that I had to start off this review in such a blatant manner, but to me it seems that the other 5 star reviews were written by the type of fanboys who nod along to every word of maynard's. Sure, this is a well written album, and don't get me wrong, well deserving of 5 stars, but some people take this band too seriously. That is the problem with Tool, it attracts fanatic fans that agree with every word maynard utters, which, unless i am mistaken, contradicts the band's whole 'think for yourself' message. But then again, I'm 15, what the hell do I know. One thing I do know though is that here, my friends, is an album worth the money.
-peace
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on August 19, 2006
Aenima is Tool's major breakthrough work. Compared to its predecessors, Aenima is a completely different beast. It is a lot more complex and harder to digest. It may take months or even years to fully absorb it, and you are well advised to start with Undertow if you have never heard any Tool before. Once you've internalised their earlier work, you can come to Aenima and spend quite some time with it. Otherwise, like some people tend to do, you may just write them off as a pretentious act who are terribly overrated by their fan base, which would be a big loss for you.

On Aenima, Tool continues to explore the depths of the human mind and soul, touching on themes such as pain, frustration, guilt, and social decay. As with every Tool album, the band puts forth thought-provoking lyrical messages in their songs, rendering them more powerful through creative musical passages and compositional ideas. Even though former bassist Paul D'Amour is now replaced by Justin Chancellor, the bass parts on this album do not lack a single thing. On the contrary, Chancellor's bass, along with Danny Carey's precise drum work, is still central to the songs, as Adam Jones mostly builds his guitars around his ferocious rhythms. Starting with "Stinkfist", the album opener, the bass sound is ever-present, deep and growling throughout its five-minute course, amidst crackling effects, cool percussion, and effect-laden guitar sounds all of which serve to highlight vocalist Maynard Keenan's light verse/heavy chorus dynamics.

While I agree Tool's music is quite hard to decipher on first listen, the diversity in each song is astonishing. Each piece is defined by thick threads of colours and inventive instrumentation. The weird sounds and eerie percussion in the intro of "Eulogy" suggest a somewhat droney track, but with the arrival of a big bass motif and processed vocals, the tone escalates to impossible heights, resolving with a richly melodic chorus and dense guitar theme blanketing the almost incomprehensible spoken rants atop weird effects and clear bass lines. Maynard's singing is more versatile than both Opiate and Undertow combined. He goes from fragile low registers to tortured screaming on "H." in order to match the flow of the song. This song has an amazing intro with awesome drumming and there is a killer guitar line in the middle where the same note is repeated over and over until it becomes addictive. This dreamy aura is then replaced as the band pick up pace and aggression towards the end.

There are fifteen tracks on the album, but not all of them are songs per se. Some of the pieces have been put on the disc to enhance the unity, such as the static hissing of "Useful Idiot"; the weird piano track "Message to Harry Manback", where an Italian-accented immigrant who has allegedly been deported from the country relays a hateful message about the American government; the slightly goofy analog synths of "Intermission"; or the hysterically crying babies with sickening guitar feedback of "Cesaro Summability" are all pieces under the two-minute mark. The most interesting one of them all, however, has got to be track ten, "Die Eier Von Satan", which means "The Eggs of Satan". It begins with chunky bass and industrial beats, and the sound is incredibly huge. All of a sudden a guy with a strong East German accent begins to give the recipe for something which I fail to understand and after listing all the necessary ingredients he just says something along the lines of "Now put all these things and bake it in 200 degrees, just without the eggs of satan". I know it sounds weird, and it really is, but it contributes immensely to the band's artistic expression.

On the more song-based material, "Hooker with a Penis" grooves hard in an almost post-punk sensibility with fast guitars and thick rhythms; whilst the way the keyboard riff on "Intermission" is interpreted on guitars on "Jimmy" is simply amazing. The bass and drums behind the guitars are stomping and the vocal melody is incredible. It is impossible not to see how much Dead Soul Tribe's Devon Graves has been influenced by this band. This is arguably the most overlooked song on Aenima, and its grinding riffage at the very end is crushing to say the least. Speaking of influences, the opening bass line of "Forty-Six & 2" must have certainly inspired Dream Theater when they were writing "Home". This is another song with sublime percussion, a gripping chorus, and swift chord progressions. The instrumental break highlights Danny Carey's prowess - he is perhaps the most creative drummer in rock today.

The album also harbours the mystical "Pushit", something Tool would further explore on Lateralus; the killer title track with its snaky rhythms and socially observant lyrics; the dissonant "(-) Ions", complete with wind effects and numbing guitar drills. The CD ends on a curious note, with the almost fifteen-minute number "Third Eye", which starts with an excerpt from famous comedian Bill Hicks (to whom this album is dedicated) commenting on the positive effects of drugs on artists before delving deep into siren-like guitars, sparse drum beats, and the anti-song aesthetic of progressive rock instrumentation. Adam Jones' guitar work is at the centre of the piece, and he fearlessly unleashes an abrasive sonic assault, utilising tons of guitar feedback and somewhat tuneless interludes. Maynard's singing is intense and angry as he spews the lyrics with utter disgust, especially in the final verse.

Aenima is one of the most important albums of the 90's. Again, I agree it's not for everyone, but one cannot deny its impact on all kinds of bands from all kinds of genres.
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on April 26, 2006
Tool have a reputation for being "deep". Most often, being overly deep - to the point of ridiculousness. They're not. They just choose some really esoteric things to use as metaphors for otherwise very simple things.

This album opens with "Stinkfist", a song that hits you like a sledgehammer, it's so heavy. On the surface, it seems to be about a particularly painful-sounding and disgusting sexual practice. In fact, it's actually a heartfelt song about the necessity to shock people in order to get them to pay attention to anything these days.

This is pretty much epitomal of Tool. They're a heavy metal band - heavier than most, even, given their focus on bass guitar and drums - but they're also perfectionist composers. Their music is intricate, and gives the impression that it's been put together like a thousand-piece puzzle. Sometimes it's hard to believe that all that music comes from only one guitar, one bass, one set of drums and one singer.

This album is the central Tool album. If you're interested in Tool, maybe heard some of their songs on the radio, or just been recommended by a friend (who possibly preached Tool at you like some kind of religious fanatic), this is where you start.

Talking about the songs is almost impossible. There's pretty much nothing out in the mainstream to compare Tool to, and still very little outside the mainstream. You really have to listen to it yourself, see if you like it.

But the thing is, pretty much everyone likes Tool. Or, to put it another way, almost nobody hates Tool. Those who do have either misunderstood that the "deep" elements of Tool are tongue-in-cheek, or they've got something wrong with their brain.

Anyway, the gist is this: This album is a masterpiece of expertly composed music, clever/fun lyrics, and pointless interludes. Yeah, nearly half the tracks are short clips of strange noises, but the quality and length of the actual music is such that you really won't care (in fact, there are many who complain that these silly interludes are missing from Tool's later albums).
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on January 12, 2000
------------------------------------------------- This is not metal.-------------------------------
If you want metal, go give your money to Insane clown posse, I'll bet thay deserve it (sarcasm is bliss).
AENIMA one of (If not) the best albums of all time. Although, be forewarned that this cannot be appreciated the first time that you listen to it. At first glance, it seems standard. But think, listen, explore, discover that there is a world within.
What do the words mean? Listen for only one instrument. Was that a song about dna? What's that about Bill Hicks, who's that? Did he say L.A.? Who is jimmy?
The entire album is filled with mysteries and connections. Go to many websites devoted to Tool. Right now, do it. Find out about the beliefs and stories. You will see that there is more. Think.
Thank You
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