Classic Albums – Tool – Ænima

Tool Aenima Ænima

Tool - Ænima

This month’s Classic Albums Column focuses on Tool’s second full-length album Ænima. Mars Attacks Podcast episode 49 features comments from Charlie Benante, Gene Hoglan, Alan Tecchio, and Aaron from Iron City Rocks. As we established with the previous podcast we also discuss why this album was selected. You will find the podcast at the bottom of this post.



Jon Leon – Tools finest hour. The title track is the best sarcasm on fake culture in Hollywood you will ever hear.

Vince Neilstein – Aenima was the beginning of the beginning for Tool. Undertow had great songs, but Aenima saw the band experimenting and branching out with longer songs, complex time signatures, and what would become their general sense of Tool-ness. It was only a sign of what was to come.

Erik Kluiber – Tool at their peak

Phil Rind – Heavy, thought-provoking, and inspiring.

Ricky Armellino – This is the album that completely expanded my 12-year-old mind and introduced it to the idea of fisting.

Jaye Schwarzer – I had never listened to anything that was so heavy and so seething while at the same time being so chill and mellow. There WAS another approach to being a heavy band.

Chris Tsangarides – If I could play guitar in any band it would be this one. This album is just so full of awesome grooves and the sound they get on record is pristine. Many influences in their music from Beefheart (again) to Arabic and Greek time signatures. I love it when I hear original and unique music, I can’t think of a bad thing to say about this band. The thinking man’s rock band? I don’t know about that but they have become huge without conforming to any convention but their own. Probably one band that is closest to how I feel how music should be made, long may they rock!

Scott LePage – I freaking love this album. I could listen to Eulogy 100 times straight through and still want more. So many textures on this album. Probably one of my top 10 favorite second albums of all time.

Chris Biermann – Best album I’ve ever heard sonically – that is the kind of mix I aspire to attain, though I will never be able to! LOL!

Raul L.R. – What to say about Tool and the tremendous album that Maynard and the band released. This was the first album I heard from the band, I can thank a friend for that, he played the album in his van every day going to rehearsals. To me, they’re the perfect band, dark, and wise with the way that they develop and execute each one of the tracks on the album. The first track Stinkfist is a declaration of the band’s intent. Maynard is unreal with each melody, Danny Carey is a savage on the drums, Adam Jones playing is easily a 10. He is one of my favorite guitarists, not because of his virtuosity, but because he knows exactly what each track needs, without having to be some over-the-top guitar hero that gets carried away with some self-indulgent solos. His playing helps each album become a musical journey into the world of Tool. I listen to the second track Eulogy every morning, it happens to be the alarm clock on my cell phone! This track is simply genius. Justin Chancellor’s playing on the album is just sublime throughout; he is a true master at the bass, and something for every bass player to aspire to be.

JL – This marked a before and after. It was an album that I could never put on while I was studying because it required all of my attention. There was always a detail to discover, especially with Danny Carey’s playing which is just plethoric.

David Lozano – Unfortunately I’ve never gotten into Tool, that said, I appreciate their talent.

Steve Smyth – I always dug how this band could put together good ensemble-like pieces, songs like “Eulogy”, “Stinkfist”, and “46 and 2” I remember hearing a lot, like everyone else, but the title track is a standout as well, and who could forget “Hooker With A Penis”?

Luke Wenczel – Danny Carey of Tool is another ongoing influence. His creativity and expression behind the kit really speaks volumes and adds to the tracks he plays on to no end. Danny is a drummer of many layers. The playing he hammered out for Tool’s third release Ænima is something I always come back to and rediscover. Danny’s the reason I play a 14×8 inch snare and, like Nicko, he plays his Ride in the same place. A few of his cymbal choices have also made their way into my set-up, mainly the effect cymbals, the china, and splashes!

Etan Rosenbloom – I still remember being holed up at my aunt’s house in late 1996, some mysterious flu-like illness forcing me to stay inside night and day. Tool’s Aenima, released just a few months prior, was my solace, a constant presence on my portable CD player as I convalesced. The closing track “Third Eye” was the most powerful to me, but there are memorable moments aplenty on Aenima – the gargantuan opening riff to “Stinkfist,” which was the most intriguing song on rock radio that season, and easily the most bizarre video on MTV; Justin Chancellor’s serpentine bass lines throughout “Forty Six & 2;” the propulsive drive and righteous hatred all over “Hooker with a Penis;” Maynard James Keenan’s misanthropic tribute to Bill Hicks in “Aenema” (“Learn to swim / See you down in Arizona Bay”). The German monologue “Die Eier von Satan” freaked me out to no end, even after I discovered the guy was just offering a recipe for Mexican cookies. More than any individual moment, Aenima felt like a triumph of sustained mood to my teenage self. I’d never before heard an album that felt like it was made for arenas but felt so intimate, one that balanced cerebral, ofttimes spiritual ideas and visceral music in such powerful ways.

Shawn Duncan – Wow, Aenima, what a killer album! Opens with Stinkfist and this should have alerted you immediately that something was gonna kick your ass!! Awesome drum tones..great production..Tool has a way of being progressive without getting ridiculous, they always manage to maintain a “song” mentality and groove Danny is a MONSTER!..H, Pushit, Hooker with a penis, and Forty Six & 2!!! I mean c’mon, how could any die-hard metalhead rock and roller not fucking dig this!?!?!?

Mark Hunter – I discovered Tool on the Lollapalooza tour. I instantly became a fan as this was a new spin on heavy music. When Aenima came out, Tool changed the game once again. Epic song structures, beautiful melody, and technicality that virtuosos can stand behind. They infused more psychedelics and all of the musical boundaries disappeared. Very few words can do this album justice. It’s better to just turn off the lights, turn on the album and take a journey of your own. This is one of the most important records of all time.

Grover XIII – For some reason, when I’m listing albums that I really, really like, I always forget about this one. I’ve listened to this album so many times that the whole thing sticks in my mind, and ’46 & 2′ is one of my favorite songs ever, and yet it always escapes my mind. This was easily some of the darkest, most unique music to get played on major radio that I’ve ever heard, and the influence it had on my musical tastes is something that I’m still not fully aware of, I think.

Wayne Findlay – It was and still is a big inspiration and influence on me. Not many bands get 7-minute songs on the radio these days!! And only a few can say that they do…Incredible musicianship all the way around.

Jose Izquierdo – One of our tour van’s all-time classic albums. You either love the album or you hate it, it can drive you nuts, or you’ll only want to listen to this album. I can attest to this because it’s happened to me.

David G. Alvarez – Wow, what to say about this album? I actually dig the last one a lot more, and I’m not sure if this album or Lateralus has the track that was written based on the Fibonacci Code, but their writing is pure genius. Some people complain about the time signatures, and what have you, but you have to appreciate their talent whether you like them or not. I remember having to dissect Adam Jones’ parts, from a technical standpoint, they aren’t difficult to play. But the way that he has mastered how to use something as simple as a delay, and create all of the sonic textures you hear on this album. Justin Chambers and Danny Carey, both are incredible players and do some amazing things on this album.

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