Released in 2019
Reviewed September 15 2019
Maybe 'subtle' is not the best word to describe metal. But in the case of Tool you still need it to convey the sense of gradual revelation in some of their compositions. I say compositions, not songs. Not to be pretentious. It's just more fitting.
At their best, Tool take your hand and walk with you into a thundering machinery. At their dullest, they're merely a idle, chugging riff engine. What in retrospect seems like pop flirts on their previous album 10,000 Days has been thoroughly purged from their repertoire this time. It's more about building up and up (or down and down, depending on how you like it).
As an album, it's too long. You could easily shave off 30 minutes and still be full. You could wish the interludes to go away. But it is what it is. No masterpiece. Not uncompromising. Not bad.