This would be a review that is more focused on the packaging and how the album sound, rather than a review of the music itself. You already know from a video uploaded some time ago that I am a fan of this album. But now, with this new format release, I thought of making a video for those people that are Tool fans, that probably have already bought this album on CD and are thinking of buying it on vinyl. Let’s be honest, only Tool fans will buy this thing, due to the fact that it costs no less than 180 USD.
I will be honest, I was going to make this review some day ago, and I was going to say that the packaging was not worth the money. But after having some time to listen to the album, having the package in my hands while listening to the music made me realize that the purpose of Tool was to increase the musical experience with this thing. And they have achieved so.
From the very first time you grab it, you will say, ”this is expensive”. The photos from the exterior have a shiny finish that looks amazing. Every single material used for building this box feels well thought
We will touch 3 key points:
Sound: In past Tool albums, the vinyl release was never, the one that audiophiles will go for in terms of sounding. I think the band really didn’t put a lot of attention on this format. Taking into account that 10.000 Days was never released on vinyl officially, I have owned the unofficial pressing. After some time I resold it because the audio was so much better in the digital format. And the only official vinyl release of Lateralus was the picture disc. Which looks cool, I guess, but the sound is far from high fidelity standards. You can expect something different with Fear Inoculum. You see, when mastering a record, the process for digital is different from analog. That is why is preferable to have someone that has some experience with the specific format. You can see from the script inside, that there was a dedicated engineer for the master of the vinyl. As I have said in this channel before, my preferences incline to the sound of the vinyl, generally. And as a vinyl supporter, I can ensure you that you’ll have a good sounding record. Very good sounding. When listening to the CD in 2019, I was very happy with the sound quality, but I knew back then that if this would have been released to vinyl, the drums were going to sound more natural, more live-sounding wise. And with my audio setup, I confirmed that thing. What impressed me the most is the drum bass sound of Danny… man! it really sounds like Carrey was playing in front of you. Good job.
One thing I have to complain about, which is more related to the packaging, but it should affect the output sound of the vinyl. Is that all the 5 vinyl came bent. This should affect the L or R channel, making the music sound more on one side than the other. That is the theory. But I have not found any issue related to that. Both channels seem very good balanced IMO. And I have checked if some other people were facing the same issue online and found nothing. So this is something to bear in mind, but it’s likely it won’t affect you.
Packaging: people are going to buy this product only because of the packaging. It is absolutely involving having the album in your hands and looking through the pictures and lyrics. This is why bands should release more packages like this one. This is why people buy physical formats because they deliver something that you can not find while streaming. If you hear the music while looking through this art, the experience is indeed more involving, you get yourself more in a Tool vibe, let’s say. I think it would have been better to have different pictures of the band members, just because we already had them on the CD version, and this is supposed to be a more exclusive version… but there are some very cool pictures inside here. And everything about the package itself is very very fancy and it is well built. The pages are of material that I have not seen in another place. One thing to bear in mind is that when you take the book with the sleeves out of the case if you are not careful like me, the image can be scratched in the top and bottom parts. Another thing I like to point out is that the spine of the packaging is intended to last a lot, it is not just glued or stapled. It is also stewed.
Value: this thing costs something around 180 dollars, depending on where you live obviously. That is pricey! But you have to consider that there are 5 discs inside. I’m not a fan of having all these vinyl with the music on just one side of them, because I don’t think that the craving that they have on the other side, where it’s not any music on, looks good really. It’s something you will see one time and that is it. But there is not only that, it’s the booklet, the art that is inside here, and how it is presented, the quality of this is really really good. So I will say that is worth the money. Also, consider that this is pretty heavy, so this caused also the price of the album to go up a lot.
As I said before, I think that the main purpose of Tool with this fancy packaging was to engage their audience more with the music while spinning this album. And they have achieved so. If you would like to listen to it, you would have to go and open the package, go through some art before you go to the desired vinyl, and then take the vinyl out, and all that stuff… That makes you pay more attention to the music, and music like this is complex, it has so many unbelievable arrangements and transitions that you can’t be having it like background music… you know!