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1. Fear Inoculum

This will be a long thread detailing my analysis of Tool's new album, #FearInoculum. I've had some time to contemplate it - and it's phenomenal.

Lyrics are available here:…
2. in·oc·u·lum
a substance used for inoculation.

Tool intends this album to be functionally useful in immunizing yourself against FEAR.

Folded in half, the word "Tool" on the album cover becomes a syringe.
3. Title Track: Fear Inoculum…

The album begins with a quiet, rhythmic djembe.

The speaker opens with the line "Immunity, Long Overdue"

Double reference to the fact that it's been 13 years since Tool's last album release.
4. Contagion, I exhale you/
Naive, I opened up to you/
Venom and mania/
Now, contagion, I exhale you/

The speaker has identified FEAR as a venom. This is one of many ways that fear is referenced. Words like "Contagion" "Poison" "Venom" permeate. But Fear is also a Deceiver.
5. The deceiver says
"You belong to me
You don't wanna breathe the light of the others
Fear the light, fear the breath
Fear the others for eternity"

But I hear them now, inhale the clarity
Hear the venom, the venom in
What you say, inoculated
Bless this Immunity
6. FEAR whispers lies. Lies about connecting with other people. Lies about the wisdom of opening yourself. But following these lies is a disease.

The speaker has recognized fear's lies as venomous. And this recognition has allowed him to become inoculated to that disease.
7. Chorus:
Exhale, expel/
Recast my tale/
Weave my allegorical elegy/

The process of breathing can expel FEAR. But on a more metaphorical level, this cleansing can re-orient the speaker's entire life. And will allow the speaker to write his own elegy - his post-death lament.
8. Enumerate all that I'm to do
Calculating steps away from you
My own mitosis
Growing through division from mania

Note: the word "Mitosis" is sung at 5:10, which is the precise mid-point of the song.

Mitosis being the process of cellular division. Division from FEAR
9. A few more lyrics about expelling the poison. Exorcising as well, removal of the demon. Song culminates with:

Your veil now, lift away
I see you runnin'
Deceiver chased away
A long time comin'

The speaker sees the truth of fear and that alone pushes it out.
10. Next song: Pneuma…

As established, the Album's design is to provide a pathway to inoculation from fear.

To that end, we start thematically from its origin point - the self. That's what Pneuma is about.
11. As the description on Genius says, Pneuma is ancient Greek for "Breath", "Spirit" "Soul". This song is similar thematically to Tool's 'Parabola' from their 2003 album Lateralus.

The song is a reminder of non-dualistic consciousness.
12. We are will and wonder, bound to recall, remember/
We are born of one breath, one word/
We are all one spark, sun becoming/

Our fundamental form does not include fear. Fear is instilled. Something that you pick up later.

We are consciousness breathed into physical form.
13. Bound to this flesh
This guise, this mask, this dream

Not only does Pneuma refer metaphysically to what we are, but Pneuma is also a prescriptive command. "Breathe". Meditation focuses on the practice of breathing - it's an omnipresent sensations, running like a subroutine.
14. So the first step of conquering FEAR is to look within reflectively.

Understand your nature (and how it is marked by the ABSENCE of fear)

and prepare your mind by Breathing.

BECOME PNEUMA is a centerpiece lyric of this song.
15. I particularly like "We are / Will and Wonder"

Because that really *is* all we are. We've got curiosity and drive. That's fundamental to consciousness. Everything else is filtered post-facto through your constructed personality and neuroses.
16. The album as a whole follows a pathway outwards from this inner space. Intentionally. There's no use in trying to tackle macro level fear until you've defeated it at the micro scale.

Conquering Self-Fear can be done through Pneuma. But things get trickier outside.
17. Next Song: Litanie contre la Peur

Litany Against Fear

I like Genius's analysis of this song - being a reference to Dune. I'll just repost the litany below:
18. “I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path....
19. ...Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

Thematically, it aligns with Pneuma.

When only YOU remain, you must remember that "YOU" is just a buildup of frameworks and structure around the baseline of Pneuma. Anyway...
20. With spirit aligned, and FEAR properly separated, we move on to the next song: Invincible…

Now, we are studying FEAR itself. Although this song is written in first-person-perspective, I believe this to be an examination of a different entity.
21. Long in tooth and soul
Longing for another win
Lurch into the fray
Weapon out and belly in

Invincible is getting inside the head of an old, battle-scarred warrior. One who has seen endless combat. We are looking at his true fear.
22. This warrior drives himself into battle yet again. But he is too old or too broken down. He used to be invincible - and cries this to the heavens.

Tales told of battles won
Of things we've done
Caligula would grin
23. Beating tired bones
Tripping through remember when
Once invincible
Now the armor's wearing thin
Heavy shield down

He is too old. Where once before his shield was impenetrable, this time his muscles fail. His shield is down. And he realizes:

Where I end

This is it.
24. Refrain: Tears in my eyes
Chasing Ponce de Leon's phantoms
So filled with hope
I can taste mythical fountains
False hope, perhaps
But the truth never got in my way
Before now, feel the sting
Feeling time bearing down

This is all happening in a single instant.
25. "Feel the sting" makes me think that this is putting the listener into this soldier's mind at the INSTANT he is stabbed by an enemy's blade.

Feeling time bearing down.

He tries to draw that last instant into an eternity but can't.

Oblivion comes.
26. That's fear - REAL fear. This makes our regular, day-to-day fears seem impossibly trivial.

But even then, it's still just fear of the unknown, or fear of oblivion. Is it really that bad? Tough to say. But, it's TIME (and the limit thereof) that grounds our fears.
27. I should have mentioned before, but Litanie contre la Peur was an instrumental piece. I interpret the instrumentals on this album "phase shift" between the different stages of conquering FEAR.

After 'Invincible', we have another instrumental called "Legion Inoculant"
28. "Legion Inoculant" means that we are now moving to a different scale.

We're past the self (micro). Now we are dealing with fear on a wider level - populations. But to begin with we are talking close interpersonal networks. Maybe within cities or nations.
Going to grab a bite to eat - will resume in a short while.
By the way, everyone should listen to the album. It’s available on Spotify, youtube and a ton of other streaming services.
29. Next up: "Descending"

Free fall through our midnight
This epilogue of our own fable
Heedless in our slumber
Floating nescient, we
Free fall through this boundlessness
This madness of our own making
Falling isn't flying
Floating isn't infinite
30. Note the switch from "I" to "we".

Collectively, humanity's locked in a descending stasis. Fear paralyzes the population at large. Many haven't even woken up to the fact that there's a problem. Some say it's great - we're flying! Untrue. We're falling. And time is limited.
31. Come, our end, suddenly
All hail our lethargy
Concede suddenly
To the quickened dissolution
Pray we mitigate the ruin
Calling all to arms and order

We need to awaken. It may even be too late now to face the reckoning - but even if all we can do is mitigate the ruin, we must
32. Sound our dire reveille
Rouse all from our apathy
Lest we
Cease to be
33. Sound the dread alarm
Through the primal body
Sound the reveille
To be or not to be
Stay the grand finale
Stay the reading of our swan song and epilogue

Just as "Fear Inoculum" was about recognizing the problem of internal fear, so to is "Descending" about societal fear
34. The speaker's prescription here is to reach out and spread the inoculum. The consequences of not doing so are dire. On the level of the self, the outcome of fear is to be imprisoned.

On a societal scale, the outcome of fear is pure destruction.
35. Stir us from our
Wanton slumber
Mitigate our ruin
Call us all to arms and order

An individual can defeat fear through internal reflection, and achieve freedom

A society must be called to arms to defeat fear through connection, and achieve salvation
36. This song opens and closes with sounds of an ocean. Apart from reinforcing the wider lens of this part of the album, that comes into play later with the climactic song “7empest”.

But more on that later, for now we come to the next song “Culling Voices”
37. Something I just noticed as I am listening to the album now - the total playtime through the end of "Legion Inoculant" is 41:55, the total after is 45:41. So Legion Inoculant marks just about the midpoint of the album.
38. Anyway, Culling Voices:

Disembodied voices deepen my
Suspicious tendencies
Conversations we've never had
Imagined interplay

My immediate reaction is to connect this song to Social Media. But it's not limited to just that.
39. Social Media is completely disembodied. I am a disembodied voice to you all, and you all to me.

But our brains aren't good at that sort of interaction. Not only does Anonymity change the game, but Social Media doesn't have structure. It is much more like pure thought.
40. When you read someone's comment, or some tweet, most of the time you are just reading a thought.

Somebody else's thought, injected into your mind. You feel like you have had a conversation or interaction, but in reality no such thing took place.
41. Psychopathy/
Don't you dare point that at me

There is a very thin line between what we're all experiencing day to day and actual physical psychopathy.

But you immediately recoil from and reject that notion - because you get a false chemical hit from the 'interactions'.
42. Heated altercations we've never had
So I'm told, yet guided by them all
Every single one
Judge, condemn, and banish any and everyone
Without evidence
Only the whispers from within

Our incompatibility with this form of communication isolates and brings out the worst in us.
43. Moreover, we aren't able to intuitively separate those 'interactions' from the real thing. We're a legion of psychos hearing other peoples' voices in our heads ALL THE TIME. And those voices are all influencing us.

Most people aren't even careful about who they choose.
44. The remainder of the lyrics are a Mantric repetition of "Don't you dare point that at me"

Point what?

Point a claim of psychopathy. Point a spotlight, or a flashlight. Point a weapon. Point an argumentative tweet. Our brains *feel* the same way about all of those things.
45. As such, we've entered a realm of endless hostility and paranoia towards the PHANTOMS of what our minds BELIEVE to be other people.

It's all fake but we react like we're in the middle of a pitch black jungle. Enclosed.

46. Next song: "Chocolate Chip Trip"

To be honest, I'm at a loss with this one. No idea of its meaning yet.

The instrumentals are simultaneously tribal and mechanical. Digital and screeching. Extremely discordant but rhythmic and cyclical. This probably represents the field.
47. The drums are absolutely incredible. Song gets more phrenetic as it draws to its close - huge gong noise filters into digital vomit, and it fades. It's really cool.
48. The climax of the "Legion" phase is 7empest. It opens with a calm, and breezy (heh) riff on guitar, with bells interspaced.

Chanting "Keep Calm, Keep it Calm"
Keep, keep, keep calm
Fuck, here we go again
49, Heat lightning flash but don't blink
Misleading, tranquility ruse
You're gonna happen again
That's what I think
Follow the evidence
Look it dead in the eye, you are darkness

This song is CHAOS. Massive scale.

In part it's about Media and Narrative control.

Fear at root
50. Trying to lull us in, before the havoc begins
Into a dubious state of serenity
Acting all surprised when you're caught in the lie
We know better
It's not unlike you
It's not unlike you
We know your nature

Still using "We" voice.

The legion is awake now. And sees fear.
51. I believe the song itself is a reckoning of the society vs all external sources of fear and control - Narrative control by media. Mind control by social media. Influence. All pressure-driving (storm) systems designed to KEEP people in a state of chaos.
52. Blame it all on the bastards when you're blowing out
Shame on you, shame on you now
No amount of wind could begin to cover up
Your petulant stench and demeanor
Calm as cookies and cream, so it seems
We're not buying your dubious state of serenity

(Cookies? Chocolate Chip?)
53. We're back to the main theme again. Here we see that on a societal level, fear is defeated by mass recognition and rejection. Awakening.

Once the populace is awake, they can smell fearmongering like a stench.

They must know its nature.
54. Disputing intentions invites devastation
A tempest must be true to its nature
A tempest must be just that

It's foolish for the society to bother arguing over the intentions of the forces that want to subjugate and control them. It doesn't matter - it's just a tempest. Chaos.
55. Control your delusion
Insane and striking at random
Victim of your certainty
And therefore, your doubt's not an option
Blameless, the tempest will be just that
So try as you may, feeble, your attempt to atone
Your words to erase all the damage cannot

Speaks for itself.
56. Each individual needs to come to terms with their lack of knowledge. The tempest overhead, the controlling forces, are going to - by nature - try to drive you to fear and chaos. And if you don't learn to protect yourself from its influence, it will do untold damage.
57. A tempest must be just that

Recognize it as a force of nature. One that isn't going to suddenly stop or change. RESIST the pull of fear-driven chaos. Fear is like warm air into a hurricane. It's a feedback loop creating a whirlwind of devastation.
58. Last song is called "Mockingbeat"

It's tribal drums and the sounds of birds and beasts passed through insane digital filters. You can't tell if it's a jungle or a bunch of robotic machines in a factory simultaneously breaking down.

Regardless, it closes in silence.
59. Humanity is a mockingbeast.

We come close to transcending our animal natures, but our own perceived transcendence looks like a mockery of bestial behaviors and instinct just run through a digital soundboard.

60. This is just my first take. There's so much depth here, I'm sure I'll be discovering things about this album for a long time to come.

To those of you who've heard it, please feel free to add any of your thoughts and interpretations as well. I'd love to read them.

Thank you for reading.

Bless this immunity.
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