Metal Music

TOOL Rocks the Stage with Their Masterpiece Ænema | Another reminder of why the 1990s were so freakin’ cool.

“Ænema” is a notable song by the American rock band Tool, released as the third single from their second major-label album, “Ænima,” in 1997. The song reached number twenty-five on the US Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in August of that year. It is recognized for its use of the musical technique hemiola, which creates an illusion of both duple and triple meter within the song. The structure of “Ænema” is characterized as terminally climactic, featuring two verse/chorus pairs leading to a climactic ending on new material​​.

The album “Ænima,” released in vinyl format on September 17, 1996, and on compact disc on October 1, 1996, marked a significant evolution in Tool’s music. It was the first album to feature bassist Justin Chancellor and was produced by David Bottrill. The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart and sold 148,000 copies in its first week, later achieving triple platinum certification by the RIAA in 2003. The album blends alternative and progressive metal, representing a shift from post-grunge metal to more complex, progressive sounds. Songs like “Eulogy” and “Pushit” on the album showcase Tool’s intricate compositions and unique time signatures, contributing to its lasting impact and critical acclaim​​​​.

Lyrically and thematically, both the song “Ænema” and the album “Ænima” delve into Jungian psychology, with the album’s title being a play on words combining ‘anima’ (Latin for soul) and ‘enema.’ This suggests themes of cleansing and exploring the darker aspects of the unconscious, known as “the shadow” in Jungian terms, for psychic healing. The enigmatic nature of Tool’s work allows for multiple interpretations, particularly in the context of change, evolution, and the exploration of the psyche​​.

The music video for “Ænema,” directed by Adam Jones, is notable for its use of stop-motion animation and features a humanoid figure in an aquatic room. The video’s artistic design and unique visual storytelling complement the song’s thematic depth and musical complexity​​.

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