I love this album. I wasn't expecting that, but I keep finding myself getting sucked in and wanting more. I always liked Tool, but never have I been this smitten by one of their releases.
I was kind of shocked when I saw a few posts back saying how much this is a guitar album and then noting the killer riffs. To my ears, this album is all Danny and Maynard. The guitar/bass on this album sounds pretty stock-Tool to me. So much in fact that they seem to be serving the band as a rhythm section on this album, laying down the thing that is fundamentally them. What stands out as removed from past records are Danny's percussive compositions and Maynard's vocal melodies. I love that Maynard stays restrained throughout this entire album, and his melodies are the most interesting I've heard him do. Pneuma is my favorite song, and 7empest is probably my least favorite (the vocals stand out as older Tool).
I was originally annoyed that CD, and potentially vinyl versions of the album, didn't have all the intended music, but after listening to the segues, I feel a lot more meh about it. Aside from Legion, they're all pretty throw-away. I don't enjoy Chocolate Chip either (it's just masturbating at a drum kit). I made a playlist to listen to enjoy the album in this order:
At this point, if we're going to rank albums, I'd probably go with the following:
I look forward to your hate mail.