Tool’s 15-Minute ‘7empest’ Is the Greatest Work of Adam Jones’ Career
After 13 years of patience, we can officially say Tool's Fear Inoculum was worth the wait. On an album filled with labyrinthian 10-minute think pieces, the most prolonged track, “7empest,” stands out as the crown jewel of Fear Inoculum. Furthermore, when breaking down the song, it's tough to argue that “7empest” isn't the greatest achievement of guitarist Adam Jones’ career.
Fear Inoculum is a unique record for Tool, in part because Jones doesn’t commit gigantic, driving riffs to any of the songs… except “7empest.” Not only does “7empest” feature the biggest riff on Fear Inoculum, it reveals about 10 of the album’s most powerful leads within one 15-minute track.
Jones takes hold of the listener immediately with a clean, drifting lead that switches between 5/4 and 11/8 time signatures (or a constant, tricky stream of 7/8). After 80 seconds of introductory atmosphere, Jones launches into a disgustingly electric riff reminiscent of the Aenima and Lateralus sessions. Even when Maynard Keenan begins singing, Jones remains at the forefront of “7empest” with a thick, classic Tool groove.
Less than three minutes into “7empest,” fans have been pummeled by elite guitar work, but the highly rhythmic Jones pulls out a surprise between verses, indulging his bluesy aesthetic with some Hendrix-esque licks.
By the song’s fourth minute, it becomes glaringly obvious that Adam Jones means to sling riffs like rocks at Goliath. Jones gives bassist Justin Chancellor and drummer Danny Carey some breathing room at around a third of the way into “7empest,” but steals the spotlight once again, basking in slow and soul-stirring parts.
Tool's instrumental section, especially after Chancellor joined the band in 1995, has often served as a single entity, with no musician taking center stage. Tool's incredible discipline when walking lock-step is perhaps only matched by AC/DC, but with "7empest" following 70 minutes of transcendental music, Jones' wild moments hit at the perfect time.
At the song’s halfway point, Jones shows off his strumming muscles, picking circles around even the fastest triplet-mongers of extreme thrash. It feels as if Tool was a jazz band at a small club, giving Jones a few minutes to improvise while the rhythm section sits back and keeps the groove tight.
Eleven minutes in, none of this even matters anymore. Jones just starts going buck wild with riffs, squeals and arpeggios until the song’s conclusion.
"We really suffer for our art — which you should do," Jones recently told Revolver. "If it's worth having, it's worth suffering for.” Jones painted “7empest” with 13 years of blood, having gushed pint after pint, gallon after gallon, to finally complete the masterwork of his lifetime.
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