This Day In Music History: September 17th, 1996 – Tool turns alternative metal on its head with ‘Aenima’

To say the release of Aenima was a big deal is an understatement. Released in 1996 right before nu-metal hit the mainstream and also while much of rock and metal was in a transitional period, Aenima was the record that made Tool stars. It was the true coming out party for one of the most enigmatic progressive bands of the last 30 years.

Selling almost 150,000 copies in its first week of release alone, the album, which saw release in vinyl formats on September 17th of 1996 (and October 1st of the same year on CD), brought their unique alternative metal/progressive metal hybrid to the mainstream. Simply put, there weren’t too many bands like Tool at the time, and certainly there were even fewer who reached that kind of mainstream success.

Even to this day, Aenima is still a complicated, intriguing work for fans of the genre. Clocking in at over an hour in length, the album’s non-singles are just as interesting as huge tracks like “Forty Six & 2”. If you like complicated song structures in a non-traditional format and some of alternative metal’s most proficient instrumentation, you don’t need to look much further than this. Notably, it was also the debut of bassist Justin Chancellor, who replaced Paul D’Amour, and the band has been intact ever since.

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