Music enthusiasts with more discerning tastes often feel Tool's work over the last ten years is a little - lacking. Could you really blame them for this? Whether it's a result of the group being spread too thin between other projects or maybe truly running out of ideas after "96, it's pretty obvious that Maynard James Keenan and crew have just been winding each others' cranks lately. After all, other than some annoyingly ardent ass-kisser that believes they can do no wrong, what listener wants waste time trying to mix pointless tracks together to find a so-called "secret"? The whole idea is more condescending than anything fellow ostentatious windbag The Mars Volta has ever put together.
The good news is that there's recourse for those finding downright insulting pretension a very hard pill to swallow. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Rishloo's Eidolon. To say the least, this album is a PROPERLY grandiose trip into modern progressive metal that brandishes what the last two Tool albums SHOULD have sounded like. That's right, those that were left disappointed with Lateralus and 10,000 Days' two or three key songs wrapped in a self-indulgent borefest of musical masturbation now have the perfect salvation. Even better, Rishloo aspires to be more than another small fish in the massive ocean of wannabes. Eidolon's expansion on the sound originated by its forefathers, moreover Rishloo's previous album, Terras Fames, heeds a perfect example of a student becoming the teacher.
Lead vocalist Andrew Mailloux is at the end of this line of evolution. While he still pays quite a bit of homage to Keenan's well-traveled delivery, Mailloux has adopted a militant, swashbuckler's swagger to his piping that propels album openers such as "Freaks and Animals" and "El Empe" into an oddly upbeat groove that doesn't quite chime with the somber aura of the album's cover art. This sentiment is only enhanced when he occasionally hits humorously amusing falsetto notes not unlike what's emanating from the Fair to Midland camp. Though it's unexpected that he'd risk combining such purposely tongue-in-cheek concepts with an album with such serious overtones, Mailloux makes it work almost seamlessly with the music. The results make the opus that much more engaging.
The rest of the band displays the same learning curve as its frontman, even with a new member taking over. "Pandora" and the Dredg-like beginnings of "Alchemy Alice" reach far outside of the type of riffs one would anticipate from a band molded from the architects of supposed intelligent nÃ¼-metal. And on the bookend of these treks are intermissions "My Favorite Things" and "Weeble Wabble." It's here Rishloo continues to teach the teacher exactly how it's done by not trying to stretch one and a half minutes of instrumental material into four and then tacking on titles with words so big that they would dumfound an Oxford English professor.
As if this group hasn't already shown enough gusto with a simple principle called "substance," completion is also an important priority. Instead of giving only half an LP, or in Tool's case, about five decent songs in an entire decade, Rishloo has gone the extra mile and recorded an album that's accomplished from beginning to end. Wow, a novel concept for certain! As Eidolon begins its closing, the commendable saga of "Eidolon Alpha" and "Omega" showcases some of the band's most intense moments. Coupled with the closing tracks, this section does sleeve most of the recording's Tool mimicry, but it also effectively illustrates that just a little regard for the listener goes a long way. The better half of these tunes take the most defining parts of Aenima, the fifteen minutes of Lateralus what were actually tolerable, and removes all the vocabulary that can't be found in a standard dictionary.
One would think that it's an easy task to mine the sound of an inspiring band for its most valuables ores. While that is indeed what Rishloo has done with the majority of its existence, few groups have been as successful from a quality standpoint. This begs the mind to speculate what wonders these guys could achieve if they just stepped a little further outside of their comfort zone. Regardless of whether that day does or doesn't see dawn, this simple math will do just fine:
Tool - 80% pomposity = Rishloo
7.5 / 10
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