Post-pandemic reflections on the lyrics of ” Fear Inoculum” by the Tool

This post explores the meaning of the lyrics of the Tool’s song “Fear Inoculum”, released in mid-2019 as part of the homonym album.

Fear Inoculum is the latest published album of the metal band (for me it’s a metal band, then I’ll agree with you that the adjective “metal” doesn’t make justice to the Tool’s music). It was published 13 years after the previous album and introduced to millions of fans with a tour that brought the band to my country, Italy, as well.

After having ignored the Tool for several years (I’m a bit old-fashioned, if you want me to truly listen to something you better make me a CD), I attended the concert at the Firenze Rocks Festival on June 13 2019, following a friend who had been a Tool’s fan for a while.


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#tool experience. #firenzerocks #firenzerocks2019 #toollive #visarnoarena.

Un post condiviso da Lisa (@travelconnectexperience) in data:

During the show, which I really enjoyed, I realized that the videos passed on the screens of the Visarno Arena were based on Alex Grey’s artistic visions, defined by most “psychedelic” (this is another unfair adjective, I invite you to get acquainted with this art on Alex Grey’s website or on the artist’s page on Wikipedia). I know Alex Grey from the mind-blogging documentary DMT The Spirit Molecule, which I absolutely recommend you to see!
Alex Grey created most of the graphics of the Tool’s albums.


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Un post condiviso da Antonio Franco Cerquera (@antoniofrancocerquera) in data:

Back to the lyrics. In general, the Tool’s lyrics are seen as difficult to interpret, evocative, or obscure.

In relation to what has been going on in the world for 11 months now, to the pandemic on which our future seems to depend and which has dropped a veil of terror on a large part of the world’s population, it is interesting to listen again to the track “Fear Inoculum”, which is track number 1 and also gives the name to the album.

Here are the lyrics.

While reading, you can listen to Fear Inoculum on Youtube.

“Immunity, long Overdue. Contagion, I exhale you
Naïve, I opened up to you, venom and mania.
Now Contagion, I exhale you.

The Deceiver says, “You belong to me. You don’t wanna breath the light of the others.
Fear the light. Fear the breath. Fear the others for eternity.”
But I hear them now. Inhale the clarity. I hear the venom in what you say.

Bless this immunity.

Exhale. Expel. Recast my tale. Weave my allegorical elegy.

Enumerate all that I’m to do. Calculating steps away from you.
My own mitosis, growing through division from mania.

Exhale. Expel. Recast my tale. Weave my allegorical elegy.

Forfeit all control, you Poison, you Spectacle.
Exorcise the Spectacle. Exorcise the malady.
Exorcize the disparate poison for eternity.

Purge me and Evacuate the Venom & the Fear that binds me.
Your veil now, lift away.

I see you running.

Deceiver, chased away. A Long time coming.”

firenze rocks concert of 2019


If I had lingered on the words of “Fear Inoculum” immediately after listening to it for the first time, that was in June 2019, I would certainly have thought they were allegorical (they even repeat twice the phrase “weave my allegorical elegy”) but I would not have recalled much anyway.

The same lyrics, considered again after the outbreak of the “pandemic”, astonished me!

Here are the facts: in mid-2019, the Tool released a song packed with terms and meaning that we would deal with obsessively several months later, after the appearance of the virus, terms such as: “inoculate“, “contagion“, “immunity“, “malady“, “calculating the steps away from you” (social distance?!), “fear the breath” (more obvious than that, how can one avoid linking those words to the current “medical age”…)

Right six months before the pandemic started looming over our lives and controlling all interactions between the governments and us and between us and our fellow human beings (fear the others for eternity, 5th line).

Fan dei Tool al Firenze Rocks 2019
Fan dei Tool al Firenze Rocks 2019


Let’s have a close look at the words chosen for the album’s title:
“Fear inoculum”, that is inoculum of fear, delivery of fear.

The dictionary speaks clearly, there are few things that can be “inoculated”, maybe only 3: a vaccine, a virus, a drug.

Can it just be a coincidence that the Tool used such a “medical” metaphor?

The sure thing is that for many months the institutions and the media have been inoculating fear in every possible way!

And the first word of the text, immunity, is what we would theoretically be waiting for to put an end to this absurd period! And that’s the one that our lady TV tells us will come only with the vaccine, which is, again, inoculated. But perhaps, as the song suggests, we should become immune from “fear”…

And what or who represents the deceiver of line 4th, the one who says “fear the breathe,” “fear the others for eternity“?

Is the song “Fear Inoculum” a prophecy, a coincidence, or a warning?

It seems to me quite naive to think that it is a coincidence. We are speaking of the Tool, a billionaire band that surely has access to information that us the masses can’t even imagine.

So, what shall we do with this information, and with the fear that has been inoculated to us for months? Can we finally realize that there’s a great deception underneath?! Can we lift the veil and start purging the venom, the fear that binds us?

Shall we allow fear to divide humanity? Or maybe we take our chance instead, and chase the deceiver away!

I previously published this post in Italian here.

Let me know your thoughts on the Tool’s Fear Inoculum’s lyrics and meaning in the comments…


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4 thoughts on “Post-pandemic reflections on the lyrics of ” Fear Inoculum” by the Tool”

  1. “Is the song “Fear Inoculum” a prophecy, a coincidence, or a warning?”

    Have you considered that it may be an invocation? They are connected to Thelema.

  2. I’ve been a long time tool fan. Probably seen them more than the Dead! There is really nothing like a Tool show. The subject matter on this album made me wonder if they were working on the ‘virus’ with Anthony Fauci, it was so prescient. I’m also a huge fan of Alex Grey. I liked your article, thanks for writing it!


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