TOOL

Alternative Metal / Progressive Metal • United States
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Formed around 1990 in Los Angeles, California, United States, Tool is a band that is most noted for combining heavy metal with a wide variety of progressive structures, irregular time signatures and lyrics that range from angry diatribes to meditations on philosophical and social matters.

After performing a handful of shows in the Los Angeles area and up the West Coast, they toured in the United States with Rollins Band in the summer of 1992 in support of their EP Opiate. Their first full length recording, Undertow, was released in 1993.

Emerging with a groovy heavy metal sound on their first release, when the genre was dominated by thrash metal, they were later seen at the top of the alternative metal movement with the release of their second full-length studio album Ænima in 1996, the first recording the band made after original bassist Paul d'Amour left the band to
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Fear InoculumFear Inoculum
RCA Records 2019
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$148.95 (used)
10,000 Days10,000 Days
RCA 2006
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$6.98 (used)
LateralusLateralus
Sony Legacy 2001
$11.89
$7.00 (used)
AenimaAenima
Explicit Lyrics
Sony Legacy 1996
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UndertowUndertow
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Sony Legacy 1993
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OpiateOpiate
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Sony Legacy 1992
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Tool: VicariousTool: Vicarious
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Tool - SchismTool - Schism
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Tool: Complete Studio Album CD Collection with Bonus Art CardTool: Complete Studio Album CD Collection with Bonus Art Card
Volcano
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TOOL Discography

TOOL albums / top albums

TOOL Undertow album cover 3.61 | 58 ratings
Undertow
Alternative Metal 1993
TOOL Ænima album cover 4.18 | 85 ratings
Ænima
Alternative Metal 1996
TOOL Lateralus album cover 4.37 | 122 ratings
Lateralus
Progressive Metal 2001
TOOL 10,000 Days album cover 4.01 | 78 ratings
10,000 Days
Progressive Metal 2006
TOOL Fear Inoculum album cover 4.17 | 5 ratings
Fear Inoculum
Progressive Metal 2019

TOOL EPs & splits

TOOL Opiate album cover 3.16 | 37 ratings
Opiate
Alternative Metal 1992

TOOL live albums

TOOL demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

TOOL 72826 album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
72826
Alternative Metal 1991

TOOL re-issues & compilations

TOOL Salival album cover 3.72 | 14 ratings
Salival
Progressive Metal 2000

TOOL singles (4)

.. Album Cover
3.55 | 6 ratings
Prison Sex
Alternative Metal 1993
.. Album Cover
4.25 | 6 ratings
Sober
Alternative Metal 1994
.. Album Cover
4.25 | 4 ratings
Schism
Progressive Metal 2001
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 3 ratings
Parabola
Progressive Metal 2002

TOOL movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.25 | 6 ratings
Parabola
Progressive Metal 2005
.. Album Cover
4.67 | 6 ratings
Schism
Progressive Metal 2005
.. Album Cover
4.32 | 7 ratings
Vicarious
Progressive Metal 2007

TOOL Reviews

TOOL Undertow

Album · 1993 · Alternative Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
While TOOL gets much of the credit for keeping the metal universe relevant during the early 90s at least in commercial terms, the truth is that the band was simply riding the wave of the harder edged alternative rock bands like Jane’s Addiction, Alice In Chains and Faith No More that were finding commercial success however as the glam metal world experienced a sudden upheaval and suddenly grunge was the dominate commercial force with Nirvana and Soundgarden suddenly becoming household names, TOOL was right there beside them. The band of Maynard James Keenan (vocals), Adam Jones (guitar, sitar), Pal D’Amour (bass) and Danny Carey (drums) gained momentum on the 1992 debut EP “Opiate” with a fiery aggressive brand of alternative metal that focused on lengthy progressive cyclical grooves but on the band’s full-length debut UNDERTOW the progressiveness had really blossomed into a totally unique sound that implemented crazy time signatures that once taken further on future albums like “Ænima” and “Lateralus” would make TOOL one of the hottest bands of the entire 90s.

Love em or hate em, one thing is is for sure. When TOOL debuted with UNDERTOW there was nothing that sounded like the dark, angry and lengthy complex sprawling soundscapes that TOOL had crafted. While bands like Alice in Chains and Soundgarden were still reliant on blues rock constructs for the compositions, TOOL completely eschewed the familiarities of what came before and crafted a mysterious mix of metal, grunge and even post-rock however the music itself sounds like none of those genres but usually gets lumped into progressive metal or in the case of UNDERTOW simply alternative metal. Having settled on Zoo Records, where both Keenan and Carey experienced a surprise gold album as a part of the comedy metal act Green Jellÿ, the album struck a nerve with the public with the creepy stop-animated videos for “Sober” and “Prison Sex” and shot up to the top 20 albums in no time. As of 2010, the album has been certified double platinum which shows TOOL’s

Unlike “Opiate,” a hard hitting more straight forward slice of alternative metal, UNDERTOW displayed a more focused sprawled out series of guitar and bass riffs augmented by Carey’s percussive delineations that often took on the characteristics of an African drum circle or an Indian tabla session. Eastern elements occasionally creep in as heard with the sitar addition on “Bottom” (Henry Rollins also appeared as a guest vocalist on this one).There is a resolute industrial grittiness to the music as well coming to full roost on the album’s closer “Disgustipated” which included Henry Rollins’ guitarist Chris Haskett playing sledge hammers. The final track “Disgustipated” displayed another factor that would make TOOL standout from the pack namely social commentary in the form of spoken narration, extended noise effects, darkened whispered singing styles and a propensity to end an album with a series of noises and silence before a final musical statement which nixed the main guitar and bass sounds. In this case at 6:45 the sounds of crickets are heard for just over seven minutes. This was actually a popular but annoying trend of 90s alternative music.

While UNDERTOW was somewhat of a rough draft for the more artistic statements that followed, the band’s basic stylistic approach had been laid out here. The rhythm section had already developed the crazy polyrhythms, Carey’s drumming style had already adopted the tabla percussive style at certain points and although the musical flow is a more nonchalant shuffle, the time signatures offbeats have awoken to realize the far reaching potentials. Another proclivity of TOOL’s albums is that they insist on lengthy albums that take up as much playing time as possible. UNDERTOW clocks in at 69:13 and even subtracting the final several minutes of cricket chirping time is still over an hour’s run. While steeped in the experimental elements that would continue to expand their horizons into the stratosphere, UNDERTOW is still firmly planted in the world of alternative metal without all the crazy artsy extras that decorate “Ænima,” therefore the album becomes a bit tedious to experience in a single listening session. Overall not a bad debut at all but in the end UNDERTOW lacks the excitement of what was to come and i didn’t discover this debut until after the rest so i’ve never been blown away by it.

TOOL Fear Inoculum

Album · 2019 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Necrotica
Tool’s fifth studio album is one of those projects that I don’t think most people had much faith in. Over a decade was spent waiting for it, getting to the point where several memes online mocked the band for their inability to stay on the same page and get the record done. I get the feeling many of us thought it would go the way of Half-Life 3 and become the musical version of vaporware, and the constant rumor mill from the band and media wasn’t convincing people otherwise. And yet… somehow, we actually made it. Fear Inoculum is out, and critics are already stumbling over each other giving the album (mostly) rapturous praise. Most of the public seems onboard for it too, giving kudos to the band for not missing a beat and swinging back stronger than ever. For the most part, I can agree with this.

Fear Inoculum is not the easiest experience to dive into; it runs at 80 minutes (86 if you’re talking about the digital version) across only 7 tracks, which means almost every song is over 10 minutes. That’s a lot to digest, and many of these songs run at very slow, almost doomlike paces. But, as usual for a latter-day Tool album, there’s plenty of dense progressive metal to sink your teeth into. You’ll find all the typical Lateralus-era stuff here; tribal rhythms, post-metal buildups and payoffs, subtle polyrhythms, and frequent dynamic ebbs and flows all make their way on this record. However, it’s important to note that the buildups are much more lengthy and detailed this time around. In fact, I’m a little shocked that the title track was able to become a charting single, given the fact that the song doesn’t really get off the ground until about halfway into its 10-minute runtime. I suppose that’s the power of hype and expectations after such a long wait from the band’s devoted fanbase! Anyway, these long runtimes work better for some songs than others; “Pneuma” and “Invincible” are fantastic examples of balancing their buildups and payoffs perfectly for emotional effect, especially in the way the latter combines triumph and resignation to flesh out the story of an “aging warrior” (see also: Maynard Keenan himself). The former presents itself in a darker and almost ritualistic manner, with Maynard repeating several lines over and over while the stuttering rhythms are constantly throwing you off in the process. Every time the heavy Drop-D riff comes in, it’s a welcome release from the tension.

The band members themselves have clearly grown over the years, and they sound even more comfortable than ever when flexing their virtuoso muscles. However, one thing that I’ve always loved about Tool over the years is that they never really beat you over the head with their instrumental prowess, instead preferring to showcase their skills in more subtle ways; Fear Inoculum definitely sticks to this. Instead of doing a giant shred solo, Adam Jones might lay down some simple guitar chords that are played in a slightly off-kilter or wonky manner, such as he often does in album highlight “7empest.” The entire song is like a giant experiment where the band members all try and see how many cool things they can do the metallic framework they’re given, and the outcome is just phenomenal. As far as vocals go, Maynard is more reserved and introspective this time around; but given the structures and dynamics of the songs here, that’s the perfect route to go. Plus, given his age, he still sounds excellent. Still, I don’t think many people are going to doubt that this is absolutely a rhythm section-centric record. Justin Chancellor and Danny Carey absolutely tear up this album, providing both an incredible backbone and an infinite stream of ways that Adam Jones could work his guitar magic over them. “Chocolate Chip Trip” might be the most inconsequential and skippable song on the album in the grand scheme of things, but I still don’t advise missing out on that sweet drum solo that Carey lays down on it. It’s one of the great highlights of his recorded output.

So what’s wrong exactly? Well, just one thing… and it’s a pretty important thing. Let me start this off with a movie analogy: have you watched an actor that you can only see as that actor and not a character they’re playing? A big example in my case is Tom Cruise. Every time I see him in a role, I just see Tom Cruise; I don’t see a character, because Cruise just kinda overtakes the role itself. It’s a really frustrating situation, because it constantly sucks me out of the immersion of a film when I can constantly see the “man behind the curtain.” And unfortunately, Tool fall right into this trap. One of the things that made Lateralus and even 10,000 Days so great is that there was always that additional instrumentation that fleshed out the atmosphere of those records. There were always Jones’ guitar pedals and a bunch of warbling industrial effects lending to the dark, eerie vibe Tool succeeded so well at crafting. Sadly, on Fear Inoculum I just hear 4 guys jamming out in the studio. The atmosphere is so empty and sparse on this album, and it doesn’t help that there usually aren’t many extra synthesizers or pedals to spice things up. That’s not to say the entire record is like this; “Pneuma” has an excellent middle section with a buzzing electronic effect alongside some beautiful clean guitar melodies from Jones, and of course the tribal drumming in the majority of the title track is always welcome. But considering this is Tool’s longest and most dense album, it would have been nicer to hear some more little touches to provide extra detail and texture to the experience.

Still, I’m really glad Fear Inoculum is finally here. I’m glad that we’re finally able to let all the old memes and jokes about Tool’s constant delays finally die. And unlike Duke Nukem Forever, we have a delayed product that’s actually incredibly solid and worth the time it took to make it. If you enjoyed Tool’s prog era, you’ll most likely love what they did here. Fear Inoculum is the logical outcome of the band’s constant flirtation with complexities and intricacies over the years, as well as how much they’d grown personally and creatively to get to this point in their lives. I can’t say that this is a better album than Lateralus - which I still consider to be the band’s gold standard - but it’s definitely my second favorite of theirs so far. There’s just too much ambition and quality songcraft here to pass up or ignore. So was Fear Inoculum worth the wait? I wholeheartedly say: yes.

TOOL Undertow

Album · 1993 · Alternative Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Unitron
Tool-Undertow

'Undertow' is the debut studio album by progressive/alt metal band Tool. Tool made a great start with their debut EP 'Opiate', it was unique, heavy, and a bit experimental on the last track. A year later they released their debut studio album, and it expanded upon everything the EP had and more.

The album opens up with the strong 'Intolerance', where Keenan gives a great vocal performance as always. Halfway through, Adam Jones plays some awesome riffs. Next comes the catchy groove of 'Prison Sex', with a great bassline played by Paul D'Amour. One of my favorites on the album is the next track 'Sober', which was surprisingly sampled by electronic band Orbital on their song 'Tootled'. All of the instruments compliment each other amazingly, with a great menacing chorus. The bass is very strong in this song, being heard at the perfect times. My favorite on the album is probably 'Crawl Away', which is more reminiscent of 'Opiate' feeling much rawer. The bridge kicks ass, with awesome riffs and double bass coming after Keenan's screams of 'This is my love'.

The experimental side of the title track of the previous EP, is expanded in such songs on this album like 'Bottom' and 'Disgustipated'. 'Bottom' is another favorite of mine, which starts out with awesome guitar hooks and Keenan's raw vocals. However, about two minutes through the songs slows down to steady drum beats. Distorted guitar plays in the background during spoken word. 'Disgustipated' could be debated on weather it's a 'song'. It starts with slowly speeding up percussion. I really like this part with Keenan's powerful 'This is necessary'. After that comes back on and off a few times, the rest of the song is silent other then a continuing sound.

Overall, even though I wouldn't say it's as good as the albums that would come later, I still find it to be near flawless. After all, you can't go wrong with any Tool album.

Hope you found this review helpful.

Feel free to comment!

TOOL Opiate

EP · 1992 · Alternative Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Unitron
Tool-Opiate

Unlike later albums like 'Lateralus', Tool's debut EP 'Opiate' shows a much rawer and angry sound. 'Undertow', which would come out a year later, still maintains some similar qualities but still enhances and adds to their sound.

Opiate has four studio recordings and two live performances, and one hidden track. The opening track 'Sweat' is my personal favorite on this EP, having both similarities and differences from their later albums. Maynard James Keenan's vocals are already powerful and standing out. Adam Jones gives some great riffing during the bridge. Both 'Hush' and 'Part of Me' are songs perfect for headbanging, with good crunching guitar. The two live tracks are both really good performances, and the final track 'Opiate' is great other then the odd hidden track. The hidden track reminds me of the weirdness of 'Disgustipated' on the next album, except being much shorter.

Overall, 'Opiate' was a great beginning for my 2nd favorite band. Short and sweet, but a great addition.

Hope you found this review helpful

Feel free to comment!

TOOL Undertow

Album · 1993 · Alternative Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
aglasshouse
Undertow" is the debut album by the American progressive/alternative metal band, Tool.

The full - length debut album is said to have kept the life of all heavy metal in the mainstream media due to it's success. "Undertow" is also the cause of Tool's undeniable later success, being that their debut EP, "Opiate" was not as highly regarded, and did not get them critical reception. Although Tool's later albums, including "Ænima" and "Lateralus", Undertow still remains one of the most highly regarded progressive metal albums of all time.

1. Intolerance

Opening up the album is the first track, 'Intolerance'. The song starts with quiet swooshing synth noises, until the heavy guitar riffs come in to take the stage. The vocal value takes a slight decline in the beggining, ranging from too weak to way too over the top, but the chords and riffs remain excellent throughout. The track gets faster in the middle of the song, and a great heavy bridge leads to the end of the song. A More weak track from the album, but still great. (8/10)

2. Prison Sex

'Prison Sex' is the 2nd single from the album. Starting out with metallic noises, the song amps up with some fast and heavy guitar chords. The bass is getting more and more noticable as the album progresses, however the drums are getting less noticable. The vocals are slightly too loud over the other instruments, but are still great. The song is noticably more heavy, and gets more instrumental time. And the vocals are also in a good key. A nice track from the album. (9/10)

3. Sober

'Sober' is the first single from the album, and also the most highly regarded. The song starts out with an extremely heavy bass chords, and an amazing drum riff leads into the main song. As the song progresses, the drums, bass, and guitar all seem to work as one instrument, and shift into separate ones during the choruses until inevitably joining up again. The vocals are absolutely spectacular in this song, and very nice to the ears. Unlike other songs from the album, 'Sober' is able to be listened to at any time, in any mood, and in any place. Amazing song, and my favorite from the album. (10/10)

4. Bottom

A more subtle and heavy track then it's former songs, 'Bottom' takes the third track on the album. There is no slow moments in the song- in fact, every part of the song is nice and constant. Changes are done when they are needed, and the riffs remain heavy. The drumming is nice and catchy, however the bass is less noticable. A nice, catchy song. (9/10)

5. Crawl Away

Starting with the faint sound of a band playing, 'Crawl Away''s guitar quickly comes in at a fast pace. As the guitar continues, we are suddenly blasted with heavier riffs then we are used to. The guitar remains in the lead, until the bass ultimately takes over. The song is an awesome battle between bass and guitar, while the vocals and drums are taking over the backround noise. An amazing song, and definitely one of my favorites. (10/10)

6. Swamp Song

'Swamp Song' brings us an almost completely instrument ruled song. The lyrics seem to just blend in with the instruments so much it doesn't seem to be there, just adding to the noise. However, this does not make the song un-enjoyable. In fact, it makes the song have a certain flow, giving it a nice, catchy feel. Another great song from the album. (10/10)

7. Undertow

Unlike the other heavy songs on the album, 'Undertow' seems to just have a more dulled down version of the chords. In fact, the production they used seems to be the same they used in 'Sober'. Except in 'Sober', it fit in well. In this song it seems oddly misplaced. Besides that, the vocals are nice and vivid, the drumming and guitar are great also. The lack here is the base, it just seems to be alongside the drums and not playing it's own part. (8.5/10)

8. 4 Degrees

'4 Degrees' is another vocal dominated song, just like 'Undertow', and the other instruments seem to be backround sounds in some places. Unlike 'Undertow', the bridge is absolutely excellent, however the song starts to get quite repetitive. Not much else to say about it. Great, but not the best. (9/10)

9. Flood

A slower track, with more drum and guitar domination, 'Flood' comes in with nice echoey vocals, and nice heavy chords. Where the song has it's errors is that the bridge drags on too long. The bass is the only upside to keep you interested during it. The vocals are basic and sort of bland, until the chorus, which is an excellent piece of Tool vocal work. A nice, but slightly weak song. (8/10)

10. Disgustipated

I don't even know what to say about this finale. Should it even be considered music? I think it is a great work in experimenting with different sounds, but definitely not something to close out nice heavy album like "Undertow". It is an absolutely useless symphony of weird echoey sounds, sheep, radio voices, whistles, and hammers. Not to mention- this song drags on for (15:47). That is just to long for a song that is mostly dominated by annoying mind bending whistles. Other than the whistling, the song has less than a minute of nonsensical lyrics and random sound beats. An awful droning, repetitive ending to the album. In fact, it got so annoying that I couldn't even listen to it anymore. Definitely not worth listening to. (2/10)

Overall, Tool's debut album was definitely the cause of Tool's undeniable rise in popularity. And we can all agree, "Undertow" saved metal's asses when it was starting to fall in numbers of listeners. All later and greater albums have to give credit to "Undertow", for making it possible for Tool to continue on what they do best-make metal music.

---------------

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed! If you have any questions or opinions, I would be delighted to hear them. Just post them in the comments or just send me a message if you need to. Thanks! -VU-

TOOL Movies Reviews

TOOL Vicarious

Movie · 2007 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Earendil
Many descriptions and reviews on the internet are misleading about the content of this Vicarious DVD, and for that reason I didn't purchase it until recently. What a mistake to wait! This DVD is essential for any Tool fan and an excellent find for anyone who likes the surreal, psychedelic, and strange. The main feature of the DVD is the Vicarious short film, which is Tool's first completely CGI video. Adam Jones and Alex Grey are the two main artists behind the video, and it's a really cool experience to see their ideas merge. Anyways here are the full DVD contents:

1. Vicarious music video (9 minutes)

2. 2 overdubs of the music video with actor/comedian David Cross making hilarious commentary (18 minutes)

3. Vicarious documentary (40 minutes)

4. Footage of the storyboards from Alex Grey and Adam Jones (1 minute)

5. Footage of Alex's art gallery COSM and him talking about it (4 minutes)

Rating: 8/10

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Doomster wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Why are Flood and Disgustipated the same track on the "Undertow" tracklist?

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