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Tool - Undertow CD (album) cover

UNDERTOW

Tool

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.12 | 391 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Toolīs debut album Undertow really started a lavine in the alternative rock/ metal circles. Itīs a highly influential album and lots of bands cite Undertow as a big influence. For me it wasnīt that big of an experience at first. I listened to Undertow a couple of years after itīs release and discarded it as grunge without melody. The problem was that I was not very sensitive to rythm at the time and I didnīt understand that a big part of Toolsīs appeal lies in their rythm section. A couple of years later I was curious and listened to Undertow again and this time everything fell into place. The complex rythms, the subdued melodies, and the overall depressive mood just made sense to me this time. Today I think this is one of Toolīs finest and most memorable moments and I think Undertow is an excellent album.

The music is grunge inspired but with a lot more emphazis on rythm. Tool is a very dynamic band and can go from almost silence to noisy escapades. This would develop more on subsequent releases but here on Undertow it is used most effectively. The songs are some of the most accessible in Toolīs discography and you can even sing along to some of them. The first three songs are all killer tracks that I enjoy very much. Bottom is one of those highly dynamic songs and Crawl Away and Swamp song are also great songs. Itīs with the title track that you hear the grunge influence most clearly and Iīm thinking Badmoterfinger by Soundgarden but donīt worry itīs only hints. The next song is also very good but with Flood I think they make an error when the intro to that song is drawn out and it becomes boring. The last song Disgustipated isnīt to my liking either and if you ask me they should have ended the album before Flood.

The musicianship is excellent and itīs great to hear that rock music can be played with such depth and compexity without losing itīs commercial appeal. In that respect Tool is pretty unique.

The production is not as heavy as on their later albums but I really enjoy this sound.

Iīm one of those Tool fans that thinks their two first album were the best and that they became a bit too experimental on Lateralus so after Ænima this is my favorite Tool album. There are so many emotions at play and with a singer like Maynard James Keenan both anger and despair is released upon the world in healthy doses. Undertow is a unique album and even though it has flaws itīs still excellent and deserves 4 stars.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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