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Tool - Undertow CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.18 | 510 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars I have to agree with Bryan on this one; Undertow is really not a progessive album. Is this saying it is bad? By no means. Tool is my favorite band, and for this reason I will be a bit biased towards them. With this in mind, Undertow is a very good alternative / heavy rock album.

Starting with 'Intolerance,' a song harkening back to vocalist Maynard James Keenan's days at West Point, it is clear that this album is not going to be a Dream Theater-like, pretentious, psuedo-intellectual experience. This piece is followed by 'Prison Sex,' one of my favorite Tool songs. The lyrics to this song are genius, and the delightfully upbeat music is catchy. The extended live version adds to the disturbing picture painted. Then we have 'Sober.' We've heard it and know it well. A good hard rock song, but not progressive. Next is 'Bottom.' I find this song's inclusion of Henry Rollins to be annoying more than anything, and compared to the version Maynard sings live, there is no comparison. Then there is 'Crawl Away,' a great love song (hint of sarcasm on love, but not on song).

'Swamp Song' is one of the heaviest pieces on Undertow, advising to listen to reason before ignorance. Following that is the title track, which has an almost pop-like rhythm to it, complimented my Danny Carey's drumming, against rails against its subject manner of drug addiction in a similar fashion to 'Prison Sex.' 'Four Degrees,' the eigth track, which revolves around a statement made by the band involving one orifice being the said amount warmer than another. Following that is 'Flood,' probably the most progressive song on the album, but is not one of my top rankers. Finally we have 'Disgustipated,' a long piece that includes the Reverend Maynard's mockery of organized religion, then the repetitive and frightening main portion of the song backed by animal noise and a butcherknife. This is similar to A Perfect Circle's 'Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums' with its strange sounds. Then there is a host of minutes of cricket noise, followed by a bewildering call from the vocalist's landlord. Though I have not really addressed Adam Jones and Paul Di'Armour, they are both very proficient at their intruments but, the former at least, has yet to even approach the point at which they are now.

I have to say that although Tool is my favorite band, Undertow is worth getting only if you like a little hard rock mixed with your prog. If you like Aenima or Lateralus, go for it. If you prefer a softer side of prog, then steer clear. Thi is why I am awarding my them a three despite their greatness. To address what Mr. More Tacos said, this album is by no means horrible. I too am a fan of Dream Theater, though I do tire of their self- indulgent, pompous presence attitude. If you want a real comparision, try Lateralus. That album stacks up to Dream Theater any day, and is a more cerebral, intellectual, and spiritual experience than Dream Theater can deliver (in my opinion).

| 3/5 |


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