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Tool - Opiate (EP) CD (album) cover

OPIATE (EP)

Tool

 

Experimental/Post Metal

2.79 | 166 ratings

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Hangedman
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This is Tool's first recording, and as such suffers from a lack of maturity musically. Tool has not yet found its pretentious art rock edge that skyrocketed them into a massive success. Sonically its almost pure heavy metal, fast furious and most importantly LOUD! It has nice extras the whole way through though, like almost jazzy drums on "Sweat". At this point Id say the biggest influences would be Metallica, the birth givers of all modern metal, and Faith No More believe it or not. FNM was the first alternative band to break through to the mainstream, and there is definitely a lot of the alternative sound in Tool at this point. Especially on "Hush" with Maynard's comical approach to the vocal structure, lending emphasis at different points. The sound quality is generally pretty rough, some tracks even live (which I think that Tool had a very good chemistry on stage early on in their careers).

There are a few obvious flaws in this EP. First off its only about 27 minutes long and a few of those minutes are just dead silence and two minutes following a silly bonus track. There is absolutely no cohesion in this album, it sounds like its just a few favorite songs that they decided to record when they had an opportunity to record a few (and it probably is exactly that). The music isn't very challenging in the least with simple structures and silly lyrics (I wont give the best examples because they are all vulgar). It suffers from poor production, and the variety between songs isn't very good(even though shockingly short in length).

With all these problems how on earth does it get three stars you may think at this point. Well let me tell you that's easy, this album is so much fun it should be a sin. The kind of heavy metal that is almost impossible not to like, its easy to move to and sing along to. These guys have amazing energy, and this proves that even the most angsty of rock stars *cough*Maynard*cough* can have loads of fun with the music they play. Any one of these songs would be great to cover in a pinch for smaller bands just looking to give the crowd they are playing for a good time. Another high point (as on any Tool album) is the extremely talented Danny Carey who plays like a possessed madman throughout the entire album. This drummer would be excellent and comfortable in any style of music, and he makes it painfully obvious with varied and skillful drumming on what by far is the simplest album musically he's ever been on.

If I had to pick out one song on the album as best I would not hesitate for a moment and call out "Opiate". Easily one of the best Tool songs ever recorded, great hooks and a chorus that just begs to be lip-synched. No one song is really bad (which is the upside to such a short collection of songs) but the lowest point of the album is definitely the lyrics for "Jerk Off" once again I wont list them because they are vulgar and I don't want this review to be deleted (I can only help but wonder what would happen if I reviewed an album with bad words in the song names...).

I think its safe to say anyone who listened to this will be able to enjoy it unless they avoid plain metal like the plague. So is it a good place to start? Yeah I would say so, if you keep in mind that after this album they shift gears and become very prog rock. If you want Tool's best stay away, get one of the later ones for sure. Opiate is just 27 minutes of very enjoyable and straightforward heavy metal. It deserves all three of those stars I gave it.

Hangedman | 3/5 |

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