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Tool - Undertow CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.18 | 512 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Tool's "Undertow" is the album that I've listened to more times than anything else. In fact, I probably spun this thing up every day for close to three years after I first heard it circa 1993. But it wasn't an immediate love affair.

There are albums that you hear once, and which you instantly fall in love with. For me, "Undertow" was not one of these. It was a creeper. I had it copied to tape and listened to it in my car on regular rotation, and it didn't strike me as being better or worse than the other things I was listening to, such as Primus or RATM. It was only after several months that I realised other artists would come and go every few weeks - but "Undertow" kept finding its way back into the tape deck, and still sounded great. Moreso, it was actually getting better with every listen.

I bought the CD and it included a special edition live disc as an extra bonus. Many more months went by and it was still the album I craved most. Strange things began happening that I hadn't experienced before. Every month I'd have a new favourite song on the album. First Intolerance. Then 4 Degrees. After about a year of listening it became Flood, a song that was probably their first foray into something proggy.

At that point I realised that, in a very unassuming and gradual way, Tool had become my favourite band. They still are today.

I'm not sure exactly what it is about this album that resonated with me to such a great extent. Most likely, it was an album that was in the right place at the right time. I was a kid still trying to find his place in the world, and many of the themes on the album revolving around anger and frustration certainly spoke to me. They had a cathartic effect and helped me through tough times. Undertow became a convenient pressure valve for me to turn on whenever I felt the need.

The film clips went hand in hand with the music and enhanced the experience further. I remember showing some friends the "Sober" clip and how they recoiled at the odd creatures and themes on display. And how I tried to explain my viewpoint: "Don't you see this guy has been lost and alone for so long, searching and finding nothing, and then when he finally does find something he's incapable of understanding what it means; it's just this ugly, strange creature to him because he has no frame of reference." Suffice to say they didn't share my wonderment at this particular piece of art.

While not really prog, "Undertow" is still an incredible rock/metal album. It's the early beginnings of a band just stretching its muscles, with even greater things in its future.

bonestorm | 5/5 |


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