Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Tool - Opiate (EP) CD (album) cover



Experimental/Post Metal

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
3 stars Opiate is Tool's debut EP that combines a few short studio and live songs exclusive to this mini album. Here, the band are just starting to develop their noise. The album contains some bone crunching songs such as "Part of Me" and "Hush". These two being the highlights of the record. The live tracks are strong but this album lacks any real attention to detail or hints to the progressive sound that Tool would later develop. Still this is a solid set of songs and does the job of providing a more than satisfactory EP. The live tracks are intense and still manage to display some of Maynard James Keenan's best lyrical and vocal work. The band play strong here and it is nice to see where Tool's sound began to evolve. This may be one for strong tool fans but I would recommend it to be one of the last Tool albums you purchase.
Report this review (#31771)
Posted Tuesday, July 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Probably one of the best debut EP's i have heard. Not to say that this is a brilliant piece of work, but you can notice that Tool, at that point, had it's own unique sound and was not just another metal band. This album is very highly rated in terms of raw energy, however it contains little to no sence of progressive rock anywhere in it. while tracks such as "Jerk off" and "Cold and Ugly" have a lot going for them, the rating is brought down by the more simple songs such as "Hush" and "Part of me". while i have given this a 3, anyone who is not a fan of tool should regard this rating as a 2, as it has little to no prog in it.
Report this review (#31772)
Posted Tuesday, November 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#41482)
Posted Wednesday, August 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
The Crow
3 stars First of all, this EP it's not progressive at all...

But if you like the heavy, thrash, avantgarde and maybe the nu-metal sounds too, you will probably like this short collection of songs. Maybe the best for me are Sweat, Hush and Opiate. But all the six tracks are good. Cold and Ugly and Jerk-Off are live versions, very well played and with a very strong sound. The former member Paul D'Amour made a great bass work!!! And if you has heard Tool before, you know yet what these guys can do... Maynard James Keenan he's one of the most original singers I've heard!!!

Recommended EP, and a must for fans!

Report this review (#46079)
Posted Friday, September 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars The debut from a good band. Unfortunately, this album is just a very short alt.rock/metal collection of songs, and it is not progressive at all. The best things about the album is the raw energy of the music, and the singer who never disappoints me. I wish his vocal melodies were better though.

Sweat is an average metal song. Hush is slightly better and has screamings and a good guitar riff introduced by bass guitar. Part of Me is slightly repetitive and not very interesting at all. The next two songs are played live and are not bad. They sound like songs that could have been in Undertow. The last track is the big highlight of the record : An elongated grunge-like song with progrssive elements. It sound like music from Aenima. It has good musicianship and melodies, and is divided into two sections. The first is hard rock, and the second is more avant-garde and experimental.

1. Sweat (4/10) 2. Hush (5/10) 3. Part of Me (3/10) 4. Cold and Ugly (5/10) 5. Jerk-Off (5/10) 6. Opiate / The Gaping Lotus Experience (7/10)

My Rating : D

Report this review (#46314)
Posted Sunday, September 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Tool's first recorded work,which is a 6 song ep,barely hints at the complex,progressive albums that are to come(Aenima and Lateralus).The sound quality is not on the same level as their subsequent albums,but the enthusiasm and energy of the band is readily apparent.The first three tracks,Sweat,Hush and Part of Me(an excellent live version of this song is featured on Salival)and the two live tracks(recorded at The Jello Loft in Hollywood,Ca.) Cold and Ugly and Jerk-Off are nice crunchy metal tunes and sound like they easily could have come from their first full length studio album Undertow.The gem on this ep is the last track,Opiate,the lyrics which are a scathing condemnation of the power and greed inducing abilities of organized religion and it's leaders."Choices always were a problem for you/What you need is someone strong to guide you" or "My God's will becomes me/When he speaks,he speaks through me/He has needs,like I do/We both want to rape you".No one ever accused Maynard James Keenan of being subtle.Maynard's voice is strong and powerful,hinting at the ungodly ability he has to hold and susutain notes.Adam Jones churning guitar riffs and the excellent drum and bass work of Danny Carey and Paul D'Amour(on loan from the band Peach) round out Tool's dark,gloomy sound.All of the themes you find in Tool's music are here,disdain of organized religion,hypocrisy,fear,greed,nonconformity.Not an essential album,but proof of and a testament to the bands evolution.Good album,3 stars.
Report this review (#46609)
Posted Wednesday, September 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars What a conundrum. Should get a rating of "for fans only", but then most people here are fans of the band for their later output. It's not as good as three and not as bad as one... what a conundrum. I guess I'll stick with two.

The only thing remotely proggy about this is the old hidden track at the end trick (though on the LP version, it was situated elsewhere) that seems to be so popular these days. The songs are alright, with the highlights being the title track and the dialogue before Cold and Ugly. Again, no prog whatsoever.

Worth a shot for the likely shrimpy price tag (not that such a thing is a concern to me), the historical factor and because it's one of Tool's few albums in their 15+ years of existence. Don't expect to be listening to it too much though.

Report this review (#77188)
Posted Thursday, May 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars At the time of Opiate's release, Tool had not quite found their way onto the musical high- horse yet. This is more or less a straightforward Alternative Metal album, and not an excellent one at that. There is no sign of the vocal experimentation Maynard would later use, no sign of the deeply layered songwriting, and the lyrics sound immature compared to AEnima and Lateralus.

Sweat - 3/5 - One of the better songs on the album, its easy to see why they chose it as the opener, but the lyrics just sound very amateur.

Hush - 2/5 - Funky bass groove, other instrumentals play around it very well, nice message about censorship, but it would still be a crime to give this anything more than a 3 when Tool has gone on to write vastly better music.

Part of Me - 2/5 - A friend of mine claims this is his favorite Tool song, but I don't hear the genius in it. The guitar sounds meaty, a little too dominant for my tastes, and I don't care for the lyrics.

Cold and Ugly - 3/5 - It has a similar feel to the last song, but it shows Tool exploring some of the dynamic songwriting that makes them what they are today.

Jerk-Off - 2/5 - There are times when I feel there is something very interesting going on, with each instrument (including vocals) individually, the problem is that they don't come together well.

Opiate - 4/5 - The obvious pinnacle of the album. It sounds as good as much of the Undertow material. With this you can really see how Tool got to AEnima and eventually Lateralus.

The Gaping Lotus Experience - It wouldn't be fair to judge the album based on this hidden track, its more of a joke than anything.

Report this review (#80904)
Posted Sunday, June 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars First off, it is DUMB to see this album as "prog" and compare it to a prog release. The 92 version of Tool is metal, not (yet) prog. Ok I'm gonna go against the grain and give 4 stars to this album. Keep in mind they released this stuff about a year and a half after the creation of the band, and I think most of the material is GOOD. If half the new metal bands today released a first EP as good and as powerful as that, the metal industry would be a LOT better. This is their most raw, metal record. No electronic percussion, no oriental grooves and riffs, and Maynard is screaming. a lot. Sweat is good, but the lyrics are a bit too "teenage" for me. Hush is pretty ok, a very "[%*!#]-off" song. Part of Me is probably their most metal song. I like the riff. But sounds better on Salival. Opiate: the reason this EP must be bought (and why it gets 4 stars). Intelligent lyrics, interesting structure, all the musicians are more connected than before. I think it showed a bit of Tool's future. It's my favorite song from the Opiate/Undertow era.

So, good EP, but not a good start for Tool in my opinion (unless you really want to experience the evolution of their sound and musical identity by listening to the albums in chronological order).

Tool owns. they're the modern days Pink Floyd (wanted to place that somewhere =p).

Report this review (#84811)
Posted Wednesday, July 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Tool, one of the biggest bands in metal/prog/art rock today, with their unmistakable sound. When I'm driving I can always tell when it is Tool on the radio by literally the first few notes. However, "Opiate" was recorded in the bands early days and is a far cry from their later work. This is a straightforward metal album. It is filled with angst and anger, and the lyrics are nothing close to their future works.

Maynard James Keenan does display some of his great vocals, but he is mostly screaming on this EP. The guitar work is pretty very rooted in 90's alternative metal, but if you are a fan of metal you will like how it sounds, pretty heavy. There is some great bass work as well, and Danny Carey plays some great drums. Granted, it is pretty solid metal...but he STILL manages to lay down some great beats/rhythms and not to mention some intense double bass.

Sweat: This song begins a heavy guitar riff and some sweet bass. This song is pretty heavy and sounds like generic metal. However, there is some great drumming and Keenan sings in a less harsh style. The lyrics are some of the best on the album, pretty metaphorical.

Hush: GREAT bass intro, followed by some unique drumming. We soon go into another metal riff and some intense screaming. This is pretty much the song. Personally, I like how it sounds and just LOVE Maynard's vocals, (even if they are angry). While the lyrics may leave much to be desired, (a lot of anger and swearing) there may be more to it then it appears. The song is about censorship, ("I can't say what I want to, even if I'm not serious", "People tell me what to say, what to think, and what to play") and has a very sarcastic tone. Maynard explains how he can't say what he wants, even if he's just kidding like, "...why don;t you go kill yourself!". A very tongue in cheek song, I love it!

Part of Me: This song appears to deal with self-identity. Throughout Keenan says this person is, "just a part of me" and how, "I know you better than I know myself" Personally, my least favorite song on the album.

Cold and Ugly: A live song that begins quite humorously. This song deals with a woman who is scared and James saying he is afraid as well. A short, simple song.

Jerk-Off: Another live song with an...interesting speech by Maynard. This song has a cool sounding guitar riff. This song has my favorite lyrics on the album. They deal with the concept of right and wrong, but it does not seem to apply to some people, "Jerk-Offs". Maynard than angrily, but eloquently in a way, deduces that if their is no right or wrong, and punishment is only for those who get caught..he should take things into his hands and, "shoot you myself!" I love this song and lyrics!

Opiate: After a cool little intro, this song really kicks in. I think musically, this may be the most progressive song. I am not saying it is one, but I think you can hear it coming out. That being said it is another basic metal song and quite angrily criticizes religion. This song contains a hidden track, "The Gaping Lotus Experience". This song is very different from the album. It is a very psychadellic and trippy song dealing with friends and their actions when on drugs. It is hilarious!

Overall, this is an alternative metal release. It is not progressive in the least, however I do think there are traces of tool's later work. You can hear a bit of technicality, ( a bit) and while the lyrics may seem crude they are in their own way pretty intelligent. For me, this is a strong 4, but for the average progger I am going to have to give this a rating of 2 stars.

Report this review (#88296)
Posted Monday, August 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars This cd is really good for an ep. Mabye too good...

Positive things about it are that it sounds really fresh and honest. This ep is filled with anger. Even though it consists of simple songs which are not lenghty they manage to create a really nice overall atmosphere. While the music could be compared with the sound of thrash metal bands, the lyrics seem too sophisticated to allow this band to be categorized as an upcoming "thrasy sounding" band. It has moments that show tool is meant to become something bigger (of course noone could imagine such progression). Maynard's performance is great and you can tell there is something special about his voice.

Negative things about this ep are that the compositions are pretty simple and sometimes make the cd a bit boring, the really bad production (compared to the albums they released in the future) and the lack of imagination in the songs. Moreover while Danny Carey's performance isn't bad, you can't really tell from this ep that he would later become one of the most "intelligent" drummers in the rock scene.

In conclusion it's not a bad ep from a band that you can tell that has something special. However, I guess noone knew from this album that they would create masterpieces like Aenima and Lateralus. People who aren't really in prog and listen mostly to metal should try this ep before the others cause that way it may seem easier to get used to their sound. For those who are into prog Do not start with this cd! Tou can easily be disappointed. Finally, for those who have listened to their masterpieces, they should buy this ep just to see how much a band can evolve. Two stars!

Report this review (#91331)
Posted Saturday, September 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I had heard a great deal about this EP from other Tool fans and decided to check it out. Unfortunately I was pretty let down. It's not really prog, but that is not my main issue with it. I think the quality of the recording (since it is mostly live) is lacking low end. It sounds shrill throughout and is a difficult listen in that regard. The quality of the songs is not terrible, but it doesn't match their later output by any means.

If you are a die-hard fan of the band or just one of those people that insists on having everything they put out, then get it. But if your favorite Tool albums are "AEnima" or "Undertow", then you are most likely not going to like this EP. It is nowhere near as good.

Report this review (#117984)
Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is something that any Tool fan should hear, not essential, not of best production, this is early work, roots of future band. There are some wondefull moments here, for example, drum solo in song Opiate is one of the most effective that I have ever heard. Some songs are studio recordings, others are played live. Those played live sound powerfull, noisy, but melodic and inspiring, heavy and smart in lyrical sense. Hidden song also shows some great guitar sounds. I would give this four stars, but this EP is not for every prog fan, and one of the best Eps I have heard.
Report this review (#126685)
Posted Sunday, June 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The album starts off strong with Sweat, with great vocals, and deep, dark bass. Hush is the second song, starts out with a nice little bass line, the song's lyrics are bashing censorship. Part Of Me is next, strong metal, the heavyest song on the album. Cold & Ungly (Live) Raw and loud, band had perfect performance and the sound quality is good. Jerk-Off (Live) Same as Cold & Ugly, this is also my favorite song on the album. Opiate is the softest song on the album besides The Gaping Lotus Experience, which is sort of a joke song...Opiate is a full on attack on christianty, claiming religion is an opiate."If you want to get your soul to heaven, trust in me now, don't you judge or question, you were born broken now, but faith can heal you, just do everything I tell you to do".
Report this review (#126706)
Posted Sunday, June 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Tool starts their career on a much different note.

The first release by prog-metal heads Tool is an EP which is home to a sound that's a far cry from their later, more in-depth work. Even their first full length album "Undertow" has a very different sound from this, and that was a good change in pace. What we're presented with here is a band without direction, releasing a debut with a bunch of scattered songs, all very generically standard metal. This is an ep that is definately for fans and collectors, but there are some moments that sound like the Tool we now know. Possibly the one standout on this mess is the coda OPIATE, which shows a very progressive direction in a 5 minute form. The rest of the material here, as stated before, is simply too scattered to get in to.

Some fans may find a soft spot for it, but this is definately an album to avoid for the non-Tool prog-fans out there. 1.5 stars, this one's for fans and completionists only.

Report this review (#135390)
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars To me this was a good ep for the Start of this epic band we know today. But this opiate is nothing like Aenema, Lateralus, or 10,000 days. This album is mostly metal but not your typical growling double bass medal you hear a lot. Maynard lyrics are very angry and his vocals are not as pure like in their future albums. The title track Opiate is the best track on the album. Some other good ones are Jerk-off which was recorded live, Sweat which features some great drumming by Danny, Hush is a good one too. If your only into the new TOOL material i don't know if you will be into this, but for die hard TOOL fans this is a must have in your collection. A good start for TOOL, future releases would show how there sound would evolve into something very different from Opiate. 3 stars
Report this review (#151397)
Posted Saturday, November 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Opiate" is the official debut release by US alternative rock/metal act Tool. The 6 track, 26:54 minutes long EP was released in March 1992 by Zoo Entertainment.

Tool´s take on post alternative rock/metal is very unique. It´s a highly rythmic experience listening to the band´s music. Bass, drums and guitar are the simple foundation on which Tool build their music. On top of that Maynard James Keenan passionate vocal delivery almost act like an extra instrument. One moment aggressive and raw, the next minute sensitive and emotional. On "Opiate" he is mostly aggressive though. The more subtle vocals of later recordings are not that dominant here.

The EP features 4 studio and 2 live recordings which are more or less in the same vein. Pretty decent aggressive alternative rock/metal. "Opiate" isn´t necessarily a good place to start if you are new to Tool but the quality of the release is allright and a 3 star rating is deserved.

Report this review (#159965)
Posted Sunday, January 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars The only thing even remotely 'progressive' about this release is the amazing cover, featuring a psychedelic sculpture by guitarist/art director Adam Jones, Everything else falls short.

OPIATE was Tool's debut release, and while not long enough (or good enough, frankly) to be a full album, this EP houses some of the most favorite songs amoungst the band's first fans, which are mainly grunge-metal-heads. For sure, everything on this album fits the mold: Nonsensical and pointless use of explicit lyrics every opprotunity? Check. Uninspired down-tuned guitar riffage? Roger. A bass player who has no aspiration to play anything original? You bet. In fact the only band member who is doing anything worth noting is Danny Carey, who has always been a virtuoso nomatter what era Tool's music was in.

Okay, maybe I'm being a little too harsh, and possibly you are wondering right now why I stated earlier that Tool is my favorite band if I dislike their first two releases so much. Well, the thing is, I know Tool can do better, and they did do better. ALOT better, only a few years after this EP saw release. So I don't think I should beat around the bush when it comes to this release. It isn't very good. Tool went on to create the greatest prog album of all time as far as I am concerned, and that album alone has made them my favorite band, so why not look back at their early years and laugh at the simplicity? It doesn't mean that they aren't great now, but the honest truth is that in the early days of their career, they weren't doing anything that memorable. It has no bearing on how fantastic they would grow to be, and the power and genious of their later works give me all the more cinfidence to just say how I feel about this EP.

Adam Jones has little to no creativity in his playing style yet; simply barring the top three strings and sliding his hand up and down the guitar neck to make chords. Paul D'Amour was never a good bass player as far as I am concerned, and his departure during the production of their second studio effort was all-too-welcome. Keenan, while still great in his vocal perfomance, has rather lackluster lyrical journeys here, with one of the tracks on the EP, ''Hush'', starting out with an overly-used profane word combination that does nothing to the song's benefit, and leads me to think that this must have simply been a way for Keenen to vent his anger, and not really write any lyrics that were heartfelt or intruiging. Fortunately, he got it all out of his system before their second studio album, and I have no doubt that it helped that album considerably.

So, in the long run, as far as prog rock goes, this is as far away from it as one could get, and I don't recommend it to anyone unless they simply want to own all of Tool's releases. I myself am one of those people, and do get some enjoyment out of it, but not as a prog fan, because this EP simply isn't. The one song on here that has any psychedelic influence at all is the hidden track, ''The Gaping Lotus Experience'', which is a tongue-in-cheek song that is actually quite humorous. One track, though, is hardly a reason to buy an entire CD.

Report this review (#161770)
Posted Thursday, February 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
1 stars Tool must have tried playing with the right hand while being left-handed. The few songs featured on this EP are horrible and puerile. You might not mind the weak production because generally bands cannot afford a good sound for their first record, but can someone explain me what is all the screaming relevant for? I agree with harsh vocals even in alternative rock, for instance I enjoy listening Korn's Life is Peachy, but I guess Opiate is just not made to sound well with such vocal interpretations.

Tool sounds far better on later recordings and every band has to start from the bottom sometimes not judging only by popularity, but also by quality. I don't not recommend this EP to anyone. It's progressiveness is not worth discussing because in the first place, I don't really know whether Opiate has much in common with music. There are only to positive aspects of the disc, one of them being some good seconds of music on one of the live tracks (don't ask me why, I couldn't stand playing the record more than once) and the fact that is NOT long. Thank God !!! In spite all this, I cannot consider it anything else but POOR.

Report this review (#168678)
Posted Friday, April 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Tool - 'Opiate' 3.5 stars

Perhaps Tool's best work.

My opening statement is my truest opinion regarding this band that I have ultimate disgust for. There are so many reasons that I do not like this band that get more abundant overtime. But at the time of 'Opiate' this band was a real fine one in my opinion.

The members on the debut EP are Maynard (Vocals), Adam Jones (Guitar), Danny Carey (Drums) and Paul D'Amour (Bass). Paul is the only member that has left Tool in their career. I thought he was amazing and so is the current Justin Chancellor. Paul's bass was thunderously loud which I think just stayed in the band's sound no matter who took the position behind the instrument. I found him to be more technical then Chancellor, and have some really crushing lines, since the style of Tool changed; I guess the bassist change was only natural. Adam Jones is a guitarist I hate, but his work on this album is his best by a huge stretch and very impressive. He throws down some really strong riffs one after another. Danny Carey drums aren't his most impressive, but that is not a bad thing because of the heights he reached on the kit, but he has a thrash-like drum style on this one, but still highly technical. Maynard is Maynard on this one, his monotone voice is ever apparent, but his voice is still nice.

After describing the style of each player, they come together as a good jam band. There is a thrash- metal prowess on here, but it is a little more complex than that. Two live songs are also on the album that are extremely fun and exciting, possibly contributing to this band's cult following. The band didn't feel like they were such an artistic band and the player their instruments with enthusiasm. This was something I really liked, a great addition.

Report this review (#179822)
Posted Sunday, August 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars A good debut release, i think, even if it is far away from the glory of their later albums. The sound is raw and aggressive, and it makes the right effect to the listener. There's a lot of anger in this record, in particular for the Maynard's voice skills. Even the songwhriting is pretty good, In the standards of Tool. For me, the hilights of this release are Part of Me and Opiate, including the hidden track the gaping lotus experience, that has a nice psychedelic sound and funny lyrics. In the end, this release is pretty good, a nice start for the band, but it has not a mature sound at all. I would recommend this album only after listening the other Tool's works.
Report this review (#210785)
Posted Thursday, April 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars It is very difficult to review this EP, the debut from one of the most influential bands in the metal pantheon, without being influenced by what followed it. Four superb albums mean that this precursor EP attracts a lower ranking than it might otherwise receive.

'Opiate' is raw, unvarnished metal with only hints of prog. It hits hard and it hits early, with the first two songs setting out TOOL's stall unambiguously: 'Sweat' and 'Hush' are powerful, featuring MAYNARD's trademark emotional voice, some outstanding bass from D'AMOUR and excellent guitars and drums. The songs that follow do little to diminish the strong impression. This really is three-star material, but in the light of what follows it can only be viewed as non-essential.

Report this review (#236005)
Posted Monday, August 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars When i was a little child i have to admit that this album dislikes me in every way... i seemed too visceral, too strident, an album very simple, straightforward and easily understood... after years, it appeared to me an album full of dark compositions, sounds very dry, twisted melodies and letters directly influenced by existentialism and nihilism, and today after nearly 10 years to hear this album for the first time, I realize that was wrong with the sound of opiate tool that was about to take shape seemed very important, and so, with the passing of time... Undertow, Aenima and Lateralus his last major work, with such albums as not only claimed a great band with their own sound but it reaffirmed, and throughout its existence have given much to talk with discerning Undertow many other bands that eventually resume that part loud and metallic, dark, enigmatic, who made a unique reference tool...
Report this review (#251912)
Posted Friday, November 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
2 stars Debuts are usually hard and this one is no exception considering I find most of these tracks pretty average. But I still consider that it's better to make a so-so debut and later go on to make true masterpiece albums than to start with a masterpiece and then slowly fade away.

This EP features an unpolished raw sound that Tool will turn to their advantage on their upcoming releases but here it sounds just like a typical product of the music scene at the time. Opiate is far from something that anybody but true fans might be interested in. A definitive collectors item.

**** star songs: Sweat (3:46) Cold And Ugly (4:09) Jerk-Off (4:24)

*** star songs: Hush (2:48) Part Of Me (3:17) Opiate / The Gaping Lotus Experience (8:28)

Report this review (#257866)
Posted Saturday, December 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Sleepwalker
4 stars Tool's debut EP, Opiate, features a completely different sound from later releases. Actually, the sound seems not to have very much in common with the following release, Undertow. Despite this, there are some elements that are distictive for Tool's style that are also present on this album. Most notable being the aggresive bass playing by Paul D'amour, that has quite a few things in common with future bassist Justin Chancellor; Maynard James Keenan's excellent vocals; and the grungy guitar playing by Adam Jones. Danny Carey doesn't seem to have developed his distictive drum patterns on this album, although the drumming sounds good nevertheless.

Personally, I didn't expect much of this EP at all. The album doesn't get all too high ratings on the internet, which was the main reason for these expectations. I was very pleasantly surprised though. The album started with "Sweat", an aggresive song that sounds absolutely great. Somewhat immature perhaps, compared to the bands later work, but nevertheless an excellent track. The EP continues in this mood, which is aggresive and grungy. "Hush" was Tool's first single. A controversial one, looking at the lyrics and video. It's not quite as good as "Sweat", if you ask me, but still very enjoyable and raw. About the same goes for "Part Of Me", good but not outstanding. Next we find two tracks that are live recordings actually. Both share an intruduction that contributes to the raw nature of the music. "Cold and Ugly" is performed "for that Bob Marley wannabe mother[%*!#]er out here". I like these two live tracks more than the preceding two tracks and once again the songs are angry, raw and aggresive. The album closes with the title track, which also features a hidden track called "The Gaping Lotus Experience". Being perhaps the least straight-forward track of the EP, "Opiate" is probably my least favorite piece here. The hidden track already mentioned is a nice and unexpected ending of the album, featuring some very present flanger effects and funny lyrics. Not aggresive this time, but somewhat psychedelic.

I personally don't see why Opiate is seen by many as not much of a good debut album. Sure, it might sound a little immature compared to future releases and it doesn't yet show much of Tool's distictive sound, but it's a great release anyway, full of passionate anger, rawness and sheer aggresion. Not quite a masterpiece, no, not at all, but a great release for sure. Tool's Opiate most definitely deserves four stars in my opinion.

Report this review (#280227)
Posted Sunday, May 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars 6/10

"Opiate" is a pretty good but not essential EP.

Tool's first effort is, like many many bands, just an EP, where not much is said and proven. It is very immature indeed, and the songs are some of these songs are kind of banal. However, some of these songs are true Tool classics, in a way, even though their dark and majestic style is yet to rise, even though they're much more heavy metal than prog. That is why I recommend this especially to heavy metal fans, who will surely enjoy this.

The album starts with"Sweat", with a strange intro. The song's riff is very dark, and Maynard's voice is excellent as always.

"Hush" is a very energetic song, excellent, one of their best songs of the band's first era. Catchy, very enlivened, and sure pretty cheerful, respect to the other Tool songs.

"Part Of Me" is one of the briefest Tool songs (if we don't count all the intermission songs like Faaip De Oiad, Lost Keys etc.), but this doesn't mean it's a weak song. Quite the contrary, it's a great, catchy tune, very nice to listen to.

the two live songs aren't really goos in my opinion, I'm not crazy about the melody, and consequently they bore me a bit.

the title track is interesting in many ways, and shows some first signs of what Tool will eventually become. It is, indeed, the only prog song in this album.

An pretty good EP, not essential, but still interesting and enjoyable. However, I recommend it only to Tool fans

Report this review (#281775)
Posted Thursday, May 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Can't really recommend this except to a true Tool collector. I believe Tool to be one of the great bands of hard/metal/prog (along with Mars Volta), but this collection is a very raw set of tunes that seem to be before the "prog-thang" happened to them. Loud, racous, raw, sometimes irritating, and not prog except for the title track. However, glimmers of what will be come through from time to time. Like many early releases of bands, this is interesting as a historical document but not really as a full Tool album. Eventually, though, they would get it right in a big way! 2 stars- collectors only
Report this review (#295155)
Posted Wednesday, August 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars The album is overtly religious. This debut album should be avoided and never looked back upon.

The band is screwed up--After doing research and referencing the Spanish lineage is/as Shem, and Shem is the same lineage as Christ, why let the beggar in to begin with.

For the age they are I find this album unprofessional, accomplished musicians mocking sound as they do is a banned album in my opinion.

It would be much different if the members did not have violin/orchestra background, military background education that is level A intelligence, college educations,etc.

It does not have any common ground/ common sense--grade a military expert afraid of the stage? Obvious pretender as it comes and are the Number 1 island conjure based group against the mainland individual.

The group is performance based and is meant to entertain on a stage.

The groups Metallica or TOOL are better off sacrificed, they offer nothing new and are a turn out to the necessities in a society. The perversion they emphasize replaces the common sense or fabric of a lineage built on necessity. The groups are backstabbers looking for these lineaged individuals and then continuing for them what has been in that lineages fabric.

The above has been proven in common sense and the perversion has become more than obvious in the reference the members do not have support from their parents and this causes large problems if bought into a private household. I have mentioned this in reviews that performances are not private areas such as homes and the exchange of a home for this album is banworthy in reflection.

The bottom line is so what if you feel that way for not honoring your parents. This group is a private disturbance personified/turnout.

Report this review (#305239)
Posted Monday, October 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Opiate" was my first contact with the band "Tool". I heard positive comments about them and then decided to check. A cover weird, like a priest praying bizarre. I could not stop thinking about the title and religion, as he says "Karl Marx". The first instrument to attract my attention was the bass, more precisely, "Paul D'Amour." "Danny Carey" shows his talent in drumsticks in the track "Sweat". I put myself to think about their live performance and in this "Ep" could analyze them, "Cold and Ugly" and "Jerk-Off". "Opiate / The Gaping Lotus Experience" confirms the critical context related to religion. As already mentioned "Cold and Ugly" does not disappoint, all members aligned in a strong and aggressive music. "Jerk-Off" is a moment in the spotlight for the booming voice of "Maynard James Keenan". "Part of Me" is a track more cracked, worked on the line "Prog." The end result is very satisfying album. There are so many elements of "Prog" at first sight, but this was only the beginning for them.
Report this review (#736143)
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars I may not know much (my wife would agree enthusiastically with that statement of fact) but I do know a unique sound when I hear it and Tool positively has it. While they may not make it into the upper half of my list of my favorite musical entities I have a lot of admiration for them due to their stubborn refusal to conform and be like every other metallic-hued band out there and for being able to present a fresh motif that's unlike anyone else's. I bought, intently listened to and favorably reviewed 'Lateralus' several years ago but the older I get the less I'm able to handle their intensity on a regular basis so I sort of respect them from afar if you catch my drift. However, I aim to eventually indulge in every album they've made out of principle so it only made sense for me to start from the raw beginning. I've found over the years that you can discover a lot about a group by reading about and hearing how they got started so I recently investigated their first foray into the music biz, their '92 EP called 'Opiate.'

As we all know, that early 90s era in rock & roll was dominated overwhelmingly for better or worse by the grunge movement so I was curious to see how much of that phenomenon fertilized their roots. Within seconds of the opening song, 'Sweat,' I could tell that the effect was minimal because Tool seemed to have no intention of being trendy or hip. The tune sports an extremely menacing metal riff stuffed into a 6/8 time signature pocket (with a few variations thrown in) and is strikingly invigorating. The crispness of Danny Carey's drumming is instantly noticeable and really stands out but, alas, one can't overlook the demo quality of the recording for long. The whole thing is rather mid-rangey and that common tenderfoot scout malady detracts from all of the numbers' potential. With 'Hush' the tightness of the band is on full display, testifying to their innate ability to meld and their dedication to their craft. I give singer Maynard James Keenan mucho kudos for not resorting to unintelligible growling or primordial screams to get his point across, as well. My motto is: If you can sing, SING! 'Part of Me' is next, a strong riff-based rocker. These kinds of songs can grow tedious in a hurry in the hands of untalented amateurs but Tool makes it intriguing by steering the tune through a series of unorthodox patterns. They dare to be progressive, in other words. Nonetheless, despite their commendable audacity, their youthful inexperience as songwriters bleeds through the track's tough veneer and they never take it to the next level. Having said that, though, it's plain to see and hear that they had something brand new to offer the world. The seeds were germinating.

The two live cuts that follow were, according to my brief research, recorded at only their second public show and, as such, are more than passable considering. The atmosphere surrounding 'Cold and Ugly' suggests that there was a plethora of headbanging going on in the room at the time. The band's inherent power is evident and, for an in-club taping, their smoldering ferocity was captured quite well. What sticks out most is the group's remarkable cohesiveness even if the number itself is less than memorable. 'Jerk-Off' is a straight-ahead pile-driving metal sledgehammer and it's finally at this late juncture that I do detect a grungy slant in the song's presentation, very understandable in light of what was happening on planet Earth in '92. Unfortunately, this track doesn't age well because of that particular taint. I know all too well that guitar solos were not welcome in that time frame but I would've enjoyed hearing what Adam Jones could've produced by vamping freely in the venue's supercharged environment. 'Opiate' marks a return to the studio enclave and, in contrast, I find the dynamics involved in this tune to be much more engaging and the song offers subtle hints about what is to come in their budding career. The number has a score of imaginative facets and changes of focus to pique a progger's interest and the wild ending is a fury. After a long pause you encounter a weird hidden track, 'The Gaping Lotus of Experience,' a short piece that's slightly psychedelic in a Doors sort of way and starkly different from the rest of the disc's contents. No harm, no foul.

I've read that this is one of the more successful EPs in history in that, to date, it has sold over 1.5 million copies in the USA alone. Yowza! That's astounding and I'm sure can be directly tied to their huge, dedicated fan base. I'm a bit of a musical archaeologist and it's always fun for me to hear how artists and/or bands started out even if what I dig up is either bland, ordinary or downright awful. In the case of Tool it's blatantly apparent that they were onto something special from the get go. Their rather quick mastery of recording techniques (that showed up on their first full-length album only a year later) propelled them into the limelight in short order and the rest is history. 'Opiate' is better than many debuts but I can't recommend it to anyone except the most fanatic of followers. It shows them to be a diamond in the rough. 2.2 stars.

Report this review (#777257)
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars A beginning for Tool?

"Opiate" is the first Tool release and is a fair EP that got them into the music scene where they would eventually make an indelible impact. This is not prog metal as they would become but still rocks hard, and features wonderful riffing from Adam Jones and Maynard Keenan's inimitable vocal style. The tracks are far shorter and concise than they would release on subsequent albums, and sound more like alternative nu- metal than the complex musicians they would develop into. The songs are exuberant and exciting showing a band in their development stage, that were aggressive, darkly innovative, and wanted to conquer.

They would have to wait till "Aenima" to make a significant impact but this EP is rather endearing. 'Hush' and 'Part of Me' are heavy and have the signature Tool sound. The live tracks are intriguing showing an early immature Tool, and have some amusing introductions especially on 'Jerk-Off', one of the better tracks.

The longest track is the 8:28 minute 'Opiate/ The Gaping Lotus Experience', that musically is excellent but I feel offended by the lyrical content, especially the ghost track. Overall an EP showcasing the beginning of Tool, who would develop into one of the most inspirational bands over the next 8 years.

Report this review (#790818)
Posted Thursday, July 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars After releasing the demo "72826" we get TOOL's first official release OPIATE in the form of a 26 minutes plus EP. TOOL has had the same exact lineup from the beginning with Maynard James Keenan on vocals, Adam Jones on guitar and Danny Carey on drums. The sole exception is that Paul D'Amour handles bass duties on OPIATE and the follow-up first full length album "Undertow."

The template of TOOL's unique sound has already fully blossomed here. Although this is more straight on hard groove rock, it is nonetheless the basic sound which would unfold itself into their more popular progressive albums that would begin with "Aenima." Unfortunately despite being a fairly consistent and pretty good album, it seems a little generic compared to the much more ambitious efforts that came later. However, I really like having this album in my collection just because it delivers that raw energy of an early ambitious band greasing its wheels for the big time.

Despite being a short EP there is a hidden 7th track which begins 6 minutes and 6 seconds after the final title track called "The Gaping Lotus Experience." A very good but not outstanding first effort for TOOL. Of course, everyone knows the best of this band was a few years away.

Report this review (#1193722)
Posted Sunday, June 15, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars 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 second favorite band. Short, but a great addition nonetheless.

Report this review (#1351912)
Posted Saturday, January 24, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars Opiate is the first Tool release, and mirroring many other reviews, I'll start by saying that this is band before they're ripe. However, I wouldn't write this off. What this release lacks in progressive aspects, it makes up in energy, uniqueness, and tightness. Tightness being a part of the excecution. If you could ask this as a question, "how convincing is the end result?". While Opiate does not over-achieve, it excecutes what it does gracefully in the context of any band's first release. That's what separates it from many other early-mid 1990's alt-metal debuts. Opiate still lacks substance, and when I say this, I mean that it's caught in a weird complacency between the grunge era and the future nu metal era where its anger doesn't add anything new to the mix. It has this aura of angsty songwriting that's untamed but on its own unconvincing. That is, it works towards the heaviness of the songs but falls quite flat when you read along with the lyrics. I've heard comparisons of this release to many other bands of the era but what this reminds me of most is Alice in Chains. If I were in the business of writing witty one-liner reviews, I would say that I'd rather listen to AiC.

Sweat is the first song off of this E.P. and it sets the tone very well. It's driven mainly by the bass, with the guitar mirroring it in the riffing. Like many other songs on this release, it has a midsection part that uses tight 16th note patterns to keep the listener locked in. I do like this song the most out of the first 3 studio takes, mainly because I like the rising feel of the chorus. 16th note rolls aren't exactly progressive but they never fail to excite me. Still, this track is very balanced in ways the following two tracks aren't.

Hush follows Sweat with a funky bass riff intro. Again, Tool clearly had a formula for their instrumental parts, and these parts are the most progressive parts on this album. The lyrics are very straight-forward and angsty. Hush isn't pensive, it's a thrashy banger. MJK's yelling is... well, it's here, just as much as it's in every other song. To be honest, it feels like the simplicity of the lyrics drains it a bit. There'll be better uses for his voice later. Apparently this was their choice of a single and while it clearly fits with the grunge era, I think Sweat would have been a better choice.

Part of Me has the worst-conceived lyrics on this E.P. Instrumentally, it might be the better of the first 3 tracks but it's hard to get past the vocals. It reminds me of early Radiohead songs because the lyrics go on without truly building up on anything. This is a song without much to say, that's how it comes off to me. The riffing is a bit more technical and varied, that's all this has going for it.

The live tracks begin with Cold and Ugly. And let me say, I would love to have been at an early Tool show based on these recordings. I might be generalizing here, but it's easy for many metal bands to lose the aggression of their studio recordings when live. Cold and Ugly shows that Tool could command a live show better than their studio recordings at this early point in their career, and that's a sign of great things to come. The heaviness, the vocals, it all works to their advantage and is even rawer and heavier without studio production.

My favorite of all the tracks so far has to be Jerk-Off. Now, this has the same lyrical flaws as the songs before, the angst without much to show. But the thing is, it has everything else going for it. The dukaduka with the guitars, the pounding basslines, the incredibly tight drums, and even a sense of dynamics which is not nearly as present in the earlier songs, I love how all these elements from the other songs blend together within this track. This isn't progressive, but it's well excecuted and interesting. Of all the songs, this and the title track are the two bits I'm going to continue listening to in the future.

And now for that title track. I see that it's 8 minutes long, and I automatically think "this is going to be the best song off this album". Now, it's actually two songs, one which still runs about 5 minutes and a psychedelic rambling studio take at the end. Opiate has the budding progressive elements which Tool are known for. It's not your standard verse chorus song, it has an overarching progressive structure. The riffing is more dynamic, and it uses quietness for once, and it's this dynamicism that makes it a standout from this E.P. It's angst is less agoraphobic and more societal. Specifically, it's a scathing rant at Christianity, and it has way more to say than any of the songs before. Whereas the studio tracks made me feel tired at 3 minutes, I keep coming back to this track.

For the ending part, it's just Tool screwing around in the studio. I really don't think much of it, it's just silly, maybe even a tad unneccessary. Some would consider it offensive, and there's a lot of questionable content on this that doesn't feel warranted. But it's psychedelic, that's the kind of stuff they explore later.

Now that I've gone through every track, it's time for my verdict. If you like Alice in Chains and Soundgarden, I would check this out because there may be something for you here. For progressive metal listeners, if you prefer maturity and complexity then you'll probably be let down. There are 3 songs that I would continue to listen to off of this, Sweat, Jerk-Off, and Opiate. I think this has enough to warrant a 3 star rating. I think this has appeal beyond Tool fans, but it's still not a great match for prog metal and heavy prog listeners. This is a band in its infancy, but there's something here that puts Tool ahead of many other bands at this stage of their career. It's far from bad, but it's not excelling at anything. 2.8 stars.

Report this review (#2245340)
Posted Tuesday, August 20, 2019 | Review Permalink

TOOL Opiate (EP) ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of TOOL Opiate (EP)

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.