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TOOL

Experimental/Post Metal • United States


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Tool biography
Formed in Los Angeles, California, USA in 1990 - Still active as of 2017

TOOL formed with Maynard James KEENAN (vocals), Adam JONES (guitar), Paul D'AMOUR (bass) and Danny CAREY (drums). The band is well known for their disturbing lyrics, creative groundbreaking musicianship and imaginative music videos.

Singer Maynard James KEENAN has collaborated with bands such as NINE INCH NAILS, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE and provides vocals for A PERFECT CIRCLE. The singer is well known for having a supernatural ability to hold long notes with his voice. Adam JONES is a very skilled guitarist who also creates the band's videos and artwork. He was also chosen to be on the effects team for the movie "Terminator 2". The band often spend quite a few years writing and recording their albums in order to make them perfect and there is often a gap of 5 years between each studio album.

The band's first full length album is 1993's "Undertow", which played an important role of sculpturing and pioneering the prog metal scene that exists today. TOOL mastered the lengthy song structures, guitar effects, unique riffs and solo's backed up by KEENAN's amazing voice that can stretch long notes. Three years later the follow up "Aenima" was released, a masterpiece which received excellent reviews and was a clear step up from the previous album. This includes a mixture of anger fueled songs and emotional, tortured songs. The album also settled for a more progressive sound and contained many lengthy pieces.

2001 saw the band's masterpiece, "Lateralus". It was almost impossible to better the last album but they pulled it off. This lengthy album showed off the band's lyrical and musical skills to the maximum. One of the best prog rock albums I've ever heard. The album was succeeded by another five year hiatus where the band members worked on their side projects.

2006 finally saw the band's eagerly awaited new album "10,000 Days" which was initially met with praise from both the fans and critics, making it their second album to top the Billboard 200. Over time, the album began to lose some of its initial praise due to the material's less ambitious content when compared to "Lateralus".

The band is currently on another hiatus where KEENAN is mainly occupied with his latest side project PUSCIFER while JONES and CAREY have began to do the ground work for the band's fifth album. ...
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AenimaAenima
Explicit Lyrics
Sony Legacy 1996
$9.98
$5.26 (used)
LateralusLateralus
Sony Legacy 2001
$9.95
$6.11 (used)
10,000 Days10,000 Days
RCA 2006
$10.95
$6.19 (used)
UndertowUndertow
Explicit Lyrics
Sony Legacy 1993
$11.38
$5.70 (used)
Opiate EpOpiate Ep
Explicit Lyrics · EP
Sony Legacy 1996
$7.52
$13.65 (used)
Tool: Complete Studio Album CD Collection with Bonus Art CardTool: Complete Studio Album CD Collection with Bonus Art Card
Volcano
$99.69
Tool - SchismTool - Schism
Multiple Formats
Sony Legacy 2005
$7.99
$2.48 (used)
Tool - ParabolaTool - Parabola
Multiple Formats
Sony Legacy 2005
$7.99
$3.99 (used)
Tool: VicariousTool: Vicarious
Sony Legacy 2007
$8.99
$3.77 (used)
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TOOL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

TOOL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.19 | 535 ratings
Undertow
1993
4.09 | 859 ratings
Ænima
1996
4.21 | 1461 ratings
Lateralus
2001
3.86 | 876 ratings
10,000 Days
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fear Inoculum
2019

TOOL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TOOL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

TOOL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.64 | 123 ratings
Salival
2000

TOOL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 16 ratings
72826
1991
2.83 | 215 ratings
Opiate (EP)
1992
3.80 | 31 ratings
Prison Sex
1993
4.33 | 39 ratings
Sober
1993
3.84 | 36 ratings
Stinkfist
1996
3.89 | 34 ratings
Ænema
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
H.
1997
4.02 | 35 ratings
Forty Six & 2
1997
3.55 | 53 ratings
Parabola
2005
3.88 | 59 ratings
Schism
2005
3.75 | 54 ratings
Vicarious
2007
3.87 | 15 ratings
Fear Inoculum
2019

TOOL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Opiate (EP) by TOOL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1992
2.83 | 215 ratings

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Opiate (EP)
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by mental_hygiene

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.

 Undertow by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.19 | 535 ratings

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Undertow
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars While Tool would later develop their sound to have a far more distinctly proggy nature to it, early on with Undertow, there was a lot more alternative metal and grunge in the mix. That's not to discredit this album, as I do find it quite enjoyable however, full of powerful riffs and such an overbearing sense of utter contempt that you can't help but enjoy it on those merits of rawness alone, which is good, since those are the main qualities this has for the most part. What this album lacks in variety and complexity, it makes up for in how filthy and angry everything sounds, Maynard being able to convey such hatred in his excellent vocal delivery. While having some weaker moments here, that's also not to say that the material here is worth nothing, as many of the songs here are enjoyable at the least, especially when taking into account the quality of the riffs, which manage to hit hard and be exceptionally memorable for the most part.

One other smaller issue I have with the album is that it's very top loaded, as it kicks off with 3 of the best tracks, Intolerance, Prison Sex and Sober. The main draw of Intolerance, other than the amazing transition between riffs in the chorus and verse, is the way that the song progressively becomes more frustrated sounding as it goes on, the chorus that once was a moment of particular reprieve and melody becoming more scream filled and echoey, providing a disorienting atmosphere, further accentuating the almost blind rage that Maynard seems to be in by the end of the song. Prison Sex is far and away the best song here however, while far moer traditionally hard rock in approach, the bass and riffs are nothing short of incredible, and the disturbing imagery really lends itself to the gradually more unsettling tone conveyed. Sober is the Tool song that a person is most likely to know when the band is mentioned (other than possibly Schism) and for good reason, the vocal melody being absolutely amazing, with the guitar work being able to display a great amount of emotion. The song in general is just an extremely good alternative metal song, full of passion and a considerably cleaner sound all around, which is a nice bit of change after the previous two songs. This is where the album unfortunately begins to lose steam, as Bottom, while having an awesome first couple of minutes, gradually becomes less interesting as it goes on, the faster pace of it eventually settling back down to sound similar to the other tracks, at which point there's just not too much of interest going on, the vocal performance, while being good, simply not matching up to previous songs, the spoken word section in the middle adding absolutely nothing of substance.

Unfortunately, the album continues going down hill with what is what consider to be the weakest track on this album, Crawl Away, which even after countless listens to this album over the last couple of years, I still can remember absolutely nothing about other than heavy, groovy riff near the start of the song, which is admittedly pretty great, shame that the rest of the song is so insignificant and inconsequential. Swamp Song is thankfully able to allow the album to go back to being highly enjoyable, as I find this to be a very underrated track, being quite a fan of the mid paced, yet driving beat of the song, the chorus continuing along this same tempo and simply sounding absolutely monstrous, highlighting that rawness that makes this album so entertaining in a lot of ways. The next two songs go back to being fairly unremarkable, the title track having some pretty cool riffs, but not too much else going for it, and 4 Degrees feeling as if it's really not going anywhere at all, despite the cool sitar-esque sounds in the intro. Flood, , while not incredible, manages to still end up being really enjoyable due to being able to reinvoke the insanity unleashed in the earlier tracks with the awesome chorus. The rest of the song isn't anything amazing, but still, far from a bad one. Disgustipated, while generally considered to be the worst thing that Tool has ever done, is actually a fairly interesting song in my opinion, far darker and more harrowing than anything else in their discography, the slow, almost primal beats combined with the repetition of the vocals provides a ritualistic image that is nothing short of great, sure, the song then devolves into cricket noises, but I treat this the same way I treat those song with a good 10 minutes of silence at the end of them for no reason, that ending part just doesn't exist, and now we've got ourselves a great song.

On the whole, despite having some downright incredible moments, the album from a holistic standpoint really doesn't hold up the best, the sound between tracks often being incredibly similar to the point where they can tend to blend with one another, not to mention that quite a few of these songs are very forgettable. When this album is good, it's really good however, so I can't judge this too harshly, especially since I do find myself listening to this quite frequently whenever I feel like listening to Tool. Definitely rough, but nonetheless decent, despite some flaws, and having a Tool album that isn't filled with pointless interludes is definitely a massive positive aspect of this.

Best songs: Intolerance, Prison Sex, Sober

Weakest songs: Bottom, Crawl Away, 4 Degrees

Verdict: Definitely leans much more heavily on the grunge and alternative metal side of things, but is definitely decent despite teh relative roughness. I'd recommend giving this a listen if you're in the mood for an angry, dirty sounding alt metal album, because on that front, this album rarely falters.

 Lateralus by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.21 | 1461 ratings

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Lateralus
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Tool's masterpiece is a very long album, with cyclopic compositions, all arranged with drums (Danny Carey), bass (Justin Chancellor), electric guitar (Adam Jones) and vocals (Maynard James Keenan), and therefore extremely homogeneous as sound. Only occasionally we can feel electronics effects (Eric "Statik" Anesat) at some junit.

"The Grudge (8:36)": Tool begin with an explosive song: great rhythm, sound close to heavy metal, then rhythmic progression, instrumental and sung, rabmy, and towards the ending the piece becomes verbose: back the sound of the guitar with high volume for apocalyptic end. Powerful, bombastic piece. Rating 8+

After a short intro (Eon Blue Apocalypse, 1:04), starts "The Patient" (7:14), more percussive than the previous one, but evan more repetetive. Rating 7,5/8.

After the short intro (Mantra, 1:12), starts "Schism" (6:47): guitar lap too repeated, part in progression not exceptional. You start to see a repetitive pattern of the songs: start at bland pace, slow or mid-tempo, then growing with rhythmic progression and singing, finally ending with saturated sound, apocalyptic effect, very impressive. In this case, however, the whole thing does not have the quality of the previous songs. Rated 7 +.

"Parabol (3:04)" is an interlude, suspended, meditative, with semi-acoustic guitar and vocals, without beating on the snare drum. Dreaming: atmospheric piece, it lasts three minutes and then is mixed with the next song, which will deflagrates with power. Rating 7.

"Parabola" (6:03): song that starts with a frantic rhythm, powerful, very raby but successful. Long acoustic ending. Rating 7,5/8.

"Ticks & Leeches (8:10)" is a very aggressive song, with scream singing, almost death metal, but with a long central pause, excessively verbose and repetitive. I don't discuss the technical skill of the musicians and their performance, but in my opinion this track is too self-indulgent and uninspired. Rating 6.

"Lateralus" (9:24) is a long song with the typical characteristics of the album: beginning with slow semiacoustic guitar, then great work on the drums and bass, good rhythmic progression, heavy metal noise. Acoustic break around 5 minutes, and grand finale with distorted guitar. It's still a little bit forced. Rating 7.5/8.

"Disposition" (4:46): semiacoustic interlude, with beautiful guitar sound, as always dominated by rhythm and not by melody. Excellent sound and arrangement. Piece that relaxes, after so much pumping noise. Good, but not great (too much monotonous). Rating 7,5.

"Reflection" (11:07). This piece is exemplary of the art of Tools. Everything is based on the rhythm section, the percussions creates the sound and the musical writing. The guitar also contributes to creating a tribal atmosphere. The voice of Keenan arrives only after 3 minutes and 40 seconds and the vocal part goes in progression creating a sound saturation effect very suggestive, hypnotic, where the rhythm is always the same but it arrives at levels of pathos and atmosphere noticeable. At about 7 minutes comes the guitar solo and then comes the grand finale, cacophonic, this time not apocalyptic but mesmeric. Rating 8,5.

"Triad (8:46) is an instrumental song, very pumped, dominated by a distorted guitar in feedback. It ends after about 6 and a half minutes, and then there are two abundant minutes of silence before the last piece starts. Rating 7.

Last song: "Faaip De Oiad" (2:05). Song electronically treated to create a distorted, noisy effect: Spoken voice that you hear far away, like interference to the radio. Rating 6.

Tools compared to other titans that have brought heavy metal to progressive, see Dream Theater, are based on rhythm and progression, not on the melody and change of the theme music. The timings of the songs are dilated, the rhythm, on the whole, is medium-slow, not fast, although there are vehement progressions that reach a certain speed and a great sound impact. There are no large solos, the musical writing is reduced to the bone, but the percussive clout can lead to very intense tribal and hypnotic moments. The main flaw of this music is the excessive homogeneity of the compositions and arrangements that, associated with a prolissity (and sometimes repetitive prolissity) that often exceeds the line, makes it tiring to listen to the entire album.

Medium quality of the songs: 7,32 (but the shortest pieces have the worst score). Rating album: 8. Three and a half stars.

 Undertow by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.19 | 535 ratings

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Undertow
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

4 stars "Undertow", as most proggers know, was Tool's first full length album. Previously, Tool had released "Opiate" which was an EP of short, loud and heavy songs. Now their music had matured and improved quite a bit, and it was time to put a full album out into the public. This first album shows a few lengthier songs, but nothing really surpassing 8 minutes (the last track that shows being over 15 minutes doesn't really count unless you can count crickets singing after the 6:45 mark).

The first album was also less progressive than later albums. The songs are good, heavy rockers, but less complex than what was to follow. However, the album and the band was very influential in taking heavier rock and metal away from the pop metal fad that was blossoming at the time. That is a great thing. The fact that the music only got better in subsequent albums even makes everything sweeter. So, don't discount the importance of this album, even though it is not as complex. There are still some prog elements, and the album is still very enjoyable, just not so much in a progressive vein.

There really isn't anything different to say about the album other than what has already been said in the many reviews of the album. Pretty much everyone knows the trivia surrounding the album, including the picture that was hidden under the black CD tray, the fact that "Disgustapated" feature the use of shotguns and pianos being destroyed by a sledgehammer, that Henry Rollins is a guest vocalist on "Bottom" and that the music is inspired by the comedy of Bill Hicks.

Suffice it to say that this was an influential album and it is also a great album seeing as it was the first by the band. Just know that it isn't as progressive as their music would become, but it is still full of great, heavy and technically sound music. Not their best, but still excellent.

 Lateralus by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.21 | 1461 ratings

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Lateralus
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Egyptianprog-Fahmy

5 stars 5/5 Exceptional Song writing, exceptional instrumental techniques and amazing riffs and drums. This is an album no prog fan should miss. From start to finish, it is one of the best grungy metal albums I have heard. From the song "The grudge" with its punch off bass riffs, to Schism with its iconic bass and guitar lines, to Parabol and Parabola with the amazing vocals from Maynard James, to Ticks and leeches with the drum intro and finally to the amazing song writing with the self titled album song. Truly an album that will deeply enlighten you to a higher vision.

Do not miss this.

 10,000 Days by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.86 | 876 ratings

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10,000 Days
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars With 10.000 Days Tool failed to deliver another masterpiece like Lateralus, but they managed to create an excellent album with some of the band's best moments, among other mediocre parts.

The production of the album is really good , with more balance progagonism of every instrument compared to Lateralus, where the guitars are god. I find the obsession of Maynard to distort his voice in some songs a bit annoying, but otherwise nothing to complain about the sound of the record.

Vicarious is just a perfect song, with outstanding lyrics and a perfect balance between commerciality, technicity and obscurity. But Jambi is even better, presenting the best Adam Jones guitar work to date. Just amazing start for this album!

But sadly, Wings for Marie is too slow and boring, despite the solid lyrics. 10.000 Days is better, thanks to the powerful second half, but inevitably the sensation of quality descent is there. But suddenly comes The Pot, another great song with one of the best Maynard James Keenan works on vocals. A classic!

But Tool does it again... Lipan Conjuring is absurd and pointless again, while Lost Keys (Blame Hoffmann) is a superficial introduction for Rosetta Stoned with nice guitar layers, but nothing more. Since Aenima this band is obsessed in introducing this little silly tracks wich are normally just pretentious, dull and unnecessary. And 10.000 Days is no exception.

Nevertheless, Rosetta Stoned is another thrashing track, with funny lyrics, very rhythmic and complex. Very good!

But then comes Intension... Once again too slow, but with mysterious and cryptic lyrics, very well written and a song wich leads to Right in Two, another highlight on this albums with top lyrical work. Similar to 10.000 Days in intensity and structure, but better.

And Viginti Tres? A vain reference to Nostradamus and the Antichrist, really boring.

Conclusion: 10.000 Days contains five great and three nice songs. The rest is rubbish. But the problem is that the good parts are so incredible, that I must give this album four stars. Is by far not so good as Lateralus, and it's also clearly under Aenima in my opinion, but it's another strong release from one of the most interesting and unique bands un progressive metal. And it contains the best lyrics of the band's history in my opinion! And that's is not a little thing.

Let's hope the best for the album that Tool are composing right now! I think It will not be their best, but I hope that surpasses this not so great 10.000 Days.

Best Tracks: Vicarious, Jambi, The Pot, Rosetta Stoned, Right in Two.

My rating: ****

 Lateralus by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.21 | 1461 ratings

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Lateralus
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Lateralus is without a doubt the Tool's most outstanding masterpiece, a milestone of progressive and alternative metal and an album wich influence is still notable today. A dark trip to human heart inspired by its rythm.

One of the most incredible facts of Lateralus is how good the album aged. Hearing this great work today is still impressive! Tool managed to create a timeless sound with a perfect production rich on details. The guitar and drums sound are astounding, and Maynard James Keenan never sung better.

Lateralus is also always fun to listen, thanks to the complex, surprising and deep structure of this wonderful bunch of songs. Here are also a pair of silly tracks (Eon Blue Apocalypse, Mantra), but they are not so abundant and not so annoying as they were in Aenima. The rest of the tracks are just flawless.

Best tracks: The Grudge, Schism, Parabola and Lateralus. But all the songs are really good!

Conclusion: Lateralus is the best Tool album, containing the finest work of every member of the band and also the best balanced production if the whole band's career. Variated, challenging, dark but also really enternaining music, with unforgettable songs that have reached the status of modern classics among the years.

My rating: ****1/2

 Lateralus by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.21 | 1461 ratings

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Lateralus
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Scorpius

2 stars Before we get into the meat of my review, I would like to explain my 2 star rating. I am very open to listening to new types of music, and for me, progressive metal was a new journey. I figured I would start from what is considered the best in the prog metal genre. After listening to this album with an open mind, I've come to a conclusion: either I'm more biased against metal than I think, or I just don't hear something in this album that most everyone else seems to. Here is my actual review.

The Grudge: 5/10 A decent opener, didn't really peak, but was fun and decent to listen to. Sets the mood for the rest of the album. It does what an opening track is supposed to, nothing more, nothing less. If it had done a little bit more to not be repetitious, I would give it a higher rating.

Eon Blue Apocalypse: 3/10 A fine transition, but why? The album didn't gain anything from it being on the album. It's a decent track, but it just seems like pointless filler to me.

The Patient: 4.3/10 A solid track that should have been an instrumental. Let me get this straight; I absolutely despise the vocals for this album. The auto tune is very strong with this album, and this band in general, it seems. If this track had been an instrumental, I might have actually enjoyed it.

Mantra: 7/10 The only good transition on this album, and a great setup for Schism.

Schism: 9/10 This track (and the title track) are the only reasons I gave this album as high a rating as I did. This is one of the only tracks on the album that, for me, made me want to listen to even more of the album. My brain always feels absolutely numb afterwards. This song is genius (along with title track), but 2 rights compared to 10 wrongs (in my opinion) really doesn't do much for the album.

Parabol(a): 4/10 I'm gonna combine my review for these 2 tracks into one giant review. Which is exactly what the band should have done when they made these tracks. I understand that its cool to have a calm song before a heavy song and that the songs have a name similarity, but its such an overused prog cliche. Not to mention the songs just seem bland and generic.

Ticks and Leeches: 4.7/10 The only reason this song got even a 4.7 is the drumming. The vocals are [&*!#], and the song is repetitious (again). Thats probably my biggest problem with this album: it just seems like pointless repetition to me. Coming from a hardcore King Crimson fan, that should tell you something. 70's hardcore edgy Crimson is my favorite generation of the band, but this prog metal band seems pointless and repetitious. it tries too hard to be hardcore, and again, I despise the vocals.

Lateralus: 9/10 Like I mentioned while I was discussing Schism, this track and that ones are the only reason I gave this album as high a rating I did. its just an enjoyable track. Nothing else to say about it.

Disposition: 4.5/10 A "meh" transition track. Nice bassline, but goes absolutely nowhere.

Reflection: 3/10 A continuation of Disposition, it follows a similar pathway, and takes f*cking forever to climax. I love long songs, (Echoes by Pink Floyd is my favorite song ever), but just because its a long song doesn't mean it has to take forever to climax. I'll compare this to Pigs (Three Different Ones) by Pink Floyd because they have a similar song length. That song has amazing vocals and sends a political message. It also features about 3 guitar solos, one of which uses a talkbox (type of wah pedal). Reflection just seems pointless. Its got a slow (11 minute) build-up, horrid, auto-tuned vocals, and for what? A guitar solo at the end. There are many, many prog songs that follow the same trope and ace it. This track, however, did not.

Triad: 2/10 Another instrumental, (I almost forgot the band did instrumentals, as its been 7 tracks since we've seen one), it features some heavy riffing and then 2:10 minutes of silence. Absolute silence. Absolute. F*cking. Silence. I don't know if this is what some people consider "genius", but I sure don't.

Faaip de Oiad: 0/10 This album has a theme for pointless nonsense. This is exactly that. Just end the goddamn album already.

Thank you for reading my review (or rant, depending on your point of view). I apologize if I angered or offended anyone in my review. Please just remember that you are reading a review that someone you don't know personally wrote about an album he doesn't like. We cool? Cool.

 Undertow by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.19 | 535 ratings

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Undertow
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Rodrigo Andrade7

4 stars This is not Tool's debut album but its their first studio album and also a big improvement from "Opiate" "Undertow" combines this raw sounding with very strong upbeat and heavy songs. For a first studio album it is superb, you can hear the sounding of the music turning more and more progressive with very progressive guitar riffs, amazing vocals and really strong lyrics. There is no single deviation on this album from the beginning to the end of it, all the songs are reasonably short and fast (except for the last track) but all of them are memorable. I actually consider this album to be Tool's real debut, since "Opiate" wasn't anything special for me, "Undertow" excites me in every way because it has a way bigger approach to progressive music and gives a taste of whats to come in the future for this band, this is the real start of Tool for me. For many fans, this is the only album they like from tool, however for other fans, they only like the other 3 and dislike this one and "Opiate". Can be quite understandable since Tool only started to have a big carreer since "Ænima" having very complex music, but I personally love them all, Tool is my favorite band, but you gotta consider that this album is still the beginning for tool, but don't ever think this is a weak or a less significant album, you'd be really wrong, this is a album I love to listen and Tool is in my opinion the strongest modern progressive band there is. Songs in this album like "Sober" , "Prison sex" , "Undertow" , "Swamp Song" and "Intolerance" are just completly unforgettable and remarkable.
 Undertow by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.19 | 535 ratings

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Undertow
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I first heard about Tool when I was in high school. I wasn't a fan then. They were very popular, and after listening to Undertow, it's easy to see why. The band is punchy, sonically and lyrically, with a nuanced metal vibe that supercharges the alt-rock approachability that permeated the mid-90's. Mostly though, Tool was popular because Maynard's passionate vocals and very, very angry lyrics. This is probably where the band lost me. I wasn't nearly so jaded back in those days! This album is a like ball of pent up rage, disgust, and spite just waiting to be let out; for most 15 year-olds trapped in high school, it's easy to see the appeal.

Fortunately for prog fans, Tool has a lot of musical appeal, too, even on this early album where the band is still working out their identity and sound. For an alt-rock album, it's amazingly ambitious and effective; for a prog-metal record, it's somewhat light-weight. The song writing isn't as creative or gripping as we'll hear on their later works, though still great when compared to the sort of standard FM fare we still hear on modern rock radio stations. For me the biggest attraction is the band's playing, which is undeniably great. Each member of Tool is like a dark magician, creating evil spells alone in a corner with their instruments. There's no member of the group that steals the spotlight, with solo moments, for example; instead, the band are consummately focused on the effect that each of their evil spells contributes to the experience. The rhythm section is one of the best in modern rock, and Adam Jones' guitar single-handily creates an astounding amount of noise and effects.

Of course, one can't talk about a Tool album without touching on Maynard Keenan. The guy's a master performer. His emotion and phrasing are well above his peers, though in this early album his lyrics are so focused on frustration and anger that they sort of lose me in the end. The songs have messages, but they're usually about how much the narrator wants the listener to die. Being the listener, I sort of have a problem with that! So for this early outing, Maynard's vocals get a pass.

The album as a whole should definitely be picked up by fans of the band, who on Prog Archives are probably coming from the group's more diverse, experimental, and enjoyable later albums. If you enjoy dark, fuzz-heavy, and menacing metal, Undertow could become a go-to release for you; for me, it's an every once and a while enjoyment.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

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