So what is this?
It’s a quick run down of one of the great Rock/Heavy/Progressive bands.
I know when someone says “check this band out” I jump on Spotify or YT, and basically listen to the most listened songs. How else do you know where to start? It obviously doesn’t do the band any justice, some of a bands best work isn’t the most viewed cough Radiohead – Creep cough.
Won’t go into their history, Wiki is there for you. Will keep this succinct. Please also know this isn’t fact based, unbiased or objective. This is very much my experience, thoughts and feelings on what is probably my favourite band. It’s biased to what I like and is subjectively my thoughts. You may disagree, and that is fine. Please feel welcome to add anything of note. We’re all here for the music!
Who knows what drew me to them in the first place? But I do think I’m a sucker for syncopation, polyrhythms and all round odd and changing time signatures.
Only recently has any TOOL been available to be streamed, so it’s a great time to get into them now, so readily accessible.
There is a TL:DR version at the end in for all of those with short attenti…you’re already gone aren’t you…
Who is TOOL?
Los Angeles 4 piece band. Formed around 1990. They release albums slowly, sometimes very slowly.
Maynard – Singer and all-round strange and smart fellow. Makes Wine.
Adam Jones – Guitarist, riff writer, and art director.
Danny Carey – Drums. Sort of guy world class drummers stare at in amazement.
Justin Chancellor – Bass.
Who am I?
No-one of note. I’ve just been listening to them for a long time (20 years or so), interested in headphones for a long time, and I like these Forums. Thought people might like a quick little run down. This is literally the first review/piece of anything structured that I’ve written.
Real short run down of their Discography, the popular tracks that get the streams, and the not-so-popular tracks that are just as good as far as I’m concerned.
Opiate – EP 1992
Very much the early days for TOOL. Recordings are more bare bones. Don’t start here, come back here. Snippets of later TOOL songs and part of songs/riffs can be heard in this EP.
Popular Tracks: Part of Me, Hush, Opiate
Undertow - 1993
Starting to get more into the main TOOL sound. More filled out and complex arrangements, more variation to Maynard’s singing. The main track “Sober” can be seen in its raw early form in the late 80’s with Maynard and C.A.D.
Popular Tracks: Sober
My picks : Prison Sex, Undertow
Aenima - 1996
Many would call this their best - their favourite album. Its bigger and fuller again, you can hear their progression each album. More and more ambient (but heavy/dark) like infills that will become the staple of some of their more recent albums. Some great headphone moments with the drums in this album. “O’Keefe Music Foundation” do a great cover of 46&2 on Youtube.
Popular Tracks: Forty Six & 2, Stinkfist
My picks: Eulogy, H., Aenema
Lateralus - 2001
Again, a favourite of many. More refinement to their sound. Drums in this album are excellent. A very complete album start to finish. Possibly their most well-known song is off this album (Schism), and one of the more talked about compositions (Lateralus) and its relation to the Fibonacci sequence.
Popular Tracks: Schism, Lateralus
My Picks : Disposition (then into Reflection), Ticks & Leeches
10,000 Days - 2006
This album split a few people from memory. Hard core early TOOL fans may not have been a fan, but if you listen to each album, it feels right. Feels like a progression, at least to me it does. If I had to choose one TOOL album, it would either be this or Lateralus.
Popular Tracks : The Pot, Vicarious, Jambi
My Pick: Right in Two, Wings for Marie (Pt 1 & Pt 2)
Fear Inoculum - 2019
13 years later. Waited 13 years for this album……and its good. Some say its boring or more “dad rock”. But to me its excellent. They are all much older than they were when they made Aenima, get over it.
Its slower, each main track is long and there are long periods of instrumentals. And yes, some tracks have some clipping of sorts (as do some other albums of theirs). Drums, once again, excellent though. Danny is something else.
Main Tracks: Fear Inoculum, Pneuma, 7empest
My Picks: Descending, Invincible
FAQ & TL:DR
I don’t have time to read this, I’m a busy Somebody. I have 30 minutes to see if I like TOOL. Hit me.
I don’t have time to read this or even 30 minutes. I have 6:44 minutes to see if I like TOOL. Hit me.
Schism - If you don’t like this song, you won’t like TOOL. It has all the staple elements that make them who they are.
I like TOOL, what else might I like?
A Perfect Circle – Is the easy choice. Maynard still on Vocals. Not quite as dark and moody and artistic. Some great songs though. Check out “Judith”, “The Outside”, “The Doomed” and “3 Libras”.
Radiohead – Is the not so obvious choice. Both bands exceptional musicians, and although not as heavy as TOOL, have the same dark and moody overall feel. They also share a love of odd time signatures, syncopation and polyrhythms. I can’t sum up Radiohead in 3 or 4 recommended songs, sorry.
I don’t like TOOL, but I have a dope headphone rig and I’d like to tell my friends I listened to TOOL for the street cred. What do you recommend?
Stick on Chocolate Chip Trip. Get through the little intro part and enjoy some Headphone Candy drum solo. No vocals on this track.
Anything else I should know?
They have some really great and creepy claymation videos for a few of their songs. The guitarist, Adam, directs and makes a lot of the art associated with TOOL. I remember watching them on late night RAGE back in the 90’s, good times. (RAGE was a Aussie “video hits” type program, mostly showed the not-so-mainstream scene, uncensored videos and lyrics, on late night/early morning etc).