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Undertow [Vinyl] Explicit Lyrics

555 customer reviews

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Vinyl, Explicit Lyrics, September 17, 1996
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Editorial Reviews

Arguably their finest album, this follow-up to Opiate showcases Tool at their best, assisted by clean, crisp production, without the muddiness of Aenima. Edgy guitar riffs are complemented by spitting, heavy bass, especially on "Sober" and "Crawl Away". Lyrically, Tool are at their vitriolic best, targeting religious hypocrisy ("Intolerance," "Sober"; always a popular theme), the loss of innocence and its consequences ("Prison Sex"), and deliberate ignorance ("Swamp Song"). Henry Rollins makes a guest appearance on "Bottom," which, along with "4 Degrees," deals with questions of identity. Undertow is also Tool's most musically adventurous album, lacking the occasionally numbing sameness of Aenima, and with considerably more sophistication than their previous work.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Intolerance
  2. Prison Sex
  3. Sober
  4. Bottom
  5. Crawl Away
  6. Swamp Song
  7. Undertow
  8. 4°
  9. Flood
  10. Disgustipated

Product Details

  • Vinyl (September 17, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Explicit Lyrics
  • Label: Volcano
  • ASIN: B000000992
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (555 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,357 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Lord Chimp on February 2, 2002
Format: Audio CD
As a progressive rock fan who entered Tool's world with Lateralus, I've been collecting their albums in reverse order. It's pretty strange going from Lateralus (their most progressive) to Opiate (their "simplest"). It must have been very interesting for fans who started at the beginning and watched this remarkable band grow into the powerhouses they are now.
At face value, Undertow seems simple and heavy, pulled down because of a muddy mix that never seems to raise the guitars above a buzz or Maynard James Keenan's voice to the heights where it should soar. It's more song-oriented than the multifaceted epics of Lateralus and even ::whoa!:: catchy at times. I love the rapid, quick-fingered picking of the infectious main riff for "Bottom". Heavy stuff can have hooks too, right?
At face value...
Undertow, however, is a pretty rich heavy metal album. Only traces of the alternative/grunge sound hover around Undertow's edges -- mainly the production style and some of the riffs. But in most respects, this is very much a metal record. Intellectually, however, Tool steps well beyond most metal bands with innovative musical intricacies and astute lyrics. Keenan is one of the most powerful vocalists in rock/metal, and his delivery is perfectly dramatic on songs like "Sober" (with its powerful ending) and "Crawl Away", where he whispers and roars. Adam Jones is a very unique guitarist, not playing conventional solos, and usually basing his playing on just a few chords per song. However, Tool is more about band interplay than individual playing: Danny Carey's exact and meticulous drumming; Paul d'Amour's gritty, growling bass; Jones' scratching guitar sounds, silent nuance, or earsplitting power chords. The title track is the most dynamic musically, with clever riffs and awesome vocals.
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 14, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Tool is amazing. They write complex, emotional music, never sound corny, and they can flat-out run a chill down your spine. This particular album is more of a straight rock approach to their brand of music, as opposed to the heavy distortion of Ænima. It's tough to comapre the two albums because of this difference, but one thing I can pick out is that I like the bass better on Undertow. It is used to great effect; one example of this is on "Intolerence", where the bass keeps the flow of the song together, allowing the guitar to play more complicated and varied riffs. The vocals by Keenan are simply astounding : he can sing soft and beautifully, and conversely go all out and yell. During all of the yelling, however, he never sounds untalented; he is able to keep the high quality of his voice. That's very rare to find these days. And last but certainly not least, Danny Carey's heart-pounding drums are able to pick a song up from a slow melody to all out rage and then slow it back down again. If they continue on the path that Undertow and Ænima have beaten out for them, their new album (which is rumored to have been in production since October '99) will be something special indeed.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Murat Batmaz on May 7, 2006
Format: Audio CD
There is no common opinion on what is the best Tool album. Some will say they got better with each release, while some others think their first two releases, Opiate and Undertow, are better and more musical. Without getting into this debate, I'll kindly suggest, if you've never heard Tool before, start right here, with their first full-length release, Undertow (their debut Opiate is an EP).

The songs on Undertow are all significantly more simple and direct than their work on Aenima and Lateralus; it could be argued that the band hadn't matured fully while they were writing these songs yet, but still, for a 1993 release, Undertow is one of the most innovative discs ever, given how the scene was littered with a million grunge bands at the time. This is not to say Tool has no alternative elements in their music though. The second track of the album actually sees vocalist Maynard Keenan opting for a slightly grunge-styled delivery with great results. However, aside from that, "Prison Sex" is an ultimately adventurous piece and easily transcends the boundaries of grunge. Pairing a gritty bass motif with immensely powerful drum fills, the song also contains a dynamic guitar theme that soars above this combination, climaxing at the final second, suggesting there is not a single overplayed note on it.

Actually, Undertow, as every other Tool album, immediately impacts the listener with its solid rhythmic angle, the amazing Danny Carey on drums and Paul D'Amour on bass (now replaced by Justin Chancellor).
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 20, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I started listening to Tool when I heard "Stinkfist" on the radio about 3 years ago. I remember thinking that this song was unlike any I had ever heard and decided to buy Aemina, not knowing there were other Tool albums out there. Within a few days, I was listening to nothing else. I decided to get educated about Tool and bought their other two albums. All 3 are simply an incredible array of fantastic music, complex lyrics, and outright catharsis. Undertow contains some of their best work such as Crawl Away, Prison Sex, Swamp Song, and 4 Degrees. Maynard James Keenan may well be the most dominating figure in 90's rock/metal (sorry Ed Vedder, you don't cut it anymore). Do yourself a huge favor and start listening to this wholly original and powerful band. Everything else sounds pathetic in comparison. Tool is an anomaly that lives up to the hype while inspiring those who listen to free their minds to new perspectives. This, in my view, is what music is supposed to do.
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Topic From this Discussion
Maynard said yesterday-
How about that.
Aug 17, 2008 by L. Ricciuti |  See all 2 posts
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