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Underrated and Underappreciated.,
This review is from: Opiate (Audio CD)
13 years ago, Tool released this album and was thrown into the same category as everyone else coming out of Seattle or the West Coast at that time. This wasn't a band composed of young men in big pants or bleached hair. As a matter of fact, the drummer was already over 30 when he was featured on his band's first release and the remaining members were closer to 30 than 20. This wasn't a band that was jaded in angst and wasting away to addiction, as they were an angry, yet very experimental group.
For some reason, the brilliance that shows the path to the remaining Tool releases never seems to be mentioned whenever Tool is mentioned in the press. Instead, the press seems to focus more on Undertow, Aenima, and Lateralus, which are more accepted amongst fans and casual listeners alike. While it is more primative than what Tool has evolved into today, it's the striking delivery of these songs that make them heavy, expressive, scary, and intense for for the listener. Bottom Line: This was a progressive and psychadelic experience that was grouped into the modern rock movement at the time, much like many of their predecesors before them.
This CD has six songs with a hidden track on it, each having it's own flavor and excitement to it. The opening track "Sweat" is a bit more formulaic in terms of song structure, while the self-titled closing track follows a similar approach, until the band throws an intense jam session at the end. Live tracks are featured on this CD as well, providing a raw element to Tool that makes you appreciate where this band came from and demonstrates how well they play live.
Its a hard, aggressive album, but you can always understand what's going on. The instruments aren't obstructed by the vocals, yet they don't overpower the vocals or themselves. Instead, every single member of this band is literally showcased whenever they play their songs. There isn't so much an individual talent on this album as their is a collective talent that is awe-inspiring in just about every circle of rock musicians out there...
... yet it took 13 years to have the album become Platinum Certified. Yeah, it's sold a million copies, but their remaining albums have either become Double or Triple-Platinum, largely in part to their exposure.
If you are a musician who's just getting into Tool, buy this album first and listen to it. Listen to every detail that you'll find in the first release of a band who has come to be one of the most influential bands ever and still works to craft the face of modern rock. You could learn something that would be essential to your musical journey, as they learned valuable lessons from the bands that were essential to theirs.