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Customer Review

on March 25, 2002
"Think for yourself. Question authority...."
And so starts yet another successful outing from one of history's greatest bands. Tool's "Salival" (the name being derived from the diehards' nervous anticipation for the release of what would be "Lateralus" the next year) is much different than most band's live CD's or B-sides albums. And for that matter, much MUCH different than any other band's video catalogue; but therein lies the band's appeal and mysticism that has been attracting fans for ten fascinating years. But "Salival's" diversity and strangeness also make it more of a fan commodity than something that would appeal to the world at large (argueably because the world simply doesn't "get it"). This is not the disc that you will be handing your friend to introduce him or her to Tool. But for the faithful followers, this is quite a rewarding box set.
The DVD includes the four grotesque and symbolic Tool videos, something that hasn't been available to buy prior. The videos are mostly the brain-child of the multi-talented guitarist of the band, Adam Jones, who directed and created most of the scenes. "Prison Sex" puts to animation the painful story of Maynard's childhood abuse in chilling detail, while "Aenema" demonstrates symbols of God, psychological circumstances, and self-rigor. None of the videos displays Tools overall theme of realization better than the "Sober" video. Even though this was the eventual breakthrough for the band back in 1993, few stuck around to read into the message. The video showcases an old man in a desperate search for something the turns out to be sheerly imagined. And finally, "Stinkfist" is probably the most bizarre, revolting, unsettling, but insightful videos ever made. Lots of symbolism here as well, while "Hush" is a simple visualization to the anthematic singing of the Maynard-penned "I can't say what I want to."
The live CD is stunning, though most of the fans here are right about it not being long enough. Ever the optimist, I think it's great they released anything at ALL before the classic "Lateralus," so the 8 songs are not disappointing. Aenima's "Third Eye," recorded in Salt Lake, kicks off the set, starting with some good insight by Timothy Leary. The song is much different than the studio version, but so goes the band's music on tour. The obvious climax is the toned-down, but still insanely beautiful and classic "Push-it," which is presented by the band "at a different angle and under a different light." "Merkaba" and the hidden track (dubbed "Lame" by fans) represent the previously unreleased Tool material, both being pretty good. Covers are also part of the arsenal; a breathtaking version of Zeppelin's "No Quarter" and Peach's "You Lied" (Peach is Justin Chancellor's old band). Don't expect to get an in-depth look at a Tool tour on the CD, or any "never before seen" surprises from the DVD. This was just a very pleasant way to bide time before the next studio album. But if you're a big Tool fan, you understand that the consumer wins. Overall: 7 out of 10.
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