*special introductory paragraph
*Opiate EP
*10,000 Days

America's Tool is a much-respected heavy metal band containing such lasting figures as guitarist Adam Jones, extraordinarily gifted drummer Danny Carey, bassist Justin Chancellor (who replaced original bassist Paul Of'Love) and hilarious black comedian Maynard Keenan Wyans. The band plays a tremendously heavy, at times funky, at other times industrial, at most times boring set of up-down-up-down two- or three-chord combinations in most of their songs, but augments them with exceedingly tight rhythms, melodic vocals and lots of artsy quiet parts (so you have to keep turning your stereo volume up and down and up and down - almost as if you're performing one of the band's riffs!). Their lyrics are generally as negative as my assessment of their music, whether they be threatening rape or making bold, revolutionary statements like 'Christianity is bad.' I wouldn’t argue that the band "sucks out loud" -- the music is far too taut, technical and well-performed for outright dismissal. I just personally can't get into them because no matter how much concern and exertion the band and its producers put into the *sound* of each song, the riffs themselves seem to be based on a big block of air. In other words, if you sit down to play a Tool song on your acoustic guitar, you'll more than likely find yourself (a) playing a mid-80s Megadeth-style bass line or (b) alternating between two or three tedious barre chords that are right next to each other. The band is too slow to kick ass and too melodically limited to excite my pleasure centers (which reminds me - Come excite your penis at Mark's Pleasure Center!). They're friends with the Melvins though and a couple of them love Neil Hamburger, so they can't be all bad!

Their ALBUMS can, though. Yecch!

Say, did you enjoy that "Yecch!"? Didn't it feel like you were reading Mad magazine for a minute there?

Oh, it didn't? Well, "What? Me Worry About You?" Heh heh. Good old Albert E. Neuman.

Reader Comments (Akis Katsman)
I just want to say one thing: Tool is the most overrated band of the 90's/00's, only maybe beaten by System Of A Down. (Eric B.)
wow somebody has some balls! to give a negative review to any tool album, let alone be as negative towards the band as you are is a dangerous past time: tool fans are generally as crazy as the band themselves pretend to be. i mean they might just e-mail you threatening to beat the shit out of you! or worse send you an e-mail like this:


however I do agree with your statement about the band being talented on their instruments and like you I actually think their main weakness is the guitarist, adam jones. he's sloppy as fuck: and the stuff he plays is simple to the point of insanity. their bass player is pretty good, and their drummer is great. maynard well maynard, like rush before them proves that a nerd can sing in a hard rock band and be treated like a god. (by the way, maynard's favorite band is rush, so i've heard). and his lyrics are worse than my poetry i wrote when i was in 8th grade: i'm still a horrible poet, in my opinion, but jesus maynard has got to be one of the worst "wear your grude like a crown/negativity/unable to forgive"?!?! that doesn't cut it. i personally need more meat, more passion, more soul in my lyrics and music and tool is a subpar copy of real music.

make sure to pick up the latest Crosby and Nash album, it's a double album!!!!!
The only thing preventing Tool from being the most overrated band on the planet is Wilco. Sometimes I think they're just fucking around with their fans. "Hey Maynard, check this out. Last night I got really drunk and came into the studio and I was rubbing my guitar against my balls. I didn't know the microphones were turned on, but they were and they recorded about 17 minutes of noise and feedback. I was just joking around but I'm gonna put it on the album. Did Danny hear it? Danny, come check this out."

Opiate EP - Zoo 1992
Rating = 2

Marlon Wayans doesn't have your normal heavy metal voice. He's clean, you see! Clean like a red rubber bean. But not clean like a Glass Plus squeaky operatic power metal guy. Instead, his pleasantly high-ish, normal, note-hitting, occasionally nervous-sounding voice sort of resembles an impassioned cross between Robin Zander, early Steven Tyler and Firm-era Paul Rodgers. It's pleasant on the ears for sure, as far as these metal pricks go. The drummer is already pounding the daylights out of his tight rolly-roll smack jibbas too. But this music is just basic heavy metal grunge with a touch of funky bass - the type being performed by hundreds of bands in millions of towns in thousands of states across America in the early '90s. Check out this metaphor I'm about to make up: Like the pole of a lobotomized fisherman, this album has 'NO HOOKS'!!!!!

As opposed to the pole of a normal fisherman, which of course has dozens of hooks all over it. So he can shake it around under the water and poke fish with it.

Let's check out some lyrics: "Go fuck yourself/You piece of shit/Why don't you go kill yourself?".... "I should kick you/Beat you/Fuck you/And then shoot you in your fucking head"..... "He has needs like I do/We both want to rape you."

See, the hilarious thing is that the songs I pulled those lyrics from are actually much more insightful and less blindly stupid than the lines themselves are when taken out of context. But boy, out of context, Maynard Ivory Wayans sounds like a fuckin' moron, doesn't he?

So you see, even this early in its career, Tool was already a well-rehearsed and startlingly intense performing outfit (check out those locomotive drum/bass rolls that keep popping up during "Jerk-Off"! MAN!). However, even the most technically impressive outfit in the world would be rendered useless by material THIS substandard.

And that completes the angry note to my tailor. Christ! Who the fuck makes a tuxedo out of liquid paper?

Reader Comments (Akis Katsman)
I remember hearing that EP months ago, and wasn't impressed at all. Don't want to listen to it again.

Colin T.
this is an easy band to make fun of. they write songs in drop d; they're in the same "musical" category as all those other metal heavyweights - korn, limp bizkit, slipknot; they're worshipped by all the mongoloid thugs that used to beat you up every day in high school. in other words: they're like pretty much every other good rock'n'roll band since the 50s (well, except for those first two categories). i disagree with you here, mark. i think this band writes catchy material, and i think they do their shtick well. sure, they may sound, on this release, like a lot of other groups similar to them, but i think they have something that takes them above genericism. granted, my opinion of them may owe a great deal to my having first heard them in seventh grade. but so what? twenty years from now, what's to keep them from sounding like black sabbath sounds to us today? (Hossein Nayebagha)
disagree with the rating, but I don't really think any of your arguments are ivalid or anything, I just don't draw the same conclusions from them. For starters, I think the vocals and the funky bass are enough to distinguish Tool from the other grunge metal bands of the time. That's not to say that they were genius or that they should've been seen as the leading band of the genre at this time, but it worked. It's also questionable whether grunge metal songs really need any hooks. There are some really stupid parts here and there, but generally, it's just solid heavy rockers, and they're not drawn out like many other bands, they get the message across in 2-3 minutes.

The lyrics are HILARIOUS, and I don't think that was unintentional, whether that matters or not. Well, maybe not all the lyrics, but the ones you referred to are very funny, and especially the ones for "Jerk-Off", that's the most hilarious rock lyrics of all time in my opinion. I picture the narrator reasoning about the matter, and then calmly coming to the conclusions, the simple ones, and that makes me laugh. I think you'd have to read them without listening to the music to get it all, but it really is amusing. As for stuff like "Hush", well, it's an angry song, so why milk it?

It's either a weak 7 or a strong 6. A 2 is ridiculous.
Even when I was a teenager and liked Tool much more than I do now, Opiate always struck me as a dumb album. And because I could take tunes like "Bottom" off Undertow seriously at the time, this is saying a lot.

Keenan's lyrics -- a weak link in most of Tool's music -- are horrendous here. Aggressive material can be fine, but when the words are meatheaded and uninventive a la Jerkoff, it easily turns into a testostero crap-fest that is completely unacceptable if you're over the age of 14. As for the ass-vehicle that is Hush, one can only take a man seriously for so long when he keeps whining about no one will let him be himself in that ridiculous, over-the-top singing voice.

Opiate? A lame, cliched anti-Jesus rant; the band tackled the same subject in a much more interesting way when it got around to writing Eulogy.

The ham-fisted cheese-metal riffs throughout the album make the whole thing tough to swallow. This all sounds like a band of 15-year-olds trying their damnedest to tear shit up. For all I know, Tool might've been very young when they released this thing and were still finding their voice. But that's no reason to take this sophomoric wankery seriously. (Maynards Dick)
opiate is a fuken daycent album! its the first EP and for a first it is amazing! maynards lyrics are probably the strongest link in tool songs.. (David Torres)
Yeah, this EP blows. I pretty much hate every song except maybe "Part of Me". Only reason I might listen to this is because it's so friggin short.

The live songs make them sound like 14 year old "angsty" punk asswipes.

Add your thoughts?

Undertow - Zoo 1993
Rating = 4

I've long considered "Sober" to be the worst single ever released, so it came as a delightful eureka to discover that most of this debut full-length isn't nearly as vile. But man oh man do they take themselves too seriously. The weighty, physically powerful production beats the jimmies out of the EP and the band is even tighter than before, but again the songs are mostly just a bunch of up-down-up-down-up-down two- or three-chord combinations interspersed every once in a while with a really electrifying and pulse-pumping passage that sticks around for about 30 seconds and then disappears forever. For example, who doesn’t like the ghostly harmonics in "Intolerance," the slidey upward heavy riff with pickity notes near the end of "Prison Sex," the catchy hard rock riff that opens the title track and disappears almost immediately -- as well as the fast chunky note-circle halfway through, the totally-Melvins sludge buildup to the otherwise sub-Soundgarden grunge stupidity of "Flood," that awesome rhythmic herkyjerk "I HOPE IT SUCKS! I HOPE IT SUCKS! I HOPE IT SUCKS!" chorus in "Swamp Song"? I may not know the answer to this question, but I can care and I can feel - and I know I fucking do!

However, just as I don't understand it when Les Claypool plays a standard bass line, it frustrates the anguish out of me that this group of true musical virtuosos are seemingly incapable of making creative use of their advanced skills more than 40% of the time. Quite frankly, I don't even understand how they can stand PLAYING such one-dimensional chord combinations when they're capable of so much more. Don't they ever just get the urge to dump the dumb-guy Clutch riffs and break out into as many insane notes they can play in a row while hammering out blastbeats in 9/4 time? And if not, why? Mr. Bungle did just that on Disco Volante - if you want fascinating, brilliant, imaginative PROG-METAL, you GOTTA check that one out. It's afuckingmfuckingafuckingzfuckingifuckingnfuckingg. A lot of those underground extreme metal bands with logos so ornate you can't make out even one letter often make wonderful use of their overbred talents too. But Tool? They tend to gravitate towards the straightforward and obvious.

It's like a guy said to me on a message board today when I defended The Strokes as a superb little pop band. He says to me he says, "anyone can play that crap, just send me the tabs and i'll be playing 'last night' as fast as now, now Tool have some complicated shit, not easy at all." So I says to him I says to him I says, "The point is that they can WRITE these songs -- you can't. Who cares if you can play them? It's about the melody. Tool has never written a hooky melody anywhere near as catchy as anything the Strokes have written. Like I said, Tool sure can play but they sure can't write." And another guy (Michael Danehy, if you must know) says to us he says to us he says to us he says, "That's one of the nice things about Yes. They can marry complexity with hooks. I can listen to 'Close To The Edge' and bits will run through my head all day."

I agree with Danehy. Danehy? I agree! I love a gifted band that can impress me with their fingery madness and otherworldly drumming skills, but if they're incapable of creating a melody, a hook, ANYTHING that excites my senses as something fresh and extraordinary, what's the point in offering them what little time I have left on this green and blue orb? And sure, I suppose I could clean the vomit off of my beanbag and sit here a little longer, but who would mind the tea kettle? And don't tell me "Vic Morrow" because he doesn't have a HEAD!

At this point in its career, Tool basically sounded like early Black Sabbath with improved production and no inspiration. But then apparently even Tool fans don't like this album much so maybe I should just can the pooper and get dressed for Tae Kwon Do.

Say! That reminds me of a little joke I made up one fine spring day. What do you call a little furry man with four legs and a tail that goes around axe-kicking everybody?

A Tae Kwon Dog!

Reader Comments

Colin T.
i'll add my comments for this album and the next.

these songs are excellent. well-constructed and very intense. good use of the bill hicks and between-song-tracks.

from what i've read so far, mark, you seem to enjoy the songs but have a problem with them because they fall under the "grunge" category. hm. (David Torres)
Here's the deal - this album has its problems. Some of the songs get stuck in a muddy mess instead of changing direction and bringing new ideas to the table (something they actually get better at later). They're also so friggin serious and without humor that you want to moon them to get them to laugh. The filler is also annoying as hell by the second listen.

BUT a four? C'mon Prindle, this is more like a 6 or 7 (which to me means it still sucks - but not as much). Give the first 3 songs a few more listens. The sound on this album's really nice and thick. I think most of the songs fit pretty well together. Hey whatabout that video with the wierd bony shit -men? That's gotta be worth 2 stars.

Add your thoughts?

Aenima - Volcano 1996
Rating = 5


I've heard for years that Tool on this record pioneered some sort of "prog-metal," but I don't hear it, even though the songs are all about 14 minutes long and have quiet parts tossed in for no goddamned reason. If anything, Tool here presents itself as a "jam-metal" band, merging the thunderous guitars and self-important vocals of today's serious metal bands with the endless, dreary, go-nowhere extrapolations of a Phish or a Grateful Dead. Now before you become angered, let me stress that jams are only "endless, dreary, go-nowhere" to ME PERSONALLY. This is my opinion. I've never liked jazz, I don't smoke marijuana drugs and I don't have a very long attention span. As such, I'm less than eager to sit through eight minutes of jamming around two chords just to get to the breathtaking, passionate part at the end.

However, it's not every day (or in fact, ANY DAY EVER AT ALL) that you hear one of today's contemporary vocalists attempting to emulate Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull fame, so right there might be good enough reason to give yourself an Aenima. The jittery light faux-English gentleman vox through distorted pedal that you'll hear several times on this release ("Stinkfist," the EXCELLENT "Eulogy," others) is like TOTAL Ian Anderson! So if that counts as prog-metal, I'll give you that one. Otherwise, this is just more of the same sludgy, slightly funky and insanely unsurprising three-chord metal, displaying the same attention to dynamics that you might find in a guy sitting in his room turning a "Loud" pedal on and off every three minutes. Or, I should say, 60% of the songs are as such. The remaining six tracks are cute, short Throbbing Gristle-style snippets and whirligigs: vinyl surface noise, a German recipe for some dish called "Balls of Satan" (ha ha! Oh, ha ha!), an obscene (and dull) answering machine message, a circus organ rendition of a typical Tool sub-riff ("Jimmy") and one of the creepiest and most intense pieces of concrete I've ever heard ---- a bizarre, electrified stereo buzz resonating and ping-ponging atop a steadily swelling railroad/thunder/ flat sheets of metal rumble. It shouldn't work, but it does. For some reason, it really freaks me out! Maybe because it doesn't have a dumb macho hard rock riff in it like every other song on here?

Let's talk about lyrics now. First of all, "Stinkfist." That's "Stinkfist." The opening track of the disc. A song in which the narrator shoves his arm up his girlfriend's anus. All the way to the elbow. One would probably argue that this vivid portrait is actually a metaphor for modern society's ever-increasing need for greater and greater stimulation (especially since Maynard specifically EXPLAINS the metaphor in the song). Nevertheless, the analogy he chose to use is, in fact, the act of shoving his arm as far as he can up a girl's ass. "I'll keep digging until I feel something." BLAAARRRGGEHEHHHH!!!!


(*says "BLAAARRRGGEHEHHH!!!" again, bringing us full circle*)

However, "Hooker With A Penis" and "Aenima" are hilarious. Check them out here:

I met a boy wearing Vans, 501s, and a Dope Beastie t, nipple rings, and New tattoos that claimed that he Was OGT, From '92, The first EP.

And in between Sips of Coke He told me that He thought We were sellin' out, Layin' down, Suckin' up To the man.

Well now I've got some A-dvice for you, little buddy. Before you point the finger You should know that I'm the man, And if I'm the man, Then you're the man, and He's the man as well so you can Point that fuckin' finger up your ass.

All you know about me is what I've sold you, Dumb fuck. I sold out long before you ever heard my name. I sold my soul to make a record, Dip shit, And you bought one.

All you read and Wear or see and Hear on TV Is a product Begging for your Fatass dirty Dollar

So...Shut up and Buy my new record Send more money Fuck you, buddy.


Some say the end is near.
Some say we'll see armageddon soon.
I certainly hope we will.
I sure could use a vacation from this Bullshit three ring circus sideshow of Freaks

Here in this hopeless fucking hole we call LA
The only way to fix it is to flush it all away.
Any fucking time. Any fucking day.
Learn to swim, I'll see you down in Arizona bay.

Fret for your figure and
Fret for your latte and
Fret for your hairpiece and
Fret for your lawsuit and
Fret for your prozac and
Fret for your pilot and
Fret for your contract and
Fret for your car.

It's a Bullshit three ring circus sideshow of Freaks

Here in this hopeless fucking hole we call LA
The only way to fix it is to flush it all away.
Any fucking time. Any fucking day.
Learn to swim, I'll see you down in Arizona bay.

Some say a comet will fall from the sky.
Followed by meteor showers and tidal waves.
Followed by faultlines that cannot sit still.
Followed by millions of dumbfounded dipshits.

Some say the end is near.
Some say we'll see armageddon soon.
I certainly hope we will cuz
I sure could use a vacation from this

Silly shit, stupid shit...

One great big festering neon distraction,
I've a suggestion to keep you all occupied.

Learn to swim.

Mom's gonna fix it all soon.
Mom's comin' round to put it back the way it ought to be.

Learn to swim.

Fuck L Ron Hubbard and
Fuck all his clones.
Fuck all those gun-toting
Hip gangster wannabes.

Learn to swim.

Fuck retro anything.
Fuck your tattoos.
Fuck all you junkies and
Fuck your short memory.

Learn to swim.

Fuck smiley glad-hands
With hidden agendas.
Fuck these dysfunctional,
Insecure actresses.

Learn to swim.

Cuz I'm praying for rain
And I'm praying for tidal waves
I wanna see the ground give way.
I wanna watch it all go down.
Mom please flush it all away.
I wanna watch it go right in and down.
I wanna watch it go right in.
Watch you flush it all away.

Time to bring it down again.
Don't just call me pessimist.
Try and read between the lines.

I can't imagine why you wouldn't
Welcome any change, my friend.

I wanna see it all come down.
suck it down.
flush it down.

HEY! MARK HERE! SONG'S OVER! I actually really love that song. But check this out -- I only gave the album a 5 out of 10. Most people think it's a work of genius -- a masterpiece. All-Music Guide gives it 5 stars out of 5. But why? All I hear is a bunch of unremarkable grunge songs (with a few compelling passages here and there) that all drag on for far, far too long. Please write in and tell me what makes it so good - tell the world what I'm missing! Don't let America's Youth think Aenima is a second-rate release just because world-famous critic Dave Stengall doesn't like them!

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Reader Comments
I think they come out of the gates strong on this one with Stinkfist. The second song Eulogy is my favorite Tool song, but it just drags and drags in the end. I agree with you that the title track is good and has some cool lyrics, but other than that I could never really remember any other songs on the album. I've owned this album for years, but I only go further than the first two tracks every once in a great while. I'd give it a 6, but you could talk me into a 5. But, if I'm in the middle of the Eulogy chorus, I'd tell you to go fuck yourself--the 6 stays. Also, these guys don't strike me as "prog" at all. Same thing with Wayan's side band A Perfect Circle. I saw them in concert, and did see an awesome prog band open for them by the name of The Mars Volta. I don't know where else to mention them, but they're probably the best new prog-ish group I've heard in a long time.
Whoa there, Mark. You may be a brave mofo, and I respect you for that, but consarnit, that doesn't excuse this low rating. The thing is, I don't see it as a "Grateful Dead-ish" jam album, as you do. Or even as a "King Crimson"- ish arty album. I see it as, first and foremost, a grunge album. And taken in that context, this stuff absolutely tears. Not only that, but it's something dramatic and--dare I say the word?--OPERATIC one can obsess over a la The Wall and company, something very rare for a grunge release. Sure, it's arty, pompous, long-winded, and cavernous, but it does all that without losing its down-to-earth violent mentality. Who else has managed to do that? Not the Smashing Pumpkins--as much as I love the fools, they are definitely NOT a down-to-earth band. Ten out of ten, dangit.

Speaking of which, how're the protests going? I meant to head down to NYC on Monday, but then I got a job, and. . . Well, anyway, you're probably in them, right? Hope those are going swimmingly. Damned conservatives!

(*a few days later*)

Dammit, I didn't answer your question, did I? I think the main reason why so many people think this album is a masterpiece can be summed up in one word: FLOW. You're right, Mark, some of the songs are individually average-- "Jimmy" and the conclusion "Third Eye" are chief offenders--but that doesn't matter. Listened to as a cohesive, 77-minute whole, even the bad songs sound good. Plus, there's the overall FEELING of the thing: creepy, getting under your skin, then alternating with shocking bursts of violence. For over an hour, for extended dramatic effect. It's really the same reason you like Fun House--the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Except I found a way to like Fun House--Reprogram the CD! Here's my Changing-the- Subject song order list!!!!

Down on the Street
TV Eye
Fun House
LA Blues.

You see? If the Stooges had listened to me 34 years ago, we wouldn't have these problems.

AEnima rocks. (Hossein Nayebagha)
I never got Undertow but this is the best Tool record I've heard so far. I don't get much of the prog reference in the review, to me it just sounds like a psychedelic grunge metal album, and a good one at that. Tool is a solid band, there's no weak link here. Maybe they're more of jammers than songwriters, but I enjoy it. The riffs alone don't really go anywhere, but as a whole it works great, and there's always one really cool spaced-out part showing up to make things more interesting. Well, I guess there are some works that work on the heavy riffs alone, like "Hooker With A Penis", I love the chorus parts of that one, very heavy stuff. Yeah, I guess that's all I have to say about this, I don't care if it's overrated or not, it's solid and I'd give it 8. (Jesse Griggs)
Im sorry but ANY artist who dedicates a song to the great Bill Hicks, deserves a 10 regardless of quality.
Quite Clever on the Add your Thoughts hoax. Anyway, my wife loves this band, and so does my brother, so I ended up hearing it quite a bit. I have to say, that for about 3 songs on here, it is a great record. But I have ep's with more than 3 great songs, so I'll have to give it a 5. And the 5 is mainly because the title track is close to the coolest song ever recorded. An absolutely vile filled paean to the fine town that is Los Angeles, but to me, could have been (should have been) San Francisco. Or society as a whole. Whatever, it really is a great song. Stinkfist is also real hooky, and there is at least one other number on here I like pretty good, but how can you keep track of the song sequence through all the freakin' mumbo jumbo that keeps going on. And Eulogy is pretty good, although I swear I only really listen to all 315 minutes of it to get to the final guitar riff change. But that one song... (David Torres)
Am I the only one that hears the prog feeling here? It's really good heavy grunge-metal meets long-Yes/King Crimson-wierd, winding passages that still work in a song framework.

Stinkfist, Forty-Six and Two, Eulogy, Pushit, Third Eye - I like all this crap. It's serious as hell again but it doesn't sound as fake as before. There's such a great pissed off feel to this album. This is the one I usually will listen to out of my Tool albums.

God, does the filler suck though. (Brian Dickson)
Okay I've only heard Aenima so I can't comment on the rest. But my brief opinion on the most lauded and hyped band of the past 20 years or so.

9% musical competence

20% Creepy lead singer

33% Tony Iommi guitar miimicry

31% faux mysticism

7% potty mouthed lyrcis

Put in a mixing bowl and whisk for 666 minutes. Then put into Satans crucible and cook until crap brown, or until The Secret Of Existence appears to you among the lyrcis of Stinkfist and then you UNDERSTAND....

Come on Tool are for people who still read HP Lovecreaft. We all grow up eventually.

I'm glad some othe peope here don't understand what the big deal is!
1. Who said it was a "girl's ass"
2. Having techincal ability on an instrument does not obligate you to the guitar wankery of a virtuoso. They play the music THEY want to hear.
3. I respect your opinion and understand there is no accouting for taste.
4. Your sarcasm does not go unnoticed
i went out of my way to hear this album after i stumbled upon this review site. i wanted to hear what the good parts where like..

i found the album to be a bit of a drag but there were some really great parts to it or vice versa. the filler would be ok if only you didnt have to hear it again OR unless of course you like it.

the sound of the instruments are great (or not) if you dont appreciate a good sound. (of that type) . the riffing is pretty good. sheez.. simple riffs dont mean a band is shit.

why does anyone think that. most of the music around is simple.

yes i have found there is technical wankery out there..some of it sounds good and some of it may not be wankery but there are a lot of wankers out there that think their bands are better becasue they know ten cords.

the drumming is great. is it technical... it sounds great who cares. who gives a fuck about lyrics either..its about the way they fit them in.. some of them are very good all the same..


its like everyone trying to agree on something..when everyone is a bit different.. like this totally crap idea of a reveiw site. it sucks more arse than the album for sure.

some songs had magic parts in them. really.

overall the album was good but a bit of a drone.

i think even the tool fans admit that but to say it was total shit... yes morons.

but whoever concieved of a review site that allows all types of people from all generes to comment on an album and debate about it really misses the point.

but i must admit its better than having it go down as gospel.

anyone that likes tool likes it. anyone that hates tool hates it. this review idea is fuckter than any ever album.

the whole idea of a movie or music review only ever gives an insight into the music or the movie coming from the listener and his ideas and his environment he has subjected himself to and which he chooses to subject himself to.

ive watched (what i thought were) poxy movies going off a good review and the opposite.

ive come to the conclusion from now on -there should be no review jobs anywhere ever.

i shall not listen to anyones opinion but make my own.

you are all shit and sacked.

me too.

my guitar playing is as good as any review. i hope they only give you pizza and beer.

if they give more your ripping someone off.
Aenima is one of my favorite albums, as has been for many years. Anyway, in your review, you asked what it is about this album that makes some people consider it a masterpiece. Well, I'll tell you why I personally consider it to be a "masterpiece."

Sheer emotional impact, for one. This album moves me. Why does it move me? I can't say exactly, I guess it's a combination of things... the melodies (while melody is not the focus of Aenima, I do believe there are some strong melodies on this disc), the atmosphere, keenan's powerful vocals, the climactic song structures. The atmosphere and the "flow" of the album (as another reader pointed out) is a big part of it as well. As soon as this music begins playing, I enter a different state of mind. It "takes me somewhere," so to speak. I often think of this album (and most if not all of Tool's music) as a "musical journey." Tool's music, to me atleast, has always seemed to have a narrative aspect to it, and there are lots of subtle nuances in the music that keep me interested in this "narrative."

A lot of people judge popular bands through preconceived notions, or by their experience with fans of the band (every band has obsessive, overzealous fanboys). I find this ridiculous. If you don't like the band, fine (and I realize that you, Mark, and many others just don't like Tool, and that's fine by me. I'm not directing this at anyone in particular), but atleast dislike them for reasons related to the music itself. One other thing, why do so many people feel it necessary to insult a band and/or a band's fans if they don't personally like the music? Live and let live.... listen and let listen.
This is just full of morons. Why do people mail Mark even without reading just a bit more of the website? not even the complete tool page? why do they talk about mark tastes without actually knowing them, which takes only a little research? in case you need a little resume, here it is: his tastes are extremely broad, he knows how to appreciate a little pop song when he listens one, he knows how to appreciate both punk and prog, he fucking loves the ramones, he fucking loves yes (which is a better band than Tool is and probably will ever be), and he hates jazz. Oh, and he had the nerve to call Here There And Everywhere, one of the greatest songs of all time, a "dull" song. But that's neither here or there. Comments like "tool is better than steve vai" are plain stupid, at least in this context. He's not a technical slut. And neither is John McFerrin.

And what's more important, why do you fucking care that he dislikes tool? He already explained why he dislikes them (and very reasonable points he has, I might add), and if you really want to know why he fucking reviewed them if he didn't like the band, the reason is because the website used to have a section called "who's next" where people could vote which band mark had to review, and tool won that week, month, or whatever.

(that said, I like mark's negative pages as much as the positive ones. check out some of these: pink or GBH, for example, although he loved GBH debut)

Now, I like Tool, or rather, Aenima. I've never heard The Swans, but I've heard Red, in fact I believe it to be one of the best records ever made. But Tool just doesn't sounds like Red. it shares many moods, but it's different, that's why I'm led to believe it's different to Swans.

Many of the points about why Tool is a likeable band, despite their obvious shortcomings, have been raised. There's a resume of why I like Tool/Aenima, though it's no masterpiece:

* The riffs are overly simplistic. But they fit. The songs are about atmosphere and grooves, and the simplicity of the riffs just adds to the grooviness. Makes the sound a bit monotonous but also more distinctive. That's why Tool is, in my mind, better than your average hard rock band: There a fuckload of samey hard rock bands, and average is just... not enough, even if mark believes it's no crime to play fun hard rock. (I can understand his low ratings if he gets no enjoyment from tool)

* Except for a bit out of place quiet sections, the songs inner flow is more often than not, quite excellent, and they just hit the right mood at the right time. the 4:46 chords break in Eulogy, the awesome major chords at 4:46 in H, the apocalyptical last three minutes in Third Eye, and about the entirety of the title track and Stinkfist are probably the best examples of this. This also why I consider this music to be prog, since my definition of prog rock is rock music where the structure and flow of the song is extremely important and vital to the song.

* The drumming and the singing is awesome. And so is the atmosphere and texture of the songs.

I've already say that this record, for me, is no masterpiece. But still I like it a lot and there is no song I dislike (just a few small sections on a few songs, althought pushit can get kinda boring, worst song on record), except for some of the interludes, but I just skip them. Plus is quite unique, at least the mix of elements is unique. Oh and where the fuck this is grunge? I would call this metal, hard rock at the very least.

BTW, just because a record as a hidden alternate order based of a famous mathematical series it doesn't make it any better. The only really truly important thing is, and "this may shock you", what emanates from your speakers, nothing more, nothing less.

Tool aside, your statement about having a millon records to listen to, I have thought of a system to make a better overall judgement of a record with the same number of listens, or at least a system that could allow you or anybody to judge a larger number of records.

Here's the idea: Let's suppose you encounter a record that features 12 songs of approximately the same lenght. Instead of listening to the record only once, for example, you pick a number of songs at random, let's say, 4, so you listen to a third of the record, and listen to it thrice.


But, it's true. lots of songs say nothing on first listen. A single listen often says nothing about a record, unless it really sucks or sounds really distintive. BUT, if you listen, say, three times a song, you're more likely to appreciate it better. let's suppose we divide songs in "great" and "non-great" So, you use the overall quality of those 4 songs as approximate representatives of the record. If the four songs are great, is very likely that the record has at least, say, 8 great songs out of 12. if the record had only 6 great songs, the chances for you to pick a foursome at random are kinda small (7%). if it had 7, the rate is 16%, if 8, 33%. Of course, this is kinda nullified by the fact that's more likely for you to found a record with only half of great songs than one full of them (the actual calculations are more complicated than this), but I believe music is sometimes related to inspiration, and that's why is not that hard to find great records where the artist could simply write lots of good songs, plus is not like you're going to listen to any cd at random of any small band that does nothing but to copy the ramones without any good vocal melodies. In any case, should you pick a foursome, that record surely deserves further listening, don't ya think.

well, if instead of pickin a foursome you pick 3 great songs, one non great, the record is still likely to be worthy of your time, and probably you should listen to it too!

if you pick only two great songs, maybe you were just lucky and the record is not particulary great, but you could have been just unlucky. maybe listen to another third of the record!

if you only pick a single great song, it's more likely the record is not that great, but if you feel confident, listen to another third!.

if you pick no great songs, is very likely the record is not great. sure, maybe the other 2/3 of the record is great, but you'll be better trying other records, or third of records, than this.

seems like a stupid, bloated idea? maybe, but think about it a little. isn't listening to a third three times much more fair than to listen to it entirely only once? maybe listen to the third two times, and then entirely once? maybe pick a half instead of a third! of course, this doesn't works with all records, not all records are collection of songs, but... all I know is i've heard about a third of Theathre of tragedy's Aegis (at random, kinda) and a third of Portishead's Dummy (at random too, kinda) and I wanna listen to these albums, right now because i'm pretty confident they will rule.
get a life, thats a contortionist on the aenema cover, a female one, look at the credits idiot. I wish I could make a website like yours where I just say a bunch of crap that isn't true and whine about things I have no clue about. Go listen to your Brittney cd's bitch.
I like it how if you aren't preaching to the choir about Tool's proficiency and 'magic', that you automatically get castigated in some amateur, smart-ass fashion. Chess and Checkers have an entirely different set of rules, you fucking RETARD. Stop trying to be abstract and clever. Much like Tool should drop the habit of being 'abstract' and stop taking themselves so fucking seriously. It's a shame that their fans actually can give the band a demerit in my mind! Their fans also like to interject with mentioning Tool if you're talking about ANY OTHER GENRE OR ARTIST. "You like acid jazz? You'd LOVE this band Tool. Gangster rap? Tool all the way, man. Shit's all relative. Blah, blah, blah."

On to Aenima. I remember buying this as a teenager and loving the actual songs, particularly: Stinkfist, Eulogy, H., and Jimmy. Musically, it wasn't stellar but from a songwriting perspective some moments were particularly brilliant. The production sort of raised the bar, too. I remember hearing this on vinyl in someone's basement a few months back and it really shines on vinyl. Just over 2 years ago, I had the chance to see them at the Verizon center in DC, and they put a great show on! Probably one of the most professional acts I've seen live next to Peeping Tom, Faith No More, or Ween. But, I got out of the show with my friend, walked a couple of miles to my father's neighborhood to meet him for beers, then thought: "Well, that phase of my life is most certainly over!" There's better shit out there. Their songwriting really sucked after this too. They'll never put out another interesting record. Based on their talent, I'd wish they'd prove me wrong.

If you want to check out a band with the technical proficiency of these guys and without being so angry or having long song structures, check out dredg. I got an advanced copy of "The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion" via torrent and it truly is amazing and artistic without being self-indulgent or pretensive. I could email you a couple of Mp3s if you wish. They are HIGHLY under-rated. Imagine that.

Salival - Volcano 2000
Rating = 3

In first grade, for some reason, it seemed hilarious to pee in the sink at school, til these two pricks told on me, the pricks, and I became Bashful Bladder Johnson. Now I sit down to pee unless I'm drunk, and I don't use urinals. Thanks for ruining my psyche, douchebags.

This was a -- dude, totally check out my "music critics'" word here -- are you ready? I'm nervous, I've never used a "critics' word" before. But here I go: STOPGAP!!!!! STOPFUCINGAGP!!! rlease by TOOL because they can only write like one decent song a year becuase they're fucking overrated retards. This is live shit and leftover penis. Three live tracks of songs you own (including the absolutely TUNELESS "Third Eye," a rotten song if ever one has encountered me), 1 sequel to a worthless answering machine meggage, 1 awesome great wonderful WOW! amazing song! It's amazing! It's so well-written! Wow, they're so talented! (Oh, it's a Led Zeppelin cover) and 4 new songs, two of which are jokes.

The CD begins with the words of Timothy Leary and ends with a Tool member talking about what geeks the band members are. I concur. Not only are they geeks; they're the worst songwriters in the history of America. That's not true. But considering how good they are at playing their instruments, they sure write some dull songs and play them for 435 minutes.

I love Tool -- I love the band members. They're human beings -- we're all just human beings, my brother. And that next album after this is pretty good. But how am I supposed to respond to a "Dude, I wish I was Jim Morrison!" song intro like this? (here)

Maynard: “We've been trying something a little different this tour. We've been looking at one of our songs from a different angle, under a different light, so we can hopefully kind of see it almost for the first time. We'd like try that for you tonight, is that okay? We're gonna need your help though. We're gonna need your help and your permission, so we need you to find a comfortable space, that is not only comfortable, but vulnerable. I want you to shut your eyes and go there, and we'll meet you on the other side.”

Well, first of all, "Pushit" was never that great a song to begin with. Secondly, you're a pretentious buffoon.

"L.A.M.C." is mathematically hilarious though. The vocal is a woman parodying the automated help line of the Los Angeles Municipal Court and the music is a BANG! Followed by TWO BANGS! Followed by THREE BANGS! And so on, until -- quite literally - the entire band is BANGING like 40 times in a row! It's hilarious, and much funnier than the lyrics, which are pretty lame.

But this is just a GOPSTAP relase. Hey man -- my jaw is all fucked up. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I can hardly open it, it clicks like crazy when I open my mouth too wide or move my lower jaw side to side -- why? What is going on? Why won't you fix my jaw? You reader people are so important to me - please don't HATE HATE me fot not likeing Tolool. SEnd me reader comments! What do I know? My band is THE RAMONES. What do I know? I am NOT A PROFESSIONAL CRITIC, nor do I have any belierf that I'm right. I'm just an opinion guy, like we all are. And this is my diary. I wish I liked Tool more than I do, but too many of their melodies are fucking BORING and last for 8 billion years.

I love Pink Floyd and their songs used to drag on forever. I wonder if I would even give them a chance today? When I was younger, I would buy an album and it would be a special occasion. I would always listen to it twice the first two days I owned it (because I suffer from OCD), and it was a big deal. Now I get MP3 discs in the mail with 5 billion albums on them, listen to them once and then take human shits all over them. Would I have grown to love Tool as a child? I don't know. I just don't know. I simply don't know. I doubt it, since they're one of the most wearying bands in history, but who knows? Here's something shoicking: Track 9 is about Maynard's male sexual organ! Here's something else shocking:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: I am 31 years old, I'm drunk and that's good. It's hard to write constantly. Stop hurting people. What do you gain? "War Against Terrorism." Terrorists are human beings, not "terrorists." If they're maniacal and hate us, it's for a reason. They're not robots. If we had a REAL government, they'd find out WHY we're hated and try to change it. But we don't. Our government is led by morons. Different dichotomies -- Hussein was insane, I'm told. He probably was. I'm not saying it was WRONG -- but we need to find out WHY they hate us and what we can do to make them NOT hate us (within reason -- if they're fanatic religious pricks, just KILL THEM, the worthless morons). I'm only interested in saving your young ones. Bush is not "a president during a time of war" -- HE started the war. 9/11 was not the act of the Iraqi people -- was it? NO! It was the act of an elite group of people who hated us. So destroy Al-Queda and let it go. Why does the Middle East hate us? I'm asking, not telling. I don't know enough to tell (unlike protesters, who apparently know EVERYTHING). Why do they hate us? Is it just religious ideology? Or is it because our leaders are pricks who steal the world's wealth and give nothing back? I'm asking; not telling. PLEASE TELL ME THE ANSWER! Not because I think I'll live forever, but because I'd like all people -- all decent people -- to live as long as they can without being murdered. Murder is mean. I totally just made up that slogan!

As for Tool, this CD came with a DVD buit I haven't seen the DVD. The CD is uninteresting -- you know what? TOOL IS NOT A LOUSY BAND AT ALL -- THEY JUST GRAVITATE TOWARDS BLAND, UNNECESSARY MATERIAL (that everybody but me seems to love). Actually, my wife heard me playing this CD and announced, "Every song is either boring or annoying." So take her word for it because women are the reason we're alive! Can you imagiine a MAN giving birth??? I can! And his dick hurts!

Stopgap, biolins, morinoinic, dull as shit, squiggly noises, led, woman's voice, unlistenable fut funny, acoustic guitar!, like bad Peral Jam, swishly cuteness, lng duolll jam, conceited, one or two chords, medieveal-sounding vocals, scrapy noises, I'M COMPLETELY NAKED! LOOK AT ME! THROUGH TEH CMPUTERE! SO NUDE! SO VERY, VERY NUDE! NOT A STITCH OF COTTON ON MY HOT, SWEATY BREAST OF COLD FREEZING NIPPLENESS!

But that's just my opinion. Can I help it if all you people have shitty taste in music? Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to listen to that Everclear album I gave a 10 to.

Reader Comments
The biggest reason that the Arab "terrorists" hate us is our support of Israel. Basically, we give Israel billions of dollars every year because:

a) they're a democracy in the Middle East

b) they are our only real ally in the region

c) they're in a crucial strategic location for our oil interests

d) we feel kind of bad about that whole holocaust thing

e) the neoconservatives are trying to incite the armageddon - the final showdown between good and evil like in that ministry song - and Israel is foretold as being the battleground

f) america is owned by zionists

Naturally, some of these reasons are pure conspiracy bunk (especially the last 2).

To a lesser extent, America is also hated there because of our military presence in the Middle East - especially now. The majority of Saudis hate us because of our relationship with ther monarchy. Yep, a monarchy in 2004. The disparity of wealth in Saudi Arabia is ridiculous, and 15/19ths of the 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. The regime there is probably as - if not more - corrupt as Hussein's was in Iraq.

It's also interesting to note (again, lots of the info about this reeks of conspiracy theory Area 51 black helicopter crap) that some time after 9/11, Hussein decided he wanted to switch from exporting oil using dollars as currency to the euro - which he felt was gaining on the dollar. If this had happened, the US would have lost tons of money and other OPEC countries could have followed his example. Coincidentally, talk of this started happening around when Bush suddenly got a boner for attacking Iraq. It's also noteworthy that England - our strongest ally in the campaign - has not switched to the euro while France and Germany have. It's all about the benjamins.

While I can't say I have more than a tenuous grasp on middle eastern affairs, some of this info with further research might get you going in the right direction. There's a LOT of biased information, disinformation; and paranoid conspiracy theorists have written volumes on the subject. So read everything as objectively as possible...

Oh and as far as tool is concerned, I've never bothered with them. Their fans have dumb haircuts.

Add your thoughts?

Lateralus - Volcano 2001
Rating = 7

One day popular heavy metal youth band Tool sat down to write their latest hit single, “Love In An Elevator,” when suddenly a member of the band said to the others, “Hay guys - everybody thinks we’re really good. Why don’t we demonstrate this fact by actually writing some good songs for a change?” The result was Lateralus, the finest and best-selling CD that the young boys had ever recorded. With an honest-to-goodness SEVEN terrific songs on it, one would have to be cold-boiled and stingy to declare this disc anything less than “honestly good” or “better than their other crap.”

The key is in the songwriting. They’re actually putting together well-organized, tough material that capitalizes on their strengths, mixing ever-shifting (and mostly very memorable!) riffs, untraditional time signatures, beautiful vocal melodies (including some harrowing Alice In Chains-style harmonies) ethereal echoing effects, bass and guitar hooks that actually DEMAND the dexterity that these musicians can provide, and astonishing drumwork from beginning to end. Each song has about 10 different parts, and somehow most of them hit the perfect tones of “tension,” “fear,” “anger,” “angst,” “etc” without falling ass-backwards into the shitty funk metal of which they’re so fond.

Honestly the only thing that keeps it from getting a higher grade are a couple (but only a couple) of leftover grunge tunes and an excruciating TWENTY GODFORSAKEN MINUTES of Jane’s Addiction-sounding tribal mesmerism music right near the end. Otherwise, it’s smooth sailing for Lateralus, literally (or should that be “LAT-erally?” Ha ha! Yeah! Ha ha! Hee hee! Yeah!) the only good album Tool has ever released. But it’s quite good indeed, and well worth the spending dollar of anybody eager to understand all the Tool hype that the Bush/Cheney re-election campaign has been throwing around all year. Yes, from Cheney quoting “Hush” on the senate floor to Double-U performing auto-fellatio for the troops, it has truly been a “Tool-abulous” year for the Grand Old Party! (G.O.P.P.)

(The extra “P” is for “Poop.”)

Did you get that Cheney joke? I thought that was pretty good. Pretty “clever” and “erudite.” Let me know if you don’t get it.

Also check out my PIL page, and send me an email immediately after reading the first half of the first sentence, like everybody else does.

Reader Comments

Well, Mark, I actually agree with the score, even though I seem to like this band far more than you do. A 7 seems about right--the band is going for nothing but tight, lengthy epics here, but the problem with the way boredom seeps into their songs is still quite evident, more than on "Aenima." The most well-composed of these epics is "The Grudge," which seems to waste nary a second throughout eight and a half minutes, topped off with possibly the best scream I've ever heard in rock music. I'll also never forget the deadly duo of "Parabol" and "Parabola"--the former quiet, the latter soaring on a fat, energetic riff. The album's best moment, however, may be the outro to "Reflection"--after a tribal/Eastern jam that seems to last an eternity, Adam Jones stops and phases the song out with a beautifully dead-sounding guitar tone, suggesting wind sweeping over desert ruins.

Maynard James Keenan is not to blame for the album's weaknesses--although still quite dark, I really do feel that any kind of "teen angst" is completely missing from his sentiments on this record. He's still quite pretentious, and perhaps still some kidn of "angsty" to be sure, but the kind of lameassedly adolescent "FUCK YOU!!!!!" attitude that permeated something like the "Opiate" EP has been replaced by a much more tolerable kind of reflection. In fact, there's no profanity on the record aside from one use of the word "bastard." No surprise that if you do a little searching you can see his bald ass singing a duet with Tori Amos. This is not a joke. Too bad there's no humor whatsoever--I could have at least INTENTIONALLY laughed at "Hooker With A Penis" on "Aenima," but nothing here fits the bill, save for maybe the woob-woob-woob effect in "Mantra," which I can't laugh it because I'm too busy being creeped out.

No, the boredom here simply seems to arise from the length--9 1/2 minutes for the yawn-inducing title track (only notable for its opening little guitar line, and its 9/8-8/8-7/8 time signature shifts in the chorus, which still don't add up to anything particularly listenable IMO), 8 minutes for "Ticks & Leeches" (okay, THAT one I can kind of laugh at--"SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!!"), 6 1/2 minutes for the deadly-dull "Triad," one of the more forgettable bores I've heard on tape. I really hope to hell Tool doesn't do another 79-minute album whenever the hell they decide to get their act back together. This album is more good than bad, so the 7 is quite warranted...but there's still too much snooze-metal in these long "prog" numbers (and yes, I do consider Tool "prog." Sorry.) (Akis Katsman)
Lateralus??? More like Sleeperalus if you ask me! I've not heard Aenima yet, but this album is as boring as a dead fish. Although I can say I enjoy some moments (the riff on "Schism" for example), sitting through the whole album is a pain in the ass. I don't care if they have King Crimson influences or whatever. The fact that their sound is "cool" don't mean that they're that good. I'd go listen to Slint instead, they're much more interesting than this overrated-as-hell band. 6.5/10
I DEFINITELY agree with you on your Tool reviews... Lateralus is BY FAR their best work because it's mostly devoid of the filler and horrid songwriting present in a lot of the other albums. I actually think the tribal stuff near the end is the best part of the disc, however. It may not be Boredoms-worthy, but it's better than a bunch of cavemen. (Matthew Zimmerman)
Yes, Tool sucks. A lot of wannabe metal bands want to be "death" metal like Slayer, or "palatable" metal like Metallica. Tool just wants someone that isn't full of some bullshit "angst" to enjoy their music. So that eliminates anyone over the age of 15.

"I am just an imbecile . . ." Yes you are. Please stop releasing albums. (Michael Joseph Watson
I feel really sorry for you Mark having to listen to all those ridiculous Tool albums. I bet you were wishing that Tool would'nt win the vote. anyway, Tool fucking sux and they make me really fucking angry. I'm from christchurch, New zealand where Tool is really huge. They Mostly appeal to those dumbass alternative kids who dropped of school at 16. They think they are so underground and are very anti-commercial music (even though tool is very commercial). The music Tool makes sounds very pompous, negative and just really stuck up. Its overproduced, souless trash. Put a bit of personality in your music you fuckers!! (Jesse Griggs)
god damm. 99.9% of you pass the moron test.

Stop the narrow mindedness and stereotyping the fans of a band. I am a tool fan, im 18 years old and I attend University. I could not care less if the music is anti-commercial music, commercial music like the above guy blabbed on about. That fact is I like the music plain and simple. Your becoming a parady of yourself dude. It's becoming almost a fad to hate bands based on what people percieve their fan base to be made up of.

On to the album I highly enjoy it. Maynard has really studied the notes he's singing in accordance to what's being played on guitar. Something more bands should spend time doing. The time changes in Lateralus are awesome. Took me a while to get the hang of that on guitar. The drum intro on Ticks and Leeches is definately ingenious. And that drum sound too words - kick ass. I'd give this album an 8. (Max)
I thinks tool should just make noise. Forget rock, forget metal, forget power chords all together. If tool can somehow manage to get a creepy noise video into the mainstream on MTV only once... i'd be speachless. Until i actually see it on much music cause i dont have MTV and ill be like "Cool".

Here is what I want them to do because I feel like bossing someone around right now. Danny Carrey should put his retro synth collection to good use and rig up some more electronic pads to his dums. Adam Jones needs to play noisy like on colossus of destiny. Maynard should forget about lyrics and just adapt more of a (i hate to say it) mike patton approach. Not in the like crazy CHAK CHAK CHAAKKAKA way.. buut like..the OooooAAOooaAOOoooWAWAWAWAWOoo in relfection, reflection is a keen song.

Basically, if they can blend the underable scaretheshitoutofyouness of faaip de oiad and the primitive psychedelic zone from reflection. They might actually be on to something.

Then again I'm just a kid and im high on the pot.

Where do people come off telling you what THEY think, anyway. Your opinion is considered fact, isnt it? (Edward Cartwright)
What the hell did you waste precious hours of your life listening to sh*te like Tool for?(awfully constructed sentence) If a sucky band is next on the list, just tell the people who voted for that band to listen to the inspirational music turned up in their car while driving very fast on the highway and to close their eyes... the magic that is the band's music (like sucky-ass Tool) will miraculously ensure that they don't have an accident. Oh and their bank balance will magically increase!!!

That would not be right, too many people (also not deserving of life) would die too and I'll be f*cked if your website goes unattended because of some waste of time lawsuits.

Is it just me? Tool make me really angry, not at them, but at their pseudo intellectual meaningless wishy washy tripe that guises itself as so soul-searching and deep. So many people like them. I know that most people are a waste of everything (air, food, silence etc...) but fans of Tool seem so high on their band and always come across as arrogant with their own "self awareness".


Enough hate for the week. I live in a nice place with mostly nice people spoiled only by the occasional Tool fan/idiot. I think people who have just discovered masturbation are into Tool.

Enough! (Hossein Nayebagha)
I bought this when it first came out and I was disappointed, and, I'd need to give this a good listen again, but I think this is kind of poor version of Aenima. It's not bad at all, but it's like they're pretty much doing the same thing, but with less awesome psychedelic lead parts. I don't think the song-writing is any better, if anything, it's worse. On many songs you just get the one riff over another, and it doesn't really go anywhere. It only proves that they're good at jamming, but I expected more. Right now I'd give it a 6...It should be more interesting than Opiate, but I just don't think it lives up to its potential.

Fuck you. Tool changed my life, and your belittling of thier music hurts me because I respected you and this is the first time we have disagreed, it happens to be on the band I listen to the most. You need to see the band play live. So instead of focusing in on all the wrong things in the music, you can watch the best "living" drummer (cuz I know you J.O. to J.B.) blow your mind with his steady/calm ferocious playing.

Live they are so tight and together, and on their last tour they brought the energy from thier Lateralus record and put it into thier older shit. I just think you should give them more of a chance, let them grow on you, and try to forget about how so many other bands sound like them or influenced them in some shitty way. No one likes Tool the first time they hear it, and I don't give a shit if you think you're a fucking musical genius you're no different than any other Tool virgin. You got scared and confused, so you wrote a bad review because you didnt get it. Maybe if you spent more time listening, and focusing on what the band wanted you to hear during those long long songs (aaaah I'm Mark Prindle and I can't handle an 8min song waaaaaaaaaah) you would feel something.

You didn't even give them a chance, so now who's being pretentious?

P.S. ~ I would love to watch you try to interview MJK, you would shit yourself like a little girl. (because little girls shit themselves all the time, dont you know that?) (Eric D. Miller)
"they finally wrote some good songs for a change"... well that's a neat way of putting it. though i like undertow and aenima just fine too. i probably like this is as much as Aenima but i can understand why some people have trouble getting into them. It took me a while at first myself. Theyre not heavy enough to be metal, a little more boring and not as complex than good prog and not as overtly catchy or melodic as good alternative, but if you give them time they can grow on you. Well i'll rate these a little higher than Mark does then:

Opiate - 6
Undertow - 7
Aenima - 8
Lateralus - 8
It's truly interesting to stumble upon a website devoted entirely to bashing a respectable hard rock band that was most likely written by a small collection of failed musicians working at nostalgic local music stores or the occasional pretentious asshole from a Sam Ash.

Perhaps I don't see the complications involving in listening to a band and either enjoying it or turning it off, but the way these people seem to devote time into something as negative as they claim the band itself to be, it's nothing more than the immature anti-followings of britney spears or hanson. While I couldn't stand hearing any of that music, I would never think to waste so much time bashing it, but rather try to create music that I feel is better. Music is an art and a form of communication, regardless of what it's about. To sit and criticize something so deeply is a waste of time.

Tool isn't my favorite band and I've actually debated the band's supposed invincibility to some of the most brainwashed Tool fans I've ever met, and I've done the same to fanatics of other "invincible" band like Nirvana and Metallica. However, I don't think of boring guitar lines and adolescent anger when I hear Tool. I hear a talented rock band that created a uniquely dark sound. It's true, any band that gains that much respect will eventually receive the backlash many popular musical acts receive; even Mozart and Beethoven received some pretty harsh reviews when they were still writing.

But ask yourself: With so much criticism inside your minds, how easy would it be to accuse ALL OF YOU of being just as closed-minded as the average Tool militia member? Music isn't created to be abused, and writers don't write to be attacked, nor is a listener meant to be put down for their preferences (Or a cynical critic meant to be exposed for his truly pathetic nature, but it's a bit late for that).

P.S. now that I've exercised my maturity and patience, I'll leave with one comment: the funniest part of all this is, all of you have devoted time and thought to this cynicism, and most of you probably wouldn't even know "hooker with a penis" was written preemptively with you in mind. So keep it up...

Stop listening to music. You don't know what it really is.

I hope you were kidding about "giving Everclear a 10." Talk about boring guitar lines and trite lyrics. (Wayne Pugh)
Interesting analysis. On an objective level, there is much to what you say. But music's impact is primarily subjective. For instance, Tool's lyrics can baffle me at times, like "damn, where the hell is this guy coming from". So I could agree with you about that on an intellectual level and yet still have the song blow me away on a gut level (I've never been a lyrically-minded listener anyway). And truth be told, Tool blows me away on a gut level. Totally personal preference, of course, I would be the last person to think even one other person SHOULD perceive it that way just because I do.

Now, as far as the comments you are getting, I do have an issue. There is certainly no substance to the stereotyping of all Tool fans as dumb, mindless zombies. As one anecdotal datapoint, preceding commentators, I listen to Lateralus nearly every day and I have a Ph.D in economics. Completely perpendicular characteristics. One pertains to internal resonance and the other to cognitive dexterity. Nary the twain shall meet. Yes, some musicians incorporate analytical thought into their musical formulations (Rush does come to mind), but the result will be as tasteless as cardboard without emotional context. And no two people will experience that context, will have the music resonate through their being, quite the same way. So why argue about music? In fact I would go so far as to stereotype people who denigrate others' tastes in music as dumb, mindless zombies.

And, by the way, (to anyone who fits the mold) I wouldn't yell out the fact that I can't focus for more than 3.5 minutes. It says virtually nothing about the music and everything about the listener . . . as in, beseech your doctor for a Ritalin prescription!
Instead of wasting a page reviewing these guys Mark, u could’ve easily summed there entire catalogue with but 5 simple words….THIS MUSIC IS FOR TOOLS.
Man, I just sat here and read all of this, and found that my original opinion of the band (tool) has not wavered one bit despite criticism or fanatical rantings. While I natrually want to defend tool's music (because I for one like it alot), I don't want to come across as pompous or self-righteous or truly self actualized or any of that nonsense.

First off we'll go with lyrics. As it stands, right now, I really enjoy Maynards lyrics. However, I will not refer to him as a prophet or demigod or anything like that. Simply put, he has a clever way of writing, that I "get" and enjoy, whether that be "angsty 15 year old poetry" or "psuedo/neo psychadelic-spirituality," it doesn't matter. There are few very good lyricists in popular music these days, in fact it would pain me to call most of these people lyricists or songwriters (Avril Lavigne? Blink 182? 50cent?) Give me a break, these people have nothing to say, and worse than that, no interesting way to say it. So you may find Tool's lyrics preachy or pretentious, at least you find them SOMETHING. The fact of the matter is, that it's art, and open to interpertation. Maybe the words make you angry, maybe bored, maybe reflective, maybe anything...I listen to a lot of different music, mainly a lot ! of Radiohead, Flaming Lips, Opeth, Ween, bands that are, for lack of a better word, experimental both lyrically and musically and I think Tool fits in here on to the music.

Adam Jones does not play flashy guitar. Period. There is no Yngwie Malmsteen or Van Halen or Mike McCready in this music. Tool's music is (duh) very rhythmically oriented, and therefore the guitar plays in support of the drums & bass instead of the other way around like most rock bands. If you don't like long songs, that's fine. If you want non-stop complexity, chord changes, mode/scale changes, you're not going to find it here. Sometimes there is beauty in simplicity. If you want a catchy hook, you're probly not going to find it in Tool, go ahead and look elsewhere. While the guitar may not blow your mind, it is still good, well played music. If it's too dark, heavy, repetitive, whatever, that's fine, listen to, uhhhhh.......wait a minute while I think of a good bright, light, dynamic band......hold on.............Phish maybe? Damn...not a jam band, but a popular rock band..........for some unimaginable reason I can't think of one.

Lastly a brief note on what they have to say (that is inclusive to the music and lyrics, I believe). I won't spend time deifiyng anyone or any idea/ideal, but we all have things to which we can relate. If you ever hear "Third Eye" live, there is a nice statement that sums up pretty well what Tool might want you to take home from their music. You may find it trite, overplayed and underacted. You may see it as dogma or political agenda, you may see it as inspiration. Whatever the case, you will make a choice about it, and probably remember where and when you heard it. This is a simple statement, and it is a qoute from someone else, use your own context for it if you cannot handle theirs: "Think for yourself, question authority." (Timothy Leary...whom I have VERY mixed feelings about, fyi)
Of COURSE he wasn't kidding about giving Everclear a 10, Offbeat410. Didn't you know? Mark Prindle is really Art Alexakis in disguise. He uses this gig to secretly vent his life of pain and death fronting a has-been grunge band that couldn't find a catchy tune with two amps and a flashlight. No WONDER he's so jealous of Tool. :)

As for this album, it's loud and groovy and all, and the last track scares the shit out of me, but it's just way too monotonous to hold a candle to AEnima. I actully agree with his 7 rating. And for the record, Arab countries hate us because we constantly claim to be morally superior to them. After all, WE never supported terrorism in Latin America, tortured innocent people in Iraq, or. . . oh, WAIT a minute. . . (Adam Brasell)
Hey Mark, I'm a Tool fan. However, please note that this does not affect what I'm saying below (well, maybe slightly.)

It appears you don't like TOOL the least bit (maybe a bit of Lateralus or Ænima.) That's fine, but why oh why do you bother listening to them? They obviously don't suit your taste, and you seem to be a person who likes catchy "stuck in your head" type songs that don't run for over 3-4min.

You must realise, however, that this is merely your opinion, not fact. Maybe you could try a different approach to your reviews, like trying not to sound like a typical forum nerd. You know, the kind that whine on and on and on and what they're saying gets boring, and then somebody else has a different opinion to them and states it, and the nerd's reply is usually: "Oh, well you suck cock man! I bet my penis is, like, soooooooooooooo totally bigger than yours, and even though I don't know where you live (so please tell me) I'm gonna track you down and give you the biggest red dragon (whereby one gets slapped with an erect phallus over the face, leaving a red mark) you ever saw! I'm gonna knock the shit outta you with this two by four that I carry around with me soley for beating up people that contradict me! So there!"

N.B: This reply is usually written deep from the heart of the nerd, tears of hurt and frustration coursing down his pasty face.

ANYWAY! What I'm eventually trying to say (as you can see, I tend to contradict myself a bit) is not that you've got the wrong idea about TOOL, because you're entitled to your own opinion, but that you need to take a different approach to your ramblings. They can be funny, but mostly they're bitchy. I guess I would have found this more amusing if I wasn't a TOOL fan.

P.S: I'm another Christchurch, New Zealand resident, and yes, TOOL is HUGE here. Not mainstream, and certainly not "underground," but definitely big. Most of the fans that I know here (and I'm not trying to sound like "hey man, don't ever come to CHCH because we're gonna fuck you over sooooo bad! because quite frankly I'd like to hear more of your opinions in person, you've interesting perspective.) agree with me when I say TOOL is a band you can't listen to just to pick apart individual bits of their songs. You need to listen to their music as a collective piece, and put yourself in the right mindframe to be taken where the music leads you.

You could try this, or even better, not listen to TOOL at all, lest it spark off more ramblings. (David Torres)
Holy Shit - do people get all uppity with this band or what? It's called "opinions". Everybody can and (usually) will have their own. Kind of like penises, testes, nipples and vulvas. Ahhhh, my kingdom for a hairy taint !!

This album is one of those albums that I always say to myself, "I gotta listen to that one again. It sounds like it's all important and shit. It sounds like I haven't grasped something in it yet. They're something artisticly pleasing and very hard to catch and once I bring the goodness of the music into my being I will be better for it (and lifted to the heavens (where my ass will be wiped(finally)))." And then I shoot myself in the leg for talking to myself.

This album is boring.

This album is too long.

This album is a crappy followup to Aenima.

This album is toooooooo proggy.

And as usual the filler sucks. Fuck filler !!

Opiate gets a 4. Undertow a 7. Aenima a 9. And Lateralus a 6 or 7. But I'm gonna listen to it again cause I think there's something there that I'm missing........
I'll begin with Lateralus but also comment on the rest, this was the last link on the Tool page, so, you get the point. I agree somewhat with a previous comment-er stating that 'why waste time reviewing stuff that doesn't concern your tastes'...i myself would not...but then again, opinion is just that. But in reading previous reviews of other bands Mark, i do see that Tool, and their industrial grunge metal combo might not suite your musical tastes...I however, have liked them since i first heard Opiate, and i believe what looks to be quite opposite from people reviewing this on your site Mark. I would rate Opiate/Undertow the best albums, with Aenima close behind...and give Lateralus the worst rating. There is a slow decline in the raw-heaviness of Tool from first album to last, and i've always thought strange noise, dark doomy sounds paired with different sounding vocals was interesting. Tool is a trippy band, i don't know where they! got a 'rap' of being a favorite among meatheads and jocks, it's actually quite the opposite. You can hear it in the lyrics that that is exactly what Tool is against. In fact that is what seperated them for me, b/c i was hated by the jocks, popular wussy retards in school, i gravitated towards Tool's anti-establishment metal, and it's too bad that any ex-high school QB would ever listen to them, and this may be right where they got that reputation. Who knows, I also think and can tell that the reason i find my opinions so different from these comments, is in fact, you all just hate Tool, and could care less what kind of music they make. uh-ehm- - - - [Oh wait, a bunch of kids in my school have t-shirts that say "Tool" on them, hey, who is that? Oh, they're a band, they must suck, i hate that band, and oh, wait, whats what song on the radio, that is "Tool"?? They suck, i hate it because it's on the radio.]

And freakin blah blah blah, why does everyone jump to hatred, it's always so cool to hate something that has mass following. Because for some odd and extremely rare reason, they actually have gotten radio play, unlike most original and strange noisey bands ever get, It's a shame that you all are so blinded my your attempts to sound cool and educated regarding musical supposed "sell-outs" and "copy-cat-artists". It's really quite moronic simply because you are missing out on hearing and getting into some good shit. And most likely will continue to do so in the future. (Jared Mauck)
My, well, just when I thought I'd heard all the stupid fuckin' assholes in the world and their uneducated opinions, I read this site! I'm shocked to hear ONE negative comment about Tool, let alone all these morons and their ignorant views. Tool is all about people like you and your readers, about putting out songs that can be simply (repeat for you fucks... SIMPLY) interpreted so as to weed out the ignorance and recognize the people that actually understand all the hidden meanings in their music. The music world is horrible because their's only one Tool, and only one band for us REAL musicians to listen to that have open minds and not closed opinions, like you... Tool is THE GREATEST band out today, period, anyone who doesn't think so is obviously a joke, and, trust me, Tool is laughing at you, not with you. To say Adam Jones is horrible, a simple player, and boring is like saying George W is doing a good job. The genius behind Jones' playing lies in the writing, not the playing, but the playing is just as sick. The best players in the world have been "simple" players, but Jones has complete mastery of his instrument, and every little single note and sound is exactly what he wants, he's in total control. He can rip it up like the so-called "virtuosos", but Tool isn't about showing off, they're about writing the best, most aggressive and emotional songs I could ever imagine, Danny Carey is, by far, the best drummer of all time, nobody else is even close, he's at the top while everyone else is a notch below, and I shouldn't have to say a thing about Maynard, the same accolades apply. You all are pathetic shells of humans looking to be "impressed" by what mode someones in or what arpeggios they're playing, that's why you get no respect from me, a REAL player, and would get struck down by the hands of Tool if you were ever man enough to say this to their face, which you're not. It's easy to hide behind a computer, Tool hides behind nothing, and never will, let alone even acknowledge the likes of you stupid fucks! Since they won't, I will, your website is pathetic and so is every one who responds with an ignorant reply supporting your close-minded comments. Keep it up, Tool, and know that these stupid morons are in the MINORITY, those of us who really listen and understand your music would kill to hear ONE new song, so, in the words of the king, think for yourself, question authority, and start opening your mind instead of your motuhs, or else I'll give you something to fill the space... SMARTEN UP YOU FUCKS!!!!!!

An Anonymous Reader
Why would you listen to this? Even though this is their best album, and they are all amazingly technically proficient, it doesn't help in the slightest. See, folks, there's this thing songwriting, which these guys don't seem to have. Mostly they seem to think that electronic dick noises and 15-year-old metal riffs combined with early '70's Crimson pretentiousness constitutes amazing music (like apparently a lot of people think too). That's not innovation - that's just boring. If you want to listen to truly heavy music, listen to Rocket From The Tombs or the Contortions. It's not metal or punk - it's just *amazingly* heavy rock and roll, and in the case of the Contortions, it's amazingly funky and abrasive as well as rocking out. For pretentiousness, early '70's Crimson works - especially Lizard and Islands - can't be beat - they also sometimes work well in the way of tuneless dickering. I'd also like to mention that for tuneless dickering and shrieking, you can't do better than anything by Mars, who are the worst band to ever release music, although Wolf Eyes is a close contender. Tool doesn't do any of these things well. Tool doesn't even do pretentious dicking around well - they do practically everything in a middling, mediocre, though amazingly technically proficient, metal style. Yawn. The "controversial" subject matter is foul ("Stinkfist" is a good song, though), but it's nothing that Frank Zappa hasn't done funnier. Oh, and keep me anonymous cause I don't want these brain-dead metalheads flaming me because "Tool-fucking-RAWKS-dude" - spare me. I don't want to waste time responding to half-witted emails wishing the Curse of Satan upon me while I could be watching lesbian porn.

Ok, most of this was a joke, as I do know that many metalheads are really smart people and probably won't waste their time on me, but the main message is clear: Tool doesn't suck; they're just not all that good. I'm just sick of people treating them like saviors of modern music. (Tom Osman)
Bloody Hell! People sure do have alot to say about Tool don't they?!
READ THIS NOW! Ok heres the deal. This is by far the greatest cd man has created. The following will tell you why. This is not my work but the work of a brilliant listener. I give him/her full credit and all of that other copyright crap. If you have ever doubted this album, read this and prepare to be dazzled.

"I'm a first time poster, but there are some things that I really want to throw around. To me, Tool's Lateralus is the most amazing piece of music ever composed. Not because I'm a goofball that has an affinity for the rockin' hard metal, and not because I want to latch on to their (in my opinion, unfairly applied) satanic reputation, but because I can say that it is the most intellectual, inspirational, and awe-inspiring material that I have ever been exposed to. Many reviews and commentaries of Lateralus on the internet mention that it was long-awaited, often saying that it eased Tool fans' desire for more. I think it was much more than that. I think Tool deliberately wanted to give their fans something truly amazing, but wanted them to find it on their own. "Recognize this as a holy gift..." At first, I thought that the song Lateralus was about tripping acid - discovering true color by seperating the body from the mind. At first listen, I imagined the bending envelope as an intense visual. After becoming more familiar with the track, however, I had reformed my interpretation to something broader: think deeper. Lateralus, perhaps because it is the album's "title track", serves as the central clue for a puzzle that a friend of mine had read about somewhere on the internet. "All I know is that there is a different order for the songs - something about two spirals. Oh yeah, and thirteen is in the middle." After scavenging through endless google search results, I gave up on finding more about this 'alternate order'. Intent to figure the album out, and very curious about the spirals - I put on the proverbial 'thinking cap'. I understood how the spirals could have a lot of significance, in that the album's title track offers the inspiring, "swing on the spiral of our divinity and still be a human..........And following our will and wind we may just go where no one's been. We'll ride the spiral to the end and may just go where no one's been." In my internet scavenging, I had read one review, written by a drummer, who mentioned that Danny Carey's drum beat formed a fibonacci sequence during the song Lateralus. A drummer myself, I decided to get out the graph paper and follow Danny. I can't play like he can, but at least I can hear everything he's doing, and thus was able to construct the drum tabulature. Sure enough, Danny repeats a Fibonacci sequence through the number 13: 1,1,2,3,5,8,13. After 13, he starts again with 1. Bringing in my Algebra 2 knowledge of the Fibonacci sequence, when the equation for the Fibonacci sequence (which I don't actually know) is graphed, it forms a spiral whose vertex depends on the number at which the sequence begins. Coincidence? I began to think not. I had already known of Danny's obsession with sacred geometry and am familiar with Bob Frissell's book, "Nothing in This Book Is True, But It's Exactly How Things Are" , so the significance of what I had stumbled upon had actually begun to settle in. This is where I just had to play with Lateralus. I had doodled a few spirals in the corners of my graph paper, and in doing so made the first important connection to Lateralus. I knew that if the tracks were in fact intended to be heard in a different order, "Parabol" and "Parabola" would have to go together. In drawing my spirals, I had begun with a vertex and 'spiraled' outwards. After writing the numbers 1 through 13 linearly, I could immediately see that Parabol and Parabola would have to be the middle of my spiral (in that 13 / 2 = 6.5). I drew a simple arrow between 6 and 7 and then pondered the next pair. At first, I actually drew a spiral connecting pairs of numbers whose sum equaled 13 (the number of songs on the album). This, however, left the last track in the same position and without anything to connect to. At this time, I had used my copy of Lateralus and Cool Edit Pro to take out the silences between tracks and put the songs in the following order: 6,7,5,8,4,9,3,10,2,11,1,12,13. The transition from Parabola into Schism blew my mind, as the plucks, probably dismissed by listeners as a drawn out rant of an ending, perfectly transition into the beginning of Schism. When you count out beats as the strings are plucked, Schism resumes with the same time signature and tempo - mirroring the progression of notes. The transition from Schism into Ticks & Leeches is equally intriguing. Schism ends with strong double-kick bass and tom smacks, and Ticks & Leeches begins with what many would call a 'tribal' drum beat. The beat at the very start of Ticks & Leeches is slightly different every subsequent time it is repeated - the measures are two beats longer. Yup - you guessed it - those two beats are ACTUALLY the last two beats of Schism. I can honestly say that I never understood the album's fourth track, Mantra until reordering the album's songs. What I had originally heard as whale calls now had begun to resemble the worst imaginable dry heaves - or a stylized choking. Fitting, seeing as how the last line in Ticks & Leeches is "I hope you choke." After this transition, none of those following it really seemed to make much sense. I certainly didn't like that Disposition and Reflection had been seperated - as they sound quite good when played sequentially on the album. This was the only real roadblock in my disciphering of the Holy Gift. Then I had remembered what my friend had told me - 13 was in the middle. At the time, probably just wanting to believe that there was more to this cd, I had equated this to the positioning of the song "Intermission" on the previous release, Ænema. For the song to be in the 'middle' of the album it would have to be the seventh track in sequence, here having six tracks on either side of it. So I inserted Faaip de Oiad after Lateralus, and almost peed my pants when I discovered that (ever-so-faintly) the fading tone of the last note of Lateralus could be heard in beginning of Faaip de Oiad, and how the distortion of the guitars at the tail end of Lateralus resembled, and later transitioned seamlessly into, the static at the beginning of Faaip de Oiad. The lyrics of Lateralus justify this break in the spiral, almost instructing: "spiral out, keep going, spiral out, keep going." I went back to Lateralus to find the next clue. In Danny Carey's amazingly competent Fibonacci sequence, he had stopped at 13 and gone back to 1. This is what I chose to do to finish the sequence. A second spiral was now constucted, and the order for the Holy Gift now became 6,7,5,8,4,9,13,1,12,2,11,3,10. Already many of you are probably fascinated at what I have revealed to you, but I can not even begin to tell you what this new order has opened up for me. The beauty of Lateralus is very, very fragile and has to be viewed with a very open mind. It can also be different when looked at from different points of view. Aside from the fact that the new order of the songs places them in an order where they flow together nicely - often ending and resuming on the same notes or within the same progression, and some times - in the case of Lateralus into Faaip de Oiad and The Grudge into Triad - even overlapping (though admittadly sound much better when actually electronically overlapped, this is kind of cheating. Consider this a hint, however, if you plan on doing this yourself), the two spirals help to tell a story that every Tool fan should hear. In the interest of not boring the only casually intrigued, I will try to keep this very brief. I would also recommend familiarizing yourselves with Frissell's book (yeah - the one I mentioned earlier). I consider Parabol and Parabola to be quite expository. Maynard wants us to know that no matter what happens, we must all know that this is not our only existance. Our very minds and the contents of our subconscious are intended to be immortal, and if we accept this into our lives (be it because of personal or religious reasons), it will be so. As such, pain is an illusion. At first, I called it "The Lateralus Prophecy" (for reasons you will soon understand), but I have since decided to call the 'reordered' version of Lateralus "The Holy Gift". As Maynard says, "Recognize this as a holy gift and celebrate this chance to be alive and breathing," I take the word "this" to mean much more than just his simple cautioning. Since Parabola is the second track of the Holy Gift, it can be considered at the beginning (esp. considering the context of it's duality with Parabol), and as such, I interpret Maynard's words as more than just clever lyrics in a song. They are a plead for his listeners to listen to everything he has to say and truly celebrate the chance of immortality offered throughout. I would be lying if I said that each song has a specific translation. On the contrary, Tool's music is designed to make you think, not say something specific. It must be treated like great literature - much is hidden contextually. I will elude to Geometric-Drumming's previous post, where he explains the time signatures of Schism: "It represents the's arranged in 12/8 time which is SPLIT into 5/8 and 7/8 - which only really FITS as you PUT THE PIECES BACK TOGETHER." Where Geometric-Drumming claims Schism as his favorite Tool song, I have heard some fans say that it was a retched pick for the album's only single - but I think it was brilliant. Not to downplay the interpretations of those who have posted before me (in fact, I agree with much of what %BlueSoulRobot% has to say), but I think that to the casual listener who knows nothing of Tool, it can be a powerful invitation. Think about it - a lot of dingbats with MTV and a radio would walk around with the words "I know the pieces fit" in their heads. I wonder how many of them took the time to put the pieces back together to (re)discover what is trying to be communicated. I welcome any feedback. I would love to share interpretations of the songs via email - just too lengthy to post here. I would like to offer the following advice: DO NOT use MP3s to digitally reorder Lateralus. A lot of VERY IMPORTANT information is encoded on the actual cd. Ever notice how everyone who has lost or broken that cd has IMMEDIATELY gone out and bought a new copy? I know I have. It's because there are things encoded on the factory pressing of the cd that are lost in the mp3 compression process and any direct copy onto a cd-r. If you want to do it, do it right - I can't stress how important this is. Use the cda tracks as you put it together and maintain all audio fidelity using professional mixing software."

References -
Goddamm I hate assholes who name drop bands whilst they insult the one in speculation. If you don't like Tool (or any other band) just say so, we don't need jackasses saying "listen to Beethoven, now that is better then this shit.' Your opinions on music are not more valid because you listen to obscure or classy bands.
to the numerous mindless fuckheads who have said that Tool are crap, bland, talentless and whatever eles i ask you to explain to me in words other than "there really bad" or "there are better bands" or "tool are overrated" how there is any way in which this band is not one of, if not the greatest band this planet has ever seen. which other bands come close and FOR WHAT REASON/S would they deserve to be even compared to tool?

how is Danny Carey not the most creative, trippy and interesting drummer around/ever, yea there may be guys who can play stuff of the same technical level and probably more so (in fact as a drummer i have seen guys who can play shit which seems as though it shouldn't even be possible) but who gives a shit? its not about how fast you can play or how hard you can make it. its about how well your input into the band (in this case Dannys) fits in and plays with the other instruments. and quit frankly, danny shows more creativity and skill in the song Lateralus than i have heard any other band do in their entire career because not only is he a genius but he has created his own unique style.

everyone else in the band is at the top of their individual chains as far as talent and individuality gose as well although i couldn't be bothered exclaiming why because i think it should be pretty fucking obvious if you open you fucking ears and listen to the songs not just hear them, there is a difference.

P.S: i have heard all the 'classic' bands and own many of their cd's - the beatles, the rolling stones (most bland and overrated band ever), pink floyd, mettalica, pearl jam, bob dylan, zeppelin, doors, radiohead (second best band on the planet right now) and quit frankly after hearing extensive amounts of music from each of these bands i can say, with full confidence that Tool are the greatest band ever or at least in the last ten years for a number of reasons, only some of which were explained by

in closing, to those of you who think you have legit reasons why tool suck.........your wrong! and thats all there is to it. exlaim to me in deatail how i am not right! and don't say its different for each person because as we all know most people have shit taste in music. i'm not talking about who is the most popular band in the world, just who is the best.
Lateralus is basically a transition album for the band. Aenima was their big exercise in exploring the confines of their instruments, equipment and themselves as a whole. Lateralus was put out to show those who follow where the band is really emulating from that they still have the ability to flow, and were not going to go the route of pushing and pushing till something breaks. If you listen closely, Lateralus sounds much like Undertow in it's approach to the raw instruments. Not overly effected, clean percussion, and solid vocals. What sets Lateralus apart is the unnoticed timing changes in the music itself that less aware individuals may find uninteresting and boring. All told I await the newest recording from TOOL, just to see if I'm still growing. in conclusion...This band which you seem to praise on your site as often as you knock, if bad because the ..guitar riffs arent good?? that it... thats it isnt it. well, heres the thing, im a guitar player, a pretty good guitar player, in the process of getting my university degree in it. Ive lifted some Tool, and yes, that guitar wasnt very challenging, ive also lifted some Steve Vai, and that was much more challenging (cause it was faster, and the chords were more..spaced apart..i think thats what u said one of the problems were.) Now, the last time I listen to Tool was last week, (slower closer knit guitar), and the last time i listened to Steve Vai was 6 years ago. How is this possible you might ask? Well, my friend, and sit down cause this is gonna blow you away, It doesnt matter who plays better guitar. What does matter is the structure, the intelligence, and the dynamic of the song. Tool are possibly the greatest hard rock act in the business, which is obvious by the constant emulation on every alternative radio... You know the bands...with their lame attempts at odd time signatures...the 5 against 4 stuff, the trying to have the range of Keenan Ivory Wayans (good one), the attempt to present something that can truly be considered ahead of its time. The last album, Lateralus contains some topics I dont think any other band has even heard of. Universalism, Transcendence..You know a pleasant vacation from "my girl/boy is/did "blank"...and i wrote this song" But screw it lets just play more complex guitar, I hear Zack Wyldes pretty good, maybe ill start listening to more Ozzy.



If you cant comprehend checkers, dont bother trying to play chess.
Hey mark, heres the thing....Tool are travelling the world, making millions, creating art and leaving a legacy, making people happy and creating awareness. You are sitting at your computer in your underwear , eating doritos, whinging about people because you don't know how to do it on your own. Therefore you suck at life, and no doubt you will deny that.

Yours faithfully,
Tool fan
To whom it may concern: If you have the audacity, to doubt 'TOOLS' veracity, or even insinuate, that 'they' may prevaricate, 'they' will personally horizontal'ize' your perpendicularity. Let the teaser on's startup be a forewarning for any who dismiss TOOLBAND as less anything than amazing. It sounds as a perfectly tuned V8 at full song.

Matt Faris
I've only ever been a moderate Tool fan, but I think this one is great. The music is much more creative than the stuff before it, and I can hear the album as a cohesive whole more than the ones before. Also, the lyrics improved in terms of light years with this one, and while I can understand Maynard's anger on the earlier albums, I like this better because it's more philosophical and wide-reaching in scope of obscure references, plus he says some things in some of these songs that have actually made me think seriously about the meaning of life. I also think they couldn't have placed the songs in a better order than they did.

Madan Mohan
agree mostly with your assessment of this band but I would really be interested to know what you found strikingly organised about Lateralus. It has problems pretty common with these hot, new proggy bands. Lots of complexity, but not much direction, not much development and a very limited and narrow timbral palate. The Grudge is particularly painful to listen to. Even when they do find some propulsion, it's slow, crawling, grungy metal. So you might as well listen to Alice in Chains if that's what you want because it kicks a lot more ass and to hell with how there have never been musicians as talented as those who make up Toolband in the history of mankind.

One thing I don't really understand is how the media is largely benevolent to this new prog like Tool, Opeth (and later Dream Theater is plenty annoying too) when, back in the day, they properly flamed the old set like King Crimson, Yes, Jethro Tull who, to my ears, make a good deal more sense (musically, I really can't be bothered if people will not listen to a brilliant piece of music if they don't like a single lyric line, not my style anyhow) and are more imaginative and brilliant songwriters. Expectations are much lower these days, perhaps? And I am not someone who caught these old prog rock bands in their heyday and feel defensive for their sake. I am more or less in the same age group as most Tool fans and I like a lot of metal music generally but no! Not this band!

So besides the horrible guitar playing....whats wrong with lateralus? The song is incredible and complex,and I felt like the album as a whole was unique and flowed very well together

10,000 Days - Volcano 2006
Rating = 5

I was walking with Henry The Dog and Brenda The Wife down the merry old street today when all of a sudden we ran across the following piece of graffiti written on a stairwell:

"Blood niger do not come and my fucken place bicth"

And I thought to myself, "What if ALL our favorite poets had been illiterate?"

Why, Robert Frost would have given us "I thenk that I will never C a poem niger lovely as a fucken tre bicth"

And perhaps Carl Sandburg would be telling us of "Chicago Niger - Hog Buthcer for the fucken whirled bicth"

And don't forget T.S. Eliot and his stirring refrain "I have heard the blood nigers singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to fucken me bicth."

I still have 70 more examples to go, but don't worry because they get really funny in a minute.

And don't forget EE Cummings and his hi

Tool plays complex music on this CD. Unfortunately, their idea of 'complex' is to make constant, almost imperceptibly minor changes in and around a basic two- or three-chord riff, such that if you don't listen really really closely to what they're doing, you'll swear they're just playing one bit over and over again for 11 minutes. But they're NOT! I promise you! I listened closely, and believe me - the double-guitar interplay, the percussion elements, the time signatures, the palm-muting vs. open chord roaring - it all changes constantly. Just... barely so. And not in a way that makes the songs any more melodically memorable. If anything, you'll come away from it thinking, "If you have THAT good a memory for counting and shifting parts that many times in an epic composition, why not use that memory to memorize some INTERESTING PIECES OF MUSIC?!!?!?"

The first song is fantastic -- no getting around that. Two evil guitar lines at once, a bass/guitar roundabout, mean math-metal, lots of speedy drum rolls, and by gum, it's CATCHY too. but after that, it's just a whole lotta really simple little riffs made difficult only by the band's insistence on slightly changing them every 30 seconds or so. They certainly do play tightly as a unit though, and there is nothing at all *offensive* on here (a la "Sober"), which makes it impossible to hate. There's nothing here to hate! The vocals aren't overly whiny, there are no particularly laughable funk metal parts or anything like that; it's just that the songs are extremely uneventful for long periods of time. It's basically the same complaint that Metallica fans lodged when ...And Justice For All came out, but unike Metallica's release which at least had lots of kickass thrash parts, this music is ALL midtempo. Plus it doesn't have that cool drum noise that sounds like Lars is beating on a hub cap.

Furthermore, the entire 78-minute release is ridiculously earnest and self-important. Every single track practically grabs you by the coatcuffs and screams, "This is IMPORTANT! This music is not for FUN! Don't try to ENJOY IT! Music is SERIOUS BUSINESS! STOP SMILING AT IT!" Of particular fault in this department is the drummer, who sticks in more hippy bongos, talking drums and other limp world music instruments than David Byrne at his most pretentious. And to what effect? Now instead of a strong backbeat, they've got what sounds like a guy throwing his shoe around the room. Good work there, drummer guy. Good planning.

Also, for a band that is so often put on a pedestal as 'intelligent heavy metal,' these are about the stupidest fuckin' lyrics I've read in the past ten years. Okay, here's a bit from "Vicarious," a song about watching violence on TV: "I need to watch things die/From a distance/Vicariously/I live while the whole world dies/You all need it too - don't lie./Why can't we just admit it?" Oooooh! ZINGER! I have to assume he wrote this song when he was in the 6th grade and just kept it around like Greg Lake and "Lucky Man"; otherwise it's just too depressing to think that this kind of 'insight' is what passes for 'intelligent heavy metal.'

Oh but wait! There's more! This is from "Right In Two," a 'really perceptive' song about man's inhumanity to man: "Angels on the sideline/Puzzled and amused/Why did Father give these humans free will?/Now they're all confused/Don't these talking monkeys know that Eden has enough to go around?" Now see - the problem here should be apparent to all of you already. I don't know what faith Maynard claims to follow, but these lyrics mix two entirely contradictory belief systems -- there are no angels in the evolutionary theory, and no monkey-men in Christianity. Is his point that both views may be partly right and partly wrong? And if so, why didn't he write a SONG about this belief of his, rather than using it as the really confusing subtext of a dumb-as-shit oversimplification of human relations, politics and war?

Having said that, I am definitely not a theology expert, so if there IS actually a belief system that includes both angels and evolution, I apologize for my outburst. I just find it more likely that Maynard is having trouble reconciling his tough guy 'Fuck your God' stance with his apparent need to believe that his late mother has 'gone to the angels.' Which is fine -- I mean, there aren't many tough guy heavy metal singers who would devote 17 full minutes of a CD to eulogizing their mother, let alone name their CD in recognition of her plight (before dying last year, she had lived with paralysis from a stroke for a full 27 years - or roughly 10,000 days). I find it touching, courageous and sensitive for him to have done this. Plus, for once you know he really MEANS it. Nobody makes a pose out of crying over their mother. So I very very much applaud him for this decision, and hope that other Tool fans do as well. But I'm not sure what he's trying to accomplish after all of his past anti-religious hullaballoo (like when he 'pretended' to find Jesus in early 2005, then lambasted 'the God of sheep who don't have a sense of humor') when he sings lines like "Shake your fists at the gates saying: 'I have come home now!/Fetch me the spirit, the son, and the father./Tell them their pillar of faith has ascended./It's time now!/My time now!/Give me my, give me my wings!'? Is he saying here that it doesn't matter what he believes, but only what his mother believes? If so, that's really nice. I'm serious! That's a good son to do that - put aside his disbelief in his mother's time of need. But then he uses the rest of the song to accuse every other Christian in the world of being a hypocritical asshole! Oh well. Can't have the fans thinking you've fallen for the 'God of sheep,' I guess!

A few final points: the guitarist uses a lot of light delay (repeat) on his instrument and it sounds really, really good. The production is great from beginning to end, with Maynard never overwhelming the music (usually kinda staying in the background actually!). And the song "Intension" is really goddamned good. Even my wife likes it! Says it sounds like The Cure. It's also the only song on here that doesn't eventually turn into heavy metal. Just a super slidey-sick bass line, eerie vocal harmonies and -- for once -- the appropriate use of bongos. Or tabla or whatever the hell they are. And whatever you do, don't just download the album off the Internet. You NEED this packaging. It is by far the greatest CD packaging I've ever seen, and it would be a shame for you to miss it. What they've done is include a pair of 'stereoscopic lenses' as an integral part of the album art, and then when you open up the package there's a cool-as-absolute-goddamned-hells booklet of dark, morbid 3D artwork and band photos for you to view through the lenses. I love it! It was worth every penny of the $10 I spent on it, even if I never listen to the CD again. Which I imagine I won't.

I actually wrote one other paragraph but can't decide whether or not to include it because it seems very defensive. Granted, the whole review sounds pretty defensive, but this next part is blatantly an attack on all the reader commentators who've implied that you have to be 'intelligent' to 'get' Tool. I guess I'll go ahead and include the paragraph as a post-script, but please understand that I realize it's defensive and I wouldn't normally include something attacking a band's fans in a review. I DO honestly feel this way about their music though, so I'd might as well be honest and say it, even if it makes me sound like a whiny little bitch. Here it is:

DEFENSIVE POST-SCRIPT: So I don't know. The more I listen to Tool - and this album in particular - the more they seem less like an 'intelligent' band and more like a band that seems 'intelligent' to people of average intelligence. I'm not saying that to put anybody down -- I like plenty of dumb as shit music, and it's no secret that I'm not exactly a Rocket Surgeon. But the whole Tool package, with its unnecessary and ineffectual little musical changes every few seconds, the unceasingly 'serious' mood tied to simplistic riffs, the lyrics that tackle insightful issues in a hamfisted high school philosophy manner - man, I'm dumb as shit and even I'm not dumb enough to fall for this. It just reeks of 'the uncreative preaching to the easily impressed.' And maybe they're smarter than Soundgarden or Britney Spears or something, but how much is that really saying?

Reader Comments (Kevin Mannion)
Just thought I'd give my worthless meaningless opinion on this worthless meaningless album on this rather excellent site. (I hate to kiss ass, but Mark man, if it wasnt for you I would never have got into several great bands). Tool truly are an overrated monstrosity, boring as hell musical tedium and awful angsty vocals/lyrics. Not to tar all Tool fans with the same shit stick, but the people I know who like Tool really are first class tools themselves. Smug bastards, they are. 'Maynard Keenan is such a genius', they tell me. '10,000 Days is such an incredible album', they tell me. Anyhoo, its all bullshit, don't buy into this bands hype because they really dont deserve it. Self-important, tedious rubbish! There have been many many more alt-metal/rock bands out there that blow Tool out of their shit polluted water. I mean: Faith No More, Mr Bungle, The Melvins, Kyuss, Radiohead, R.E.M., yes R.E.M.! They used to be really great! At the end of the day its all about music, and R.E.M.s output in the early 80's is WAY better than probably anything Tool will ever put out. Well, good day to you all and remember that this is just my opinion maaaan, I'll never understand why people get so fucking hot and bothered when somebody criticises their shitty band. I mean, I don't.
Great review, the 'high / low' intro delivered another classic Prindle gutbuster. I don't know ANYthing about this band, probably haven't heard a second of their stuff and I'm glad I'm too old to care, but you found a great writing muse with Tool and it kept me all the way. Your line "uncreative preaching to the easily impressed," doesn't that nail the Ayn Rand people, too?
God damn it Prindle! (no ironic-theological-referencing pun intended) I agree with nearly everything you say in this review.


The first track is amazing and its such a good start that it maybe softens me to the merits of the rest. When ever I listen to this, which I have done quite a lot, I generally stop by the last couple of tracks cos I get bored. I always listen from the start though cos the begining is so good.

I can't remember which track it is (8, 9 maybe) but about 7 minutes in it brakes down into this funky bass and bongos 'thing' that I just love and ok it would be a bit of an overstatement to say that that like one minute or whatever it is makes the album worth the price for me, but it practically gives me shivers it's so good.

What is the point here, I'll just be repeating what you say? Production is great, nothing to hate, bla, bla. Yeah they probably take themselves too seriously and most of their fans to.

I guess though I agree with all your arguments (pretty much) I'd still give it a higher Mark, (as I would Aenima-the drumming the whole way through is just incredible, no matter how repetitive the guitar is) but that's just me. (Hey I love Pantera!)

Lyrics too...shit it's niggling away at me, I don't want to agree, but yeah a bit adolescent (Sorry Maynard, Judas I would seem to be (not to imply that Maynard will be particularly effected (ie at all) by my opinion (which he'll never hear anyway)))))))))))

One thing though (and this is the eternally dissatisfied philosopher comming out in me [dissatisfied ammongst other things with being unable to stop philosophizing!]) I don't see what the problem is with the Evolution/Christianity lyrical mix. All theories that imply I consesus of opinion among individuals (ie every one that has a name) are flawed. How can any theory be 'right'? how could we have a concept of 'God' or infinity? How can a (by it's nature) limited mind be able to form concepts of 'everything', the format of which is language that confines whatever we put a label on? It's paradoxical. (and yeah maybe we don't just think in language, there could be images, or whatever you want to argue for.)

If you consider yourself a philosopher and you believe any particular theory to be 'true' then congatulations your a complete fucking cop-out! or not, oh isn't philosophy so much fun? No!) Everything we 'know' is speculation (including the meaning people take from language (ie do they take the same meaning we take from it?)) Theories are models, some work well and when they do fine, when people take them as "truth" well hey that's why life is a constant state of shit hitting the fan. (Everything I just said is speculation)

As far I'm concerned there is only one certainty: This present experience right now. No past, no future, not even a bloody 'I' that is experiencing, just 'present experience'. Still obviously I have ethical beliefs and whatever. I think that it is desirable that people have an attitude of respect for themselves, other people, all life, everything. Desirable? I think that can be pretty well argued for - seems pretty desirable internally and externally to live with compassion and be generous, but 'Good'?, 'Bad'?, 'Moral'? Am I even disagreeing with you? Or talking about what I said I was arguing for? I don't know...'Theories' man - AAAARRGGHHH!!!!

but I digress...good review, I look forward to reading your hate-mail.
Well, I don't have a definitive opinion on the album yet, I'll need to give it a few more listens but I'll go ahead and tell you what I think about it right now. I like it, I don't love it. On first listen, I thought it was great, but the more I listen to it the LESS I like it. I still think it's a good album though. My problem with it is that it doesn't really do anything Tool hasn't done before, and done better. There are parts of the album that are great, but there are is also a lot here that feels like a retread.

As for Tool and the whole "intelligent heavy metal" thing, I think they are a smart band, but not incredibly so. I think the media's portrayal of them as the definitive thinking man's metal band gives people too high an expectation, which leads to the kind of reaction that you have.

Basically, if you like most of Tool's prior work, you'll probably like this too. If you didn't like Tool's other stuff, there isn't much here you'll like.

I'll give more detailed comments when I've given the album a couple more listens.
OK Prindle, so I'm online again and you're going to get the usual mess from me. But someone has to be the Tool apologist around here. I can't figger out why you don't like these guys. I think in spite of your reviews of ELP, King Crimson, Yes, (let's not mention Moody Blues just right now), etc., you are no friend of prog rock if you don't like Tool. So whatever....

WAY back in the day (early 90's), I used to listen to the local community college radio station while waiting for my bus. They played some Mojo Nixon (remind me to tell you a story about that sometime), Social Distortion, "It's a Shame About Ray", Nirvana, etc. etc. And they constantly played this ONE song that sounded to me like really good ZZTop except with someone who could actually sing. Sorta a chucka-chucka blues type lick, but I never knew who it was since I never heard the whole thing, Always running for the bus. Turns out the song was Prison Sex. Tool.

So some years later at my workplace a younger guy (half my age) comes in w/ a CD called Aenima, and he's searching the web for the lyrics to this album. I look closer at the CD case and hmmm it seems it has some funky Cracker Jack-toy sort of implementation where if you tilt it back and forth just right, there's some dude apparently giving his very own self a blow job. Now, music aside, what's there not to like about that? I mean, excepting perhaps portions of the Bible Belt, what guy hasn't wished he had that kind of flexibility in times of need?

(Why, Lord, oh why, have they always asked me about "flexibility" in job interviews, since Aenima? Do they not see my beer belly?)

So I went out and bought Aenima. And I put that sucker on the headphones every Sunday night for a year. It almost became a mantra for me, i.e., just Zone Out with Aenima.

So now we get 10,000 Days. I'm sorry to tell you, musically this is a fine piece of work from Track 1 on. Is it up to Aenima? No way. Is it up to Lateralus? Yes way. Who cares about the lyrics? Seems to me Tool is lyric-wise moving into Topographic Oceans territory as in: everybody get out your Yes lyrics and compare them with Tool lyrics and I think Jon Anderson his very self said something to the effect that they (the lyrics) are just designed to complement the music rather than have any particular meaning. Yep maybe Maynard was working through some stuff but maybe we put too much weight on it. Unless we're getting into Revelations-type territory here and there's only 10,000 days left before the Second Coming...

Anyway, Tool is the only band carrying on in the progressive tradition now that King Crimson's on apparent hiatus, so jeez give this one an 8 outta 10.
Well Mark, I was going to go on about the Tool record being good and all, then I had to read the first review by one of your readers where the guy compares Tool, being the Alt Metal band they are, and somehow links them to REM. So let's talk about REM first. I'm perplexed that anyone who finds Tool boring would be entertained by REM. REM? B-O-R-I-N-G. Self important gibberish lyrics? REM is your band. Pretentious? Again, REM. Meandering, aimless dreary music??? Tis REM yet again! So maybe now I am starting to se the link. Unintentionally clever I am guessing. REM are like ZZ Top or Metallica. They haven't made a good record in 15 years minimum (and I will challenge anyone who pumps up that tripe known as Document or Orange- I call it watered down Meat Puppets or simply weenie rock, and that was the end of the "good") yet they still have this genius reputation placed on them. At least ZZ Top and Metallica made some ass kicking grooves. REM just jangled. So anyways...

As for the new Tool record, I've only recently become a semi fan of them. I like the new record the most of any I have heard because, well, it leaves out most of the garbage soundscapes that they use to fill up all 90 minutes of their other records. That was refreshing. And overall, I like the groove that the record gets in. It is samey, but that's ok. It flows consistently. As for 78 minutes? It was fun listening to while I BBQ chicken yesterday, which took about that long.

As for the intelligence factor. I don't really know or care. I know a couple of fans, and they basically just like the grooves, so it doesn't matter. I mostly can't tell (or bother to try to figure out) what they are singing about. I do like the fact that you explained the dying mother angle, which added to that song. Overall, from what I can tell, the record seemed more "wholesome" and less intently offensive of stuff in the past. And the packaging was absolutely great, which at least shows they give a crap.

So I like it. They sure as hell aint Ween, but they aint bad. Now I'll get to that new Pearl Jam record... (Kevin Mannion)
Just wanted to respond to Mr Greene, who found it so hard to fathom how I linked Tool and R.E.M. Well, as I think I kind of mentioned before, sometimes you need to just forget about genres and preconceptions of what kinds of music should be discussed together. Yes, I do find R.E.M.'s old albums very interesting. And I find Tools very boring. I prefer the jangle and atmospherics of REMs first four albums to the dull, repetitive tedium of Tool. I prefer the 'self important gibberish lyrics' of Stipe to the self important yet seemingly retarded shit that Maynard Keenan spews on every Tool album. Prindle has already given some examples of Keenans unique intellectual insights, so I don't need to.

Bear in mind though that my musical taste isn't just limited to guitar pop or folk, as I said in my first comment. Just wanted to clear that up. Think I'll go have a listen to Lifes Rich Pageant right now actually.
10,000 days is just another great recording. Anyone disappointed with TOOLBAND's latest should just give up on TOOL. I had no expectations and I find it to be their most personal work to date. TOOLBAND applies themselves to their total music presentation very well, and puts their original listeners on a pedestal. The only way I can compare their musical accomplishment in real-world speak is to the talent Dimebag Diamond Darrell had for guitar soloing: Brother Dime ALWAYS pulled out an extra note, and it just CRUSHED you!!!

These talented lads are singing about their own life experiences, and are NOT trying to convey a sense of self-righteous intellectualism. IMHO, the core of their experience is something only they and anyone who's associated with the bandmates would be able to properly identify. Anyone else's attempt is classic, in a 'Late Night with Johnny Carson' type of way. Be encouraged into wanting an intimate piece of work that will only reciprocate itself, and add 10,000 Days to your collections. Stop looking for a window to the world, and BE that window.
Mark wrote something about Lateralus like "they actually wrote some songs this time" and unfortunately that only happens in about half the songs here. The formula is getting kinda tired, along things are spiced up with Adam Jones' much-talked about "Meshuggah influence" which sounds like Meshuggah time signatures applied to typical Tool sounding songs. Ah well, maybe i need a little more time to let it set in, but it does seem like the weakest since Opiate so far. 7/10.
The following is a 'MAD LIB' review of 10,000 Days where you, the reader, can fill in the blanks and impress your friends at the same time!!!

TOOLBAND has four other _______ that are quite_______ for them. So their fair _______ turned this latest into a big _______ and sent the music world off to the _______.

MY choices are: 1) teepees; 2) Swiss; 3) Hambone; 4) cat food; 5) Airport Hilton.

It is plain as day that TOOLBAND is the Cougar that will not let you control your heartrate.

Dude, your site reminds me of, the Internetsite where people can come together to bitch about Tool and share pornography with one another. This is a site populated by militant music buffs, who spend their days downloading music and what they think is inside information about music and bands they claim to dispise,yet can't stop discussing.

Haven't you got anything better to do? Like, for instance, actually make good music, since you seem very upset that Tool makes such crap-ass songs. Wheter they do or not is a matter of taste, and therefor the debate is meaningless. I could bitch about thousands of crap-ass bands and musicians for years and years, but I choose not to. You know why? Because I've got better things to do with my time (disclaimer; this mail only took five minutes to write).

So my advice is; get out of your mom's basement, enjoy the sunshine, enjoy some good music (not Tool obviously), and remind yourself life is too short to be pissed off all the time.
Your site is a joke. You consider yourself a music critic, just because you have an opinion. Anyone can write the completely biased dribble that you crap on with, and the fact that you don't realise that your opinion isnt worth a single piece of horse shit, shows that you are an egotistical idiot. You may be thinking 'Alot of people value my opinion', but they don't. They think they do because they share the same opinions, which you parade as fact, like any teenage girl's magazine.

And apart from that, what makes you think it is okay for you to cast down judgement on someone elses art? Please feel free to give your incredibly uninformed opinions on poxy bands that actually make music for you to consume. But when it comes to musicians making music for themselves, please just shut up.

By the way, there is not one fucking 'bongo' on the 10,000 Days album, I think you are referring to the tablas, an Indian drum that are the centre of a heavy disciplined and ancient art form. What you say sounds like a shoe being thrown around a room are in fact several different world instruments such as log drums. You say that they should use their counting to write interesting music. You see, in alot of different music such as the Primitivist movement in the early 20th century, the counting IS the interesting part. This was created to be of appeal to the intellect, and maybe the reason you can't identify the 'intelligence' of the music shows that you are not intellegent yourself. As for Maynards lyrics regarding angels, it to me seems to be part of whole 'Garden of Eden' metaphor Maynard uses throughout the song, and in your criticism of Maynard's lyrics, you offer not even a reason as to the problem you have with them. Also, why you would be critical of Maynard's lyrics when one of your favourite bands appears to be Metallica mystifies me. You clearly follow a single strand of radio friendly music and you have no idea about anything outside your own little universe.

By being alive you are slowing down the evolution of the human race, and I urge you to kill yourself as soon as possible. Everything you say is like a shit coming out of your mouth and in to our collective conciousness' cup of coffee. May God have mercy on your soul.
As for Todd's (lack of) review above, for RE-Todd to ask of someone to off hisself is just lame. Second, he is obviously some type of wangster as he's a mouthful of hip and trendy musical modes, and yet has no respect for fact it is people who create them. TOOLBAND is not some magical animal that secretly goes out at night and slays dragons, and returns back to you unnoticed. They don't. Really.

These musicians ROCK, they are beyond any description other than the peaceful sorrow they enable; this from the all too apparent knack some fools have for immersing themselves blindly in music say, just to escape misery of their own hand. TOOL has found a manner to create and channel music, great music at that, to everyone. It will stand the test of time, and stand the test of the over stimulated nerd hurd to whom this band and maybe another are 'allowing' to live.

Ya' know... I could let loose with some old school knowledge about the how's and why's of TOOLBAND being so appealing and 'secret messages' that are over-imagined and therefor occupy the minds of those filled with Swiss... cheese. But I won't. I was made for TOOL. I have nothing to hide from their music, and in reality... it hides nothing from me. I just enjoy it and await more. Peace Dog.
Mark, I think your review of 10,000 wasnt very fair.

Before I go any further, I want to say that there are things I like and things i dont like about Tool. They can be boring, but at times, they are spellbinding. i have to oppose you on your "Tool tunes are non-intelligent" claim. Tool is easily the most intelligent band popular among kids these days. Almost every song uses crazy time signutures, complex structures, and thoughtful lyrics (yes, i said it). Each musician is obviously competant with their instument.

Danny Carrey has redefined percussion for me. Even though he is godly on his drumset, he goes even further to use all sorts of world percussion some of which i have never heard before, and even some electronic percussion on "Intension". I even read an article about who his drums are arranged by some geometric principle.

So Tool is intelligent. Except for Undertow and before that.

Vicarious is a very boss song, i cant say anything that hasnt been said already. However, i gotta say Jambi is boring as whale shit. It is almost entirely a-melodic, 2/3 of the time they are playing muted notes. the 10,000 days suite is cool, but it is a little boring to be honest. The Pot is a good rocker, plus its about grave-robbing, so i like it. Im not sure about Lipan conjuring. Atleast it doesnt go on for 11 minutes. Lost Keys is genious - simply perfect. It reminds me of Sonic Youth, and it makes good headway for the next track, which sadly gets boring after about 1:30. I was really dissapointed after hearing from a friend that there was a song about being on acid and talk about being abducted by aliens. This song is an exception for the "thoughtful lyrics" thing.

However, it is completly redeemed by the unbelievable Intension and Right in Two. Those two songs are simply godly and worth listening to the rest of the album for. Overall, i give this album a 7. It is by no means bad, but is at times difficult. I like it, and every time i listen to it it gets better. So dont give up on this band so fast, Mark. (Tim Blake)
The embarassingly crass comments of the likes of 'By being alive you are slowing down the evolution of the human race, and I urge you to kill yourself as soon as possible' in response to a simple review/opinion on Tool is pretty indicative of the fact that a crapload of them takes themselves WAYY to goddamned seriously. Plus: 'So my advice is; get out of your mom's basement, enjoy the sunshine, enjoy some good music (not Tool obviously), and remind yourself life is too short to be pissed off all the time' is somewhat ironically amusing. I know he said 'not Tool obviously' but telling an opinion giver that negatively addressing Tool is a result of being 'pissed off' is funny, because they're the most negative, anti-fun, uber-serious psuedo art band in this reality (but what is reality!?).

The main thing that strikes me about this album is that there has been barely any progression on any previous element they have employed. Also, the lyrics are psuedo-intelligent, immature, juevenile wanna-be philosophy, all of which can be excused if there's a hint of irony, tongue-in cheek, parody, humour, so on. Of which this album contains exactly 0.00.0%. Somewhere in the haze Tool lost it musically. Lateralus was a crapola more interesting than this bore-fest. Aye. This album is the product of severe ambition hampered by limited means/ideas. 'Vicarious' is ok but rips off 'Schism' completely. Majority of the rest of the songs are boring poop, 'The Pot' seems funny at first because it's such a bad self-parody of Aenima style angst. 'Right In Two' is almost the only track that offers anything. It's sad that a band could go from Lateralus, a reasonably radical and sucessful change that yield good songs, to this kind of late-period, bloated, unenergized self-plaguarism.

And I'm a (moderate) long-time Tool fan. Moderate in brackets because I've always enjoyed them somewhat for their music and lyrics (more the way they sound in context with the music because many of them are pretty shitty), but not for their overblown pretention and limited substance, which is what this album emphasises the most. Limited by their own inability to realize their vision, thanks to bad lyrical sense, no new musical ideas, and non-existent song-writing. I just listened to the whole thing (the only time I've done it because I'd always get bored) was really, really boring. I can do that with any other Tool album and get bored, but not so much that I start hating it. Tool in general appeals to angsty teenagers who are smart enough to not want the kind Nickelback is shelling, but it's still relatively immature stuff.

Sorry if the above opinion was way too harsh/negative/abrasive. Tool just manage to generate strong opinions. The truth of my idea of this band is somewhere in the middle, cos I like the majority of everything before 10,000 Days, on which I appreciate like, 2 songs a small (dull) amount and the rest is super-uber-mega yawn country. So overall I rate Tool high but I don't rate this album much.
The people who sent pissed off responses to your review of 10,000 Days by Tool need to be lobotomized. Even if you criticize a band or album that I enjoy, your reviews are so funny that I don't even mind the fact that your opinion differs from mine. You should probably just review the movie Donnie Darko in this Tool review as well, because people who think Tool are an intellectual band also probably think Donnie Darko is a movie for smart people. That way, you can kill two birds with one stone and get twice the hate mail, from people obsessed with Tool but who also really enjoy Donnie Darko, and from people who are obsessed with Donnie Darko and jerk off to pictures of Jake Gyllenahadskfalad and Maynard James Kosby. I know Donnie Darko has nothing to do with Tool, but if I hear one more dude talk about how that movie is brilliant again, I'm gonna shove a copy of 10,000 days up his asshole and make him listen to that "Relax, Don't Do IT" song on repe

Oh man, you're such a big jerkkkkkkk for referring to TABLAS as BONGOS, oh you have no business writing record reviews!!!! AGGHGHG. I love how that guy thinks he's RIPPIN' you a NEW ONE because he thinks you don't understand primitivism in music or some shit like that. Is he actually trying to compare Tool to Stravinsky with this reference???????? I mean...Tool are so intellectually stimulating that they put a dude blowing himself in the album art for one of their records. Is that a statement on sexual needs? If you can fulfill your own sexual needs, then you don't need a partner? Are tool admitting that their music is often masturbatory, but sometimes masturbating is good if you can blow yourself?

I don't know, man.

Anyway, I love your reviews. Sometimes I disagree. But at least we can bond over our hatred for Donnie Darko, right??? You hate it, too, right???

Lateralus is pretty good, though, I agree.
I guess you could call them the Kansas or the Uriah Heep or the Foreigner of prog-metal... it's funny seeing such generic, uninspiring, tuneless, derivative, pseudo-intelligent heavy metal get so vehemently defended with such rousing and penetrating arguments as "what makes you think it is okay for you to cast down judgement on someone elses art?" and " By being alive you are slowing down the evolution of the human race, and I urge you to kill yourself as soon as possible."... I think when someone tries to defend their viewpoints with this garbage they write off their entire point for speaking in the first place. And right, the counting IS the interesting part... you know what makes music interesting... NOT SUCKING! And Tool sucks... sorry, I'm not buying the whole pseudo-intelligent math rock bullshit. Heavy disciplined and ancient art form? HA! That's right. TOOLBAND are ninjas. They're gonna flip out and kill everybody!
sean.umphlet: What you state makes no sense. I am less intelligent for beginning a narrative from it! Are you aware that it is better to keep ones mouth shut, then be assumed stupid, rather open it and prove oneself as such?

If these your views from your four-walled world, I suggest you refrain from re-filling your water-bottle like have from the nearest 'Porto-Potty' basin. Are you eating your own feces? I don't remember Adam having attained 'Black Belt' status, nor any other in TOOLBAND. Is your refrigerator clean? Maybe you have contaminated 'Newman's Own' and are not knowing.

But, I just assume you are too happy following the masses, and never achieving original thought. Try it. It may prove academic.
My dear fellow,

although I consider myself an ardent fan of your reviewing project, I must strongly disagree with you upon the topic of Tool’s magnum opus, "10 000 days".

First of all, I think the lyrics are very thought-provoking. As with early King Crimson, the lyrics actuall DO seem a bit simplistic. Nevertheless, they investigate interesting fields of thought from a sort of sinisterly twisted angle...

The music is simply mind-boggling :)

`Jambi’ for instance is fueled by one of the most hypnotic metal riffs since Slayer’s `Reign in blood’. And try listening to `Viginti tres’ in the’s a most nerve-shattering experience... Overall, music and booklet are totally absorbing. Once Tool have managed to pull your senses into their world, you’re prone to have your horizont expanded!

After all, it’s good clean escapism, and that again depends on what kind of conclusions you draw from this magnificent output.

Greetings from Germany!
I understand and agree with your comment, Mark, about Tool being uncomfortably akin to music for pseuds (that's how I read it, at least). It's not a happy thing to say, but I've thought it myself in the past. Some of the comments others have made here basically just say 'Tool ARE really intelligent, I've heard that all their guitars are played in a way that uses Feng Shui alignment so they must be intelligent. Oh, and the drummer read some books about old drumming practices and decided that'd be a neat thing to have, and even though it doesn't sound great, boy, isn't it clever that the thought of doing that? Because see, people from the past thought up all kinds of clever shit that people today don't know about, and it's all really intelligent and sophisticated, and only Tool, and me, and my friend who told me about this know about, becuase we're all kinds of smart like that.'

As for a reason *why* it's intelligent? No, but it sure does *sound* clever doesn't it? I mean, how does it actually add to my appreciation of this Tool album, that the bongos -- sorry, tablas -- were played according to strict geometric principles? It doesn't -- but ah, maybe there's a clever significance, because the rhythm played is a Pythagoras sequence starting from the number 13, and on the 13th track there is a direct link back to track 7, and the Earth was made in 7 days...

If I was told that by someone then I'd suggest them to get their head out of their ass, and explain to me how that makes the music any better, or how it otherwise affects me. As far as I can tell it just makes Tool feel smug and superior (and their fans too, by association, which some -- SOME -- seem to crave). Assuming it's not all bullshit anyway.

I'd love it if it were revealed that their cold, clinical elitist way was some kind of sophisticated joke, but I doubt that will ever happen. They've found a very successful angle to push, and it's serving them well. The music, at times, is pretty good. I'm reminded a lot of some so-called 'intelligent dance music' groups like Autechre in how the rhythms and spiky melodies intersect and develop. I don't think they've got the balls to really push it out all the way, though, they need to sound sufficiently Tool-esque for whatever reason. A shame. If they took some risks and tried to write more than the same three songs they keep using over their last two albums (the ambient, cod-Eastern one; the needlessly convoluted supposedly monstrous 'heavy' one; er, actually, can't think of a third one), they could be so much more.

The story mentioned by someone about one track being about taking acid and being taken aboard an UFO, sounds very much like a well known tale of the great, late Bill Hicks. Tool were big fans of his, and they toured together. There ya go.
Sonically, '10,000 Days' is just as brutal, just as melodic as any other. Recalling 'Undertow', is there not the subtle element of a garage band/punker slant to Adam's guitar tone and fills? I for one got the notion he was restraining himself, resisting the way of the other heavy bands of the era. I will site Slayer and Anthrax as two guitar driven bands. As 'ÆNIMA' became established it re-affirmed that a handful of well thought notes on a guitar will play out just as heavy as Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman. But it was different and needing in the realm of 'me-too' guitar antics.

'Lateralus' is just jaw-dropping in it's element of sparcity (this begun on ÆNIMA), but it is teaching the listener to find the weight within key shifts and even silence. Yet it seems to have had it's niche hollowed before the album is finished!

Adam is not trying to be a virtuoso on his guitars; but he does crush the listeners by attaining what is mostly overlooked when exploring the neck and picking styles. I re-iterate his attention to ambient space and the power of a single pedal tone.
dude! i read a couple reviews on here today and like i said before, i think they're brilliant. so i was kinda afraid to read your judgement on this record, thinking: don't ya ruin it now, mr prindle! and wow. you have managed to mouth (well type) my thoughts exactly!! i could quote every paragraph up there and just type 'word!' but that's a lil boring. speaking of boring, here's me listening to the new tool record - again.

||: HEY! that's a cool riff! hah! and a lil tricky, too. ok. i get it. oh i bet it's hard to tap your foot to this :D let's see. dun dada da da duun. ok. well not really that difficult. ok. i got it. move on, band! hm. i guess they could move on now..... oh! NOW i get it! they're _purposely_ makin me wait another -- let's say 2.3 or maybe 14 bars -- before moving on. stupid bands would like go to a different part of the song when the old one starts to get boring, but thats so like the CLICHÉ thing to do! tool are not that generic a band! but wait a minute now! somehow i think they're not goin to move on. i'm thinking: they musta really liked that riff..... oh they changed it a lil there! or did they? have you ever listened to a industrial gas heater turned to full blast! for like 10 minutes on end? after like 10 minutes or so youll start imaginging lil melodies and stuff (just to cope with the boredom??!?! i aint no brain surgeon, but there's _something_ goin on! (in the brain, not in the noise, which of course is pretty random. i hope.)) ok, sorry for goin off on that tangent (or two). how'd i get there? oh yeah! that riff! nice one. hasn't changed in quite a while now tho, has it? hm. maybe some fault at the mastering facility? i think i'm skipping to the next song, because if the cd isn't faulty or sumpn this must be some joke i don't really get. probably because i'm not smart enough. all my knowledgeable musician-friends say tool are..... well they're fuckin' TOOL!!!11! and maybe i'm missing something here. maybe i should start to feel sorry for myself because all these years of making music and listening to music still haven't made me cool enough (musically) to get this. i mean -- i sorta get it - but then i don't, you know. it's odd and odd-metered and all, but against all odds it's so predictable it's not even funny. isn't it ironic? don't you think? for all i know, theyre gonna stick to that stupid old riff for the next 10.000 days. i'ma skip to the next song. let's see what's goin on there! :||
For a band who I consider to have a great deal of talent and are treated by many as mystical gurus, Tool are a really emotionaly uninvolving band live. I've seen them twice this year and both times there were some great moments...but half the time I was pretty bored and loads of people at their gigs (from my experience anyway) do this excruciating 'god worship' thing where they sing along and raise their arms in adulation "heal me jesus". Perhaps I'm getting cynical because I'm more doubtfull of Maynard's lyrics having any real substance these days...or maybe I'm in denial that I was one of those kids when I first saw Tool five years ago!

Anyway my conclusion now is that Tool are a good band, above average, but I'll never love them or be emotionaly engaged by them. Maynard doesn't even compare to Jaz Coleman or Greg Dulli, seeing them live I've seen real soul power in action.
Thoughts to add! Decided after some debate to explore the packaging on this’un. My eyes are still hurtin’ a bit. I’ve never heard Lateralus, the album you actually like, but the song “Aenima” – which is amazing and essential -- and a couple of moments on Undertow are strong enough that I couldn’t help but being curious. I’ve been trying to figure Tool for awhile. “Band capable of writing intense, angry apocalyptic rock that sends shivers up my spine and awakens my favourite inner demons, who usually for some reason bore the heck out of me 90% of the time.” Hm, I think. Maybe it’s just me? Is this a fair evaluation? Hm. Let’s see what Mark thinks – hey, how about that, he thinks exactly what I do, except in more detail! This Prindle guy is onto something.

Does this mean I should buy Lateralus?

No, fuckit, I just bought 10,000 Days and am gonna sell it without ever listening to it again; it has nice production and a few cool bass bits but the songs just don’t grab me, not even th’ first one. So I’ll download Lateralus, and THEN maybe buy it. Or just play “Aenima” every now and then and wonder what it would be like if Tool ever recorded a song that good again.

I wonder what Mark’s Swans reviews are like?
Hasn't anybody noticed that the main guitar line of "Vicarious" is lifted STRAIGHT from the middle part of Megadeth's "Holy Wars... The punishment due"?

Such a creative band, those Tool guys.
Here's the deal about Tool. Not everybody can really understand their music because they were all written in a drug frenzy in a high class stuido in LA. To say Tool is overrated is understandable. to say they suck is very wrong. Yes their music is boring at times but they are not ment to be listend to sober (but not drunk if ya know what i mean.) This type of music appeals to a culture, not a sterotype (like all you shit eating Greenday fans) and Tool knows this. They don't put out an album to make your brain tingle and "ooooooh" and "aaaaahhhh" over their sound. They make them for their true fans who respect the sound and messages. It's not about fame and having a hit song, it's about approaching music in a new way. So, next time you sit down and listen to Tool, treat music like they do and admire it, not try to get a quick thrill. I think you might find you like them more after that. (Jacob)

I do consider 10,000 Days to be a lower point of their music. And I would agree that this albums seems to appear more under "seemingly intelligent" instead of "actually intelligent".

Lateralus is my personal favorite, so I can agree with on that being their best album.

I'm glad you wrote your review actually. I'm taking a step back and re-reviewing my music all over again. You're quite right about it probably not being as deep as many believe it to be, I totally agree with such a statement.

I found Intension to be very good, along with Jambi & Vicarious. Everything else seemed to be lacking a bit of something I can't really put my finger on. Just hours ago, Right in Two was my personal favorite Tool song.

Now, I'm reconsidering.

Maybe all my taste in music is horribly... wrong?

Perhaps I'm not listening to intelligent music, or more specifically, deep compositions.

From time to time I had played with this thought but your brutal paragraph on the conclusion of 10,000 Days just sort of sparked something within me.

We, as fans, music listeners and people alike are missing the point if we simply become the "sheep".

Over the past year, a bit more, I have effectively become something of the sort due to pretension and whatnot.

I am actually thankful for your review, although I do not *entirely agree with such a perspective.

But I support your comment on Tool likely not being as intelligent as followers deem them to be (10,000 Days lacked after I had heard Lateralus).

Thanks for the breath of life.
Why some people (including me) are afraid or think it is bad to dislike any material that comes from artists we USED to like….? I didn’t like 10,000 days in its entirety and I confess, it made me feel bad about myself, I thought maybe I was getting “old”, after all, it was ‘the mighty tool’ right?? Thanks to your page and advice taken from your readers’ posts, I’m discovering “new” music I’ve never had the chance to hear Before and finding it much more interesting than spending my time listening to tool…. But that’s just me….
The last paragraph says a mouthful and reading between the lines leads me to believe that you are trying really, really hard not to be a condescending prick to the every-man or to those who don't get dry irony... true? Of course Tool is the 'smart' band for the masses! Christ, why write it as a defensive paragraph? Holy hell, man! You know exactly what you meant to say with that! And you proved it by all the people who sent in those angry responses. Same with all those Tori Amos reviews.

Keep up the excellent work! Why don't you get paid for this stuff yet?

Say what you want about the cant deny that danny is one of the best drummers of all time.

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