Artist Of The Week: 16/10/06

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Ott 16 2006, 21:37

Tool

Tool make me smile with glee. Tool make me sad. Tool make me angry about the world. Tool make me forget the world. Their sound has been described as "a primal sound as distinct as it is disturbing". And I'm seeing them in November :D

Tool have managed to intertwine two opposite ends of the spectrum into something brilliant, prog-rock and heavy metal, although if you were to compare them to any bands in either category, you would not be able to make any comparison. Except for possibly King Crimson, who you should also check out. Basically what this means is that while obviously being a metal band, they are always experimenting with complex rhythms (Schism), and odd instrumentation (Reflection). Moreover, the songs wrap you in a cocoon so once you've started listening to the song you cannot stop, even if it lasts 23 minutes.

But Tool are not all about the musicianship, even though they have one of the best singers ever, one of the best drummers ever, one of the best guitarists ever, and one of the best bassists ever. They have explored deep into philosophical and spiritual issues in their lyrics, such as evolution and Jungian psychology (Forty Six & 2), organized religion (Opiate) and transcendence (Lateralus)

I own four of Tool's five studio releases, everything except Opiate and Salival and one pattern I have found throughout their albums is that the last track of each album somehow leads onto the next album. Opiate, on the EP of the same name, was the angriest track, further from grunge than anything else on the record. Flood was more complex, more sprawling than anything else on Undertow. Third Eye, on Aenima was longer, more epic, more philosophical, and had more dynamic shifts than we'd ever seen before, and finally Disposition, Reflection and Triad (originally intended as one 23 minute track) enveloped absolutely everything. A beautiful 5 minute intro, moving into an intense 11 minute build up, culminating in a 7 minute instrumental jam with the most indescribable sounds. Which brings us onto 10,000 days, which is all of the above and more.

Recommended tracks for Tool:

Sober is solid proof that a singer can be aggressive while being completely pitch perfect, something which I have seen throughout Tool's entire discography. With a build up at the end, Adam Jones seems to be jamming for most of the song but having listened to it alot you realise that 'This is necessary'.

Eulogy is in my opinion the most underrated Tool song. On Aenima everyone always praises Stinkfist, Hooker With A Penis and Aenema, but this is beautiful. Epic as fuck, ambiguous (who is this Eulogy for, rumours range from L. Ron Hubbard to Kurt Cobain) and sung through a microphone. Awesome.

Warning: If you listen to Parabola without the three minute intro, Parabol, you are really missing out. When this song kicks in it is hardcore, but what makes it more confusing is you've never heard anything like it, but at the same time it feels so familiar. A knockout track.

Lateralus could be the best example of the cocoon I mentioned earlier. Based on the fibonacci sequence. Time signature: 9/8, 8/8, 7/8. Possibly contains instructions for reordering the album to help you pry open your third eye. Incredible. Especially the last 2 minutes, but you have to listen to the whole thing to get the right effect :p

10,000 Days (Wings Part 2) still baffles me. Rumours have been flying about that this track syncs up with Part 1, but I can't get it to work, and I'm very worried that this is purely cos the record label compressed the recording too much (if u look at .wavs of the tracks on the album they max the whole way through). Despite this, if you out this song on, and listen to it while you lie on your bed with your eyes closed you will feel mesmerised. Once, when walking to school I was listening to this, and when Maynard sang the word 'Wings' I just felt a release. It was confusing, but this is what Tool does to you.

And here's 5 more:

The Grudge
4 Degrees
Stinkfist
Vicarious
Rosetta Stoned

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