Review Summary: Tool makes this box set more than just your typical live performance by enhancing their own songs as well as bettering others bands' songs.
Let me fill you in on Salival
. This album was released prior to Lateralus and therefore only contains pre-Lateralus songs. It is said that it’s called Salival because the fans were salivating with anticipation over Tool’s next full length album. Lucky for us Tool didn’t decide to slap simple live versions of the first ten songs they could think of. No they decided to put some unreleased material on here to help make it a truly new experience. Along with the new songs they changed up a fan favorite, Pu***.
“Think for yourself, question authority”. These are the words that Tool decided to start this album with. Whether or not you feel it necessary to resist authority’s misinformed illusions of reality, your mind kind of perk up when you hear this quote. Thus I feel it was perfect to implement this dialogue into a song that completely blows one’s mind. This song, Third Eye
, with it’s strange outside ambience captures some interesting emotions as it whirls you into this trance like chaos. Hearing Maynard’s “I came out to watch you play, why are you running away” in live context is as good as it gets. This song is performed flawlessly, and with added synthesizers and dialogue, this song alone is enough to get this album.
goes through a major makeover. Or so many people think. The first half feels kind of worldly with Maynard’s vocals taking on a much more somber tone. It’s a fresh listen. The drums are absent during this period but guest player Aloke Dutta comes in with some superb tabla playing. It does feel like a new song, but eventually the song goes back to the normal version. This is somewhat disappointing seeing as when you hear the first half, you expect a completely different song. Regardless of this, the track is excellent and experiments more than most bands would ever dare. I’m just a greedy bastard.
The only other previously released song is Part of Me
. This song sounds great. In fact it sounds better than the studio version since Opiate’s production quality was somewhat poor. The problem with this song is that I think its Tool’s worst material. Maynard’s lyrics are annoying and probably the worst he’s ever come up with. Some of the time signature changes sound forced as does Carey’s drumming. All in all I still think it’s still a fun song to listen to. It takes us back to the heavy days and more importantly is a testament to how much the band has matured. Or maybe it’s just fun to listen to a Tool song under five minutes. ???
So onto the foreign territory. You Lied
is a cover of Justin Chancellor’s old band Peach. Although the main pulse of the song is pretty simple and straightforward, the song could easily pass a Tool original. The song is very haunting and Maynard’s vocals are very Perfect Circle esque, which isn’t a bad thing at all. The song is a little repetitive but I consider it a successful song as it produces more of a unique progressive atmosphere rather than an immediate payoff. This is often the case with Tool songs.
The song Merkaba
was often used as the intro to the popular Sober when performed live. It is essentially a trance like drum solo. It uses some cool electronic sounds to help flesh out a very different sound. Of course how many drum solos have you really heard? I’ve heard many and most of them consist of trying to play as many notes on as many drums as possible. Carey won’t have any of that. Instead he uses strange time signatures to keep you on your feet. The song also features some weird sounding dialogue such as the “It’s some kind of psychedelic experience!’ as well as “Our body is light, we are immortal” Weird stuff but I always dig it when it’s layered over something different. So I think it’s a pretty cool drum solo. I’m also pretty biased though seeing as I play drums and worship Danny Carey. So in all honesty you won’t probably listen to this song more than once.
is a cover of the Led Zeppelin song off House of the Holy. While most of Zepp’s songs were pretty straight rock (albeit incredible stuff), No Quarter sounded like nothing else by the band. So who better to cover the song? The song is pretty similar to the original until the end of the first chorus. It goes into a Pink Floyd like interlude and really builds the strange atmosphere. Maynard’s original lyrics “It’s getting cold in here” really showcase how creative and versatile the singer can sound. The 7/4 outro just stamps on the song THIS IS TOOL. The whole gang really managed to spice up this already groundbreaking song quite a bit. With completely new vocals and composition, this is the
reason to buy this album.
The final song is called Maynard’s Dick
. It sounds like something off a Puscifer album (a la Cuntry Boner). It has this nice catchy country hook and Maynard still manages to sound really good. It’s hard to take the song seriously when you keep hearing “Maynaaaaaaaard’s Dick!” It’s a decent song and could have easily fit on Opiate with Maynard’s screams sounding extra ferocious.
The other two tracks I didn’t talk about already aren’t really songs. Message to Harry Manback II
is just as it says. It’s the sequel to the first message (on Ænima.) Except this time that catchy little tune is on strings rather than a piano. It’s just more of that strange Hispanic guy talking. Apparently it’s an actual guy who left all that rambling on Maynard’s message machine. You kind find the full story on Wikipedia or something. The other track L.A.M.C.
is actually combined with Maynard’s Dick and is played before the song. It’s really boring and just consists of an automated operator asking dozens and dozens of pointless questions. The acronym stands for Los Angeles Municipal Court.
In conclusion I would say that you have to ask yourself how big a Tool fan you are. You will most likely have to pay at least $100 for this CD, but it also comes as a box set with a DVD that contains all their music videos (Pre-Lateralus of course) as well. For me it was a great purchase and I am very pleased with it. I will say that if you’re on the bubble about buying this or you’re telling yourself that this is just another live CD, that this is definitely not your run of the mill live album. When Tool performs they go balls to the walls. As you can see they make their own songs sound better and make other band’s songs sound WAY better. If nothing else, please listen to No Quarter.
Third Eye – 5/5
Part of Me – 3/5
Pu*** – 4.5/5
Message to Harry Manback II – N/A
You Lied- 3.5/5
Merkaba – 2/5
No Quarter – 5/5
L.A.M.C. – N/A
Maynard’s Dick – 3/5