Tool
Undertow


4.0
excellent

Review

by Andrew Barr (MM8) USER (65 Reviews)
July 2nd, 2006 | 287 replies


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist


Tool
Undertow


The Band: Maynard James Keenan- vocals
Adam Jones- guitar
Paul D�Amour- bass
Danny Carey- drums

Undertow released 1993, was Tool's third album (including their demo EP) and it was this album that helped their career to take off. It was at this point in their career that people started to realize they absolute genius behind their music. Now, allow me to attempt to describe how Tool's music is 'genius'. The thing about Tool is it's very difficult to put them under one genre. They have their own unique blend of metal, progressive and hard rock. It's this unique collaboration of musical styles that makes them different from any other band. Not too mention their charismatic enigma of a front man Maynard James Keenan. Maynard has the perfect voice for the kind of music Tool plays. A lot of the time it's sort of like he's talking and singing at the same time. I guess you could call it 'salking' or 'tinging' (yeah, I know they're not great but I'm not here for word play).

Now I guess I'll try and describe the overall feel of the album. But bear with me folks, this is no easy task. This album overall, had sort of an eerie feel to it, as do most Tool albums. Mostly, what gave the album this feel was the bass, which had sort of strange tuning to it. While some of the eerie tracks were softer, actually a good word to describe them would probably be 'damp', not all tracks were like this. Some tracks, 'Bottom' for example did have a faster more rockin' pace. While I prefer the eerie tracks the faster ones were vital to keep the listener from getting bored. One aspect of the album I really enjoyed was the constant interludes. The majority of them were very interesting to say the least. There were lots of different FX used in them. This is one of the main things that gives Tool their unique sound. Overall I must say this album is a tad depressing. It's good too listen to when you're in somewhat of a glum mood. Although, that's not the only way this album can make you feel. It depends on your mood really. If you need to get pumped up for a sporting event or something like that a few tracks on the album can be useful.

The instrumentals on the album were exceptional, but not Tool's best in my opinion. The guitar work was more than adequate, although some solos would've been nice. Don't get me wrong there were lots of little solo-esque riffs in interludes or under some vocals in here, but there were no solos to be seen or heard, baring a few things here and there. For example, there was a very short solo under Maynard's vocals near the end of 'Bottom'. The rhythm guitar work was very well-written for the most part. Some of it may have been a bit simple, but the bizarre tuning on Adam's guitar made up for it. Also, as I previously mentioned some of the FX he used in interludes and things were spectacular. There was some wah used and I believe I detected some use of the talk pedal as well.

The bass for the album was simply phenomenal. As I mentioned earlier it was somewhat eerie, scary even. Like something you would here while walking through a damp marsh. All of it was spectacularly written and it was also rather easy to here throughout most of the album. Which was nice because so many bands don't give the bass near enough voice in the albums, but not Tool. The bass is almost as involved as the guitar and like the guitar I enjoyed its peculiar tuning. It seemed really low-pitched, even for bass. It's truly amazing the sounds that Paul can get out of that bass. This album just wouldn't be the same without the bass. The thing that really stood out for me, about the bass was that for a lot of the album it didn't just play the root notes of what the guitar was playing. Unlike so many other bands where the bass just conforms to the guitar, Tool lets the bass form it's own path and make each song its own.

The drums like the rest of the instrumentals were nearly flawless. I checked out some tabs for them and there actually rather difficult to play. I love how much Danny uses his toms. Most drummers rely on their high-hats and snare to get them through songs, but Danny dabbles more with the lower pitched drums. Which helps to contribute to the albums unique atmosphere. Also, Danny did a commendable job of keeping a steady beat. Which is difficult to do when you play as complex of drum lines as he does. Overall Danny Carey has to be one of my all-time favourite drummers, just behind Neil Peart.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Pros: Vocals
Instrumentally sound
Drums and bass were very involved

Cons: Some tracks blended together

I hope all of out there who haven�t already looked into this will. Although, keep in mind this style of music isn't for everybody. I didn't love it right away, it had to sink in first. So, if you do look into this listen to it for a while before you decide whether or not you like it. I've known some people who looked into this and hated it right away and that was it. They didn't give it any time to sink in. Then about a month later the music starts to creep up on them. Soon they�re telling me it�s okay. Then their asking to borrow my Tool albums for extended periods of time. Then they bring it back scratched! Anyways, before I start to ramble the point is most of you probably won't like this right away. Until next time keep your stick on the ice.



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user ratings (3072)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
metallicaman8
July 2nd 2006


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is an attempt to redeam myself after my last disaster of a review. I think I did a pretty good job with it, although I didn't have any fun writing it. Enjoy.This Message Edited On 07.02.06

Xander_Christ
July 2nd 2006


132 Comments


This is their third album now? I have never heard of any EP released before Opiate.
Decent review, although you don't really point to any specific songs to back up most of your points.

metallicaman8
July 2nd 2006


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the EP is listed on this very site. Type in "Tool" on the main page and it'll take you there.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2006


17920 Comments


Nice review, you've definitely redeemed yourself (although I thought the court reviews were good...). Tool is boring IMO.

metallicaman8
July 2nd 2006


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

what's taking this so long to show up on the metal page. It's been more than 30 mins.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
July 2nd 2006


2806 Comments


Something isn't right. There's 8 new reviews (last time I checked) and I have a journal and news article in waiting to show on the front page.

metallicaman8
July 2nd 2006


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yay, the main page finally updated. Unfortunately this is already off it.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2006


17920 Comments


Yeah, same thing happened with my review. Hopefully that won't happen again.

Two-Headed Boy
August 6th 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Nice review. This is a very good album, but I still prefer Lateralus to a good deal of stuff.

MAYNARDisawsome
September 24th 2006


2 Comments


xander christ ur pic looks firmilar whats ur name?


metallicaman8
September 25th 2006


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review. This is a very good album, but I still prefer Lateralus to a good deal of stuff.


Yeah, Lateralus is definitely their best album IMO.

...since when does this have two negs?


Muisee
September 25th 2006


679 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Looks like two fanboys got a look at it. If its not a 4.5 or 5, they will hate it dontyaknow.This Message Edited On 09.25.06

Acey
September 25th 2006


2578 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah, i gave you a pos. so idk where it came from, probably two fanboys, and i think that Lateralus or 10k Days is thier best.

bassman963
September 25th 2006


83 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, and it seems so generic, but I do think Lateralus is their best also.

First 3 tracks=Sweetness

TurnTheOtherWay
October 3rd 2006


459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think Aenima's their best. I'm a rebel.

metallicaman8
October 3rd 2006


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think Aenima's their best. I'm a rebel.


It would be second for me, just behind Lateralus.

Xander_Christ
October 3rd 2006


132 Comments


'xander christ ur pic looks firmilar whats ur name?'

I'm from a small town in Canada, if that helps. That's all the information I disclose on a first date.


Cravinov13
October 3rd 2006


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think Aenima is there best as well.

Patrick
December 9th 2006


1891 Comments


ok I read on artistfacts that if you take off the black cd tray there's a "surprise" behind it. and I'm wondering what that is...

Syncratic
December 9th 2006


756 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think it's either a pig or a cow licking itself.



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