Review Summary: A very young Tool create a raw and aggressive demo tape to begin their careers as the forerunners of progressive/alternative metal.
Now I'm sure you all know who Tool is and what they're about, but judging from the rating numbers and lack of reviews for this particular demo tape I'm assuming not many of you have heard this, the first recorded music ever released by Tool, 72826
Maynard James Keenan – vocals
Adam Jones – guitar
Paul D'Amour – bass
Danny Carey – drums
Before we begin, we're going to establish that, of course, the recording quality of this tape is nowhere near the quality of any of their full-length LPs, and as such it holds a very raw sound that may be off-putting to some fans of their later work. This is also certainly not the place to start for any prospective Tool fans so if that's why you're here go check Aenima
first. Or even start at Undertow
and go chronologically, but I would recommend avoiding their EPs until you get used to Tool's sound (the more adventurous of you may want to even consider starting with Opiate
and going chronological from there).
The first thing you'll notice about this is the recording quality, which is less than desirable, but could be worse. The lack of quality actually serves to benefit the sound of the tape due to the raw style Tool are using here. There is a noticeable lack in the progressive elements of the music that is found in their later releases, as at this point Tool was hammering away as a primarily hard rock band, which would be the case until their first masterpiece Aenima
. Now, while there was a dramatic shift in style and quality after the release of Aenima
, that does not mean that the young, hard rocking Tool's sound was bad or lacking, far from it actually.
In Tool's early work we hear some of front-man Maynard James Kennan's best screams, as he was still young and aggressive in his vocal work, favoring an all-out approach rather than a refined one, the songs "Cold and Ugly" and "Hush" are prime examples. As for the other members, Paul D'Amour has a nice bass-line during "Crawl Away" and another standout moment during "Cold and Ugly" showing even this early on that Tool were comfortable using the bass as a driving force in their songs. Adam Jones plays like Adam Jones throughout. The guitar is crunchy as per usual, it takes over when it should and it stays back when it should. Danny as always is solid throughout the tape, although he has no real standout tracks like "The Grudge" and "Ticks and Leeches" would later become.
is a quality demo tape released by Tool in their very early years. There are some slip-ups musically and vocally (That Maynard voice crack in Jerk-Off) as would be expected. Regardless, this was a very good way for Tool to start their careers as it laid the foundation for their early raw, aggressive, hard rock sound which would be prevalent throughout both their second EP Opiate
and their first full length release undertow
. A definite must-have for hardcore Tool fans.