Tool
Undertow


4.0
excellent

Review

by Have you tried jamming Helcaraxe? CONTRIBUTOR (137 Reviews)
August 29th, 2016 | 17 replies


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The grunge-inspired ominous seed of tools discography.

It is without question that Tool are the semi-modern giants of progressive music and the all stars of alternative metal. With constant transcendence into spiritual territory and a constant improvement of the meticulous nature of their music, there almost certainly had to be a foundation. That foundation would be Undertow.

Undertow serves as the formula that Tool would expand upon. Despite being less chock full of mind blowing talent and being somewhat underdeveloped, it has an incredibly charming if eerie demeanor lurking around each corner. Tracks such as "Bottom" and "Sober" are prime examples-both involving murky but groove-driven guitars and drumming with vocals that feel like your entering a void. Maynard Keenan may play less with dynamics off of "Undertow" than off other albums, but here his voice still does an incredibly job of sounding reasonably enraged sometimes while being restrained and eerily calm during other moments. Keenan's vocals are simply chilling, especially during the silent break on "Sober".

This becomes further complemented by the guitar work and to a lesser extent the drumming. Adam Jones creates incredibly driven grooves and has perhaps some of his catchiest riffs off of tracks such as "Swamp Song" and "Prison Sex". During the times where Keenan is seething with aggression the reverb and distortion is pumped up on the guitar and Carey goes from mildly intricate drumming to a rapid pounding of the skins. Tool does an incredible job still of building their songs into aggression-its never shoved onto the listener.

Once you've dug into the meat and potatoes of the album even the bass is absolutely amazing, and sometimes the strongest point of some tracks. The bass guitar is dense and heavy, and adds to the incredible groove on the album. It is treated almost like a normal guitar, with its own riffs and with its own intricacies. When this come together with every other piece of the album it allows you to appreciate how well Tool layers there music.

Although this album isn't quite perfection it's an amazing start for Tool. Still intricate enough to please fans of technical music yet still sombre and unnerving enough to please fans of atmosphere, it works as a perfect stepping stone for a band that would eventually do an even more incredible job of combining the two.



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user ratings (4525)
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Rastapunk
August 30th 2016


1558 Comments


I won't neg but this review is a little too much on the "fanboy" side. Everything is perfect, nothing to change yet you didn't give it a 5. What are the downsides of this album?



TheSpaceMan
August 30th 2016


13614 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

please post only one review a day esp if youre writing about albums that have already been reviewed more than enough times

Dedes
Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2016


10144 Comments


i have only been writing one review per day xD but I think I stated kind of why it wasn't perfect. It's an underdeveloped album and is simply more simple and blunt than their newer works.

TheSpaceMan
August 30th 2016


13614 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

well you have two reviews on the front page with the same time stamp xD

its outta respect for people trying to get their reviews and new/unknown music out there

btw not big on the review but I wasn't the one who neg'd you

Dedes
Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2016


10144 Comments


thats really odd theyd have the same time stamp i actually made sure to wait a whole day


TheSpaceMan
August 30th 2016


13614 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The site most likely runs on a different clock then your region. It's not a big deal but it's cool to be aware of what's on the front page

Ocean of Noise
August 30th 2016


10970 Comments


Don't follow the "one review per day" rule. Just wait until your review has dropped off the front page before you post another one.

TheSpaceMan
August 30th 2016


13614 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^yea pretty much, unless its been like 40 hours and nothins getting posted

Dedes
Contributing Reviewer
August 31st 2016


10144 Comments


ah ok also it turns out i posted them the same day but one of them was probably just slightly past 12 am or something

Fatbop
August 31st 2016


16 Comments


Pretty spot-on review. i am illiterate and could still enjoy it :D
Swamp Song would catch me off guard the same way H. does. I forget it's there so when i revisit it it hits me like a freight train!

DominionMM1
June 8th 2024


21187 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so many slappers here. swamp song and flood rip.

Koris
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2024


21370 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Aw shit, Dedes has the flagged review now. Nice



This is my second least favorite Tool (mostly because I tend to prefer their proggy stuff), but still really solid

DominionMM1
June 8th 2024


21187 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this one’s become one of my favorites as some of their later work has grown off me over the last few years

VlacDrac
June 8th 2024


2620 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Still better than Fear Inoculum.

DominionMM1
June 8th 2024


21187 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i’ll take it over lateralus and 10k days too. doesn’t have the high points that those albums do but it doesn’t have some of the meandering that those albums do.

FowlKrietzsche
June 8th 2024


1380 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yah Aenima > this > Lateralus > 10k and I won't touch fear Inc.

DominionMM1
June 8th 2024


21187 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i think i prefer 10k to lateralus at this point. i used to love lateralus but when i listen to it now it just drags. the only tracks i ever really revisit are the grudge, ticks n leaches, and the title track.



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