Why you should listen to… Tool
When I was first asked to contribute to this blog I initially was flummoxed as to what to write about. I've never been one that was up on 'new' music so I will have to take a different tact. I thought instead I would write about bands that, although may have been around for ages, seem under-appreciated to me. So lets begin with the first...
Tool are one of those bands that have 3 distinct groups of people associated with them. Obsessive fan-boys, haters, and the "Tool?" group. While I obviously don't fall into the latter two groups, neither am I an obsessive. Tool are, however, one of my favourite bands.
So why should you listen to Tool? They're not to everyone's taste, and some are full of vitriol towards them. To some they're too heavy; to others not heavy enough. Their sound would be described by some as 'progressive metal', but that tends to turn most people off.
What you do get is a deep, complex sound that is missing from most standard metal bands, along with an aggressive heavy edge. The lyrical content is always involving and can range from the obviously–themed, to the "what is he on about!", without ever being clichéd. Maynard James Keenan's voice has an ability to perfectly adapt to a song, be it an aggressive vocal, or more poetic.
And then we come to the musicianship. Most tracks have at least a semblance of a verse–chorus structure, but often diving off in tangents, with no riffs recycled. Adam Jones has the ability to use complex time signatures and unusual riff patterns, without making the listener feel confused or alienated. And frankly Danny Carey is one of the best drummers of the last ten years. Anyone who wants a master class in complex timing and innovation should look no further.
A particular bonus that you get with Tool is that they are a visual as well as an audio experience. Guitarist Adam Jones originally moved to LA in the hope of entering the film industry, and he has applied his talents to the vast majority of Tool promo videos. Disturbing, engaging, and sometimes controversial, they accompany their respective tracks beautifully and are a lesson to many bands in how it could and should be done. Many of the videos are available on sites such as YouTube and bundled with promo singles, and are definitely worth experiencing.
Mostly a Tool album is not one that will get you bouncing around your room, but should make something stir inside you. I would highly recommend anyone to check out this band if you enjoy a 'weirder' but less heavy edge (a la the new Muse album), and also if you are feeling disillusioned with the formulaic nature of modern metal.