Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Battle Hymns Classics: Opiate

My Brother and I have long had the belief that Tool's first album, considered an EP, is the ultimate work-out album. Coming in at just about thirty minutes, it truly is an exceptional work-out companion. Not only does it start out somewhat slow - the warm up, then build in intensity, but it also mellows out a bit at the end for the cool down portion of your work out. Maybe Tool isn't the work out companion for everyone, but before you queue up Coldplay or some shit for your next work-out take this into consideration: This shit will fire you up. This is by far Tool's most intense, pulse pounding album. How intense? I'm talking John McClane versus Hans Gruber in the Nakatomi Plaza on Christmas Eve INTENSE! If this album does not get you fired up for a work out, then you probably don't listen to enough metal.

Even though Tool has a bunch of other great albums Opiate is by far my favorite. Early Tool holds a special place in my heart. I've never really been able to put my finger on why this album is a favorite...their later stuff is certainly more technically skillful, and their song writing has only gotten better through the years, but Opiate has a compact heaviness that sets it apart. All the songs are fairly brief, aside from the title track which is over eight minutes, but each song packs a solid punch. Even though this wasn't the first Tool album I heard, I wasn't a Tool fan until I heard this album.

While every song is essential and awesome, Cold and Ugly and Jerk-Off are my favorites...I've always wondered: who is that "Bob Marley-wannabe-mother-fucker"? I've heard contrary, yet believable tales that it is Zac De La Rocha from Rage Against the Machine, and also that it is King Buzzo from The Melvins...perhaps the world will never know. Either way these two songs are great. The fact that they are played live, in the band's second ever live performance, show's how skilled Tool is. They sound fantastic on these live tracks, and while many singers sound less than great outside of the studio, Maynard James Keenan's voice sounds absolutely fantastic.

Opiate is a must-own for all metal fans. And non-metal fans as well...(I know a few Tool fans who aren't into metal). If you haven't heard this album yet, I suggest you set aside thirty minutes, or dedicate your next work-out to this album. It is sure to rock you.

Enjoy the Cold and Ugly video...the camera work is less than stellar, but the sound quality is pretty good.

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