Tool – The Fundamental Well first, let me start by answering a simple question, “Who or what is Tool??” The answer is quite simple. Tool are a quartet, who have been classified under Alternative Metal. I say, ‘Have been classified under’, because their musical range is quite wide, starting from the all-out-attack presented in Opiate, their first EP, to the Artful and somber Lateralus, their latest effort. The band as of today, consists of: Maynard James Keenan – Vocals Adam Jones – Guitars Justin Chancellor – Bass Danny Carrey – Drums The band originally had Paul D’Amour on bass, but he parted with the band after their second album Undertow. Paul was then replaced with Justin Chancellor, who was originally with a band called “Peach” in the U.K. Over the years, Tool’s music has matured heavily. Their first EP, Opiate, was straight-up heavy. They stayed heavy in their second album, but Maynard dealt with much graver issues. On their 3rd LP, AEnima, Tools music sounded more complete. It was still heavy, but it showed a more artistic side of the band. And then in 2001, they released their latest album, Lateralus. This one, released after a gap of 5 years, showed a side of the band, which very few found disappointing. Hailed as one of the best bands in the Alternative Rock scene today, Tool are not an easy band to get into. But, I will make your task easier. In this article, I will enlist the essential Tool songs, which in my opinion are the best starting points, for someone to get into the band, starting from the first EP, to the last LP. Hush – The single of the Opiate EP. Maynard gives us quite a clear idea about what he thinks of censorship. The song was supported by a Video, which showed the Band members in the nude, with only their vital parts covered by Parental Advisory boards. Very very catchy song. People most usually like this one. 9/10 Opiate – The title tack of the first EP. Most people have a misconception that this song has an anti-christ message, but the truth is, its just Maynard asking us not to have blind faith, as clearly indicated by the lines “Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow, what you need is someone strong to guide you”. This song is vintage tool. Awesome track, that will make sure you sing along. 10/10 Sober – The first single off Undertow. One of the better-known Tool songs. Covered by many, matched by none. There is just something about Maynard’s vocals in this song. Very moody. The bass intro is another classic. Best place to start if you are looking for a heavier Tool. 10/10 Prison *** – The second single off Undertow. Maynard wrote this about how he was supposedly molested by his stepfather. A very interesting song. Highly innovative guitar work by Adam. Takes a little while for some to get into, but once you do, it will pull you in. 10/10 Undertow – The title tack from Undertow. In my opinion it is the most underrated Tool song. More of an opiate type of song. Lovely lyrics. Maynard sounds great as usual and its very catchy too. 9/10 Stinkfist – The first single off AEnima. MTV took offence to the title and named it “Track No.1”. This song is an instant hit with everyone. Maynard’s lyrics are very suggestive. He says what has been said a thousand times before in a way nobody else could have even dreamt of. Has to be heard. This gets most people liking Tool, 9 out of 10 times. 10/10 Aenema – Yes, this is not spelt the way the album name is spelt. This is the second single of the album. Maynard gives us his take on the end of the world. Very interesting lyrics and equally interesting guitar work. This song is not to be missed. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that this is like, totally Parental Advisory?? 10/10 H. - As weird as the title may sound, this is one awesome song. Begins with distorted bass, not something that is done often by Tool. Then comes another un-tool like riff on the guitar. Maynard’s vocals in the verse are also very soft. Then, just when you get a doubt if this is actually a Tool song, the chorus explodes, in typical Tool fashion. This is some catchy ****. Terribly addictive. And with a bridge where Maynard uses his creativity to the highest, this makes for a very interesting song. Listen to it. 10/10 Eulogy – This is another song off AEnima. One of my favourite Tool songs. The beginning sees some odd percussion overlaid by Maynard blowing into a Megaphone Vocal melody. Sounds strange but really good. Then Maynard further uses the Vocal melody in the verse, but once its time for the chorus, you get to hear what can only be described as ****in’ great. The lyrics are amazing. Yet again, some idiots think this is an anti-religion song, but that’s just bull****. He uses “The Cross” as just a metaphor in this song. The best part of the song is at the 6 and a half-minute mark, with only vocals and drums, Maynard sounds great. The little solo at the end is very well glued into the song. But I must add, don’t expect to like this song the first time you listen to it. It takes some time to grow on you. 10.5/10 Forty-six and Two - I have to start by saying, Amazing lyrics!! I love them. If you think the title is just some random thing, you’re wrong. There is a theory behind it, which I would be glad to explain, but not here, ‘cause it would take up too much of space. The bass in this song is something special. The guitars too fit perfectly. Maynard, Oh what can I say?? Simply brilliant! 9.5/10 Third-eye – Yet another track from AEnima. Starts off with a part of a stand-up act by Bill Hicks. Slowly the tension builds up and the Vocals start. Very difficult for anyone to like this at first listen. It took me quite awhile. The line “Prying open my third eye” is delivered with such impact by Maynard that it will be stuck in your head for days. But like I said before, DO NOT try to like this song and DO NOT play it as background music. Let it come to you, don’t go looking for it. 9/10 Pu**** - Both the AEnima version and the Salival version of the song are amazing. I prefer the Salival version though. The starting might mislead you into thinking Maynard is sad about a failed relationship and is writing a breakup song. Well, that is partly right, but if you expect Maynard to just sit there and cry it out, you are gravely mistaken. Read the lyrics, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The ending is the best of all of Tool’s songs. 10/10 Maynard’s **** – Ah, this is one bizarre song. Included on Salival, this song has Maynard singing in a very peculiar voice. The lyrics are strangely interesting. The chorus “Would you like to glide on? Slide a mile six inches at a time on Maynard’s ****” is very catchy. The ending is strange to the limit, but all of these make this song, that much more appealing. 8/10 Schism – The first single off Lateralus. The most famous Tool song, known for its brilliant bass intro and bizarre video. Maynard’s lyrics are out of this world. Vocals are even better. Adam does a great job supporting Justin, who basically runs the song. Danny is brilliant, like he is in the rest of this album. I have nothing more to say about this song. 10/10 Parabol/Parabola – The second single. Actually split into two songs, but they must be heard together to get the total effect. Extremely catchy song. Maynard does a great job yet again. Adam is great on this song, with crunchy Drop - BE riffs. One of the easier songs to like. A big hit even with the non-Tool fans. Excellent stuff. 9.5/10 Lateralus – The title track. 9 and a half minutes of sheer brilliance. Opens with a warning like riff on the guitar while the drums gradually build up. Then the main riff explodes, sweet distortion. Danny plays a fibonacci sequence on his drum kit, which consists of 24-26 pieces. Bass starts of as a silent witness. Then suddenly everything breaks down. Simple bass, which is later doubled with a modification of the intro riff. Maynard whispers his lyrics, urging us to think out of the box. Then comes the most powerful part of any of Tool’s songs. Simple power chords playing subordinate to WICKED bass. Amazing. I get totally pumped up, every time I listen to it. My favourite Tool song. 11/10 The Grudge – Damn Justin is good. Great bass intro to this one. Maynard is great as usual. His vocals add so much more than what is there to the song. Amazing lyrics again. This guy knows how to make people think. The best part of the song is Maynard’s scream at around the 7-minute mark. LONG as long can get. Danny rules on this song. Tight instrumentation. Has to be heard. 10/10 The Patient – Another great song. Very strange at first, but it will eventually get to you. The main vocal part, which you may call the chorus, is brilliant. MJK does a great job with the lyrics again. The theme of the song impresses me a lot. Adam’s guitar work is also very interesting. 9.5/10 Ticks And Leaches – Danny owns in this song. This guy knows what to play exactly when. Unlike in some bands where drums are mere metronomes, in Tool’s songs, especially this one, they are the lead instruments. Maynard screams like hell in this song, and its not even his usual scream. He lost his voice for 3 weeks during recording because of his performance on this song. The chorus is addictive. Very complete song. 9.5/10 If this doesn’t help you get into Tool, then you’re better off away from them. Comments are well appreciated.