One of two great rock debuts from 1992 – the other one being the Rage Against The Machine (“RATM”) debut – this EP came out a year after the grunge movement threatened to make all rock not from Seattle irrelevant. Yet this band was not grunge, and like RATM they were from So. Cal. The songs were unlike any other band, in that they seemed to concoct a new version of intelligent angst with Sabbath-influenced rock, played by a highly disciplined group of musicians who played more tightly as a unit than any other band this side of thrash. Another difference between Tool and grunge, however, was that there was an element of progessive, experimental music here, which the band would flesh out in their subsequent releases.
Arguably, the most unique thing about Tool on this record was their singer, Maynard James Keenan. He had an ability to convey self-loathing, angry, socially aware, generation X lyrics in a way that seemed fresh. He also had a crystal-clear, ferocious voice. Indeed, the live tracks, “Cold and Ugly” and “Jerk-off” were testament to Maynard’s competance as a live singer. A new rock god was born.
This was a significant debut from the band that forged the way for alternative metal/prog rock. Most subsequent metal bands were influenced by these guys. The live tracks, in particular, are reason to pick up this EP as they represent the band’s “Live at Leeds” moment.