“Opiate” was Tool’s first release, and immediately pegged the band as metal, though they have attempted to defy that classification by releasing albums that are more progressive metal and perhaps alternative metal or even alternative progressive. Regardless of what they did later, “Opiate” is a crunchy hard rocker.”Sweat” kicks off with short line lyrics and heavy guitars that are a hallmark of the Black Sabbath school of hard rock. The riffs occasionally recall Led Zeppelin, and the topic of “Sweat” may also recall drug music of the 70s. In its own way retro, this song may be less than what you could make of it; it may just be a hard rock dream.The next song, “Hush”, is the perennial rebellion song. The message is short and to the point. You keep telling me what I can’t say, so I tell you to go do physically impossible things to yourself. The music is edgy, and the Led Zeppelin influence is clearly felt, though with an even harder edge.”Part of Me” is a song with personality, a song about a part of males that controls us, and yet we do not want that control sometimes. It’s amazing how a piece of you can be so much in control when it does only a couple of things. The drums lead this piece, but the guitar crunches are more Black Sabbath than Led Zeppelin. Solid metal.”Cold and Ugly” is another lyrically simple song, performed live, that starts out like thrash rock. The guitars crunch and wail, but the lyrics become quiet, drifting back to a grunge sound. Between the wails this song is about relationships and people, and how they are beneath the exterior they show the world.The next song expresses how many of us feel about certain people in the world. “Jerk-Off” makes no apologies for calling them like they see them. The rock is driving and driven, and fully emphasizes the point. A great song to relieve your stresses to.The last song, “Opiate”, is perhaps the most different of the group. This song feels like grunge, or at least blues-influence rock, and is calmer than the other songs on the CD. This song is also the longest song on the CD, and feels like progressive with occasional alternative influences in addition to metal. There are occasional flashes of thrash metal on this song, but it remains a harbinger of Tool’s later CDs where the progressive became more predominant. This song does have a somewhat acid-rock ending, which is fitting since Tool’s music often seems to have a strong retro influence.This short debut CD showed the promise of Tool, and the direction Tool would eventually head, though you had to find it amongst a variety of styles. This CD may be mild for those who prefer groups like Hatebreed, but for those who like their rock edgy and hard with a variety of styles and a clear musical artistry, this CD and Tool should be on their must-have list.
Australian Re-issue, featuring Seven Tracks Including Sweat, Hush, Part of Me, Cold and Ugly (Live), Jerk off (Live), Opiate, and Gaping Lotus.As the title of Tool’s 1992 debut implies, they’re none too impressed by religion, though other targets–fear (”Cold and Ugly”), hypocritical moralizing (”Jerk-Off”), nonconformity (”Hush”)–get their time in the spotlight as well. Opiate is a collection of heavy, aggressive, cynical music (though the tail end of the title track sounds more like acid rock), packaged in songs noticeably shorter than on their later efforts (Undertow, 1993, and Aenima, 1996). While not as impressive as Undertow, arguably their finest effort, Opiate has a definite appeal. If ear-crunching riffs and enraged lyrics are what you go for, check this one out. –Genevieve Williams
Forum Topics See All →
There are no active forum topics for this Metal Album
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
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.
Well, here it is: Tool’s roots. All the blood, sweat, and tears of Maynard, Adam, Paul, and Danny, packed onto this 6-Song, 26-Minute EP for our listening pleasure. Even though it’s short, you can really tell they worked hard on it. Of course, this would only be the beginning…Here’s a track rundown:1. Sweat: Great way to open Opiate, and is my favorite song on the album. Catchy, dark, and thought-provoking: this would soon prove to be the Tool standard. I believe it is about drug abuse.2. Hush: Another winner. This track showcases Maynard’s outstanding songwriting skills. It’s about censorship and how silly it is. “People tell me what to say, what to think and what to play…” That’s another great aspect of Tool: they encourage nonconformity.3. Part Of Me: Good song, featuring great drumming by Danny Carey. Infectious little number, with a weird, but great vocal effect. Also has a couple of time changes.4. Cold & Ugly (Live): “Somebody throw this Bob Marley wannabe  out of here!” One of the album’s two live tracks. However, the playing is so top-notch, it’s pretty hard to tell. Superb vocals and guitar work.5. J**k-Off (Live): You all know what the title is, I just don’t know if you can say it here. Anyway, this one’s got the best lyrics of the bunch. Definitely Tool’s angriest song (at least lyric-wise).6. Opiate: A good closer to the EP. Features Maynard’s infamous anti-religion lyrics. Also listen up for the hidden song: it’s pretty funny.All in all, this is definitely a great way to feature the roots of the one and only Tool. I recommend it to anyone who just wants to hear something different than Wimp Bizkit.”I know you better than I know myself…”
Opiate, though only a 7 song EP, remains one of my favorite CDs of all time as well as a great masterpiece of music that few people know about. This album is able to show all of Tool’s raw power through only a few songs. The overall theme of the CD seems to be focused on a religious viewpoint, discussing individuals who use religion as a crutch and blindly follow it with no question, allowing others to interpret the religion for them.The CD begins with “Sweat”, which reflects Tool’s power in a significant way and is on the level with all of their singles. It then moves into “Hush”, a song discussing censorship of music, and the singer’s views on the subject. It’s a song that manages humor and seriousness all at once. Track 3 “Part Of Me” takes hard rock to a completely new level that only Tool can do, as the song is great and full of energy.This EP also contains 2 live tracks; “Cold And Ugly” and “Jerk-Off”. Both display Tool’s awesome live performance skills. The band is so on-key and tuned in both performances that both sound as if they were recorded in a studio. Both are full of power and emotion and keep the album flowing. The album’s closing track “Opiate” brings the religious theme of the album into full perspective, from both a sarcastic and serious point of view. Following is the hidden track “The Gaping Lotus Experience”, a humorous song about experience with drugs.To sum it all up, if you’re a fan of very hard rock with a meaning behind it, and are open-minded and thoughtful about your music, check this out. This is an album not to be missed. Also be sure to look into Tool’s other 2 releases “Undertow” and “AEnima”, both equally amazing.
The guy who said that everybody and their dog likes Tool, you have to realize that isn’t a bad thing. This is no fad like “Korn” or “Limp Bizkit”. It is just that everyone knows how unbelievable and mind-expanding this band is. As I have said in my other Tool reviews, it is hard to choose between the 3 cd’s. In fact, it is impossible, because they are each great for their own reasons. This album, the 6-song EP released in ‘92, is a compilation of what Maynard says were their “heaviest” songs at the time. Anyways, give this CD a listen if you already have Aenima and Undertow…this was the first Tool CD I bought, and I still love it even more than on the day I bought it. All the songs are great, but “Opiate” and “Jerk-Off” are my personal favorites…I have never seen Tool in concert, but I am hoping that if I do, they will finish the show with “Jerk-Off”…that would be great.