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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Music.com

Date: December, 2000

Transcribed by
Stu (stuniversal@hotmail.com)


  page: 
 title: Salival (review)
author: John D. Luerssen


This isn’t the new music Tool fans have been waiting over four years 
to behold –that material is scheduled to see light of day in 2001 – 
but regardless, followers of the dark, artsy metal band should 
rejoice in the issuance of this box set of previously recorded 
material and music videos. 

The VHS/DVD (your pick, consumers) makes this a great value for those 
hanging on the Tool belt, with warped visions of their one-time MTV 
staples like “Sober” and “Prison Sex” as well as lesser-seen clips 
like “Stinkfist” and “Aenema” collected all in one format. Still, 
it’s the CD’s three studio cuts – from the ’96 Aenema sessions – and 
the five live tracks from the group that render Salival a must-have, 
despite a pair of clunkers. 

The concert tracks are mostly lengthy, enigmatic beasts that offer 
glimpses of the group’s prog rock leanings, birthed by the 13-minute-
plus length of “Third Eye.” “Think for yourself, question authority” 
suggests a canned voice, ushering in swirling guitar noise (courtesy 
of Adam Jones) and primitive drumbeats (thanks to kit man Danny 
Carey) that evolve into a melodic hard rock stew. Maynard James 
Keenan’s assertive howls and dramatic quivering intonations only 
heighten the effectiveness of this long, strange trip. 

Just as long – and even more dynamic – is “Push It,” which is 
approached, as Keenan announces, “from a different angle” than the 
studio version. The intricate, involved song winds up becoming the 
most evocative slab of spacey psychedelic metal since Jane’s 
Addiction’s “Three Days” as Jones’ bleak guitar notes and the 
frontman’s echo-laced melancholia (“I will choke until I swallow”) 
build to a demonic crescendo. 

“You Lied,” originally done by bassist Justin Chancellor’s band, 
Peach, assumes an intriguing ecclesiastic tone via Maynard’s trippy, 
layered vocals soaring through a staggering nine-minute metallic 
freak out. Considerably less interesting, however, is the band’s 
vocal-free, jungle-like atmosphere on “Merkaba,” the set’s biggest 
disappointment. 

Of the studio cuts, “Message To Harry Manback II,” is the oddest, 
with its sparse handclaps, emotive cello and vitriolic, heartbreaking 
answering machine message yielding a hardly vital (but still somehow 
worthwhile) creation. Elsewhere, Tool’s version of Led Zeppelin’s “No 
Quarter” starts out promising but ultimately falters when the 
outfit’s expressive hard rock musicianship gets concealed by 
Maynard’s muffled, downright annoying reverb-washed vocals. 

As the concert material on Salival attests, when the members of Tool 
are in sync, they rank among the finest and most creative names in 
heavy music. Here’s hoping the L.A. band’s long-anticipated 
forthcoming studio record, due on Keenan’s birthday (April 17, 2001), 
upholds this assessment. 

Posted to t.d.n: 04/24/01 23:12:31