Date: December, 2000
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