Publication: Dot Music
Date: February, 2001
page: title: TOOL - 'SALIVAL' (MUSIC FOR NATIONS) author: Simon P Ward Issued as a stop-gap to whet Tool fans' appetites again following the long gap between 1996's 'Aenima' and April's new 'Lateralus' set, 'Salival' is a CD and video/DVD package aimed at hardened followers of the dark metallers. The visual side of the deal rounds up their promotional videos to date, including the disturbing animated clips for 'Prison Sex' and 'Sober'. The album, meanwhile, is a collection of out-takes and previously unreleased material. Beginning with the juddering monstrosity that is the live version of 'Third Eye', there is no doubt that the band want to be judged as an epic attraction. It's unfortunate that they've chosen to lengthen some of the tracks to the point of monotony. And without the sight of singer Maynard James Keenan stalking the stage while issuing that part-operatic, part-serial killer moan of his, there is no visual distraction from the lumpen instrumental passages. Only the versions of 'Part Of Me' and the cover of bass player Justin Chancellor's former band Peach's track 'You Lied' are compelling. The former is a visceral blast of anger while the latter displays an eerie, controlled fury. Of the studio tracks, 'Message To Harry Manback II' and 'L.A. Municipal Court' both contain telephone recordings. The former has an answering machine message featuring a menacing voice promising to perform various (no doubt unspeakable) acts in a mixture of broken English and what sounds like Italian over an orchestrated backing. The latter has a dirge-like guitar hammering over an automated answering service from the eponymous courthouse. This gradually spirals into madness as the guitars rise in volume and the person listening to the instructions begins manically pushing all the buttons on their telephone at once. Mildly humorous, but hardly essential listening. Their cover of Led Zeppelin's 'No Quarter', on the other hand, is once again on the lengthy side of things but is interesting in its crawling, tension-ridden build-up. Ironically, the secret track (the chorus to which sounds like "Maynard's dick") is the most accessible track on the album, a throwback to their first, bile-soaked EP. That is, until it ends in a hail of burping and farting. With Tool, nothing is as straightforward as it seems. Let's hope the new album isn't such hard work.
Posted to t.d.n: 04/21/02 18:39:57