Publication: Spin Magazine, Lollapalooza Preview
Transcribed by "Mike `Shmoo' Smuland" (firstname.lastname@example.org)
by Sue Smallwood tool Undertow, debut LP from the Los Angeles-based Tool, explores similar post- Killing Joke environs as Helmet and Prong. It's a sweet-and-sour sound, by turns deceptively gentle, oddly dissonant, and unforgivingly brutal. Tool's seething songwriting is informed as much by the obscure philosophy of Lachrymology ("An individual approach to delving into suffering," lyricist Maynard Jamed Keenan explains) and Jungian discourse, as the group's collective fondness for the eclectic likes of the Swans, Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, and '70s metal, prog, and punk rock. Strains of each reveal themselves in emotionally acute assaults on lovers, enemies, activists, and assholes. Good group therapy for Tool's members and listeners alike. "The approach is an open invitation," says Keenan. "There's a song on the EP ['92's Opiate], `Part of Me,' specifically written as a double- edged sword; it could almost be a relationship song - somebody told me they thought it was about God. Acutally, it was about masturbation. We like to open it up where someone could insert other ideas. You'll hear what you want to hear, you'll hear what you need to hear."