I admire their unorthodox experimental approach, and in conjunction with their dense, thought provoking lyrics, epic rifts, and vocals, provided a sound I’ve never quite heard replicated before. I thoroughly appreciated their energy, blunt honesty, and noncommercial approach, as none of the tracks seemed particularly “catchy”, although that didn’t prevent me from enjoying their catalog in its entirety. I can see a definite familiarity between their work, and some of my older work from “ASCENDING”, namely “Testament of Hopelessness”, “Shades of Gray”, “Eternal Darkness”, and “A Tale from the Dark Side of the Moon”.
My only complaint, if any, is that aside from the transitions between each track, and various themes (many of which seemed present in each album) it was difficult to note any substantial differences between each project, so I felt as though I was listening to one long stream of consciousness, rather than receiving each as an independent stand-alone product. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it depends on the taste of the listener, but personally, I prefer to hear an artist/band who is constantly evolving, rather than one with seemingly no/little development at all, no matter how unorthodox their style is. If any given track is foretelling of the rest of the catalog, what incentive is there to check out the rest? I’m not qualified with enough knowledge of either metal, or music in general to make this assumption about Tool conclusive, but that’s what I perceived. Or maybe I just need to listen to more Tool, which I see myself doing in either case anyway =]
My favorite album of those I listened to was "Opiate", mostly because of two live tracks, and my favorite tracks from each album were the title tracks, and the last tracks, strangely enough, as well as “4 Degrees”, The two live tracks from “Opiate”, and “Third Eye”. I will definitely be listening to Tool again in the near future.