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  • Track: 10: Disgustipated,
  • Track: 1: Intolerance,
  • Track: 2: Prison Sex,
  • Track: 3: Sober,
  • Track: 4: Bottom,
  • Track: 5: Crawl Away,
  • Track: 6: Swamp Song,
  • Track: 7: Undertow,
  • Track: 8: 4 Degrees,
  • Track: 9: Flood
    Media Type: CD
    Artist: TOOL
    Title: UNDERTOW
    Street Release Date: 09/17/1996
    Genre: HEAVY METAL

    Arguably their finest album, this follow-up to Opiate showcases Tool at their best, assisted by clean, crisp production, without the muddiness of Aenima. Edgy guitar riffs are complemented by spitting, heavy bass, especially on "Sober" and "Crawl Away". Lyrically, Tool are at their vitriolic best, targeting religious hypocrisy ("Intolerance," "Sober"; always a popular theme), the loss of innocence and its consequences ("Prison Sex"), and deliberate ignorance ("Swamp Song"). Henry Rollins makes a guest appearance on "Bottom," which, along with "4 Degrees," deals with questions of identity. Undertow is also Tool's most musically adventurous album, lacking the occasionally numbing sameness of Aenima, and with considerably more sophistication than their previous work. Very highly recommended. --Genevieve Williams
  • Customer Reviews:

    • Tool's first LP, awesome.
      Undertow is an amazing flat out Progressive hard rock which some called it alt. rock...whatever though, the band's hit song Sober was a big hit from the band and with Adam Jones's art work also got them high on the Billboard charts. Undertow was certified gold in 1994 and Their song Prison Sex struck up a whole world of censorship the song has nothing to do with the words in the song, its more like a Maynard/metaphor lol. Overall Undertow is a great Tool album....more info
    • Tool's Worst Album And Still Pretty Good
      I know a lot of my fellow Tool fans disagree with me with this, but I tink Undertow is Tool's worst album (not including their EP, which was not that great), in fact, if you ask me Tool has consistently gotten better (Lateralus, the most recent, is the best). None the less this is a good album, although the singles, "Sober" and "Prison Sex" are probably the best songs on the album. I like the title track a lot too. This album is definitly worth buying if you are a Tool fan or a fan of this kind of music, but I will say that Tools other two full lengths are better....more info
    • worth the money
      This review is from someone who only has 1 Tool cd, so if you're a huge fan, you may want to look at another review for deeper insight. I was in college when this cd came out, and 2 songs that still play great today are "Sober" and "Prison Sex". These 2 songs made the purchase worth the money for me, while the rest of the cd is ok. If you buy the cd, make sure you play Prison Sex really really loud!...more info
    • Tool's first full length CD
      It's excellent, what else can I say? The sound is a bit more raw than their follow up albums, and I love that. It has it's on unique sound and feel to it....more info
    • never fails
      Tool never fails to amaze me. They are funny, serious, and hypnotizing. every album has a distinct sound, and this one isn't an exception. undertow has a good balance of every thing and is a very enjoyable experience....more info
    • Wore my first copy of this CD out.
      Can it be 13 years ago this came out? A phone call to a friend in dispair about the lack of any decent music, his one word answer, "TOOL". No album has ever had the personal impact for me that Undertow did. The first time I heard it, I literally got chills in the middle of each song as I realized how incredibly good it was.

      Listening to Undertow is like having your brain smashed in by a piece of obsidian that's been dipped in liquid crystal meth. Such perfect beautiful rage.

      Best heavy metal album of my lifetime....more info
    • A Fine Rock Album
      After a friend showed me the song "Schism" I began searching for some more Tool songs when I discovered that another friend of mine had this CD. I borrowed it, listened to the first track (hated it with a passion) and never touched the CD again. When that same friend told me two months later that "Sober" was a good song I listened to it and loved it. Well, I listened to the entire CD for the first time two days ago and discovered just how good they are. "Swamp Song" is (lyrically) one of their best and is just a great rock song. Maynard James Keenans' voice goes from high to deep instantaneously which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. Anyway, here's the tracks:

      1. Intolerance-1/5-I hate this song. I hate the way Maynard James Keenan sings it, I hate the lyrics. I hate everything about it.
      2. Prison Sex-5/5-Despite the title, this is an awesome song. Keenan's voice sounds great, it's catchy, lyrics are very good.
      3. Sober-5/5-One of my favorite Tool songs. The chorus is f**king awesome.
      4. Bottom-5/5-Another awesome song. Black Flag's Henry Rollins has a 1 minute or so monolouge which is a bit pointless, but other than that...
      5. Crawl Away-5/5-This song is pretty good as well. It's not as good as the previous ones (except for Track 1 of course).
      6. Swamp Song-5/5-I f**king love this damn song. It's so f**king cool.
      If you don't like it you're a stupid belligerent fu**er.
      7. Undertow-4/5-The music/beat is good and all, but the song isn't really catchy or anything like that.
      8. 4 Degrees-3/5-It's not that great.
      9. Flood-4/5-No singing for the first 4 minutes, 30 seconds. The music is freaking great, the vocals are good. Could have been written a bit better though.
      69. Disgustable-0/5-This is a pointless "hidden" track. It's track 69, but says track 10 on the album. It's not a song; It's a bunch of noises and someone talking in a southern accent for like a second. Then silence for 8 minutes.
      It's really stupid. Stop the CD after track 9.

      A-...more info
    • a masterpiece
      This album changed my life in so many ways I could not possibly explain.Anyone who discounts this album as anything short of genius is simply not worth your time.Everything about this album is original and masterful.Dig a little deeper my friends, don't fear what you don't understand, embrace it. I have been a fan of Tool since '92. For all of you that only like Tool for what they have released post Anemia are just eating up what media hype has fed you. Opiate is an amazing album as well in it's own way. Every record Tool releases is great in it's own right.Trust me nothing they do is by chance. They are all excellent musicians with they're own styles and together they are really something special. Danny Carey is probably the best drummer in rock ever, he never just plays a basic beat. there are so many layers and beats within beats, and he only gets better with every record. Adam Jones is so original in his playing style. As a guitarist myself I can truly appreciate the subtle complexities in his movements. There really is no other guitarist I can think of that has mastered odd time in quite this way. Though he doesn't just shread out fast leads like some players that are very good his playing is an entirely different entity. There are leads but they aren't just an excuse to show his chops they actually add to the landscape of the piece. His style is something you can't quite put your finger on.And both bassist they have had are amazing and powerful, most people see the bass as an additive to the guitar but Tool definitly uses the low end to they're advantage. That low end makes they're sound very dark and haunting.indeed it is a very important piece to the puzzle. Disagree? just listen to schism for example, would that song be the same without that incredible bassline. Last but not least Maynard..........oh,maynard.a true visionary. A lyrical genius , a madman, Just his vocal style alone is enough to make him great, but hear his words and they will truly complicate you. He never seems to stop. With him nothing is at face value. He is a great writer, like Adam he posseses a subtle complexity that must be examined to be appreciated. No other band has gone where Tool goes, No other band could go where Tool goes. Music is just music but this band has made it something more something that I can't even understand. There is something very strange that happens between these people. something that reaches inside something that knows us better than we know ourselves.All I can say is that there are alot of great bands out there but they are not Tool.Thank You ...more info
    • Great music but a bad pressing.
      I absolutely love Tool but I somewhat regret buying this LP. The light weight of the vinyl leaves me unsatisfied. Also, the labels look like they were applied by a three year old. The labels were sloppily pressed into the record, cut/torn and don't even feature any artwork (a little boring to look at)....more info
    • An excellent Band- Even when compared to International Counterparts
      You shouldn't listen to the ignorant people who post here solely to bash this highly talented band (which is underrated in my opinion, not overrated). I've listened to the best rock music from all around the world: Rammstein, Mago de Oz, Noir Desir, Oomph!, Mass Hysteria, Megaherz, Indochine, etc., and Tool is one of the few American bands that I actually enjoy listening to on a continual basis. I would venture to say that, yes, good American Rock is lacking today, but this band is an exception to the rule....more info
    • Very Cool Album
      Not every song's a winner, but they definitely impressed me with their chunky guitar, catchy vocals & videos, & their adventurous sound. Not until I read Maynard's lyrics did I realize how dark this album is, but his approach is very healthy and purging. Tool set a tone and a standard with this album that many people are still trying to copy. "Prison Sex" and "Sober" are great songs....more info
    • The REAL Soundtrack to Your Escape
      No other band can match the feeling you get when listening to Tool. The hollow yet full feeling (a paradox yes... but it's truly what I feel when I hear listen to this and other Tool albums) is something that no other band duplicate. Their lyrics, their sounds, and their rhythms all add to one collective atmosphere. This CD above any of their others truly represents the atmosphere they strive for. It can be argued that possibly Aenima, Lateralus, or Opiate are better CD's (Maybe I'm wrong, everybody has a different favorite), but this is the CD that solidified the "Tool sound."

      This CD pushes randomness to the perfect point where you are actually a little creeped out by some of the things they tell you. A perfect example is the last song Disgustipated, with lines such as:

      "And the angel of the lord came unto me, snatching me up from my place of slumber. And took me on high, and higher still until we moved to the spaces betwixt the air itself. And he brought me into a vast farmlands of our own midwest. And as we descended, cries of impending doom rose from the soil. One thousand, nay a million voices full of fear. And terror possesed me then. And I begged, "Angel of the Lord, what are these tortured screams?" And the angel said unto me, "These are the cries of the carrots, the cries of the carrots! You see, Reverend Maynard, tomorrow is harvest day and to them it is the holocaust." And I sprang from my slumber drenched in sweat like the tears of one million terrified brothers and roared, "Hear me now, I have seen the light! They have a consciousness, they have a life, they have a soul! Damn you! Let the rabbits wear glasses! Save our brothers! Can I get an amen? Can I get a hallelujah? Thank you Jesus.

      Life feeds on life feeds on life feeds on life feeds on........"

      Not only are their lyrics unique and imaginative, they can also outplay most bands with their amazing rhythm section. Tool's bass and drum combination is one of the best in the business. The guitars take a backseat in most songs to the amazing rhythms. Never have I heard a band that constantly features bass the way Tool does. I absolutely love it.

      Undertow features a very grungy, dirty feel to it, unlike Lateralus, which feels much more clean. Both albums are amazing, but in different ways. This is by far the more doomy, depressing album of the two, and as such is best listened to when you're in the right mood.

      Another amazing thing about this CD is that it is only Tool's second studio album ever. Many bands will never reach the caliber of this album throughout their whole career, let alone their second album, when they are still working on perfecting a sound. (There are exceptions of course)

      If you are interested in getting this album, recommended tracks include Intolerance, Sober, and Prison Sex.

      Recommended \m/...more info
    • Getting Closer To Perfection
      This is getting closer to the perfect album; it is a step up from Opiate, no denying. At this rate, Tool will release a three star album sometime around 2058! That's progress, right?

      This album is better produced than Opiate. That's about it for real improvements. It's longer, which means more mediocre garbage to wade through, with Tool's first long song, Disgustipated taking up a whole side of vinyl (!!!) Not bad for a song that consists of 8 minutes of cricket noises. But enough about that lazy piece of garbage; the band wasn't even trying there.

      Tool shows what makes them world famous; one of the most amazing drummers you'll ever hear drumming his heart out on songs with two, three chords, and bass lines that go from decent, to bass chords for the hit Sober. Mark Prindle called that the "worst single ever recorded" and while I actually think it's a highlight of the album, I also can't help but agree. It is probably the most tasteless use of minor chords I've ever heard. It sounds like the incidental music in a bad horror movie; it's that hilariously over the top. Yay for that!

      The rest? Cock rock with hilariously awful "intellectual" lyrics; I give props to Maynard for trying to avoid heavy metal cliches, and tackle different topics. And I mean that sincerely. However, his lyrics about said topics are JUST AS STRAIGHTFORWARD as the lyrics to say, Warrant's Cherry Pie.

      At least the songs are generally under five minutes. Yay for that. One star for amazing drumming....more info
    • Smart metal.
      A good dozen years after this was released, it's still hard to beat. Besides being my favorite of their four (at this point), I'd also call it the best starting point for newcomers. I say that because "Undertow" has all the punch of their debut EP "Opiate", but at album length, and all the power and quality of their next disc, but without all the annoying non-song tracks. Obviously "Sober" was the popular song, as was "Prison Sex", but each track on the album has the same pace and intensity as those two. Only the last track "Disgustipated" treads odd territory, but in a good way. Henry Rollins even does some vocals on "Bottom". This is one of just a few albums that still today blows my mind, much like "Psalm 69" or "Badmotorfinger" does. It gets and deserves one of my rare 5 star reviews....more info
    • One of the Best Dark Modern Rock Albums
      With all of the clone bands that exist in the modern rock scene these days, it becomes very easy to simply get bored and dismiss everything. However it is critical that we recognize the albums that were true landmarks. "Undertow" clearly was. Not only was the sound and style that Tool created new for its time, it also sounded fantastic. Their power was intense and the subject matter was actually disturbing while also being intellectually stimulating. This is a point where so many of the second-rate Tool clones failed.. their disturbance seems forced and the lyrics are just a snore. Tool also did a lot to rekindle many people's interest in music videos which had been growing increasingly dull over time.

      In short, I know that modern rock has become incredibly tiresome and generic but don't make the mistake of overlooking a truly epic album such as "Undertow"....more info
    • One of the best tool albums
      This album is a great tool album and I recommend it to anyone who likes metal or nu metal. Whether you be a korn fan or a black sabbath fan you won't regret buying this when you hear Maynard James Keenan sing. He's got a unique voice in metal today. You don't get that in metal today.When it comes to nu metal Chino Moreno and Keenan have the best voices. Thats why they did a song on the white pony album. But anyway sober and crawl away are the good songs on the album. When you hear tools music or A Perfect Circle it makes you to want to hear more. ...more info
    • creepy band
      I am a fan of both chevelle and a perfect circle.But if you ask me to choose between them?I would say tool.why?because chevelle and a prefect circle have similar vocals.But,Tool blew me away,the first time I heard sober I knew that this band was way better than chevelle and a perfect circle.That doesn't mean that they aren't any good.I recommend Point #1 and Wonder what's next by chevelle and everything by a perfect circle if your fans of this album.

      The reason I would pick Tool over Chevelle and a perfect circle is because of their unique sound that overruns the other two.maynard is in a perfect circle but was the best in tool.This is a great album and tool has easily become one of my favorite bands....more info
    • Getting Lost in the Undertow...
      This is my favorite album from Tool. For those of us that prefer to connect with music, instead of just listening to it, you will feel everything that James Maynard wants you to feel, and if you close your eyes, visualize everything he wants you to see. Very powerful album with much nostalgia tied to allot of people....more info
    • This "Undertow" is very strong
      This band did something that you won't often find with heavy metal bands: they went platinum after one full length release. Tool's second album (not counting their earlier six-track EP) broke them into the mainstream and went on to sell a million plus copies.

      Many Tool fans would argue "Undertow" is also their best album. Even though I disagree with this (I think Tool get better with each album), I can certainly see why someone would think that."Undertow" just pulls you in and doesn't let go; it delivers 69 minutes of the good stuff: brilliant songwriting, good musicianship, dark, moody atmospheres/moods, clear production, and lyrics which are adventurous, daring, angry, and depressing. And, even though singer Maynard's vocal pitch doesn't alternate much, he sure sings with much conviction when he's angry or sad.

      Musically, "Undertow" is kind of like Tool's third album, 1996's "Aenima," but it's more subtle because this album's guitar riffs don't roar or explode as much. Lyrically, subjects such as sex, loss of innocence, and (of course) religion are covered. It's my opinion that "Prison Sex" is about Jesus having sex with his disciples (according to Maynard), and "Sober" seems to be saying that Jesus was a lying party animal who drank too much.

      "Intolerance" begins with a humming riff which sort of foreshadows a later Tool hit song, "Aenima." Maynard starts this song sounding almost poppy, and he builds to an aggressive yell.
      "Prison Sex" begins with choppy, stop-start riffs. With soaring guitars and buzzing, rumbling bass guitar riffs, this song's music is actually pretty peaceful and melodic. This is ironic in a way, because Maynard is singing lines "I have blood and cum stains on my hands."
      "Sober" has more prog-ish, stop-start riffs. This song starts out in low gear, but it builds and explodes for the choruses.
      "Bottom" starts with guitarist Adam Jones playing trippy guitar strings, which are so fast, they kind of sound like helicopter blades. The middle of the song slows way down, though, for a spoken word passage.
      "Crawl Away" ends with a big, extended yell from Maynard. But this song is a highlight because it has good guitar work throughout; the guitars stop, start, beep, crunch, grumble, soar, and wind/bend.
      "Swamp Song" seems like a very low key song at first, but the guitars speed up the tempo. I enjoy how this song's chorus is a stop-start beat with staccato vocals.
      "Undertow" has more catchy, beeping guitar noise (which kind of sounds like something off of "Aenima").
      "4 Degrees" begins with almost twangy strumming. The power chords kick in and play chunky riffs, and part of this song is almost a bobbing beat (with the drums pounding simultaneously as the guitars). Meanwhile Maynard is singing calmly throughout the song.
      "Flood" is almost completely instrumental. The first four minutes and forty-five seconds are very depressing and ominous, with thumping, atmospheric drums.
      Then, we have to sit through 59 tracks of mysterious silence. Luckily, this time goes by rather quickly, as each of the tracks are very short.
      Finally, we hear the voice of a televangelist making a sermon, and the last song, "Disgustipated," has begun. This preacher is saying that carrots are living things and that harvest day is the Holocaust for them. Then Maynard comes aboard and whispers (increasingly loud) "This is necessary. Life feeds on life, feeds on life, feeds on life, feeds on...this is necessary" over a drum beat and some crazy guitar sound effects.

      Since I don't believe this is Tool's best work, I wouldn't recommend it to you if you're new to them. But the bottom line is this C.D. is essential listening for everybody else (especially for prog rock or alt metal fans), because this album may be quite strange in spots (i.e. the last track), but one thing is for certain: this "Undertow" is very strong....more info
    • But this ain't no mammoth dung...
      Undertow is one of those albums you should listen to now and again...especially if you have gotten hung up on Lateralus or Aenima, etc. Of course, if you don't own a copy yet, well, then get one. In a sense it's easy to forget how good it is, I actually get a little homesick for it on occasion and dust it off and have another inspection. The music is just so clean, so uncomplicated as other Tool albums. "Crawl Away" is a perfect example of this. Probably the top draw would be "Sober" and not for poor bleeds from the same vein as the band's other revocations of religious dogma. "Prison Sex" is likely my favorite of the bunch. Not only is it a great rocker (like the title track - "Undertow") but it could speak as well for the innocent as the next serial killer. Like Jim Morrison might have had a say in this, "...we could plant a murder...or start a religion."
      Again let me state, it is easy to forget how clean and unsullied the sound is...crisp and driving, yeah, that's the word - driving. Gotta give it 5 stars. Looking forward to May when the new release is expected!
      Oh, also keep in mind our ancestoral history. At some point in antiquity along our evolutionary path, there had to be a first...the very first artist who lay in his cro-magnan cave and decided for whatever aesthetic impulse to fling wooly mammoth crap at his cave wall. Along came a visitor who beheld this creation. Along came the critic.
      ...more info
    • Nothing Sober about it, Undertow is a true work of art
      Tool didn't rise up from the Industrial ranks just yesterday, but in the fall of 1993 they had a couple of clay animation vidoes to some songs that included the track "Sober" which seemed to plant them on the rock music landscape, which at that time was trying to ween itself away from big hair rock, while at the same time deal with the sudden overload of new grunge bands that seemed to be coming from everywhere BUT Seattle.

      The panging bass lines and the swirling themes of loss and helplessness created a signature sound known only to them, and eventually cherished by the masses.

      Undertow is the complete album. Every song is strong in songwriting, guitar work, and structure. "Prison Sex" "Sober" and "Bottom" all have varying themes and tones, and though the dark brooding bass that is so familiar with their music shines through, it doesn't pull it down to far and allows for specific crescendo's to bring it up at the right moments. "Swamp Song" is just that, a song that sounds like it can only be found, or even remembered, by thinking of a swamp, a place where few people go, and even fewer leave. "Undertow" and "Flood" are also very strong songs that are a bit broodier than others, but still have a good beat to them and are not so much something that you sing along to, but try to soak up...the band's vision and execution of their music helped them wedge their own little nitch in the industrial rock music market, and makes "Undertow" a must have for any fan of the band....more info
    • Tool
      I really like this CD. It is good for someone how enjoys thoughtful and deep lyrics, and likes a hard industrial/rock sound....more info