- Audio CD (July 1 1999)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: EP
- Label: Sony Music Canada
- Run Time: 24.00 minutes
- ASIN: B00000098O
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Audio Cassette | LP Record
- Average Customer Review: 163 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,905 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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As the title of Tool's 1992 debut implies, they're none too impressed by religion, though other targets--fear ("Cold and Ugly"), hypocritical moralizing ("Jerk-Off"), nonconformity ("Hush")--get their time in the spotlight as well. Opiate is a collection of heavy, aggressive, cynical music (though the tail end of the title track sounds more like acid rock), packaged in songs noticeably shorter than on their later efforts (Undertow, 1993, and Aenima, 1996). While not as impressive as Undertow, arguably their finest effort, Opiate has a definite appeal.
As the title of Tool's 1992 debut implies, they're none too impressed by religion, though other targets--fear ("Cold and Ugly"), hypocritical moralizing ("Jerk-Off"), nonconformity ("Hush")--get their time in the spotlight as well. Opiate is a collection of heavy, aggressive, cynical music (though the tail end of the title track sounds more like acid rock), packaged in songs noticeably shorter than on their later efforts (Undertow, 1993, and Aenima, 1996). While not as impressive as Undertow, arguably their finest effort, Opiate has a definite appeal. If ear-crunching riffs and enraged lyrics are what you go for, check this one out. --Genevieve Williams
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Top Customer Reviews
Sweat represents the beginning of their comprehensive cumulativeness of songs whose origin or foundation is not easy to figure out. As somewhat abused ascendingly in later TooL offerings, eventually resulting in TooL's reputation for involving stimulatingly thought-provoking mysteriousness in their music, Maynard uses arcane and esoteric structure in Sweat in ordering the lyrics' flow he's conveying. References are often so vague and logically contradicting that it results in grimly open-ended interpretations of the song's gist. This isn't a minus; it's the accompanying mental enigma making TooL songs harshly more than simple combinations of notes. Note how Maynard delivers his lines in abruptly shifting, wrathful tones, quietly in one line, then sudden venom in the next, complying with the running theme of pent-up hostility waiting to explode.
Hush confronts issues surrounding mountingly insuppressible dissatisfaction at being forced to contain urgent needs to express oneself in our societies' horrifyingly politically-correct expectations, proven by the opener's "F^*K YOU!!!!" Hush also moves to themes about pressures on people's statements conforming with society's PC-extortions, even against their will. Really holding this piece together are D'Amour's grating bass, Carey's hard-hitting drumming, Jones' piercing guitar, and Maynard's awesomely possessed concentration on spitting out malcontent word after word.
TooL delivers songs with thematic so weighty; it's often foggy on differing levels. Part Of Me's unexceptional. It's applicable to religion, or Maynard's agnostic derogation of it. Interpreted henceforth, Part Of Me could apply to servants of God, the Whole. By Maynard's irreligion, he disparages God as possessive, dissuading His followers' success in existing without Him, tyrannical in His demands of His worshippers, and egotistical. Although this is sacrilegious and damnation for having no meaning in life-Maynard nonetheless raises stimulating counterarguments to the subject of religion. Maynard charges God with extorting too much payment (read: sacrifices) from believers. Supplementary attracting me is how Maynard doesn't sing passively, but exerts real panging in his voice as he forcefully modifies the deepness of his bellowing, resulting in intimidating vocals. This complements perfectly the chugging, hard rumbling of D'Amour's bass and Carey's exact drum-pounding, and the song's storming quality.
Cold & Ugly equals assaulting tempos. Enjoyable is how Maynard stretches every note with his drawling growling and screaming. It's about Maynard's unease entering relationships-which he composes rich descriptions of, with natural flow from poem-like stanzas to the next. In few, succinct lines, Maynard conveys a sensible mini-narrative using such esoteric symbolism, it sounds accomplished. Maintained in Cold & Ugly are Maynard's indignant intonations resembling a berserker about to lose control-which nicely foments the underlying dissatisfaction in TooL's thematic.
Jerk-OFF's my favorite. It defines the speedy riffs, slamming bass and drums, and complementary hostility of Opiate exemplary. Not only is Jerk-OFF a *beautiful* derogation to call somebody, it captures the precise moment of displeasure so violent, it can only erupt in injurious side-effects. This is satisfying because such outcome is the highest form of artistry: liberating honesty through means which could bring taint, yet where someone is indifferent to others' reaction. I relish how the simmering energy of bitterness builds with each new verse of Maynard's sore malcontent at someone, flawlessly magnified by TooL's harried guitars, driving bass and frenetic drumming. Maynard's appearance of fury is so believable that the various curses (a$$hole, bull$hit, fu^*ing) roll right off the tongue seamlessly. There's clearness with which Maynard throws himself into deep, careful pondering to construct his lyrics. Jerk-OFF has additional, honorable qualities-swearing aside-in the imposingly authoritative introspection Maynard utilizes to contemplate the benefit of doing right or wrong.
Opiate's an amoral refusal of God. Opiate does more than question the virtue of belief in God-it all-out berates it with non-believing tarnish. Maynard implies derisiveness towards believers, whom he humiliates as easily brainwashed and programmed followers. Maynard misjudges God's demands of people-not questioning and having 100% trust in God-as persecuting, underscored by Maynard's sardonicism at misrepresenting faith in God as contradicted by opposite ideas. Maynard also demeans God and Jesus as condescenders Who, subordinating to Maynard's sacrilege, because of Their love for humanity, appear as disparaging people for not being able to cope without Them, which is true. Maynard's dislike of religion is blinding in his elevation of sarcasm in the lyrics, where Maynard assumes he's exposing scandalous improprieties in religion. Though Maynard's agnostic, his insinuations about God are downright jeering, as he dissects core Catholic beliefs like Christ and heaven through infidelity. It's due to Maynard's desecration that Opiate's kick-a$$!!!! Despite objectionable, TooL begins their fated pattern of thought-provoking philosophizing set to ear-ravaging, higher-consciousness music with Opiate.
A second reason is the length. There is no filler on this EP. Six tracks and out (well, seven if you count 'The Gaping Lotus Experience,' which is the hidden track at the end of 'Opiate'). You can literally listen to the whole thing in a short car ride to the city or...wherever. I actually prefer the live tracks in most cases, mostly for the small background noises. Maynard's intro to 'Cold and Ugly,' (...) was a tongue-in-cheek reference to drummer Danny Carey's sometime band Green Jelly.
Every track on this EP delivers the goods. If you know who Tool are, then you have no excuse not to own this. If you're new, this may be a comfortable introduction to their music. Either way, it would be in your best interest to purchase.