Tool: Maynard James Keenan (vocals); Adam Jones (guitar); Paul D'Amour (bass); Danny Carey (drums).
Producers: Sylvia Massy, Steve Hansgen, Tool.
Recorded at: Sound City, Van Nuys, California and live at Jello Loft, Hollywood, California on December 31, 1991.
Back in the early months of 1992, alternative rock was exploding. Radio and MTV had finally fully embraced the oft-dismissed genre, but the bands that were receiving most of the airplay were writing straightforward, raw punk-pop songs. After the breakup of Jane's Addiction, another Los Angeles band, Tool, satisfied fans looking for progressive art-rock with an alternative edge. Issued in March of 1992, Tool's debut six-track OPIATE EP showed that the new band was creating its own highly original sound.
Half of the songs stretched over the four-minute mark, which signaled the epic-songwriting direction the band would explore further on such future releases as 1993's UNDERTOW and 1996's AENIMA. While the compositions on the debut aren't as developed as those on the aforementioned albums, OPIATE remains a gripping listen. Four studio tracks are featured (“Sweat,” “Hush,” “Part of Me,” and the title track), as well as a pair of tracks recorded live at the Jello Loft in Hollywood, California, on New Year's Eve of 1991 (“Cold and Ugly,” “Jerk Off”). Most of Tool's now instantly recognizable musical traits, like Maynard James Keenan's perturbed singing and guitarist Adam Jones' repetitive guitar riffs, were already noticeable on OPIATE.
What the critics say…
Kerrang (Magazine) (p.53) – “[With] some grindingly metallic riffage and hauntingly corrosive vocal wailing…”