Tool – The Alt-Metal Band that Consistently Pushes Boundaries

It’s difficult to summarize the sound of Tool in a sentence, because it encompasses such an expansive range of genres and techniques. But it’s safe to say that every Tool fan will find something recognizably “Tool-esque” about their albums. And while some people might be put off by what can occasionally be an abstract, complicated soundscape, many others see Tool as one of the most creative and boundary-pushing bands in all of rock music — and there is a lot to back this up!

The Sound of Tool

The sound of Tool is a variant of alternative metal. The lyrics, fast-paced tempo, and the unusual instrumentation can be seen as alternate to the mainstream sound of rock music. Tool is said to have a complex combination of “raps” and guitar sounds that make them difficult to classify into an overarching genre category.

Tool doesn’t generally fall into one or two specific genres when it comes to Alternative Metal (a genre created in 1993). From their debut album in 1992 until release of their album 10K Days in 2002, each release had some elements from other popular genres like progressive metal (the song Pushit on Lateralus), heavy metal (the song Schism on Aenima), eletronic dance/industrial music (the song Ænima on Lateralus), and even “southern rock” (the song Stinkfist on 10,000 Days).

See our History of Alt-Metal

But as Tool’s sound progressed, they became more and more unique. The song Lateralus (2001) is a prime example of Tool’s signature sound and influences. There are the “raps” by Maynard James Keenan, the complex guitar work, an electronic influence in some songs, and even an ambient intro. They also tend to use a wide range of symbols and abstract visual art in their music videos. Tool has been a prime example of an unique Alternative Metal band for over 20 years now.

The Meaning of Tool

Even before Tool was a band, the members were making music together. In high school, Danny Carey and Adam Jones had a band called Electric Sheep, which was one of the first groups to play with Maynard James Keenan. The members of Tool are fans of esoteric and occult topics. This influence is clear in the content of their album artwork (e.g., A Perfect Circle). Tool has a lot of references to alchemy and other artwork that explores spiritual transformation and self-actualization. It could be speculated that many people are drawn to the music out of a deeper interest in these subjects!

The History of Tool

Tool was formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1990. They have been consistently releasing albums since then. They have had many members join and leave the band throughout their history. This makes it difficult to clearly define Tool as a stable band with a consistent sound, because there is always an evolution of their music from each album.

The Current Band Members of Tool

In the past two decades, Tool has made some important changes in the members that make up the band. First and foremost is Maynard James Keenan. He was the original front man of Tool, providing the vocals for all of their albums and songs. He also has his own project called Puscifer. In 2006, drummer Danny Carey was added to the band as an official member after being a touring drummer for years.

The band had a consistent lineup from 1995-2005, with Keenan on vocals, Adam Jones on guitar and bassist Justin Chancellor. The guitar players would later be David “The Reverend” Harrington and Adam Jones. Chancellor has always been the bassist for Tool, but has been replaced by Paul D’Amour. In 2006, Adam Jones left the band before their album 10,000 Days with a few songs of his unreleased album “Sober.In.Sanity” still being released as the b-sides to the songs “Stinkfist” and “Lost Keys.”

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The current lineup consists of Keenan, Jones, Chancellor, and Carey. The tour for their album 10K Days also had Danny Carey on drums and Matt McJunkins as bassist for this tour.

The Achievements of Tool

Tool’s most influential album is their third album, Aenima (1996). This is also the first Tool album to make the Billboard charts. Since then, they’ve had a steady stream of Top 10 albums and singles with their following releases Lateralus (2001), 10K Days (2002), and Ænima (1996). These albums have all gone on to sell millions of copies worldwide. They have amassed an impressive fan base over the years from diverse backgrounds and age groups.

Tool toured for ten years before the release of the album Aenima. They have toured for almost twenty years since. The band is even on tour right now! This show features some of the same members from their previous decade-long tours. Before Tool, Keenan was just an individual that played in a band, but after Tool he became a recognized artist in his own right. During their tours, they often perform unique and complicated light shows with projections on the stage.

Tool’s style is not that of most other rock bands, so they don’t fit in to a regular pattern. One of the hallmarks of Tool’s style has always been their tendency to push boundaries. They’ve said that it’s important for them to explore new ground with each album they produce. The music is not average, and it’s intense in its own right.

Many people use the album 10,000 Days as the peak of their musical abilities. The song “Stinkfist” has gone on to be one of their most popular songs with a great soundtrack video that is still played at concerts by fans.

The Videos of Tool

Tool’s music videos are among the most popular in modern rock. The videos for their songs “Reflection,” “Intolerance,” “Sober,” and many others have become famous online and on television. Keenan had a long and creative career directing the band’s videos over the years.

The Legacy of Tool

Tool has exceeded the expectations that many would have expected. They have been noticed by a wide audience and are well know artists among their fans. The band has been able to do several things that very few bands have ever been able to achieve. They have shaped the alternative rock scene through the years, and started a revolution of theirs within the music industry itself. They’ve had a consistent fan base over the years, and they are still going strong! Tool continues to put out new music and tour around the globe.

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