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Clockwise from lower left: Danny Carey (drums), Justin Chancellor (bass), Maynard James Keenan (vocals), and Adam Jones (guitar).
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Founded in Los Angeles in 1990, Tool is an enigmatic Progressive Rock/Metal group mostly known for their use of unconventional time signatures and rhythms, long songs, Mind Screw-tastic imagery, and emphasis on personal interpretation of their music. Like many bands in the 90s music scene, Tool started out as an underground group, and was signed by a record company after only three months of playing together. On March 1992, their first EP Opiate was released. Since then, five studio albums have been released, all of which have gone platinum and achieved widespread success worldwide.

Tool incorporates many different styles and influences in their music, but the one theme they keep constant is the importance of personal interpretation of their songs (to quote one of their own lyrics: "try and read between the lines"), making it possibly the only band that runs solely on The Walrus Was Paul. To emphasize this even more, Tool has only released official lyrics with one of their albums, Fear Inoculum, so that what the lyrics actually mean (or even are) never gets in the way of what the listener thinks they mean.

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Confused yet? Good.

A few factors remain constant throughout their work however. They love using weird time signatures that shift throughout the song, and one track ("Lateralus") even has the rhythm and syllables of the lyrics arranged in a Fibonacci sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13). The members of the group have unique styles, and Maynard James Keenan's vocals are instantly recognizable, not only for his voice but for his skill with the Metal Scream. Danny Carey is also one of the most acclaimed contemporary drummers going, and Adam Jones's guitar tone on Opiate, Undertow and Lateralus is just as iconic as Keenan's vocals. Not to mention Justin Chancellor's strong bass lines (and on Opiate and Undertow, Paul D'Amour), which often make a Tool song instantly recognizable.

Another important part of the band's music is the inclusion of collaborated works of art and music videos that echo themes presented in their songs and albums. These pieces of art usually involve disturbing (if not straight-up horrifying) imagery, play with the Uncanny Valley, and aren't necessarily supposed to tell an actual story, but evoke certain feelings from the viewer. They definitely succeed.

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Over the band's career they've addressed many diverse topics, such as religion, the music industry and media censorship, child abuse, drug use, transcendence, and even Fan Dumb from their own fans who started complaining that It's Popular, Now It Sucks!. This varied subject matter has also made Tool the subject of much controversy and censorship, including one incident with their song "Stinkfist," which was renamed and edited to run on MTV, due to "Offensive connotations," as well as Walmart not selling their first LP Undertow with the original cover art. Despite (or possibly because of) that controversy, they have remained a hugely successful group and continue to actively tour both in the United States and internationally.

Three of the group's songs ("Schism," "Parabola," and "Vicarious") also appeared on Guitar Hero: World Tour as playable tracks.

The band's fifth studio album was finally released on August 30, 2019 after numerous and very tumultuous release dates over the past couple years, much to the confusion and ire of their fans. It had previously been revealed that familial commitments and an ongoing lawsuit had severely delayed any work they could have done, and Adam Jones stated that any new music of theirs wouldn't be released unless they were satisfied with the final product. Additionally, on August 2, 2019, their back catalogue was made available to streaming services.

Discography:

  • 1991 — 72826 (demo)
  • 1992 — Opiate (EP)
  • 1993 — Undertow
  • 1996 — Ænima
  • 2000 — Salival (box set with an 8-song CD and a DVD or VHS with the videos for "Sober," "Prison Sex," "Stinkfist," "Ænema," and on the DVD version, "Hush")
  • 2001 — Lateralus
  • 2006 — 10,000 Days
  • 2019 — Fear Inoculum

Grammy Awards

  • 1998 Best Metal Performance ("Ænema")
  • 2002 Best Metal Performance ("Schism")
  • 2007 Best Recording Package (10,000 Days)
  • 2020 Best Metal Performance ("7empest")


"Why can't we not be troper..."

  • Album Filler: Since Ænima, the band has been known to sprinkle tracks into their albums that serve as interludes between some of the songs. They usually take the form of ambient soundscapes and often include spoken word performances or recordings. Given the length of Tool albums, these tracks are generally considered to be "bonus content" rather than a replacement for "real songs." The CD version of Fear Inoculum actually excludes all of these except for "Chocolate Chip Trip"; three additional interlude tracks, "Litanie contre la peur", "Legion Inoculant", and "Mockingbeat", only appear on the digital release.
  • Alien Abduction:
    • "Lost Keys (Blame Hofmann)" / "Rosetta Stoned" has this as a central theme, although it's also possible that the person in question is just having a really bad hallucination.
    • "Faaip de Oiad" also mentions it, as part of a subversive societal takeover.
  • Ambiguously Human: Their music videos tend to feature these kinds of characters.
  • Anything That Moves: The second friend described in "The Gaping Lotus Experience," up to and including inanimate objects.
  • Arc Number: 7 on Fear Inoculum
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence:
    • Sort of the point of "Forty Six & 2," which combines Jungian philosophy with an eccentric take on human evolution.
    • Lateralus as a whole is heavily influenced by transcendentalism.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Because "Right in Two" is based on the premise of two angels talking about humans, there are several references to Biblical stories. The song title comes from the story of King Solomon threatening to cut a baby in half, and it also refers to the Garden of Eden.
    Don't these talking monkeys know that Eden has enough to go around?
    Plenty in this holy garden, silly monkeys
    Where there's one you're bound to divide it
    Right in two
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Danny Carey's all-bronze drumkit made completely out of recycled cymbals. They may look cool, but they can't be used for overseas travel due to the sheer weight of the shells. According to The Other Wiki, the bass drums themselves weigh 93 pounds!
  • Bald of Awesome: Maynard frequently sports a shiny head, but don't be surprised to see him with other, more unorthodox hairstyles.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • If you pay close attention you can hear Maynard whispering "Chupa minha pica, bicha" in the interlude of "Stinkfist", which translates as "Suck my dick, faggot" from Brazilian Portuguese.
    • "Message to Harry Manback" features a lot of extravagant swearing in Italian, though you can assume as much based on the rest of the message, delivered in English.
    • "Die Eier von Satan" features vocals by Marko Fox delivered in an angry tirade of German. It features a heavy industrial production and a roaring crowd in the background, bringing to mind something resembling a Nazi rally to a non-German speaker. The lyrics are actually Fox's grandmother's recipe for cookies made with Turkish hashish. She called them die Eier von Satan, which means "The Eggs of Satan," with "eggs" being common German slang for testicles. With this in mind, one could alternately translate the title as The Balls of Satan. The singer also frequently quotes "und keine Eier" ("and no eggs"). So basically, The Eggs of Satan contain no eggs.
    • One of the bonus tracks on the digital edition of Fear Inoculum is titled "Litanie contre la Peur", which is French for "Litany Against Fear".
  • Blatant Lies: Maynard has an obvious distaste for the pretense of encore performances, where the band pretends to end the concert when everyone knows they'll come right back out to play some more. At the end of Tool concerts, he'll announce that the band won't waste everyone's time by pretending to leave and instead just go ahead and play the show closer.
  • Bizarre Instrument: Pianos... being shot with shotguns and smashed with sledgehammers in "Disgustipated," a hydraulic press (or something that sounds like one) on "Die Eier von Satan," a breathing tube in "Parabol," and Maynard's cat in "Mantra," possibly among others.
  • California Collapse: "Ænema" is basically a wish that this would happen out of disgust with the culture of Los Angeles, with inspiration from Bill Hicks. The album artwork currently provides the page image.
  • The Cameo:
    • Singers: Henry Rollins in the breakdown of "Bottom," Marko Fox on "Die Eier von Satan," Statik on "Disgustipated" and "Triad," and Lustmord on "10,000 Days (Wings Pt 2)."
    • Musicians: On Salival, additional musicians include: King Buzzo on "You Lied," Vince DeFranco playing synths on "Third Eye," Alotte Duka playing tabla on "Pushit," producer/keyboardist David Bottrill on "Message to Harry Manback II."
  • Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them: "H," on the surface, is about a relationship which is poisonous to the subject but which they can't bring themself to leave.
  • The Chosen One: Subverted in "Rosetta Stoned"—the narrator describes being abducted by aliens who have chosen him to deliver a message to the human race... but he forgot to bring his pen to write it down.
  • Concept Album: Regardless of whether or not the band views any of their records as such, 10,000 Days is cited as an example all the same.
    • Lateralus is debated to be one too, with the big interpretation regarding transcendentalism or about a mathematician going mad.
    • While the band is less inclined to give interpretations, they did describe Fear Inoculum as one.
  • Cover Version: "No Quarter" by Led Zeppelin, "Demon Cleaner" by Kyuss, "You Lied" by Peachnote , "B'Boom" by King Crimson.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Several songs, especially "Hush," "Hooker with a Penis" and "Ænema." "Rosetta Stoned" alone should have earned 10,000 Days a Parental Advisory label, but the heavy distortion and layering on the vocals may have fooled the ratings board.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: The subject of "Part of Me," although the references are oblique ("I know you best, better than anyone / I know you better than I know myself") and at times very subtle ("It's time to die a little" refers to la petite mort).
  • Drugs Are Good: The studio version of "Third Eye" has samples of comedian Bill Hicks extolling the virtues of drugs, particularly psychedelics.
  • Epic Rocking: Since Ænima, the band has become virtually synonymous with long songs. Some songs are so long that they are split into multiple tracks. If considered as one song, "Disposition"/"Reflection"/"Triad" would be Tool's longest song at around 22:40 (not counting two minutes of silence at the end). "Wings for Marie" also deserves an honorable mention, being 17:25, but divided into two tracks. Their longest individual track is "7empest" at 15:43. Notably, "Fear Inoculum" is the longest song to ever reach the Billboard Hot 100 at 10:20. As a whole, the entire Fear Inoculum album stands out, with every non-instrumental track clocking in at over 10 minutes long and the digital version note  having a runtime of 86 minutes, making it Tool’s longest album to date.
  • Fading into the Next Song/Siamese Twin Songs: Quite a few songs, such as "Intermission"/"Jimmy," "Eon Blue Apocalypse"/"The Patient," "Parabol"/"Parabola," "Disposition"/"Reflection"/"Triad," the two halves of "Wings for Marie," "Lost Keys (Blame Hofmann)"/"Rosetta Stoned," and so on. Many of these could really be considered one song divided into two or three tracks; "Wings" is actually explicitly labelled as such.
  • First-Name Basis: The singer of the band is usually referred to simply as "Maynard." It's an alias that dates back to his ROTC days. In "Disgustipated," the speaker refers to himself as "Reverend Maynard." His full stage name is typically written as "Maynard James Keenan," with "James Keenan" being his real name.
  • Foreign Language Title:
    • "Die Eier von Satan" from Ænima, which can be translated from German either as "Satan's Eggs" or "Satan's Balls."
    • "Faiip de Oiad" from Lateralus. It's Enochian for "The Voice of God."
    • "Viginti tres" from 10,000 Days. It's Latin for "Twenty-Three." This is also a possible reference to the 23 enigma.
    • "Litanie contra la peur" from the digital version of Fear Inoculum, which is French for "Litany Against Fear."
  • For Inconvenience, Press "1": "LAMC" is nearly 9 minutes of someone's struggle with the Los Angeles Municipal Court's automated telephone response system. The options get increasingly bizarre over the course of the song.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: "Lost Keys" / "Rosetta Stoned" has a lot of fun with this. The subject may have had a sanity-breaking encounter with aliens, or he may have just OD'd on hallucinogens. The lyrics make either completely plausible.
  • Good Feels Good:
    • "The Patient" suggests that being a kind and loving person is its own reward, even when it's difficult.
    • Most of the Lateralus album appears to be hinting that the alternative (choosing to be bitter) won't make things any better.
  • Gratuitous German: "Die Eier von Satan" seems to be trying to invoke Music to Invade Poland To. The angry German ranting is actually the instructions for a cookie recipe.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Both parts of "Message to Harry Manback" feature a lot of Italian swearing.
  • Gratuitous Latin: "Viginti tres" is Latin for "Twenty-three."
  • Grief Song: Both parts of the "Wings for Marie" suite. The song is Maynard's eulogy to his mother Judith Marie, who passed away between Lateralus and 10,000 Days, with it being a tribute to being a strength for him and how, in his eyes (despite assumed being not religious), she truly deserves a spot in heaven for keeping her faith despite spending twenty-seven years in a paralyzed state.
    You were my witness, my eyes, my evidence,
    Judith Marie, unconditional one.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: The opening of the studio version of "Third Eye."
  • Hidden Track: "The Gaping Lotus Experience" at the end of Opiate and "Maynard's Dick" on Salival.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: A lot of "Rosetta Stoned"'s lyrics are heavily layered and electronically distorted, and are only comprehensible after multiple listens. The first lyrics of "Forty Six & 2" and sections in the middle of "Stinkfist" and "Eulogy" are buried underneath the music, also making them difficult to decipher.
  • Instrumentals: The interludes on Ænima, Lateralus, 10,000 Days, and Fear Inoculum are this, plus "Triad" for a normal-length tune.
  • Intercourse with You: "Maynard's Dick," the hidden track on the CD of Salival.
  • Last Note Nightmare: Tool likes making these out of entire songs:
    • "Disgustipated" from Undertow: Maynard relating a very weird dream about an angel allowing him to hear the terrified screams of carrots facing harvest leads to a harsh sort-of song leads to 7 minutes of Chirping Crickets leads to a ominous-sounding voice message.
    • "Faaip de Oiad" from Lateralus: A harsh, droning wall of electronic noise with Danny furiously drumming in the background and accompanied by a frantic caller to Coast to Coast AM rambling about the government being taken over by aliens.
    • "Viginti Tres" from 10,000 Days.
  • Lead Drummer, Lead Bassist: As is commonly the case with progressive metal bands, Danny Carey and Justin Chancellor probably get as much acclaim for their instrumental skill as guitarist Adam Jones does, probably qualifying both Carey and Chancellor as virtuosos and genre leads (Types A and D under the lead bassist trope). Carey is arguably the most noticeable member of the ensemble on Fear Inoculum, given the reduced role of vocals on the album.
  • Lighter and Softer: The band has been gradually getting lighter and softer throughout its run. Opiate features the band's harshest, most in-your-face songs, and is the closest Tool has ever come to sounding like a punk band. Undertow continues the angry, critical themes, but the lyrics start to get more inventive and introspective and the music becomes more complex. Ænima has a few songs on the melodic and melancholy side, though all with hard-rocking sequences. Themes tend to focus on criticizing people, situations and aspects of society that are holding you back. Starting with Lateralus, their songs have been noticeably longer, softer and more melodic, with themes concentrating more on becoming a better person and achieving enlightenment, though they haven't completely abandoned their angry, critical roots.
  • Limited Lyrics Song: "Disposition" has only a few lines of lyrics, repeated throughout the song. Several other songs also have relatively limited lyrics, but probably not to such an extreme extent.
  • LOL, 69: There are 59 blank tracks between the second-to-last and last songs on Undertow, such that the last song is track 69.
  • Loudness War: Most of their work averts it, but Salival and 10,000 Days are borderline cases, as are a few tracks on Ænima (although the album as a whole still has dynamics). Unusually for this trope, Lateralus, released in between Salival and 10,000 Days, is barely affected and is actually quiet for the time it was released (2001). Fear Inoculum is also very quiet by contemporary standards, being DR9 (at least the digital version) with only two tracks even coming in below DR8. It still clips a little bit, but not too badly.
  • The Man Is Sticking It to the Man: Self-admitted in "Hooker with a Penis," which then mocks the listener for assuming otherwise.
    I sold my soul to make a record, dipshit, and then you bought one.
    *later*
    Shut up and buy - buy - buy my new record // Buy - buy - buy - send more money!
  • Madness Mantra: The "Don't know, won't know..." chant at the end of "Rosetta Stoned," as the narrator bemoans his inability to convey the aliens' message.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Did the narrator of "Rosetta Stoned" just have a particularly bad trip, or did he really have a sanity-shattering encounter with aliens?
  • Metal Scream: Type 1. Maynard really likes this, particularly the 25-second scream in "The Grudge" and pretty much all of his singing in "Ticks & Leeches."
  • Mind Screw: A lot of their songs, and just about all of their videos ("Hush" being the notable exception), employ this.
  • Miniscule Rocking: A lot of the interludes. "Useful Idiot" takes the cake at thirty-nine seconds, though.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Generally a 6 or 7, but they can also go as low as 4/5. Or as high as an 8, on a few occasions. Not often, though.
    • "Lateralus" is all over the place with just one song. It starts calmly, as a 1. Then, once the guitar kicks in, it becomes around a 7, before tuning down to 5-6 range with the vocals. The chorus is about a 7 again, twisting down to a 2, and building up again all the way to 8. It fades out at 7 again.
    • "Schism" is also a little wacky when it comes to this, bouncing between 1, 7, and every level in between; it's a high 3 or a low 4 overall.
  • Mood Whiplash: Can be induced by the middle tracks of Ænima, transitioning from the introspective "Forty Six & 2" to the head-scratching "Message to Harry Manback" to the venomously snarky "Hooker With a Penis" to the bouncy, cheerful "Intermission," which is the main guitar riff of the next song, the rather somber "Jimmy," played on an organ.
  • Motor Mouth: Part of what makes "Rosetta Stoned"'s lyrics so hard to decipher is that the first verses are delivered at a rapid-fire, all-in-one-breath pace, giving the impression that the song's subject is spewing his experience to the doctor from "Lost Keys."
  • Mushroom Samba: ZigZagged in "Rosetta Stoned." The subject first attributes seeing the aliens to "the Deadhead chemistry," but later in the song he says "See, the Dead ain't touring / And this wasn't all in my head."
  • Music to Invade Poland To: "Die Eier von Satan" seems to invoke and satirize this.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Tool is notoriously difficult to classify due to the sheer number of genres their music falls into. Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal, post-hardcore, Math Rock, Post-Rock, Noise Rock, ambient, Alternative Metal, art rock, and more all blend together to create something that really can't be conveniently labeled. "Progressive rock" and "progressive metal" are the most common labels applied to them, but even those are spotty at best.
  • Nice Hat: Maynard's white cowboy hat, which he is occasionally seen wearing in photos and in the page image.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: "Faaip De Oiad," anyone? (It's Enochian for "The Voice of God.")
  • Non-Appearing Title: "H," "Jambi," "Ænema," "Hooker With A Penis," "Lateralus," and many other songs.
  • Number of the Beast: Played with on Salival, as "Maynard's Dick" comes in at the 7:06 mark on "L.A.M.C.", or 6:66.
  • Parental Abandonment: Several of Tool's songs are about Keenan's mother, who suffered an aneurysm and was partially paralyzed when he was still a child, and about his parents' divorce and the stress he dealt with when his mother re-married. Just about all of his endeavors reference her at some point, "Jimmy" is essentially Maynard's angst about his parents' divorce, and the A Perfect Circle song "Judith" is a scathing indictment of his mother keeping her Christian faith in spite of her predicament. She died in between Lateralus and 10,000 Days, and "Wings for Marie" and "10,000 Days (Wings pt. 2)" are essentially his eulogy to her, praising her for being essentially the bedrock of his life and saying that after all she endured while still keeping her faith, it would be an outrage for her to not enter heaven.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Pushit"note , "Ticks and Leeches"note  (it's actually the only song on Lateralus that has any cursing), "The Pot"note , and "7empest", whose F-bomb is actually in the spoken part before the song begins.note 
  • Protest Song: "Hush," which is broadly about censorship, and "Right in Two," which is essentially two angels looking at humanity and pondering how such a fundamentally nasty race gained such favor with God.
  • Pun-Based Title:
    • Ænima is an allusion to Jungian psychology (the "anima" archetype, or the feminine unconscious). The song "Ænema" is a pun on this, referring to the medical procedure, which is what the singer wishes would happen to L.A. (getting irrigated with water and flushing out all the crap).
    • "Rosetta Stoned" on, well, the Rosetta Stone and being stoned.
  • Punny Name: Harry Manback.
  • Quicksand Sucks: "Swamp Song."
    My warning meant nothing
    You're dancing in quicksand [...]
    I hope it sucks you down
  • Rearrange the Song: The verse melody and some of the lyrics to "Sober" can be traced back to "Burn About Out" by C.A.D, a group Maynard James Keenan was singing with in the late eighties. The C.A.D. song has a very different, almost early Post-Hardcore feel due to having a much faster tempo and a much looser structure than "Sober."
  • Reincarnation: Arguably a theme to "H."
  • Religion Rant Song: Several, most prominently "Opiate," which takes its name from Karl Marx's frequently misunderstood dictum that religion is the opiate of the masses.
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus!:
    • "The Gaping Lotus Experience" features Maynard singing "Satan, Satan" (foregoing any backmasking at all), although the song itself is about people doing strange things while high.
    • "Die Eier von Satan" may also be considered an example, though it's actually a recipe for hash cookies. The title translates as "The Eggs of Satan" or "Satan's Balls."
    • The title of the band's demo, 72826, spells out Satan on a telephone keypad.
  • Sampling:
    • The studio version of "Third Eye" samples Bill Hicks, as mentioned below, and the live version replaces the Hicks sample with a sample of Timothy Leary.
    • "Faiip de Oiad" samples a caller to Coast to Coast AM.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Used tongue-in-cheek as the applause dies down at the end of "Pushit" on Salival.
  • Schmuck Bait: "Hooker with a Penis" contains the line: "I sold my soul to make a record, dipshit / Then you bought one!" This can be interpreted to mean that no true fan would ever believe in the band's stance against overt consumerism — because in order to have heard the song, (presumably, as this was before YouTube) one would have first had to have bought the album!
  • Signature Style: Complex (and often polyrhythmic) drumming, heavy guitars and bass, and the Perishing Alt-Rock Voice of Maynard James Keenan make up a lot of the band's songs, making them one of the most distinctive bands in the metal community.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: The final lines of "Vicarious" are a very on-the-nose example of this.
    Credulous at best your desire to believe in
    Angels in the hearts of men
    Pull your head on out your hippie haze, give a listen
    Shouldn't have to say this all again
    The universe is hostile, so impersonal
    Devour to survive, so it is
    So it's always been
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: "Eulogy" speaks mockingly about someone who tried and apparently failed to be seen as a martyr in their death, complete with references to Christian imagery, and per Word of God is a direct potshot at L. Ron Hubbard.
    Not all martyrs see divinity // But at least you tried
    ...
    Come down // Get off your fucking cross
    We need the fucking space to nail the next fool martyr
  • Spoken Word in Music: "Faaip de Oiad," "Disgustipated," "Lost Keys (Blame Hofmann)," "Bottom," and "Third Eye" all use this. "Bottom" even drags Henry Rollins in for a cameo.
  • Stage Names: James Keenan began using "Maynard" as an alias in ROTC, based on a character in a story he'd written. He continued the tradition as frontman for Tool, often writing his full name as Maynard James Keenan.
  • Stealth Pun: The final lyric of "Stinkfist" is "relax, turn around and take my hand." Since the song is metaphorically about opening up and literally about fisting, the hand that the speaker is telling you to "take" could be to squeeze for moral support during an uncomfortable situation, or the hand that you're literally taking into your body.
  • Surreal Music Video: Among the reigning kings of this trope. With the exception of "Hush," all of their videos contain trippy, Mind Screwy images and scenarios that the viewer is left to interpret.
  • Take That!:
    • A good chunk of their earlier catalogue is built on this, such as "Hush"note , "Eulogy"note , "Hooker with a Penis"note , "Ænema"note .
    • The Church of Happyology gets several direct shots: The sheep bleating in "Disgustipated" references Maynard doing the same on-stage when Tool played at their Celebrity Centre in 1993, "Ænema" contains "Fuck L. Ron Hubbard and fuck all his clones," and Word of God indicates that "Eulogy" is also directed at Hubbard.
  • Title Drop: Very few of their songs do this, but the ones that do make it mean something, such as "Eulogy:"
    You've claimed all this time that you would die for me.
    Why then are you so surprised when you hear your own eulogy?
  • Too Dumb to Live: Not the band members themselves, but a fan. When you run onto a normal stage, security will take you down. When you run onto a stage where Tool plays, Maynard James Keenan himself will take you down and keep on singing while he holds you down.
  • Uncommon Time: Many of their songs, namely "Schism," which has up to 47 meter changes. Starting around Ænima, it's very rare for a Tool song not to contain at least one instance of this trope (and even before then, they used it a lot).
  • The Walrus Was Paul: This is a fundamental tenet of the band's output, and one of the main reasons why they don't release lyrics with the albums.
  • Word Purée Title: Tool likes to make up words to title albums and songs:
    • Album Aenima and song "Aenema" are combinations of the words "anima" (animating spirit) and "enema" (a rinsing of the rectum).
    • Album Lateralus and song "Lateralus" are both based on the word "lateralis," which means "pertaining to the side," and is meant to refer to "lateral thinking."
    • "7empest" is a Letters 2 Numbers version of "Tempest" featuring the Arc Number of the album.
    • The band exploited its reputation for made-up words with the decoy album and song names they released shortly before Lateralus. The album name was Systema Enecephale, and song names included "Riverchrist," "Numbereft," "Encephatalis," "Musick," and "Coeliacus."
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Most of their songs mean something, but it's usually pretty oblique.
  • You Won't Feel a Thing: "Stinkfist," which uses fisting as a metaphor for desensitization.
    Knuckle deep inside the borderline
    This may hurt a little, but it's something you'll get used to
    Relax, slip away


You look so precious...


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