Over the course of three studio albums, TOOL has been established as metal's modern saviors. Heavy, intricate compositions teamed with dark subject matter and spooky, pale men make for the perfect metal stew. With each member being an expert at his chosen instrument, there is not one weak link in this musical chain. The amount of mystery the platinum-selling band has kept itself wrapped in over the years doesn't hurt either (would you spot Danny Carey walking down the street?). Not having released anything since 1996's blockbuster, Aenima, TOOL's cult status has grown to a rabid level of devotion. Thus the title. This nugget of live tracks and B-sides is meant as a stop-gap for those eagerly awaiting the planned April 2001 release of the band's next opus. In the meantime, though, Salival does one hell of a job of filling the gap.
Let's be clear here, though - this is a release for the fans. Newcomers to the world of Maynard and co. most likely shouldn't begin with the 14-minute reading of third eye. The psychedelic romp moves from Timothy Leary's instructions on thinking for yourself to a crescendo of such bombast, my future kids are feeling it. Heavier than lead and smarter than a whip, TOOL flexes their musical muscle on Salival by including five live tracks. With the sound of one thousand musician's jaws dropping, the band proves that they not only have the chops to pull these songs off live, but the taste and artistic integrity to offer the fans new, flexible live arrangements. These are not robots, these are MUSICIANS.
Live tracks are not the only trick of Salival, however. The band unleashes a studio version of "No Quarter" that quite possibly surpasses the original. Just as dramatic and many shades darker, the band's version of the Zeppelin classic, by itself, is worth the price of admission on this one.
The limited edition box set includes a DVD of the band's videos. This other facet of TOOL could stand on its visual and artistic strength alone. For fans, April may seem far off, but with Salival, at least they'll have something to occupy the long wait. -Rob Hulsman
FRANK BLACK AND THE CATHOLICS
Dog In The Sand
What Are Records?
Has the former Black Francis played out his foremost pose? Admittedly, there's only so much that can be done as the guitar hero for post-punk literate popsters. Those folks readily and frequently fall into the posture of critics, so it's probably safest to be a moving target. For his next trick, whatever-Black-whatever is wearing his influences on his sleeve. The best of this 12-song set is also the most derivative. Forget the long opener: "Wanna see me get rough? Wanna see me be intellectual? Lookee, Ma - both at once!" is an attitude Black tapped out long ago. But it's amazing how much fresh blood is found in "Bullet." This is a classic update of the sort of road myth that you'd expect from some desert pilgrimage with Bob Dylan and Sam Peckinpah. "Hermaphroditos Is My Name" is written as a direct portrait of despair, but in performance it gets screwed with by Black's deadpan and dead-on impression of Keith Richards. The Catholics as a band have never been better, and the underlying downtrodden-given-a-ruffian-anthem theme comes on full force like a ghostly visitation from the spirit of Beggar's Banquet. If you don't admire the chameleon yet, don't fret - there's more! "I'll Be Blue" is an old-fashioned Neil Young piano ballad with just the right hint of plainspoken surrealism. Then the whole band strums into "Llano Del Rio," which could have come off any of Young's recent reversion-to-acoustic sets. If you really want to/You can practice Esperanto/But in the land of pronto /The wind it tastes like gasoline, Black sings. That wind can absolutely knock you down when it's blowing straight out of the past. -T.E. Lyons
With a line-up like Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Orgy, Filter, Static-X, and Deftones you might expect great things to come from this compilation. Well kiddies, this one is like drinking Drano; sure it cleans you out but you still get an empty feeling inside.
The first track is a remix of Rob Zombie's "Superbeast" that sounds less like a Zombie and more like you had your brains pureed with a synthesizer-based blender. This is not what many would expect to come from Rob Zombie and anyone who is down with the cruncha-crunch-crunch hard hitting sounds that Rob delivers on his albums is bound to be disappointed. Of course you could be into disco and if so, this track will probably fit your needs just nicely.
Besides that first track, almost everything else is on par with what you've grown to expect from the rest of the artists. Static-X delivers a great version of "Love Dump" that is both congruent with their style and sonically pleasing. Marilyn Manson's "Valentine's Day" is no different from any other song you expect from Marilyn; what that means is for you to decide for yourself; good or bad. Filter's remix of "Take a Picture" is probably the shining example of the whole compilation since it delivers a new version of their song in a not-so recognizable package though Disturbed's "God of the Mind" runs a close second with it's haunting lyrics.
The rest of the album is mostly blah and should only be listened to if you are watching the visuals from the movie that they accompany because only a bunch of flashing lights from a movie screen could make many of the songs interesting enough to keep you from snatching the disc from your CD player and giving it a toss into the "I listened to this album once and never again," section of your collection. -Fuj-E