Hear Tool’s Longer, Proggier Remake of 1992 Song ‘Opiate’

Tool released a “reimagined” 10-minute version of their 1992 single “Opiate,” revamping the arrangement to fit the progressive, psychedelic vibe of their most recent material. 

Many arrangement elements from “Opiate2” remain unchanged from the original, which closed their debut EP of the same name. Guitarist Adam Jones and bassist Justin Chancellor carry the main sections with their heavy riffs, and Maynard James Keenan’s lyrics still seemingly explore the destructive nature of some religious leaders. 

“Every now and then throughout history, there’s somebody who takes the time to get a little clear and see a little bit into the future, look a little into the past,” Keenan said of the song onstage in 1996. “They come [onto] some pretty amazing revelations — they start understanding the concepts of unity, evolving thoughts, our connection with everything, the collective unconscious. Those are pretty cool people, good ideas — something to be explored. What happens, though, is then they have these agents that come in and fuck everything up, right? Being in Hollywood, I’m sure some of you can relate: a good idea gone astray because of bad marketing. This song is about agents.” 

But everything else about “Opiate” has been reinvented: the cleaner production, Keenan’s more dynamic vocal delivery, an expansive middle section built on Danny Carey’s polyrhythmic toms. The overall experience feels closer in spirit to the mammoth live version Tool have occasionally played in recent years — if it were a new track instead of a reworked one, “Opiate2” would have slotted in nicely on the band’s most recent LP, 2019’s Fear Inoculum. 

You can hear the song below.

On March 18, Tool will release the track’s visual companion, their first music video in 15 years, on Blu-ray. The film — created by Jones and visual artist Dominic Hailstone (Alien: Covenant, The Eel) — will come packaged in a 46-page art book featuring behind-the-scenes and making-of photos; the Blu-ray will also feature interviews with special guests. 

Tool will also wide-release their Fear Inoculum vinyl box set on April 8. Meanwhile, their ongoing tour continues tonight in Pittsburgh, with dates booked through late May.

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