When Tool released their debut full-length album, Undertow, on April 6, 1993, via the label Zoo Entertainment, the band members weren’t exactly the same dudes who are currently putting together their long-awaited fifth album. Back then, they were a little more prolific in their musical output. The members wrote much of Undertow at the same time as they were hashing out songs for their 1992 debut EP Opiate. But instead of making an effort to include them on the bludgeoning EP, which featured four studio recordings and two live tracks, Tool kept them in a state of incubation and returned to them when they entered the studio with Sylvia Massy to record their first full album.
“We got together pretty quickly, and so a lot of the songs that ended up on the first release and the second one were first efforts,” says vocalist Maynard James Keenan. “We were just feeling each other out, so they were more compact and to the point. But at the same time we were quickly growing and some of the more adventurous stuff on Undertow was actually what was occurring after about a year of us being together.”