Various Artists

A Tribute to Tool [Cleopatra]

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A Tribute to Tool [Cleopatra] Review

by Alex Henderson

In the jazz world, tribute albums are inescapable. Every week, jazz artists are recording tributes to Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Cole Porter, or someone else they admire. But in rock, they aren't as plentiful -- for every Bob Dylan, Doors, or Rolling Stones tribute that gets recorded, there are a lot more Ellington or George Gershwin tributes coming from the jazz world. One of rock's more tribute-minded labels is Cleopatra, which has paid homage to countless rockers. As a rule, Cleopatra's tribute albums are interesting -- and this 2002 release (which finds 12 different artists providing Tool covers) is no exception. Even if A Tribute to Tool is mildly uneven; it has more ups than downs and offers a lot of intriguing takes on the headbangers' songs. The best covers are the ones that bring something new or different to a familiar song; operating on that premise, the artists on this CD acknowledge Tool on their own terms instead of slavishly emulating the band. While Tool's forte is alternative metal, A Tribute to Tool is full of industrial, darkwave, and goth rock interpretations of its songs. Not everything on the CD works, but most of the time, A Tribute to Tool hits its mark. Mists of Avalon successfully gives "Prison Sex" a goth makeover, while an industrial outlook works well for Translation Collapse on "Reflection," Beauty on "Disgustipated," and Razed in Black on "Part of Me." One of the best tracks is the Electric Hellfire Club's "Opiate" makeover; Hellfire's campy, over-the-top sense of fun is quite a contrast to Tool's artsy leanings. Do those with only a casual interest in Tool need to hear 12 Tool covers? Probably not. But Tool's hardcore fans will find this CD meaningful if they also have an appetite for industrial, darkwave, and goth rock.

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