With only five albums to their name, Tool's discography doesn't sound that challenging to rank. However, when one actually considers how consistent these alt-metal icons have remained since their 1993 debut, the game gets a lot more challenging. We at Revolver could quibble all day about the intricacies of their masterful catalog and still not come to a consensus, so we figured we'd hand the job over to those who know best: Tool's fans. Below, is the order in which you all placed their five full-lengths.
Although Undertow isn't the most distinct Tool album, it was the album that distinguished the band from every other act in the burgeoning alt-metal category. Vocalist Maynard James Keenan's dynamic delivery and literary lyrical style — not to mention the band's alchemical mix of prog, grunge and traditional heavy metal — made this record turn heads, the same ones that would practically spin off their frames on future releases.
Tool's fourth LP, 10,000 Days, is slightly slower, more subtle and less outwardly metal than their previous releases, which makes it a natural sleeper hit within their discography. Without the bombastic jams that are littered throughout Ænima and and Lateralus, the band's 2006 album does feel a little directionless at some points, but if you prefer the more meandering and jammy side of Tool's sound, then 10,000 Days is the one.
Comeback records are fickle. As exciting as it is when bands reunite and put out their first material in ages, it's rare that the new songs legitimately stand up to the ones that justified their reunion in the first place. Tool's 2019 comeback record, their first in 13 years, is a joyous exception. More than just the same old Tool (a feat in its own right), Fear Inoculum is a stupendous revamp that proved their sound is just as vital and refreshing today as it was 25 years prior.
The votes came in as close as it gets, so this is no slight to Ænima — coming in second on a list of records as good as these means that it's still far superior than most other albums in its peer group. The band's 1996 sophomore effort is virtually unbeatable in the world of alt-metal, with psychedelic lyrical themes, bizarre audio samples and humongous riffs that ensured Tool would go down as legends, no matter what they did next.
For most Tool fans, it depends on the day, but their 2001 gem, Lateralus, managed to barely eek out the No. 1 spot in this poll. Arriving five years after their self-realizing masterpiece, Ænima, this record stands as one of those rare instances when an already-established band got simultaneously more experimental and more defined. Either of those are the marks of true artistry, and Tool did both on Lateralus.