Released in 1992 by Volcano Entertainment, Opiate is Tool's first and shortest release. The EP is 26 minutes, 52 seconds long and contains 7 songs. The music is much more straight-foward, heavier, and simple compared to most of Tool's later more complex and cerebral work. The band put their heaviest songs at the time on the release, causing surprise for some when they released Undertow two years later and it wasn't as blatantly heavy metal.
The cover of the packaging (and the disc) shows a priest with, um, really fucked-up eyes (much larger than normal with black and white markings similar to the more well-known green eye that appears on Tool's later release Ænima) and three pairs of hands in praying position (goes along with the song "Opiate" and the idea that religion is the opiate of the masses, as Karl Marx would put it). Inside the case there's a picture of a collage containing various little trinkets, pictures, and miscellaneous other items. Each corner represents a member of the band (and contains a picture of him as a child, in addition to numerous other things). According to the (unofficial) Tool FAQ (http://toolshed.down.net/faq/), if viewing the collage with the dog tag (which likely belongs to singer Maynard James Keenan, who spent some time in the military) in the centre portion located at the bottom, the top left corner is mostly Maynard, the top right is mostly drummer Danny Carey, the bottom right is mostly bassist Paul D'Amour (who has since left the band... on good terms), and the bottom left is mostly guitarist Adam Jones. The back of the CD version's jewel case mislabels "Jerk-off (live)" as being the same length as "Cold and Ugly (live)." I'm not sure if any other runs of printings for the release have this error or just the run my copy came from.
The design and graphics were done by Cam de Leon, the art direction by guitarist Adam Jones, and photography by Charles S. Allen.
- Sweat (3:47)
- Hush (2:48)
- Part of Me (3:17)
- Cold and Ugly (live)1 (4:09)
- Jerk-off (live)1 (4:24)
- Opiate (5:22) / The Gaping Lotus Experience2 (2:18)
1These tracks were recorded live New Year's Eve 1991/1992 at the Jello Loft in Hollywood, California where parody band and friends of Tool, Green Jelly, were also performing. I've heard that the guy being referred to as "that Bob Marley wannabe motherfucker" at the start of "Cold and Ugly" is the singer for Green Jelly but have no idea if there's any truth to this. It's certainly plausable.
2Both "Opiate" and "The Gaping Lotus Experience" are on the same track on the CD version of the release. "The Gaping Lotus Experience" isn't listed on the track list however, as it's a secret track. "The Gaping Lotus Experience" is suppose to start at 6:06 which, combined with being on the sixth track, makes 666 (it's a joke). Different CD players may start the secret track a few seconds early or late. The vinyl format of Opiate was long thought by fans to exclude "The Gaping Lotus Experience" until it was noticed that placing the needle of the record player in a slightly different position during "Cold and Ugly" would play the secret track instead. Very clever design.
The band at the time of this recording was:
The songs were produced by Sylvia Massy, Steve Hansgen, and Tool.