There is an entire series of string tributes to bands out there, such as: Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Marilyn Manson, System of a Down, and The Cure. As you can imagine, some of these seem like much better ideas than the others.

I think Third Eye Open and the follow-up album Metamorphic: The String Quartet Tribute to Tool, Vol.2 are both gorgeous pieces of work.

The violins carry Maynard's melody in pure lilting tones. In places two violins play simultaneously, adding extra depth to Maynard's original delivery.

Simultaneously, the violas and basses simplify and smooth out the intricacies of Danny Carey and Adam Jones' rhythm section, replacing Tool's cerebral metal sound with a deep, dark background.

I find either of these albums is best to listen to while driving alone on a cool dark night with the windows down and the volume up. There is something about the tension and motion of the all-string sound that really gets the old sympathetic nervous system going.

Metamorphic: The String Quartet Tribute to Tool, Vol.2

  1. Stinkifist 05:12
  2. Sweat 03:34
  3. Prison Sex 04:47
  4. Undertow 05:05
  5. Eulogy (Acoustic) 08:28
  6. Jimmy 05:28
  7. Lateralus 08:06
  8. Disposition 03:38
  9. Parabol 03:09
  10. Eulogy (Remix) 08:32
  11. Rampant (Original Composition) 04:44

2003, Vitamin Records.

The second album is distinctly different from the first: Metamorphic delves into the use of distortion, associating the violin more directly with Maynard's voice and using machines to make it sound tiny and far away, the same as Tool did in Stinkfist and Eulogy, among others. It also includes an original composition, a somewhat balls-y and unexpected move from a band that just released a two-volume set of other peoples' music. They pull it off, though: the song remains true to the Tool-on-violins sound, and actually comes out heavier than most of Tool's stuff does.

I highly recommend either of this to all fans of good metal and/or classical.