The Difference Between Genre and Musical Style

Metal Band Tool – What Is The Difference Between Genre And Musical Style?

Initially lumped in with their alternative metal contemporaries, Tool found success with their first full-length release Undertow (Zoo Entertainment) and continued to impress with later releases such as 1996’s AEnima. Following a lengthy legal battle with their label and the departure of original bassist Paul D’Amour, drummer Danny Carey and guitarist Adam Jones added singer Maynard James Keenan.


TOOL is an American-origin band formed in 1990. It consists of vocalist Maynard James Keenan, guitarist Adam Jones and drummer Danny Carey. The band has won several Grammy awards and has performed worldwide. Its albums have topped the charts.

The band originated in Los Angeles, California, with the members moving to the city from different parts of the United States. Keenan had studied visual arts in Michigan and worked remodeling pet stores; Jones was a model maker at the Stan Winston special effects studio, and his eye for detail would become central to the band’s music videos.

The band’s rumbling, complex hard rock and dark imagery have earned them a cult following. Its music and visual artwork often intersect, with the band collaborating with artists on album covers, concert posters and other creative projects. Adam Jones is also responsible for the band’s elaborate concept art. His ribcage figure on the cover of Tool’s first EP, Opiate, and his macabre stop motion animation video for Prison Sex helped establish the band’s mystique.


Their songs touch on such diverse subjects as religion, censorship, music industry greed and exploitation, drug use, transcendence, and the nature of reality. These issues have caused them to be the target of much controversy and censorship, including MTV censoring their song Stinkfist and Walmart refusing to sell their first album Undertow with its original cover art.

Their 1992 debut EP Opiate forged their grungy, angst-ridden brand of alternative metal. In 1993, their full-length debut produced the propulsive hits “Sober” and “Prison Sex,” backed by groundbreaking stop-motion music videos co-directed by guitarist Adam Jones.

The band’s lineup includes singer Maynard James Keenan, guitarist Adam Jones, bassist Danny Carey, and drummer Justin Chancellor. Throughout their career, the band has released five studio albums. Their most recent release was the LP Fear Inoculum in 2019. The band has also been known for their enigmatic live performances and collaborative works of visual art. These pieces often feature disturbing or horrifying imagery and play with the Uncanny Valley.

Music style

Musical style is a term that encompasses several aspects of music, including the instrumentation and even the specific use of an instrument. Musicians are trained to recognize different styles of music and their meanings, but not everyone can discern them with the same acuity. It is important to understand the difference between genre and musical style in order to create a more unified sound that leaves an impact on listeners.

After the release of their second album, AEnima, Tool was propelled into the alternative rock mainstream, aided by the evocative and twisted music videos created by the band. Drummer Danny Carey and guitarist Adam Jones are known for their unique musical styles, and bassist Justin Chancellor has become known for his mastery of a wide range of guitar techniques, from using a pick to playing chords and using effects.

Keenan is an atheist, and this theme permeates the band’s work. This is most clearly seen in 2006’s 10,000 Days, a mystical opus that references the life and death of Keenan’s mother.


In three short years, Tool went from a band whose name was a misdirection to a force of nature. The watershed 1993 LP, Undertow, demonstrated that the heaviness of metal can be as much about intellectual depth as it is physical and emotional power. By the time Aenima was released, the group had already stomped into arena-filling territory, redefining the definition of heavy metal along the way.

One of the most poignant tracks is 10,000 Days, which explores Maynard James Keenan’s mother’s death and his struggle to come to terms with her passing. It also discusses the concept of time and life, using a mathematical shape called a parabola to illustrate how we are all born with a finite number of days on this planet. Another touching song is Jambi, which features Keenan bargaining with a genie for just one more day to spend with his mother. This song is perhaps the most emotional and moving of all Tool songs.

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