Opiate (EP)

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Cover art for Opiate, featuring a priest with six arms and hands, with the hands pressed together
EP by
ReleasedMarch 10, 1992 (1992-03-10)
RecordedDecember 1991 – January 1992
StudioSound City, Van Nuys, California
Tool chronology
Alternative cover
Cover art for the re-release and digital versions
Cover art for the re-release and digital versions
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[3]
Kerrang!3/5 stars[4]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[5]

Opiate is an EP by American rock band Tool. It was produced and engineered by Sylvia Massy and former Minor Threat bassist Steve Hansgen. Released in 1992, it was the result of some two years of the band playing together after their formation in 1990. Opiate preceded Tool's first full-length release, Undertow, by a year. It is named after a quote by Karl Marx: "religion ... is the opiate of the masses".[7] The EP was certified Platinum by the RIAA. The EP charted on several international charts when Tool released their catalog to online streaming in August 2019.[8]

Background and recording[edit]

Opiate features seven songs spanning six tracks, two of which are live recordings. Most versions of the EP (all except the cassette) feature the hidden seventh song titled "The Gaping Lotus Experience". On CD versions, the song is hidden at the end of the last track of the album, "Opiate", and begins approximately 6 minutes and 10 seconds into the track after "Opiate" has concluded. Vinyl copies of the EP featured a double groove on the second side; one which contained "Cold and Ugly", with the second containing "The Gaping Lotus Experience" and a small period of silence. Both grooves led into "Jerk-Off".

The song "Sweat" was featured on the Escape from L.A. soundtrack.[9]

"Cold and Ugly" and "Jerk-Off" were recorded specially for the album at the Jellö Loft on New Year's Eve 1991 with a live audience. As a result, these two songs have never been available as true "studio" recordings except for the band's 1991 demo tape 72826. This demo tape also featured early versions of "Hush" and "Part of Me" (as well as "Crawl Away" and "Sober", which would eventually make it on Undertow), and was used to get the band signed. All four songs were re-recorded for this album.

In the original CD inserts for the album there is a collage of photos of the band members as children, among various items and trinkets, and also includes a picture of someone engaging in necrophilia with a well-decomposed cadaver. In reality, it is a friend of the band joking around in prop maker Stan Winston's studio.[10]

A black and white music video was made for the track "Hush", the band's first. The Canadian music channel MuchMusic played it regularly.[11]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Along with Undertow, many Tool fans consider Opiate to be the band's heaviest album.[12] The connection fans have to the EP was addressed on the song "Hooker with a Penis" from their third release and second LP Ænima. The EP features straightforward song structures in place of the progressive traits the band became known for later on in their career. In a 2013 interview, guitarist Adam Jones stated "I love metal, but I love the other stuff that's been contributed by the band. When we started out, the record company said that we had to pick our heaviest songs, because that's the impact - you're metal and that's really important."[12]

Lyrical subjects explored on Opiate include censorship and organized religion.[13][14]

2013 reissue[edit]

On March 26, 2013 the band released a special 21st anniversary limited edition package of the album, which includes bonus features, such as new artwork. The artist Adi Granov provided the illustrations for the packaging and It was limited to only 5,000 copies.[15][16][17] The packaging was also done with an old fashioned Heidelberg Cylinder Press.

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics are written by Maynard James Keenan; all music is composed by Adam Jones, Danny Carey, and Paul D'Amour.

3."Part of Me"3:17
4."Cold and Ugly" (live)4:09
5."Jerk-Off" (live)4:24
6."Opiate" (the song ends at 5:20. The hidden song "The Gaping Lotus Experience" starts at 6:10, after 50 seconds of silence.)8:28
Total length:26:52

"Cold and Ugly" and "Jerk-Off" were recorded live on New Year's Eve 1991/1992 at the Jellö Loft, in Hollywood, CA.



Chart (2019) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[18] 43
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[19] 85
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[20] 87
US Billboard 200[21] 59

Certification and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[22] Platinum 70,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[23] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Johnson, Howard (2002). X-Rated: The 200 Rudest Records Ever!. Carlton Books. ISBN 1842227491.
  2. ^ Gatta, John Patrick (28 February 2019). "Top 10 Tool Songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  3. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Opiate [EP] - Tool". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 August 2004.
  4. ^ Mörat (11 July 1992). "Tool 'Opiate'". Kerrang!. 400. London, UK: EMAP.
  5. ^ a b "Tool: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 10 December 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  6. ^ Perry, Andrew (September 1992). "Tool - Opiate". Select. p. 81. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  7. ^ Christopher W. diCarlo. "Interview with Maynard James Keenan". Cdicarlo.com. Archived from the original on 12 January 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2007.
  8. ^ charting
  9. ^ "Escape de Los Ángeles (1996) - Soundtracks". IMDb.com. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  10. ^ "The Tool FAQ". Toolshed.down.net. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  11. ^ "Tool interview with Theresa Roncon". Spotlight. Toronto. February 1997. MuchMusic. Tool interview with Theresa Roncon. Transcribed by Rory Mitchell and archived at the Tool Page. "Theresa: We played it all the time on MuchMusic."
  12. ^ a b "TOOL: NEWSLETTER". Archived from the original on 3 April 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  13. ^ Craig Joyce (1999-10-01). "Tool". Rough Guides. Retrieved 13 May 2007. The first release from OPIATE, “Hush”, was a condemnation of censorship, something the band have repeatedly run into.
  14. ^ D. Parvaz (7 May 2004). "Author's 'Taboo Tunes' hits a timely note". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 13 May 2007.
  15. ^ "Tool Announce 21st Anniversary Edition of Opiate with Commemorative Limited Edition Package - Heavy Metal News | Music Videos |Golden Gods Awards". Revolver. 25 February 2013. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  16. ^ "Tool marks 21st anniversary of Opiate EP with limited-edition reissue". Consequence of Sound. 26 February 2013. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  17. ^ "Tool Unleashing Limited-Edition 'Opiate' EP Reissue". Loudwire. 25 February 2013. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  18. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Tool – Opiate EP". Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  19. ^ "Tool Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  20. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Tool – Opiate EP". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  21. ^ "Tool Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  22. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2019 Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  23. ^ "American album certifications – Tool – Opiate". Recording Industry Association of America.

External links[edit]