To a seasoned observer, the incomprehension with which 'Opiate' is greeted by more recent Tool aficionadi is puzzling. To judge this record by earlier reviews, you might be forgiven for expecting 'Opiate' to sound radically different, even primitive, when compared to their later offerings. Indeed, I had put off buying this CD chiefly because so many people had suggested that it didn't measure up to the expected Tool yardstick.
The reality is that 'Opiate' is a grungier, less dour and less pompous incarnation of the group that would go on to capture the hearts of prog-rockers. Anyone who is a fan of '90s grunge, particularly its heavier outliers, will find much to appreciate.