ool was founded in 1990 by Adam Jones (guitar), Maynard James Keenan (vocals), Paul D'Amour (bass) and Danny Carey (drums) and debuted in 1992 with a mini set titled Opiate on the indie 'Zoo' label. The album showcased their nihilistic "nu-Metal" for all it was worth. But it was with the support of Henry Rollins on their debut full set with Undertow (1993) getting them an even U.S. 50 that got them notice. After extensive touring they reappeared in 1996 with Aenima going straight to U.S. #2, surprising many and catching those who had not acquired a taste for Tool completely off guard. Aenima also saw Justin Chancellor replace D'Armour.
After a two year legal battle with 'Freeworld Entertainment' that saw them settling with a joint publishing deal, the band took a break. In the interim Keenan joined forces with Billy Howerdel (guitar/keyboards), Paz Lenchantin (bass), Troy Van Leeuwen (ex-Failure/ex-Enemy; guitar) and Josh Freese (ex-Vandals/ex-Guns N' Roses; drums) to publish Mer De Noms (2000) under the joint name A Perfect Circle. The platter continued right along where Tool left off, except for incorporating more Gothic overtones and surprisingly managed a 4 U.S., and their first U.K. hit at 55.
In 2001 the vacation was over and Tool were back in classic line-up formation for Salival (2001), a 38 U.S. charter that was followed by Lateralus (2001), a 16 U.K./1 U.S. maker and the disc that Kerrang! called the "greatest recording ever made". Perhaps it may not be the greatest but "impressive" wouldn't be unfair. It was a complicated piece of work of shifting textures, mood changes, and inscrutable lyrics. The disc will most likely set the mould for their future recordings.