View Full Version : Zeppelin and Tool compared

11-23-2002, 06:32 PM
Tool does an excellent cover of No Quarter. However, it is a bit silly to say that their version is “better” than the original. They took an amazing song and made it more palatable for today’s listening audience. Yes, they did a good job of it. That is in essence what every trendy 90’s band has been doing, from Marilyn Manson to Limp Bizkit. Yes, Tool is obviously more talented than these ridiculous acts.

As a Tool fan and a Led Zeppelin fan, I like both versions.

Normally I would say that Maynard’s voice is superior to Plant’s. However, in my opinion, the vocal distortion effects that Maynard uses (particularly in the beginning of the song) get a bit irritating. Admittedly, Plant often does ridiculous things with his voice, but in this song he sings and wails beautifully. He is also more tasteful with his vocal effects.

The Tool song is 11:12, the Zeppelin song is 7:01. Zeppelin creates a far more diverse song in 4:00 less than Tool. Tool’s sound in this song can be defined as “heavy crunch” and “ambient guitar swell”, while Zeppelin incorporates a wide spectrum of tones. Specifically, the Tool version offers no comparable replacement for the guitar solo and piano interlude that is present in the Zeppelin version. For me, that is what has always made the Zeppelin version great. Tool starts something around 5:00 that involves some backwards guitar effects, and what sounds like a nylon string guitar. It is a good sound, but it is nothing in comparison. The Tool song remains the same.

I don’t understand the “improvement in technology” argument that was mentioned in another thread. Led Zeppelin uses effects just like Tool. In fact, I think their effects are more diverse. Obviously effect quality and recording quality are factors, but that says nothing about whose song is better. Oasis has better equipment than The Beatles ever had, but Oasis still sucks in comparison. Besides, the Tool version sounds quite a bit muddy and distorted.

I’m not one to judge a song by its length, but I think Tool’s version is too damn long. While I love all of Tool’s original songs, this cover doesn’t hold my interest for the song’s duration. When compared to any song of equal length on Lateralus, this song is dull. It is still a good and imaginative cover song though.

What do you think?

11-24-2002, 03:27 PM
Comparisons of Tool and Led Zepplin are silly. Was Stevie Ray Vaughan a better guitar player than John Lee Hooker is? I don't know for sure, but I'd be willing to bet that Stevie covered a few Hooker songs and did them in his own style. Which is what Tool did with No Quarter. No Quarter is a great song by Led Zepplin and it is a great song by Tool. Tool's version is so far from Led Zepplin's cover that there is no goddamn way to compare the two songs. I actually prefer the Led Zepplin song, so maybe I should be posting on a Zep web-site, but I think the Tool version should stand on its own, without all of the dialogue comparing it to Led Zepplin's version. This may sound cheesy and easy to say after the fact, but I've always kind of thought of Tool as a modern Led Zepplin: more musically talented and with better influences than most of the rest of the contrite nonsense out there. With any luck, Danny will not prove to be a Bonham-esque O.D. (knock on wood) and Tool will continue to make albums that make me go, "Hmm, why is it that they don't put an album out every year just to satiate me? Yeah, that's right, because then their albums would blow just as hard as [insert shitty band here, i.e. Creed or Muddle of Pudd].

That said, I think the Tool version of No Quarter (the only version mentioned from here on out) is one of their greatest songs. It's eerily reminiscent of some of the old Undertow songs (see Flood), yet it is completely apart from anything they've done since. It almost seems to bridge the gap that I find between Aenima and Lateralus, which I don't think gets much discussion. Of course every Tool album has its own feel, but there seems to me a bit of a disjuncture between their two latest albums. No Quarter seems to help explain that. I don't know why, but for me it does. I can't say anything about the subliminal messages, because I hear subliminal messages in every song by every band, which is why I'm going to buy everything that I see, start listening to emo and join a fraternity, all while shooting myself in the head.

It's almost the first, and you know what that means - welfare checks! Hooray! I'm going to Sizzler, no...fu*k that, I'm going to Red Robin!

11-25-2002, 01:09 AM
Comparisons of Tool and Led Zeppelin are not necessarily silly. While in your opinion there is “no goddamn way” to do such a thing, the fact is that the basic elements from the original song remain. In order to create this rendition of No Quarter, Tool had to listen carefully to the Led Zeppelin original, copy parts of it, and then adapt it to their own style. As a fan of both the styles of Tool and Led Zeppelin, not only does the fact that Tool covered this song interest me, but how they chose to cover it is of interest as well.

While for you the song No Quarter explains the gap between Aenima and Lateralus, for me it is a window into their creative process. As a musician I am interested in their choices because they are talented and have amazing creativity. In the case of a cover song, there is a fixed point from which to analyze their choices. However, I understand that it is not necessarily a point from which to analyze their artistic merit.

You are right that the Tool version should stand on its own. It is a good and imaginative cover song that far exceeds any cover that I can think of off-hand. However, by definition and by casual listen it is related to the original song, making comparison valid.

Your respect for Tool is amiable. I worry that my previous post may have seemed like a criticism of Tool, even though I tried to make it clear that I like both versions. I decided to add my personal opinion about some of the differences in order to take some sort of stance, this being the “opinion” message board and all. It was merely a quick attempt to initiate conversation about the way the song has been changed. If you, or someone else, or everyone else, doesn’t care to compare the musical differences between the two versions, that is fine by me. Personally I enjoy that sort of thing, but to each his own.

Other than the fact that the song bridges the gap, why is it one of your favorite Tool songs?

11-25-2002, 05:22 PM
I didn't know that No Quarter was a cover. This is interesting. I like the lyrics to this song, and I interpret them as someone takling about being lonely, though I may be way off like many others.

I have another question about Salival. What is it? Do I buy it in the CD format, or is it a boxset, of a sort? And why does it have Third Eye, Part of Me, and Pushit, all being from earlier albums?

11-26-2002, 11:53 AM
Salivial is a boxset with cd that has live versions of Third Eye, Part of Me, Pushit, it has Message to harry manback part 2, a cover of you lied (from justin chancellors other band Peach), a fucked up instrumental song (forgot name), No Quarter, a cyncial funny call to the Los Angeles Munincipal Court (LAMC), and at 7 minutes and 12 seconds into that they start Maynards Dick. The box set also has a dvd with Hush, Prison Sex, Sober, Stinkfist, and Aenema. The tape version dosen't have hush on it, and on the dvd its hidden and you have to find it. It also comes with a booklet that has shots from their videos, concerts and the usual distorted shots of danny, maynard, justin, and adam.

11-27-2002, 11:15 AM
my top 4 bands of all time are TOOL, THE DOORS, METALLICA & PINK FLOYD... all these bands are very diverse from each other but they all share things in common... for one, they all put on incredible live performances. secondly, they all have very distinct sounds, you would never confuse Hetfield's crunchy singing and guitar riffs with any other band, or for that matter Ray Manzerek's organ playing and Jim Morrison's chanting, Maynard's screaming and Adam Jones' wailing guitar or Roger Water's cynical voice and Richard Wright's synthetic harmonies. All four of these bands lost of a key member at the peak of their success: Jim Morrison, Cliff Burton, Paul D'Amor, and in Floyds case it happened twice Syd Barrett and Roger Waters and 3 of them survived to go on to bigger and arguably better things. Floyd, Tool and The Doors are all very visual bands who use animation, lights, and/or dancing to convey emotion to the audience and enhance their music to a new level. The Doors and Tool both share a modern day poetry to their lyrics and use vocals as more than just a singing voice, but as an instrument. All four of them have a darkness and mystery to their music and the themes to their songs. Metallica, Tool & The Doors are all foursomes as was Floyd for most of their better days. Metallica's had 3 bass players already, Tool's had 2, Floyd's had at least 2 and the Doors had none...all four bands have had string tributes done for or by them.. how bout this one: JAMES hetfield, maynard JAMES keenan and JIM morrison?.... All 4 bands had very very underrated guitar players (Kirk Hammet, Adam Jones, Dave Gilmour and Robby Krieger aren't Jimi Hendrix or Eddie Van Halen, but they should all be somewhere on everyone’s top 50 all-time rock guitar list) and incredible drummers. 3 of the have already changed music as we know it and have influenced many other bands; in about 10 to 15 years we will see the extent of Tool's impact on the music scene as well. I think if you took Pink Floyd's visuals and three dimensional sound, The Doors poetry, darkness and the subtlety of the line between whispers & screams and Metallica's heaviness and 110% live performance and put them in a blender you would end up with something very close to Tool.

Well Known
11-27-2002, 09:57 PM
Wow. I think I have a lot of respect for the strength of your opinion, including how well diagrammed your whole speech is. I had training for that sort of thing in college.

It wasn't until TOOL had covered No Quarter that I even listened to Zeppelin at all. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is entirely because of TOOL that I give Zeppelin half a second of my attention. Before TOOL, it was only through a casual acquaintence of mine who'd described Zeppeling as "good for parties" that I was introduced to them at all. Since that time, I've given a listen to their greatest hits....with an open mind.

11-28-2002, 02:01 AM
for me tool's version is utterly superior...

but in reality i wouldn't compare the 2 because they are very different things to me....everything from minor lyrical differences, song structure, aural textures, and recording quality....

its like comparing....an old corvette to a brand new m3...both fast cars i like very much....but i prefer the polish and performance of the m3...

11-29-2002, 10:27 PM
I think that the Tool one is far better, but I never cared much for Led Zepplin, and the Tool one is more my style. I think that the vocals on the Tool version are far better (the Led Zepplin ones make it hard for me to take the song seriously, they just don't seem to suit that style of muisc), and that's what gives the Tool version the edge, since they are so well-matched in the other categories.

12-01-2002, 09:30 AM
Anybody with an interest in finding out more about Led Zeppelin should check out their concert DVD called the song remains the same. The reason I mention it here is because it cases a great performance of No Quarter (obviously the Led Zeppelin version!) which is a great help for appreciating the original No Quarter by Zeppelin.
I definitely get an isolated feeling from this song as well, and/or perhaps something about keeping your emotions locked up inside.
Something about the difference between the two versions: what I first noticed about the first verse of the Tool version is that strange voice effect that Maynard employs, which to me makes him sound (more) like Robert Plant. As it flows into the first chorus, the effect fades away, and Maynard's natural voice is revealed. Perhaps this is supposed to symbolize that while Tool is similar to and appreciates bands of the past like Zeppelin, they definitely have their own sound.
Personally, the live version of No Quarter by Zeppelin that I referred to earlier is much more emotionally expressive than Tool's version (listen to John Paul Jones's solo, and Jimmy Page's solo as well, in particular). But I really enjoy the ending that Tool adds--very powerfull. Laters

12-01-2002, 06:01 PM
What is it that sets TOOL apart for us? And not... dare I say... Creed? Or Limp Bizkit? Or P. Diddy? Or whatever... Well in a way it's style. That's not to say TOOL is or isn't more talented than the other bands, but I have a point to make about that.

Style controls a lot of your music, if not all of it, and it's what draws crowds, not the skills behind it. A good style and powerful skill are great; good style without much skill (for instance, for their audience, a band like N Sync); and bad style with amazing skill is financially worthless. That's not to say it's inherently bad, because if you don't care about money and just want to please yourself, go ahead. But I want to make an example.

On the Crawl Away section of this site I mentioned a band I played with... the lead guitarist to that band is VERY VERY good at extreme lead guitar. Think Megadeth and older Metallica. People are always impressed with what he can do, but after 5 minutes of it, they will tire of it. That's because what he's doing is for the most part out of style (in the case of his audience... style is a mutual perception). But because he won't open himself up to some new styles he doesn't really get a good following.

So I guess my point is that style determines a lot. Led Zeppelin and Tool have a lot in common in that they are both talented bands that appeal to the mass over time and not by fad. And they didn't plan that, either, but what they did was the expressed themselves and that set a style, and it gained a big following.

Express yourself, then, and hope it catches on. I guess my friends problem is emulation of a dying trend. So as the saying goes, "Innovate, don't emulate."


12-04-2002, 02:57 PM
I must concede that your point about the two songs being grounded in similar musical places is appropriate. Yes, there are similarities, of course the main guitar riff and some of the lyrics are borrowed. However, I still think comparisons between the two songs are fruitless. Tool and Led Zepplin, regardless of my earlier comparison, are two completely different bands with different styles. Since the riff and vocals are borrowed, comparing the two styles in which they are played doesn't jive with me personally. It's like comparing a stock car to its production equivalent. Sure, one of them does 180+ miles per hour, but it's a completely different vehicle, and it's a bitch to license.

No Quarter is one of my favorite Tool songs because not only is it an innovative cover of a really good song, but it seems as though Tool put as much effort into recording this song as they have any other song. When I listen to the song, the care taken in the "guitar swells" and the vocals (not too soft, not too hard, just plaintive enough) matched with the subtle bass lines and the poly-rhythmic, spot-on drumming makes the song flow like water. Granted, I sound like some music critic and these words really don't describe the feeling this song gives me. So I will tell a story.

One of the first times I heard Tool's No Quarter, about two years ago, I went walking around Seattle with nothing better to do than listen to my new Salival CD. As I walk out the door of my apartment, it begins to snow. Notice the change of tense here - you are there. Seattle generally doesn't get much snow, even though it seems like it should; the Pacific winds are too warm, even here in the Northwest. Usually about once a year it will snow an inch or two. As I walk around outside, sliding on sidewalks and belting out my best impression of Maynard (which is, I'm sure, sub-par; one's voice always sounds better in one's own head), I realize that Tool is playing a Led Zepplin song. It quiets me and I get a feeling, one of those feelings that is difficult to obtain without drugs and even more difficult to describe, while watching the snowy flakes tumble to the pavement and everything. I return home and take off my snow gear, looking at myself in the mirror, cheeks red and eyes aglow, and I realize that the Merkaba is with me. I hold a knife over a snow-white lamb and...no, wait, that last part is made up. But the rest of it is true, as far as I can recall. The point is, that hearing that song, as well as a few other songs by Tool and others (46 & 2 is another one), now elicits a response from me that is very spiritual, because it is connected to a specific feeling. Call me crazy, call me clinically insane, call me an appreciator of music does this for me and No Quarter happens to be one of these songs. Now that I think about it, when music doesn't provoke this kind of feeling in me, I usually don't like it. So there you have it. One man't testament to the power of Tool.

12-04-2002, 03:43 PM
I can see how you think the comparison is fruitless. However, I can also see how a car aficionado, particularly a car designer, would be interested in the differences between a stock car and its production equivalent.

I can’t call you crazy or clinically insane. You’re just feelin the music, man.

12-09-2002, 10:41 AM
i just wanted to say that i think it is wrong for people to say that "Tool's version is far superior" or something of that manner. Zeppelin did the song originally so basically you cant really say that Tool's version is "better" because if Zeppelin would have never recorded the song, obvioulsy Tool could never have covered it. it is the same thing that people do to Hendrix's version of all along the watchtower, which is a Dylan cover. most people say that Hendrix's version is a much better song, but once again how could Hendrix have done the song if Dylan hadn't previously done a version of it? what im trying to say here is that you may prefer Tool's version of no quarter or Hendrix's version of all along the watchtower, but it is all just personal opinion or preference and each song deserves the same amount of respect.

12-16-2002, 07:16 PM
Hello all,
This is my first post on this site. I must say I am surprised to see so many good, intelligent thoughts come out on this site.
Personally, I think that both versions are great. I find Tool's music to be more of a spiritual experience than Led Zepplelin's though.
In a lot of threads, not just this one, I see references to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Doors, Metallica, etc.. Pink Floyd is one of my favorite bands, and I'm not denying the talent of any. I was just curious if anyone has ever listened to some of the lesser known (today, at least) prog rock bands, some of which were direct influences of Tool, such as King Crimson, Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer, old 70's Rush (ie. 2112, farewell to kings, xyz...), etc... These bands all wrote incredible epic pieces with deep, meaningful lyrics as well. A lot of them were more technical than Tool in terms of instrument proficiency, chord progressions, and time signatures. Tool is an amazing band, an uncommon glimmer of hope in a dark sea of music devoid of meaning. I was just curious if anyone here listens to the prog rock bands "of old", and if not, I would definitely suggest giving their music a chance.


Spiral Eyes
12-16-2002, 08:44 PM
They're all perform in the particular way they sorted with the different elements, they are not even a fruit from the same tree so you can compare they two.

12-24-2002, 09:33 AM
I think Tool's version is better, but only because (i think), the original isn't that great. It's good, but not great. It's through tool that I got into Led Zeppelin, before no quarter, led zeppelin were just some old 70's rock band to me. I only just bough my first led zeppelin cd (remasters) a couple of months ago, and I now have the 1st two albums as well.

Any Led Zeppelin fans out there recommend other albums, or should I just go buy them in order.

12-27-2002, 11:23 AM
First, I'd like to say that Tool covered this song for a Zep tribute c.d. and it was axed when it came in over 7 minutes. They producers of the Zep tribute c.d. wanted them to trim it down and the band walked away from the project. So they didn't randomly decide to cover this song.

Second, if you think the song is better, worst, equal to the original, then I would have to say opinions are like assholes, and are mostly full of shit.

Third, No Quarter was unlike anything of it's time when it came out. It is the begining of Heavy Metal, just look at everything else that was out at the time. It's all peace, love, and happiness. Im not sure, but I don't think Sabbath had hit the seen yet.

To the guy above, if your interested in Zepplin and you like the heavier stuff, then I would stick with Remasters and stop there. It's got most of their hits off all their studio albums. I like the B-sides and less fimilar songs though. Houses of the Holy is one of the best albums of all time. They blend so many styles together. If I was stranded on a deserted island and could bring only one c.d............................It wouldn't matter because I'd still be stuck on a deserted island.

12-27-2002, 10:09 PM
The only time i ever heard the original by zeppelin was a live bootled, because ii have no job nor money to buy the cd. I personally like Tool's version better, but i think that had a lot to do with plant's bad live singing, hehe.

Harlot Of 'God'
12-30-2002, 12:14 PM
I've been a Zep fan since i was about 4 so, you can understand if they hold some sentimental value to me, but i must say when I heard Tool's version of this song, I immediately enjoyed it more than the original. Yes Zeppelin's version is good, but it doesn't have the fullness to it that Tool's does. The original sounds emptier to me. And as for the acoustic guitar with the reverse delay effect, that shit sent shivers up my spine and it still does. It made me decide that I favored Tool's version more. I can't say though that it is BETTER than the original. To me they are 2 different songs. They can't quite be compared as one being greater than the other.

01-05-2003, 11:17 AM
Third, No Quarter was unlike anything of it's time when it came out. It is the begining of Heavy Metal, just look at everything else that was out at the time. It's all peace, love, and happiness. Im not sure, but I don't think Sabbath had hit the seen yet.

Er the Led Zeppelin version is NOT that heavy at all so I don't really understand what you meant by that.

It came out in 1973 with House Of the Holy album.

By 1973 Black sabbath self titled and paranoid had both been released and those albums are MUCH Heavier than Houses of the Holy.


01-16-2003, 06:02 PM
"Yes, they did a good job of it. That is in essence what every trendy 90’s band has been doing, from Marilyn Manson to Limp Bizkit. Yes, Tool is obviously more talented than these ridiculous acts."

Not really related, but I just wanted to throw in that, while I'm not a Limp Bizkit fan by any means, Manson is an amazing artist with some very intelligent ideas and opinions. You should listen to his music, rather than criticize him because of how he acts. The most important part of getting a message across is getting attention, and I know no one that does it better than Manson.

02-04-2003, 09:21 PM
You can compare the song and say one of the version's in much better without doubt. Tool's is much better.
The only down side to comparing them is that they are played completely different. The chorus chords are even different, so it's hard to compare two songs that are completely different sounding from one another. I don't like Led Zepplin's 'No Quarter'. It's boring.

02-25-2003, 05:13 AM
Oasis has better equipment than The Beatles ever had, but Oasis still sucks in comparison.

Oasis have been likened to the beatles because of a few reasons

1 they are huge beatles fans

2 they use the same equipment as the beatles

3 they steal beatles lyrics

They never have or will try to sound like the beatles. they do not sound like the beatles and they do not suck. and in my opinion Led Zep are better than tool.

03-15-2003, 06:04 PM
Well your opinion sucks.

03-20-2003, 05:58 AM
Originally posted by VanEan
Well your opinion sucks.

How intelligent of you to say that. Such thought and wisdom went into that statement. An opinion cannot suck only differ to yours. i have only liked tool for about six months but i have liked Zeppelin oasis and many others for a number of years.