Tag Archives: Tool

No Quarter by Led Zeppelin

When I listen to this amazing song from the 1970s, the clever-sounding guitar riff looks like a tribal style design with slightly chaotically interwoven lines, like the type of thing that you might see tattooed onto the shoulder-blade of the bogan in front of you in a queue in a Centrelink office. Other versions of this song by other bands do not create this visual woven effect synaesthesia; they are not special like this piece of music. Jimmy Page knew what he was doing!

After thinking about this a bit, the tricky, complex-sounding guitar riff of the original version of this song by Led Zeppelin, which evokes visual synaesthesia of the tortuous, twisted lines goes well with the theme in the lyrics of the song. The lyrics describe a difficult, dangerous journey that could well fail. In contrast the version of this song by Tool has this guitar riff played to sound powerful and with timing that sounds dramatic rather than fiddly and difficult. In my opinion the way this riff is played in the Tool version is a mindless default to the standard powerful and dramatic heavy metal sound. Unfortunately, this is at odds with the theme in the lyrics of this song, and overall, the Tool version tells an entirely different story, a story that has already been told countless times before. I wish Tool hadn’t bothered.

Original Led Zeppelin version


Tool version


Listen to the grey

Killing Joke are one of the bands from the 1980s that I used to enjoy during my youth, and which I have recently rediscovered. I was amazed that this band has been cited as a musical influence for an incredible range of bands, including some of my present-day absolute favourites. Tool, a band that has the coloured music synaesthete Justin Chancellor for a bass player, are one of the bands who cite Killing Joke as an influence. I find this intriguing because I experience the music of both Tool and Killing Joke as predominantly coloured in dark grey. I enjoy this music in spite of the drabness of the colour evoked, but I must admit that there are times when I hesitate to pick up their CDs to play when I think of all that greyness.

Killing Joke had a hit way back then with Love Like Blood. The keyboard sound in this song is a highlighter-pen salmon pink in my mind, the guitar sound darkish grey, and the singer’s voice moves between golden yellow to brown if I pay attention to it, but as it isn’t a particularly interesting voice I tend not to pay attention to it, so these yellow-brown colours tend not to be evoked, so this song is predominantly dark grey. Men’s speaking and singing voices all tend to be brown, with higher pitch turning the brown to gold or yellow.

I don’t think the lyrics and the title of this song had any influence on my colour synaesthesia – there is no red or any bloody colours in among the colours that I see in my mind’s eye when I listen to this track, but if you listen carefully the colour grey is mentioned in the lyrics. I would have viewed the video clip for this song back in the 1980s, but I seem to have not been influenced by the red and purple and yellow featured in this video clip. Synaesthesia is not mere suggestibility, I think of it as an extra level of appreciation and enjoyment of music, very directly influenced by the sounds and the structures and the emotions of music.

Wikipedia contributors Killing Joke. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Killing_Joke&oldid=413969805

Love Like Blood by Killing Joke on YouTube