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Tool - Lateralus CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.22 | 1669 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars While I don't think this is the absolute masterpiece some people are making it out to be, I definitely think Lateralus is a solid album, and something that people interested in the direction of modern prog should take a good look at. I think there are a lot of people who might pass this up because they get offended at the idea of a decent prog album bearing elements of the more popular scene in it, and I think they do themselves a disservice when they forget things like Lateralus. Surely one would have to concede that The Dark Side of the Moon had elements from the pop of its day--yet it's considered one of the cornerstones of prog rock. Lateralus doesn't reach that absolute masterpiece level--but don't write it off based on preconceived notions...not even based on other TOOL albums. (i.e.--If you were put off by the lyrical content of previous albums, this one shouldn't be bothersome in any way.)

Probably my favorite feature of Lateralus is the Arabian-sounding drumming by DANNY CAREY which goes throughout the entire album, showing up most especially on songs like "Reflection"...this gives the album a generally mellow, almost psychedelic feel despite the heaviness of some sections. The other thing I really enjoy--and it perfectly complements the drumming--is MAYNARD KEENAN's softer, Arabesque-style vocals on songs like "Parabol"/"Parabola" and "Reflection". At first, when I heard the control he had on his voice during these pieces, I asked a friend of mine if that was real or had been touched up in the studio...because you just never know these days. But he replied that there was no studio assistance...rather, this really is a singer with true talent.

People who are open-minded enough to enjoy groups like PORCUPINE TREE or RADIOHEAD should enjoy this one. While there are certain popular elements about it, I think it has a good flow to it and all of the songs' atmospheres and patterns have clearly been crafted with care. I also think it could make a good introduction to prog metal for those who still aren't quite sure about the genre; while there are bursts of heaviness, I really would classify the entire album as "mellow", so this could be a good one to first get your feet wet. My personal favorites on the album include "Schism", "Parabol"/"Parabola", "Lateralus" itself, and "Reflection".

There were only two real drawbacks I found on this album at all that kept me from giving it the full 5 stars. First--I don't care as much for KEENAN's voice when he gets into the "screamier"-sounding vocals heard on songs like "Ticks and Leeches". And the last objection is...I know it was a bonus track, but you can really only listen to the staticky, distorted "Faaip de Oiad" a few times without completely losing your mind. Think of "Myxomatosis" by RADIOHEAD. Except ten times more abrasive. Aside from those things, I truly think Lateralus is a worthwhile album; if you have any interest at all in a darker, but still melodic sort of music, don't turn your nose up at it.

FloydWright | 4/5 |


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