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Tool - Lateralus CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.22 | 1644 ratings

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4 stars I must take issue with the description of Tool as a 'Metal' band by so many people. While they do have elements of a heavier sound, defining this sound as simply 'metal' is a serious misnomer to say the least. They do not share much in common with most 'Metal' bands outside of the heavily distorted guitar sound. Everything is is up for grabs label wise. But it seems that people have a tendency to attempt to encapsulate something with a specific label structure.

There are bands who consciously go for a Metal persona and it is evident when listening to their lyrics and themes. These bands are to be respected for what they do of course. But what Tool does, particularly on this album and the previous one, is really outside the purview of simple labels.

This album presents what might be defined as the pinnacle of what Maynard James Keenan called a process of listening to each other that the band members partake in. Especially on tracks like Reflection, The Grudge, Schism and parabol/parabola.

As someone who tends to listen to music with his heart more than with his head I must say that the pivotal emotional moments on this album are unsurpassed in music, regardless of the label. It shares this distinction with such artists as Peter gabriel, Tori Amos, Bjork and some King Crimson material (Red for example). What's evident in the lyrical content is the tendency to delve into themes that are partially subconscious, enticing the listening to come to their own conclusions.

In my opinion too many 'prog' bands take liberty with focusing on technicality more than emotionality. Tool, particularly on this album are the perfect balance of the two elements. They evolve enough both emotionally and mentally to present something that is 'challenging' to the listener on abstract as well as evident grounds. Music should inspire mystery, not an over-analysis of ridiculous proportions.

Anyone can break apart any piece of music and use an exaggerated logistical argument to say why X-Y-Z is or isn't this that or the other thing. But that would be missing the point, especially with this band and this album. Think of the word 'music'. The etymology of which is to inspire the muse, not to inspire the hidden calculus major in us all.

From my understanding the members of Tool are expressly against technicality for technicality's sake and rely more on a natural progression of sound from their emotional centers. I think they have this in common with King Crimson and Peter Gabriels solo material as I pointed out earlier.

That said, approach this album from the heart center and explore it from your subconscious viewpoint, rather than from your Ego's viewpoint and you will see (or more precisely hear) what is so genuine about it as a work of true artistic musical expression. And most importantly interpret what it means to you first and foremost.

ProgressToChange | 4/5 |


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