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5 stars The masterpiece. This is as close to perfection as you could ever imagine. Tool managed to create a winning formula with their 1996 album "aenima" and they continued with this for their follow up in 2001. The band have perfected every little detail for "Lateralus" and was well worth the wait.

Lateralus flows like a concept album and is helped to do this by its linking songs. These are short instrumentals that help link together the main songs. These linking songs include "Eon Blue Apocalypse", "Mantra", "Parabol" and "Disposition".This technique was also used on Aenima but it ended up dragging the album down. Here tool have perfected that technique and it does wonders for the album and adds to the progressive feel.

Maynard James Keenan's vocals and lyrics here are at their best ever and the production and musicianship here is unbelievable. The album kicks off with the simplistic yet ever changing guitar intro to "The Grudge", a daring opening track as it is 9 minutes long but the band pull it off well. The guitars and drums start to build up and progress continuosly to keep the listener satisfied throughout. This song includes one of the albums highlights where the guitars start to slow down in tempo and decrease in volume to make way for Maynard's epic scream which lasts 30 seconds long! Although this may not sound very impressive, it is near impossible to hold one note whilst screaming for such a long time. Of course this is what makes Maynard such a great singer as he can do it easily and get his moment in the spotlight.

"The Patient" is one of the most beautiful songs the band have ever done. It build ups brilliantly with an overall mellow scale to it, again showing the different sides of tools vocals, guitar skills and drumming techniques. "Schism" is one of the bands best songs and is probably the easiest to listen to as pretty short (for a tool song). It is nice to see a blend of acoustic and tortured vocals progress into an agressive outro. The middle section here is brilliant with it's fiddley guitar effects.

"Parabol" and "Parabola" are almost opposites of each other, using similar lyrics and guitar pieces. The sheer volume of Parabola is absolutely incredible and will leave the listener in a sort of euphoria for the whole of the track. This could not have been achieved without the quiet introduction to the song. Danny Carey steps into the spotlight next with his ferocious drumming on "Ticks and Leeches". This alongside with Maynards angry vocals and adams heavy riffage creates the perfect kick in the balls song, giving the album an everlasting sense of balance. The middle section mellows out and leaves the listener wondering what the band are building up to, when it finally explodes it is well worth the wait and will be hard not to enjoy.

"Reflection" and "Lateralus" keep the perfect concept flowing through the latter half of the album and are beautiful pieces (for tool anyway). The album closes with a montage instrumental, "Triad", that experiments with pieces of music from previous songs, including "Third Eye" from aenima. The last track is confusing and often scary to the listener but it serves as a good closing track and leaves you wondering if the 75 minutes of heaven you just listened to really happened or just a strange dream.

Lateralus is a mysterious album and a masterpiece. It puzzles the mind to think how perfect this album is and how a band can play THAT well together! Unfortunately, Tool will probably never be able to better this album but they have already proved themselves to be one of the best bands in the world.

Report this review (#31712)
Posted Sunday, July 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is Tool at their very best. I can't say that any of their albums are the type of music you can exactly mosh the night away to. But then again, thats not what Tool are really about. They are out there making music and to try and become the best prog rock band in the world and I will put my neck out and say that i believe they have achieved this. It took a while, but gradually improving the music they create even when it looked like that was impossible to finally arrive at Lateralus. Every track links perfectly on to the next giving the impression that the whole album is one giant track. I would have given this album 5 stars but I just couldnt because I never thought they could improve on aenima, so i am hoping to be pleasantly surprised if they bring out another album, which will hopefully be even better.

Rock on Tool

Report this review (#31713)
Posted Sunday, July 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is a true masterpiece of the new millenium, a complete and perfect gamma of textures, colors and energy all blended in here. Since their first single PRISION SEX, we saw a strange maturity and complexity from an unknown group, featuring great melodic lines with abrassive lyrics. This record shows the best performance ever from this band, from tip to toe, a performance to be remembered and be heard over and over again. Few acts nowadays has gained such respect as they do, and is no coincidence since every single record they had put out is a hit in it's own terms. The great technical side of the 3 players and the dark-sad-psycodelic persona of Maynard james Keenan become songs as desperate as REFLETION as the oppening song THE GRUDGE. This is exactlly how the prog- metal must evolute and be developed in the next years. a must have
Report this review (#31716)
Posted Tuesday, August 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Is Tool a prog band? The question becomes meaningless in the face of 'Lateralus'. Prog or not, this album is awesome. What does Tool sound like? Er, how about Black Sabbath meets King Crimson somewhere in the 4th dimension? That should do it. The King Crimson element in Tool can mainly be found in their use of asymmetric rhythms: you know, 5/8 and 7/8, that kind of thing. However, drummer, Danny Carey, takes these elements and twists them beyond recognition. His innate understanding of cross-rhythms is something very special indeed. He manages to imbue them with an hypnotic power that verges on invocation; tribal but unbelievably complex. Nowhere is this more evident than on the opening track 'The Grudge'. The song derives its power from an hypnotic tattoo of 6/8 + 4/8 that has the cumulative effect of a mantra. The ending to the song is unbelievably cataclysmic with Danny Carey threatening to cause an earthquake by way of his double bass drum pedals. The somewhat unwholesome atmosphere of 'Lateralus' is also due to vocalist Maynard James Keenan's quite remarkable voice which is exceptional throughout the album. He surely has one of the most powerful and distinctive voices in rock 'n' roll. Equally remarkable are his cryptic and somewhat metaphysical lyrics. These lines from the title track, a song about the Fibonacci sequence, are surely worthy of Peter Hammill at his best: " Over thinking, over analyzing separates the body from the mind. Withering my intuition leaving all these opportunities behind. Feed my will to feel this moment urging me to cross the line. Reaching out to embrace the random. Reaching out to embrace whatever may come." The mathematical properties of the fibonacci sequence (one of which is the "virtual" spiral ) are somehow given musical form in this song by Danny Carey's ingenious use of cross/poly rhythms to build up a quite unbearable tension. And for those of you who like this kind of thing (I'm sure I'm not the only loon out there) the opening time signature to 'Lateralus' is 9+8+7, and, as we all know, 987 is actually part of the Fibonacci sequence. Well, I never! There's no keyboards on this album, just guitar, bass and drums. Nor are there any flashy guitar solos. (well, there's a couple of guitar solos, but there not very flashy)What there is, however, is four creative musicians with a collective vision and all working towards the same end. 'Lateralus' MUST be experienced. PLAY IT LOUD! SPIRAL OUT! KEEP GOING!
Report this review (#31719)
Posted Tuesday, August 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars A total masterpiece. This is the closest thing to Dark Side of the Moon I've ever heard but heavier and angrier. They are the present of prog metal and continue to make brilliant work throughout their career. Danny Carey's drumming is forceful and strong yet he has a delicate touch which concides perfect with the album Strong and heavy yet vulnerable and delicate at time. Most of today's mainstream bands don't understand dynamics but these guys use them beautifully. Schism may be the best love song out there because its not an obvious ballad. A must for any prog and metal fan!
Report this review (#31721)
Posted Thursday, December 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, it seems that it is an expressed wish of Maynard James Keenan only to conceive masterpieces, so we have to patiently wait 5 years for an album to be in the stores. So Lateralus is no exception, it is in the same level of the previous masterpiece Aenima. Comparatively, Lateralus has explored a bit more the progressive vein of their previous release. They achieved it quite well, managing the pressure of not to disappoint the fans. In my opinion, they surpassed it.

The Tool's trademark style is present, their original strange introspective and scary ambiences, noisy and grungy guitar style like a fusion between SONIC YOUTH noise rock, and grunge. That's why many grungers like TOOL, because, in some way, they are some sort of "evoluted progressive grunge band". Adding that, Maynard's unique voice and the elaborated drums playing.

Lyrically, Maynard continues in his very ironic and direct speech, criticizing the worst aspects of human society using complex metaphors. You have to read and read several times to understand the full meaning of Maynard speech! Great lyrics!

The highlights of the album are many. The first track The Grudge with its fine architecture (each different part of the song is well orchestrated with the others, it is a true unit): presents several enjoying guitar riffs elaborated drumming and introspective subtle parts. Schism, perhaps the most "eatable" song at first listening but that does not mean it isn't one of the best of the album: more again good riffs, good melody and one mellow touching part as Maynard sings "Cold silence has/a tendency to/atrophy any/sence of compation". The duo Parabol/Parabola, perhaps the higher highlight of the album, great guitar work (take look to the ending part, it's like you were not in this planet)! The sad suite Lateralis is also very enjoyable. The last track perhaps is not so catching like the rest of the album, but they end the album in a good way! Highly advisable album! Not only to progressive metal fans, but also too all kinds of progressive fans!

It's a must! The TOOL's style of play is unique, you don't find it anywhere!

My rate: 8/10

Report this review (#31723)
Posted Friday, December 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Perfection. This is a rare word when it comes to art. But Tool managed to materialize something that most musicians might not even have imagined into one album. Tool's style is unique and unlikely to be copied by anyone. There not metal or rock, they are progressive in their own way. Their skills are undoubtable, but what comes in front is the quality of the music itself. The songs on this album are not really complex, or over-orchestrated, but their depth is amazing. A creepy, sick yet somehow sweet feeling of satisfaction along with insatisfaction comes to me when I listen to this album. A dark atmosphere for sure, with vocals ranging from almost death growls(in one song only) to unbelievably melodic ones. There is no need to focus on any particular song in my opinion as this is a construction of masterpieces that stand amazingly by their own but fit in perfectly in the album. The pieces fit. The lyrics are an enigma once again, but are written in a way that force you to assume things and adjust their meaning to your imagination. The background behind them is rumoured to be really deep however, similarly to the music itself, based on terms of mathematics(the fibonacci sequence on the lyrics of Lateralus for instance). Apart from the myth that burries this album more into the difficulty to understand, this gloomy, sick air around it stands there by itself. Technically, emotionally, lyrically, a masterpiece, probably the best album released after 1990 in progressive music in general, and one of the best albums in history.
Report this review (#31724)
Posted Thursday, January 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I was lured to this band after reading that Mr Fripp was a fan and, mostly, after listening to the two mp3's (which are truelly astonishing) on this site. I finally got a copy of this album and promised myself not to get too carried away on the basis of well-meaning reviews and two freebie songs (picked by 'whom'?!, btw). Then I spend a week or two listening, although after the first few minutes and notes I was not only being carried away, I was swept away by the sheer genius of this band: there is hardly anybody else around at the time to make so much out of so very little (except Crimson probably). In a straight, old-fashioned Progressive kind of way, i.e. lots of chord changes, sweet vocal harmony, rousing solos and dream-like keyboard passages you will find as good as none here. In a Progressive kind of Progressive musical thinking this is where you will find hope in the presence: intricate, slow developement of song and chord structures, odd (at times very odd) percussive timing, heart/soul/body-felt vocals and lyrics and indeed melodies (you will have to LISTEN). For those who still doubt that this band should be included on this site I recommend to listen to 'Schism' and simply imagine the guitar- and bassline as a Hugh Banton keyboard riff and replace Keenan's voice with that of Peter Hammill's and you have got a straight forward, perfect Van Der Graaf Generator track without the jazzy noodlings. As one reviewer mentioned previously even our 'Gog' Hammill would be proud of most of the lines Maynard whispers/sings/shouts. The Fripp/Crimson connection comes in where the guitar is concerned, i.e. it's all very 'Discipline' era controlled and highly professional, 'disciplined' playing, only 'heavier' and louder. One could write books on drummer Danny Carey's and bassist Justin Chancellor's capabilities and one probably will or has done. All in all this is Progressive Music, music, that has its heart in the Golden Age of the Seventies, made by people who have probably been growing up to the quite dreary sounds of the Eighties (let's not dismiss Fripp's, Talking Heads' and Eno's era contributions), exploded in the Nineties and came to their full as 21st Century Schizoid Men (wouldn't mind another cover version come to think of it). YES, this album is essential, NO it's NOT simply another 'Progressive Metal', Grunge or 'Let's-Rehash-Close-To-The- Edge-For-The-Sake-Of-It' release. It's a piece of very powerful, and yet very sensitive and fine music, and you are here, on this site, to spot and appreciate the difference.
Report this review (#31725)
Posted Thursday, January 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars

Over the decade of Tool's colorful career, they have produced a totally different sound than that of other grunge/metal bands such as Nirvana or Mudhoney. Each album has been a journey of lyrics straight from the void of depressive genius that is Maynard James Keenan. And with such powerful lyrics being backed by the masterful percussions of Danny Carey, the low, ominous guitar stylings of Adam Jones, the constant thundering bass work of Justin Chancellor, and the incredible vocals being shot through Maynard James Keenan, this band has hit that euphoric point in rock that so few bands have achieved.

With that said, "Lateralus" has it's flaws. As a few of the tracks slowly slip into a meditative state that some heavy metalheads might shy away from, whereas true Tool fans will stand by it. from the opening to "Parabol" to the closing of "Parabola", it is obvious to see that Tool's style is like no other band. It becomes radioactive, you'll either continue listening to Maynard's haunting wails, loving it for it's dark overtones, or you might just turn off the CD and headbang to Soundgarden. Buying this album is a risk to those who love metal for merely the thunder behind it, rather than taking a chance to taste the rain.

Now as the pros and cons have been laid out, the final verdict of this album would be to buy it, whether you'll love it or not, it IS and essential album in ANY metal/grunge collection. and even if you're NOT into Tool's style of metal, there is always something to appreciate in this album, and we can leave to you, the buyer, to decide what it is.

Report this review (#31726)
Posted Friday, February 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a great album by Tool, this time the boys outdone themselves. This semi-conceptual master piece takes it's theme from some of the songs featured in Aenima: Unity and perhaps a bit more esoteric, the colective unconscious. But whereas Aenima focused on the ''destructive'' side of those themes, Lateralus, tries to see beyond that. Like Maynard pointed out: this album was the next step in his carreer, in Lateralus the band was able to deviate from the mainstream highway that everyone seems to follow these days and take their best through, the more obscure and lateral, secondary roads. As for the music itself, it provides the ideal basis to such ambitious work of art. With everyone in the band playing their best, is pretty natural for all of the to have the spotlight in some of the songs, just to achieve perfect harmony in the moments after. We can delight ourselves with justin's great bass technique in ''Schism'', with Danny's flawless mechanical Drums in ''Ticks and Leeches'', with Maynard's Ghostly and somewhat prophetic voice in ''Reflection'' and with Adam's Dark and powerfull riffs in pretty much the whole album but specially in the title track ''Lateralus''. Just to sum up, this album took Tool to a higher standard and makes us, Prog fans, await with great expectations the next release of this band, which has proven here to a sinonim of great craftsmanship.
Report this review (#31727)
Posted Friday, February 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Tool, need I say more. Truly musical Geniuses. Every aspect of their music is truly a masterpiece in its self. I like to describe it as ephoric bliss of synphony. The vocals performed by Maynerd truly blew my mind when I heard "the grudge" when he held his scream for 26 seconds, Truly remarkable. The best way for me to put how this music makes me feel, I have to go to their Salival album. " to put yourself in a state of vulnerable, open-mindedness; chaotic, confused, vulnerability to inform yourself."
Report this review (#31728)
Posted Tuesday, March 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Prog is a very general term. It can diverge into several different subgenres, as this website has explained in its definition of the word. TOOL is very much a prog band, specializing in loud aggressive soundscapes. They have the lengthy songs, the complex time signatures. That qualifies them as prog, although to an extent.

With that said, LATERALUS is a great album. Very cerebral in its nature. I'd say the overall theme of this album, although a loose theme, is relationships. How one entity relates to another, be it personal, spiritual, mathematical, etc. Maynard's lyrics thoroughly analyze the roots of these kinds of relationships and asks how and why things co-exist. I won't analzye these lyrics myself, but I think that's the "gist" of it.

As for the music, it's some very brilliant metal. I commend Danny Carey for his complex patterns and precise timekeeping, and Adam Jones and Justin Chancellor for conducting these hypnotic and surging melodies on guitar and bass. Sometimes, it just good old chunky metal riffs. Other times, it's the beautiful interweaving of each instrument. All of which create a dark, exciting atmosphere. Even parts where the guitar and bass switch roles (like on the intro to THE GRUDGE, the guitar is played like a bass, and vice versa) is impressive.

This album is the most prog-like effort from Tool. It's not completely prog. And usually they are labeled as alt-metal. But even if it's decent prog, it's excellent alt-metal when compared to the likes of Korn and Limp Bizkit (I won't add Deftones to that list because they still have my respect).

Report this review (#31730)
Posted Saturday, April 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Most 'prog metal' is dull,pointless and entirely repititive..but Tool are none of those things.The music is dark in a heavy metal grungy vein but unlike most metal carries complex time signatures and has a degree of sohistication that most metal bands can only dream of.Maybe this a is a whole new genre..this is Tool..go and get it!
Report this review (#31731)
Posted Saturday, April 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Like some fellow reviewer I have to say that this is not a bad record, but since TOOL is absolutely not "my cup of tea", I can't as well give a higher rating to it. I wouldn't also deny its status as a prog album, it owns in fact the the typical features for prog like lengthy songs and some complexity, but as another previous reviewer mentioned the music is noisy and aggressive and and that's why I don't like it. I don't mind dark or depressive music but theirs is going even beyond that. This might be an excellent band and their name is all the times mentioned together with KING CRIMSON's, a band I like very much in fact, but although they are carrying some obvious influence by late KC I can't get familiar with their kind of music, and I tried very very many times. I was hesitating quite a long time whether I should review an album of this band at all, since it's really difficult to judge, if one does not like the type of music at all. But looking at the overall high rating of this album and others by them obviously almost exclusively made by fans I thought it could need some neutral rating as some balance for that. Giving 2 stars (which means fans only) does not imply that I hate TOOL, I just don't like the music, but I appreciate the effort of the musicians and probably it's good music for the one's who like such somber and aggressive stuff.
Report this review (#31732)
Posted Saturday, April 2, 2005 | Review Permalink

Befroe assigning a star rating to an album, you should carefully consider what the differing numbers of stars stand for. Please use "zero" and "five star" ratings very sparingly--most albums you dislike will have at least some positive qualities, and not every album you enjoy will be a perfect masterpiece."

Now look at what I gave it. My first encounter with Tool was walking into my friend's little brother. A conclave of artists were discussing the affect of music on our art. When a seven year old boy piped up, "Have you heard Tool's new album?!" This kid had this bright-eyed look that was in equipoise with, "I just saw the most beautiful thing in the world." I dismissed it as being potentially childish pop drivel. MISTAKE NUMBER ONE.

A few weeks later while visiting Nathan's (a friend) basement with another friend (Allan) to check out some of Nathan's paintings (which were spectacular, by the way) Nathan said he had something he wanted us to hear. He calmly walked over to his sound system turned it way up and pressed play. Heavy breathing...then the most rawest, halting, yet penetrating guitar came form the speakers...I couldn't move, I didn't move. I stood there and DID NOT MOVE, it was THAT powerful...unfortunately Nathan had to turn it off. Allan was having a seizure from Danny Carey's pedal work about halfway through the song. That was my first Tool song, Aenema. Being from a primitive culture, I thought this was one of those REALLY bad CDs so I never got Aenima. MISTAKE NUMBER TWO.

Couple months later, we're sitting in my friend's car driving and he says, I got something for you to hear. ::Insert CD, switch to Track 5:: OK, I hear normal chords and start thinking "chamber music" and begin to chuckle to myself...then I hear a bass note and I KNOW somethings coming. Then comes this most otherworldy music...a song structure I'd never encountered and just when I think it's over, the synth part kicks in...I just about crapped my pants. I remember thinking, that if anyone of these guys used a different instrument other than what they were playing, this song would be crap and that voice sounds familiar... When it was over, he told me, "This is Tool's new album." The very SAME album that seven year old kid told me about... "Play it again," I demanded. And he complied. Over and over again..."Schism." Eventually he got upset and said, "That's not the only song on the *******album, Omar...try this one." The Grudge...

People. Learn from my mistakes and please note that there is no Mistake Number Three.

Report this review (#31735)
Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wattatatow, the best album ever!!! Before i talk about tool, I love yes,i love gentle Giant, i love pink floyd, i love porcupine tree, i love pain of salvation. all these bands are great prog bands and i am answering to the one guy who said that Tool is not prog,and who gave one star, that i 100% disagree. First of all, there is over 1750 bands in the progarchives and if tool is not prog, i would surely ask progarchives to scratch at least half of the bands presently in this site, because Laterallus is a deep album, dark concept of humanity towards all songs, which are all very long and based on feelings search, a lot of keyboards with frequent change of rythms, experiemental riffs and chords and the drums are just to prog to be true. I know some of my best friends who are hating Tool, no problem with that, but for those who love it, it is a true pure masterpiece of prog music. Tthe tool members called themselves , an alternative metal band, for me it means halfway in the space /experimental prog, halfway in the progressive metal. one life will not be enough to be tired of this essential album. Cheer!!!!!!!
Report this review (#31737)
Posted Thursday, April 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Sometimes music can be all about perspective. If Lateralus was the first Tool album you heard, you could justifiably get all excited about it. Because the atmosphere, the mathematical precision, the use of dark and light passages are all tastefully done and there are some powerful tunes like The Patient, Schism, Parabola, the percussive Reflection, Triad and the title track that you can hang your affection on. And that's despite a pretty limited use of instrumentation throughout this 78-minute album.

Unfortunately for Lateralus, Aenima exists. I've never quite forgiven King Crimson's In The Wake Of Poseidon for being too close to its predecessor and I think I will always have my reservations about Lateralus. By the time this album came out (2001 after some bitter contract wrangling, I've been told), Aenima was already justifiably viewed as a landmark in prog-metal and frankly it just seems to me as if Tool is content to rest on its laurels. This isn't a bad work by any means, and in some ways, it actually surparsses its predecessor, but Aenima's the be-all and end-all of Tool as far as I'm concerned. The story starts and ends there. ... 43% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#31740)
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Being a teenager who loved music but wanted to to break away form the usual mainstream crap thats found on the radio today, I tried to find music that really truly spoke to me. Luckily, my cousin recomended that I should listen to Tool, since they had such a huge impact on his life as well. So I bought Lateralus and Ćnima and I was completely blown away when I listened to them. Lateralus could be one the most brilliant cds ever made, from a musical perspective, equalled only by Ćnima. The Grudge is a song that you just get completely lost in, and you feel as if its growing and living as you listen to it, the same goes for Lateralus (the song). Each song on the album creates a new incredible feeling or emotion as you listen to it. Maynard has what could be the most emotionaly powerful voices in the music wolrd, and is backed up beautifully by the rest of the band. Their music has opened up a completely new world of music for me, and there's no turning back now. I'm now getting into band like Opeth and the Mars Volta all because of them. But Tool still remains my all time favourite. If you love music that has a true heart and soul, you have to pick up this album.
Report this review (#35483)
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#35541)
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars It seems like everyone here is a FIVE-star kinda' guy or a ONE/TWO-star kinda' guy. Let me tell you why. 'Complex time signatures' and 'soundscapes', don't make a band 'progressive.' Lots of genres have those two, so? You can think tool is progressive rock all you want, but you're just sucked in by that bald man's unusual not-so-sexy voice which just so happens to be rare. People seem to think as long as they like a metal band, they are progressive metal now. Tool is unique, but not progressively unique, different does not equal progressive. Other than the drummer, I find the music useless and overly atheist (Nothing against atheist beliefs). It's the same story every song, it's the same story every album. There is no evolution from one album after the next. It seems once Tool hit Aenima, that was the peak (Not that I liked Aenima either way). I feel bad for the drummer, he has to put up with a dull bass player and an even more dull guitar player who just so happens to make every 'progressive metal' song sound like an ordinary modern metal song. Even if this were progressive I might only give it two or three stars. To tell you the truth I was bored with tool after three or four listens from each of their albums. I would much rather listen to Dream Theater (regardless of how progressive DT is now). There's not a lot I can do about how boring this band is, how anti-religion Maynard is, or about all the wasted time (In my opinion) all the whiney teenagers have spent listening to this group. But I suppose it's perspective everyone, whatever makes you all happy - go for it, I guess? But for me, I can't stand by and listen to the same song from one track to the next over and over again. It's a matter of lack of style (Once again, my opinion), I feel as if one song never ends, and their whole career is just that, one song. A group with a progressive style would mean from one album to the next there's new things to offer (Every Tool album seems to be a clone of the past one, just put in with a different mixture of chords and atheist/angsty lyrics, which he probably writes in his sleep). A progressive band in our modern day, for example, could be "The Flower Kings", every song is almost like a subgenre on "Space Revolver." It was an experience, The only song I remotely liked on "Lateralus" was "Parabola." And I still feel as if I've wasted my time, arguing against irrational non- progressive children on a website designed for people who enjoy progressive rock/metal/etc.
Report this review (#36645)
Posted Thursday, June 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars well this album is slightly overrated, I think.

It starts off with one of the best songs on the album, The Grudge, with its great melodies and vocals, not to mention great lyrics and riffs. Hard rocking good song.

The second track is kind of cool but short and insignificant. The Patient is pretty good, but it doesn't stand out too much for me. Mantra is another short meaningless song. Schism is a really good song, with a ctachy awesome riff and good lyrics, and the mellow part in the middle is awesome.

Parabol is great, it reminds of Zep somehow (kind of like No Quarter, which Tool happens to do a cover of). Parabola is a good rocker with a cool riff and some good lyrics and vocals.

Ticks and leeches is terrible. Terrible lyrics, terrible vocals, terrible music. The drums aren't terrible really, but the rest of this absolutely horrible track is.

The title track starts off with a nice mellow riff, then some cool lyrics and then some rockingnes, and then the long middle section, which is kind of mellow, is awesome, and it leads into the awesome outro, with its catchy vocals and lyrics.

Disposition is the best part of the three part suite that follows. It's really mellow, with great vocals. Reflection is alright, it kind of bores me though. Triad is the third and final section, its pretty good, with some cool effects. The last track is pointless, although it is kind of creepy.

So this is a good prog-metal/hard prog rock album, but its not the end-all be all masterpiece people say. Highlights include: the Grudge, Schism, Parabol/a, Lateralus, and Disposition. No real downpoints other than Ticks and Leeches. Ughhhhhh...

Report this review (#38275)
Posted Saturday, July 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one best progressive sounds to come out of the last five years, and even in the last decade and a half. This album, including all aspects (music, artwork, musicianship, creativity etc) is completely amazing. From the bizarre time signatures to the deep lyrics, every on this album is pretty much perfect, and Tool deserves that for the amount of work put into the album. Taking into consideration the perfection of the sound and musicianship (like the likes of Dream Theatre has), this also has the feeling behind it as well as the complexities. All-in-all I would definitely give this albuma perfect rating, although I am not even the biggest of Tool fans, there is just so much to appreciate about Lateralus, not to mention the range of sound and intensity performed.
Report this review (#41235)
Posted Monday, August 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album while it is not exactly my taste of music, is one I have to admit is the most progressive 'mainstream' album I've heard in the 00s. It contains complex time signatures, dark king crimsonish compositions, and album flow. The lyrics are very philosophical and a little hard to grasp, but even so, the singer is easy to like, and I have no idea how he can hold notes for so long. The guitarist is not a virtuoso, but he has good riffs at his disposal. The drummer is one of the best I've heard, because he prefers art over speed, using his drumkit in a unique, and the bass player has a great think lead sound. Most of the music here depends on rhythm, and it's worth it: it makes the music almost hypnotic.

1. The Grudge: Great way to start the album. This is a very hard rock song that sets the tone of the album. The rhythms are extremely captivating.

2. Eon Blue Apocalypse : a bridge between 2 songs, the guitar work here is elegant and beautiful.

3. The Patient: A song that relies on a slow buildup into a tremendous climax. The choruses has excellent harmony between the instruments and the multiple vocals.

4. Mantra : another bridge.

5. Schism: A classic tool song, and it doesn't disappoint at all. Having a great bass line that sounds like something Chris Squire would play, and a catchy vocal hook, this song deserves to be in the radio, even if it has complicated rhythms. The most impressive part is the middle section, in which a splendid distorted guitar riff creates the wall of division that this song represents. 6/7. Parabol/Parabola: It begins with a very mellow and dark instrumental section with a dominating and memorable bass riff, then it gets into the song which might seem the most commercial of the album and reminds me of Nirvana. The song is very energetic and is possibly among the only songs here that sound positive. A simple yet effective repetitive distorted guitar solo is played at the end and really works. It sounds as if the guitar is suspended into the air.

8. Ticks & Leeches: The only song in which The singer screams! I don't know how on earth the man can scream like that, it is really impressive. This song sounds like Heavy Metal, and could have fit in the first albums of Tool. It also contains another bass driven mellow section which never fails to amaze me. It is repetitive, but suspenseful. This is one of my least favorite tunes here because it seems a bit out of place and the screaming, while impressive, is not my cup of tea.

9. Lateralus: This song is a masterpiece! Starting with a bass/guitar slow riff, then getting into a guitar jam, and after that, into the verse which contains a powerful vocal performance (flirting with mathematics in its arrangements), and very interesting drumming from Carey. The highlights of this song are the verses, the slow buildup in the middle, and the chaotic finale.

10. Disposition: This makes me think of Radiohead being influenced by King Crimson. It is mellow, soft, beautiful, yet sounds dark. It is important to pay attention to the drumming here as well as the creative use of the bass guitar, which might be one of the most captivating bass lines I've heard in years.

11. Reflection: A continuation of Disposition. My favorite song from the album by a long shot and possibly the best song Tool has ever done up to this point. While it may seem overlong, it is just too good and varied to keep you bored. Here is where the rhythm section of Tool is at its best. Besides, this song is very hypnotic, experimental and progressive. I have never heard anything like this before and it takes me to a musical journey through my mind. A modern masterpiece!

12. Triad: This is the band in adrenaline, with heavy guitar riffs all over the song. I think it is a disappointing, atonal ending. Reflection is a better ending.

13. Faaip De Oiad ("Secret" track) : umm, this is completely pointless. It sounds very scary, but I feel it is very out of place in the album. I usually eject the disc before this part plays.

The Tool fans are right, this is a masterpiece! It is very well produced and arranged. It is highly experimental while being very listen able and the band is outstanding in the way they move you with the instruments and rhythms alone. Even after a 20th listen, the album keeps growing on me because of its complexity.

My Grade : A

Report this review (#41308)
Posted Tuesday, August 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Warning...Be careful in giving five's hard for an album to be a complete masterpiece...I agree. But I really think Lateralus is definitively a masterpiece. Perhaps it's not prog stuff...But I swear I'd have rated 5 even if this site were "rock", "metal" "pop" or "mazurka" Archives. First: it's a 2001's, not just a progressive driven era. second, peolple from various musical background loves it. third: dark, powerful, complex charming, great lyrics, wonderful guitar and bass effects, monstrous drum patterns and the incredible voice of such a genius as Maynard is. I think songs like "the grudge", "Parabola" and the title track are gigantic masterpiece of this genre....but this genre has no name!!!they invented it!!! just listen "schism" and take a look to its disturbing video to understand nothing like this existed before....
Report this review (#41685)
Posted Friday, August 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars What can I say?This album is maybe the best from the other releases after 2000..It's progressive but not metal actually.You can say it's metal in some moments, it has the feeling of new metal actually mixed in PROGRESSIVE!I'm so excited with this album because it has a lot of inspiration and great playing together which is something that Dream Theater haven't accomplished yet.The first song "The Grudge" is very powerful and it's the best way to have this album started."Eon Blue Apocalypse" is an acoustic introduction by Adam Jones (Guitarist) of the next song "The Patient" which is very interesting.Try following the rhythm and especially the snare of the drums.Tool have proved that they have a great sense of humour.Check out this!Maynard James Keenan (Vocalist) recorded his cat scratching and with the help of other effects "Mantra" was born!!It functions as the introduction of "Schism" which is far the best song in the album in my opinion."Parabol" is a great interpetion by Keenan.He moans in this one, it's great.The previous song, once again, is an intoduction to "Parabola".This one is the "hit" of the album, excellent song once again from these 4 Americans."Ticks & Leeches" starts with this melodic from Danny Carey "Drummer" and very hard.This song is the closest to heavy metal."Lateralus" is a more sensitive song.At the middle of the song you will see how able this band is and how tight.Now, "Disposition","Reflections" and "Triad" is some kind of oriental trilogy.You will find the best atmosphere in the whole album here..Just put the phones, lie down and think of nothing..The last track is not a song but some mysterious noises."Faaip De Oiad" means "The Tongue Of God" in some weird languange of magic.It is known that Danny Carey loves magic and he is involved in it in a good way.I believe that this album along with "Oceanic" of Isis and "Toxicity" of System Of A Down are the best in the decade of 2000..
Report this review (#44705)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I haven't rated this album yet... from one ponit 'til now i've been thinking which albums deserve 5 points (stars). I Know it's difficult 'cuz we know that music has a high level of subjetivism, then we rate our favourites album with the maximun available. So, we have to be a little bit more objective about this... it's difficult, but we must do so. Well, going to the album itself, i must tell you that from my point of view i think it's impressive how a modern band can bring us with such a good album, i'm not saying, complex, dark, heavy... I say it's good in the way that the music stands so good along with the content of the lyrics... that it moves me. The concept of the album holds things that i truly think not everyone could get... I mean, the whole "mystery" of this album is wellknown, though it is a personal task, and a personal challenge that everyone of us have o want to take. I took it, and it moved me in a way that specific and few albums have moved me... i won't tell u about what this is... it's up to you going into this. The music is complex, heavy... odd, and one more time, what it gives the quality i give it it's its connection with the lyrics... Songs like Lateralus, The Grudge, Parabol/Parabola (which would've been better together) Schism... well, the whole album excel!. Is it Progressive music?? I think it is. Music that wants to go beyond...
Report this review (#44742)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars i have avoided reviewing this album for a long, long time, and here is why:

its difficult to give a truly accurate, objective review of an album or band you love so dearly, as somewhere along the way you will end up in a void of unrealistic adjective use . . .

but honestly, without the risk of using hyperbole, this is the best cd in the world . . . simple . . .

"the grudge" is a rumbling, sophisticated yet self-assured opener for one serious release . . . "the patient" is prog bliss, along with "parabol/a" . . . but these songs are virtual nursery rhymes compared to the title track . . .

"lateralus" is quite possibly the most beautiful piece of aural art in existence - a mind-sobbingly gorgeous venture through human potential . . .

i wont go on, asi feel im slipping into the afore-mentioned rut - however, i will say this: . . .

buy this album if you consider yourself a music fan of any description . . . passionate, beautiful and most importantly, REAL music is what TOOL are all about . . .

Report this review (#45206)
Posted Friday, September 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars (excus the spelling) lateralus is my favorite tool cd and just like aenima 5 star masterpeice all the why. Every song will take you to a different road.The gruge is my favorite tool song. The drumming on the album is amazing it's like danny carry has 8 arms and 4 legs, maynards words are truly brilliant he always writes cool lyrics and adam and justin are the most uqnic guitar player, bass player combanation in prog metel. But the one thing thats bothing me about tool is were are they? I've wated 4 years and still nothing I'm bored with what I have and they use to be my favorite band.
Report this review (#45618)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
5 stars Now this is what I call complexity. Definitely not for people, who want a straight guide-line in their music (example: verse, refrain, verse, solo, refrain). The King Crimson fans Tool break with "Lateralus" all rules of the song structure-guidelines and present us an ultra- innovative prog metal, which is a big inspiration for other creative bands these days and only really works if you listen to it many times. It's a kind of dark, depressing and groovy music with an extreme own character, which search itself. I don't want to give some listen- examples, because this album only works as a full length experience IMO and should be only listened by people, who don't only listen to old 70's prog, but are open for new innovations and modern structured music with a dark edge. "Lateralus" is a journey, which you will make over and over again, it can make you addicted, but it's must be your taste, too. How the cover art shows: Tool isn't only music, it's art and "Lateralus" is the highest form of that for the prog genre. Only deaf people and those who are burried alive with the good old 70's think other-wise and avoid such a new-age classic.

This record simply deserves 5 stars, less would be a joke for such an original and innovative sound, from one of the best bands in this century of progressive music. It's time to appreciate this masterpiece, so for what are you waiting?

album rating: 9.5/10 points = 97 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Report this review (#45623)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Looking for music new to my ears, I bought this after reading the reviews on this site, and this album was also named in the Q Pink Floyd/ Prog Special Top 40.

It's been an ear-opening experience for me, especially as I'm not a "Metal" fan; but Lateralus is different, a sophisticated concoction of hard riffs and complex structures. It impressed on the first listening, and has just got better since. I've found myself drawn towards the harder edged, more strident tracks - the way "Parabol" breaks into "Parabola"; the primal scream on "Ticks and Leeches" - great, angry vocals on this track; and the repetitive riff that builds on the instrumental "Triad". "Reflection" is a drum/percussion led song that works its way into your brain; the title track has shades of 'Tull to my ears, in the lilting vocal style. Clever, but not too clever lyrics on "Schism" - by the way, you have to go to the official web-site if you want them.

Although it's a guitar led band, there's a few synths in there now and again but they're used sparingly and to good effect. I don't have enough - well, any - experience of other "prog metal" bands for comparison but in old school parlance, I suppose there's a fleeting resemblance to mid-70's Crimson at their most punchy. The energy these guys produce is fantastic, while maintaining a very high level of musicianship. I don't imagine Adam Jones sits down on stage!

I'm tempted to give it 5 stars it's so good...d'oh go on then I will. I really, really do think this album deserves to be in your collection. Even if like me, you don't consider that you could ever really like soemthing with the tag "Prog Metal". Try it, you just might.

Report this review (#46080)
Posted Friday, September 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Tool is a band that has always surrounded with controversy in all realms. But to say that this not a progressive album is an ignorant statement. Maynard uses complex metaphors to bash god in many instances but a majority of the lyrics are reminiscent of the anti- organizational lyrics of pink floyd. Obciously the musicianship is a questionable area, but the need for flashy guitar or bass playing is not a requirement for prog it is an accompaniment. A song like "reflection" or disposition have hints of old progressive acts such as Crimson and Floyd but Tool has gone in an entirely new direction one that almost seems to revolutionize a new style, which in itself would be progress from the last album Aenima. On reflection alone there is a synthesis of so many styles ranging from the vocal presence of guitar reminiscent of Pat Metheny to a lead bass that plays a lead role and has a presence similar to Waters on the Pigs album by adding texture and leading the band with a strong bass repition. I will only describe one song because most of the strengths of this album have allready been presented. This is the best album of the new millenium and as a disclaime, you have to listen to it all the way through to comprehend the true genius of this awesomely original album.
Report this review (#47932)
Posted Thursday, September 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album, in my opinion, is one of the greatest of all time. The voice, which is incredible, matches the genre perfectly, as well as the other instruments. it all meshes together. having an opinion about a band is fine, but saying that Maynard's voice isnt good is just ignorant. (i am going off one particular review, in which he gave the album a 1 star grade) this band, and i speak the truth, is one of the greatest of all time. the talent that they have as well as the songs they write are incredible.
Report this review (#52183)
Posted Monday, October 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a real masterpiece of Prog music. Tool is unbelievable. This albums is excellent event more than Aenima- another masterpiece. It's goog for everyone who likes heavy metal, progressive music and space/experimental rock. I can listen the whole albums day by day event now- 4 years after its release in 2001. Music and lyrics of this album are simply perfect. My favorite tracks: Grudge,Mantra- Schism, Parabol-Parabola, Lateralus. Highly recomended.
Report this review (#52702)
Posted Friday, October 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I remember the day I heard Schism for the first time, years ago. It was my first contact with Tool, and I was really excited about this song. I never really got into Tool really, until last week. And I'm really blown away by this record. I can only discripe this record as 'very simular to Dark Side of the Moon, but with more angre and fear'. Tracks like Schism, Parabola, Ticks & Leeches and the titel song are all killer songs, all brilliant.
Report this review (#53990)
Posted Sunday, October 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is simply amazing, Maynard's voice is just amazing, every song carries an emotion with it like the rage present in Ticks & Leeches, the passion in Lateralus, which by the way is an incredible song. Besides the famous arrange using a Fibonacci code gives it a more darker look. I highly recommend this disc as well as this band.
Report this review (#54845)
Posted Saturday, November 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Gee, what a neat .....tool, this object makes for Cd. It almost looks like a Sigur Ros album, but I can tell you that it does not sound like one! Apart from the plastic booklet with all these peace, gory and anatomic pictures, Aenima's successor is another scorcher right from the opening tracks! However early tracks Grudge, Mantra and Patient, are quickly the alternating pattern between shorter and quieter tracks (serving as interlude or intros to the following tracks) and longer and harder songs and this process is quickly boring/tedious and rather too predictable, although some of the better moments of this album come from these "interludes". Gradually those "intros" are getting longer and by the start of Disposition, they have become full tracks of their own, that very track being closely linked to Reflection and Triad. By this second last track, the mood of the album left its metallic core ambiances towards a more psychedelic feel slightly reminiscent of Aenima. Reflection is clearly the highlight of the album, finally bringing the proghead to the climax (and in itself, that track is a small masterpiece) he was expecting from the third track on. Better late than never!!!!! Its follow-up, Triad, bringing small Arab influence instead of Asian ones, concludes quite nicely the album.

Contrary to many prog metal bands (but Tool I understand is a controversial inclusion in the genre, but to me as a non-specialist, I have no problems with them being considered progressive) Tool does not seem to take their main influences not only from the usual models (such as DT and Queensryche), but also from Red Hot Chilly Peppers, Black Sabbath and The Bevis Frond.

I prefer their previous album, but this one confirms that Tool is one hell of a rock band regardless of the "progressive" factor or not!

Report this review (#55906)
Posted Friday, November 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars A moving and truly powerful record. My friend introduced me to Tool some time ago and allowed me to dive into the genuis that is Tool. Of their four amazing albums, this one proves to be the greatest and one of the most intensely powerful, intelligent and moving albums that has ever come out of the metal and rock world. Right from the opening track "The Grudge," they quartet shows us their talent, with Maynards haunting vocals, backed by beautiful riffs, then suddenly, breaks into the drums. It's eight and a half minutes of paradise, and one of my favorite songs on the album. The patient is an album you must be patient to fully appreciate. It takes time for the song to kick in and may seem boring at first, be trust me, take your time with the song and it gets good, slowly building to the climax and ending off slowly and atmospherically. Schism, the song on this album the band is known for, and for good reason. The song is amazing and has an incredible video to compliment it. The song starts with a nifty little guitar shbiel and then bursts into some of the most fantastic guitar chords I've ever heard. The vocals and lyrics are also some of Maynard's best, and the song's message is one which should be heard. Another favorite of mine. Parabol is part 1 to a 2 part masterpiece. It is slow and haunting. It really only has maynard's vocals, a piano, and a guitar on it. But suddenly, it bursts into Parabola, one of the most rock familiar songs on the album. This song also has an incredible video to go with it. Ticks & Leeches is the song most metal fans will associate themselves with. After the angry vocals subside, their is five minutes of silence until it slowly returns to loud, angsty vocals. Lateralus is one of the most beautiful songs on the album. With odd, surreal vocals and intense guitar riffs and tribal drum rythmns. This is probably the song that will take you on the most intense and spiritual ride throughout the album. Disposition is a tribal song with short vocals, but a great song anyway. Reflection is the most tribal and atmospheric song the band has made since Thirde Eye. A completely intense mind[%*!#].
Report this review (#58429)
Posted Monday, November 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is a real masterpiece of prog metal ... a genre defining album. I won't go into too much detail in this review, maybe I'll expand it later on. The foremost quality of this album is its unbelievably focused and determined approach - Tool are a quite popular band, but they make absolutely no compromises here. Every little bit is carefully arranged, and the subtle mathematic implications of the rhythmic changes are stunning and never seem uncalled for or out of place. The result is a complex work of art, which is up there with albums like Larks Tongues or A Pleasant Shade of Gray.

This is an absolutely essential album in every prog collection ... even if you don't like prog metal, you should at least have heard this album.

Report this review (#62011)
Posted Wednesday, December 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Tool's Lateralus showcases their signature styled of rythymn oriented Progressive Metal, but does it better tha previous efforts.

The most noticeable element of this album is the rythymic prowess demonstrated not by one, but by all members of the band. Drummer Danny Carey puts in a phoenomenal performance where he continues his melodic style showcased more in Aenima. Bassist Justin Chancellor shows off his rythymic chops and has some real special playing on this album. Adam Jones' guitar playing has become more effects oriented and shows great creativity. The vocalist, Maynard James Keenan puts in a stronger performance on softer songs, but leaves quality to be desired in heavier compositions.

The longer tracks are what really makes this album a good piece of work by Tool. The album's quality is exceptionally strong at the beginning, but the musicality drops slightly towards the end. The Grudge is a catchy opener, and it leaves fans with the more familar side of Tool. The Paitient is an extraordinary composition by the band. It shows off the more progressive side of Tool. This is one of the tracks were Tool's creativity and atmosphere is clearly evident. It really sets the tone for the middle of the album. Parabola and Ticks and Leeches showcase another heavier side of Tool. Ticks and Leeches may well be Tool's heaviest track, at least on this album. The album's ending is not as high of quality as the beginning is, but it still has one very interesting compostion. Reflections, is a future Tool classic. I find it to have quite a different feel from the rest of the album.

The production is top class, and from a band like Tool, It's expected to be that way. The guitars have an excellent mix. The effects ring through clear, something vital to the survival of a band like Tool. The bass has great bottom end punch also vital to the survival of the band. The drums are extraordinary as usual. Danny Carey's melodic drum work is the very heart of Tool.

The album is amazing by Tool's standards, but it the grand scheme of the Progressive World, it is good but not a must have. Definately a must have for fans of Tool's style of Progressive Metal.

Report this review (#63327)
Posted Thursday, January 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars An amazing release from one of the greatest Rock/Metal acts that have been able to receive a decent amount of media coverage. This album and their previous release show the full potential of the band. The combo of heavy Tribal patterns, complex Riff writing and the emotional out pour of singer Maynard all combine into an amazing work of art. An album that truely inspires dreams in the listener.
Report this review (#66404)
Posted Monday, January 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Lateralus is Tool's most progressive album they have released so far,and structures like a concept album by have the songs linking togrther, instrumentals that connect up to the major tracks!!!

This is the first Tool album I have ever heard when I was introduced to them 2 years ago by friends and this is definetelytheir best record!!!

"Disposition", "Reflection" and "Triad" were intended to be one big song when originally planned but got cut down ito three tracks and is a good progressive track I count it as one and score it 5/5!!!, considering they are down to 3 tracks.

"Parabol" and "Parabola" flow very nicely and are very similar to each other with similer words and guitar tunes, again will be scored as a one track, 5/5!!!

"Eon Blue Apocalypse" and blatantly does match "The Patient", and the signiture timing are strange and is a very beauiful track (The Patient) and a favourite of mine,good drumming and guitar techniques, 5/5!!!

"Mantra" is another favourite with excellent musicianship and is a reasonable 4/5!!!

"The Grudge", a nine minutes opener, builds up to the guitars and drums and keeps the listener interested (yes, I am one of them!!!), but the temp then slows a little, and has vocal scream which are lengthy, and shows how cleverly talented the vocalist is, and excellent 4/5!!!. "Schism" short, very easy for a non progger and a rocker of a track, a fusion of acoustic and aggressiveness and good guitar works, a favourite, 5/5!!!

"Ticks and Leeches" good vocals and guitaring that kicks ass big time!!!, mellows for a while then back to the hard stuff, a masterpiece 5/5!!!

"Reflection" and "Lateralus" are concept tracks that flow nicely 4/5!!!. "Triad", is an intrumental closer that is experiemental to play around with the other tracks!!!, quite scary but cool!!! a cool 5/5!!!

Lateralus is a masterpiece, not a single bad track and is a favourite album of mine, probably may never be heard like this again, 100% recommend, and a final score of 10/10!!!


Report this review (#66709)
Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars After the disappointing "Undertow", I was reluctant to buy "Lateralus" as a friend of mine suggested it (I didn't bother to get "Aenima"). Well I bought it and I was really surprised how the band evolved since "Undertow". The melodies are complex - sometimes even very dark (the mix of melancholic vocals/really heavy music sometimes reminds me of the doom metal band Solstice) - and always show great musicianship. It would have been a sure five star album... without the few "extreme" or "silly" songs (which make giving a rating to this album a hard task). So let's see the album track by track...

"The Grudge": strong opening track - mixing good heavy metal with darker passages - 8/10.

"Eon Blue Apocalypse": nice little bridge - 9/10.

"The Patient": the most progressive song on the album - 8/10

"Mantra": pointless bridge - it's just white noise - 0/10.

"Schism": nothing to say - awesome catchy song - a good 10/10.

"Parabol": soft and haunting, reminds me of old Joy Division - another good 10/10.

"Parabola": another flawless song - 10/10.

"Ticks & Leeches": this song just doesn't fit at all with the rest of the songs - too much hate and anger - 2/10.

"Lateralis": another great poisonous melody with many tempo changes toward the end - 9/10.

"Disposition": soft and acoustic track - 10/10.

"Reflection": 11 minutes of pleasure - great drums, great bass, great guitar effects, infectious voice - another 10/10.

"Triad": a heavy but experimental instrumental - influences of King Crimson can be heard here - 7/10.

"Faaip de Oiad": ruins the album - better stop listening after "Triad" - 0/10.

Rating: 76/100 (this would have meant three stars but I'll give four because this album is an excellent addition to any prog music collection)

Report this review (#67853)
Posted Wednesday, February 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars well i dont think i really have to really elaborate much on how incredible an album Lateralus is sonically, that is a point few have missed, but as it was Tool that got me into prog music in the first place (i can hear the rumbling of a few 70's prog junkies already...) and because of that i seem to be privy to a few Lateralus secrets. what i would like to share (and i warn anyone who would care about this: these tidbits can be spoilers) are the subtleties often missed within the album. please excuse me if this has been said before. i tell this to the people of this site because i know that the people here are precisely those that would enjoy this album in its entirety, and for that reason i present it to you as such:

the biggest thing people dont think about when they hear the album is the reason why some of the songs are broken as they are. parabol and parabola are, indeed, one song. they are not broken apart for the sheer delight of non-proggers..anyone who's listened to faaip de oiad should know that's the least of thier concerns. the songs are broken up and the bridge tracks created to fulfill an incredible artistic endeavor. backing up... the song Lateralus is the key. listen to how maynard sings the first sets of lyrics. anyone who loves AEnima will recognize the choppy manner in which he sings, albeit a bit less rough, but there is a purpose. "black. then. white are. all i see. in my infancy. red and yellow then came to be." those are, indeed, periods... now count up the syllables. 1,1,2,3,5,8, Dan Brown experts will recognize this as being a bank PIN but they are also the beginning of the Fibonnacci numbers ( a series of numbers in which the next number is the sum of the previous two). i dont want to go into too much detail but those of you with graph paper check it out: draw a 1x1 square (units are irrelevant) and then attach another to it( side by side, not corners). on a side where the two squares form a 2units line, attach a 2x2 will be able to continue on in this manner as long as you want, you'll keep attaching fibonacci squares. now create an arc in the initial square (r=1) in the direction of the next square, do the same for them all and the arcs will join into one tremendous spiral. "spiral out. keep going" gee that was fun wasn't it... now, getting back to the album as a whole, extract all the fibonnacci number tracks and put them in order before the remaining tracks. your new order is: the grudge, eon blue apocalypse, the patient, schism, ticks and leeches, faaip de oiad, mantra, parabol, parabola, lateralus, disposition, reflection, triad. tinker with that storyline and it will make alot more ticks and leeches and faaip de oiad are a very logical progression whereas before they stuck out (everything else has gelled too). i will not elaborate (too) much further except to say that the fibonnacci spiral is imperfect. the only perfect spiral is one created by the golden mean ratio: and Dan Brown says, "Phi"!. so if those fibonacci tracks are the "imperfect" spiral, what does that say about the remainder? anyone who has ever heard of the rumor of two spirals in Lateralus now knows what that means.

there are a few more tidbits to the album, most of which im not quite as well aqquainted with as i dont play an instument ( in schism's timing for those who are curious to do thier own research). but i would like to mention tht the (inside) cover art is done by Alex Grey (artists check this guy out further). because of all of this i have gicven the album a 5 --something i do not do lightly -- but i should hope it is nbow understood why i do so

P.S. no. Dan Brown and his novels have nothing to do with Tool insomuch as the album and is concerned, its just how most people know fibonnacci numbers. from what ive heard, the previous novel "holy blood, holy Grail" is a band favorite though

Report this review (#67863)
Posted Wednesday, February 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's so unbelievable this stuff. It changed the way I look at music and where I want to end up as a musician at some point in my career. When I saw them live in concert on the Lateralus tour I was mezmerized. These guys are like gods to some people. I think they are amazing.....It felt like I was in another world when I saw these guys. I cannot wait for the next album. Honestly I don't think they can ever produce something as strong and glorious as this ever again. But hopefully they will prove me wrong. Amazing.
Report this review (#70113)
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars There's not really much I can say about this album. From the contrasting dark and light moments of "The Grudge" to the static of "Faaip", this album is so unbelievable. "The Patient" is hauntingly beautiful, "Schism" is hypnotic. "Parabol(a)" is a perfect example of Tool's theme of balance. Starting with an almost empty intro ("Parabol") and building to "Parabola", Tool shows their brilliant knowledge of how to take a theme and develop it almost beyond recognition, creating an epic masterpiece that can be called nothing other than "prog". This innate complexity is what leads many to not call it prog. It doesn't sound forced. There's little evidence of strain in the memorable, almost catchy, riffs.

From "Parabol(a)", Tool moves on to "Ticks and Leeches", their most aggressive song on the album. But even here Tool throws in a brilliant soft section in the middle, keeping the album moving along.

And then comes "Lateralus". Oh god, "Lateralus". No words can describe the beauty that is this track. From the slow, tribal intro to the most massive outro the world has ever seen, this track delivers the goods. I have never once listened to this track without tears coming to my eyes, and I've been listening to this album a lot, even now that it's been 4 and a half years since I purcahsed it in 2001. The brilliant portrayal of the human situation: balance of struggle and beauty, moments of light and dark, all necessary to truly realize and enjoy life. This is a holy experience, breathing and living here. And we must stand strong. "With my feet upon the ground I lose myself between the sounds and open wide to suck it in, I feel it move across my skin. I'm reaching up and reaching out; I'm reaching for the random or whatever will bewilder me... whatever will bewilder me. And following our will and wind we may just go where no one's been. We'll ride this spiral to the end and may just go where no one's been. Spiral out, keep going. Spiral out, keep going. Spiral out, keep going....

Spiral out, keep going."

From that quintessential track we move to the sparse yet beautiful landscape known as "Disposition". The bass-playing-guitar leads into Maynard's mantra. The music and vocals compliment eachother perfectly, leading into "Reflection". Movement Two of what has become known as "D/R/T", "Reflection" is an odd track, yet something about it draws you into its simple complexity and experimentation. This track is "Welcome to the Machine" meets Dali. It is yet another climaz of the album, yet it brings its emotion through much different ways, reminding the listener of the moments of sublime beauty found in "Third Eye" from the band's previous release, despite the two albums being entirely different works. "Reflection" then transitions into "Triad", a mantric instrumental that manages to close the album leaving the listener craving more...

and there is more, found in "Faaip de Oiad". A disturbingly odd clip about Area 51 played over static, this one can shock you pretty bad. But it serves the purpose of making the listener instantly want to hear this masterpiece all over again very well.

With the band's next album coming out in the next few months, one can only wonder where they can go from here. Each album has been so startlingly different from the last that I don't even dare predict what they'll do, but I sure do hope that they can follow this breathtaking, wonderful, and downright awe-inspiring album well.

Report this review (#70692)
Posted Monday, February 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Not too bad. Not too bad at all. Ask me six months ago what I thought of Tool and I would have said, "...alright." Why? I never had really heard an entire album by then. Schism, Lateralis, Parabola, that was about it. Later I would appreciate these songs more, especially Lateralis, but at the time, Tool seemed like some pretty cool soft metal. Now, after listening to their whole discography, my opinion has drastically changed. They excellent band. MJK is a great vocalist, Danny Carey is one of my favorite drummers, the guitarist is decent and the bassist is no slouch either.

The album itself is solid, but as another reviewer said, sometimes music is all about perspective. Aenima exists. And compared to Aenima, this album is way too mechanical, too precise, too much like the certain sound Tool defined for themselves. Sure, there are good songs...they're all good actually, but none of them really excel. Ticks and Leeches is a great exception, a high energy ferocious metal attack with great vocals and some of the best drumwork ever. It might be my favorite song. D/ R/T is a great trio of songs, but they don't quit have the substance you may want. Sure they are a great trip through different soundscapes of rocking out or mellow edgy rock, but they leave me feeling unsatisfied, hungry for some conclusion. It doesn't have to be loud, but something. The whole trio seems to repetitive.

The Grudge is a solid opener. Too typical, though. The Patient is lovely, but also very mechanical. Schism is more mechanical precision like clockwork, lacking any of the feel Aenima had. Parabola is fun to listen to, and doesn't feel too typical. Ticks and Leeches is the best track on here, and the (nearly) title track is excellent although pretty mechanical as well. D/R/T I spoke of already. The songs I didn't speak of are transitions and really nothing to talk of. The album could do without them.

So I seem to be finding a common trend here. Two, actually. 1) The album is WAY too mechanical and precise. The song structures aren't quite varied up enough and don't have enough of different feels and emotions in them. Ticks and Leeches does, and it rocks. The big trio does, but they suffer from an unfinished feeling. Maybe if they were put together like they were originally intended to be, it would be better. I don't know. 2) It lacks the crazy edge, nasty tones and overall feel Aenima had. Aenima was just crazy, and very original sounding. Lateralus would have been much better if Aenima hadn't been released, because compared with Aenima, Lateralus feels like a going-through-the-motions album. It clearly isn't, but that's the impression I get.

Despite all this, the mechanical and generic and repetitive style Tool plays is luckily very good, with shifting dynamics and great vocals and fun to listen songwriting all around. It just repeats itself too much, with no real kick to it.

Report this review (#71988)
Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Where most prog metal relies on the technical ability of the musicians, Lateralus relies entirely on the artistry of the musical soundscapes created within. The most impressive thing about this album is the amount of excellent material lying under the surface of the tracks. While any song on first listen sounds like great hard rock/metal, the intricate musical and lyrical details don't really come out until many listens later. There is simply too much to take in on the first listen, which is why I would encourage all first time listeners to give this album a chance to grow on them.

"The Grudge" This song uses an elegant blend of hard and soft passages to evoke an emotional chasm of sound. The vocals range from mechanical to flowing, lending great support to the overall structure of the song. If one so chooses to look deeply into the lyrics they will find reference to alchemical and astrological terms, as well as the Tree of Life symbol, enhancing the depth with which this song can be heard.

"The Patient" The very clean production of the album is essential on this track which describes colorful images of space through its muted guitar and mutated bass. This sound eventually evolves into a heavy jam that makes great use of overlayed vocal tracks.

"Schism" The fantastic bass lines on this track sound almost like cosmic sawblades, only one small piece of the delicate balance provided here. An excellent song despite being my least favorite on the album.

"Parabol" The holographic depth of the album is at its peak with this slow and dreamy arrangement of instruments and voice accompanied by deep, bassy chanting and the harmonious ribbit of frogs.

"Parabola" Parabol's hard and fast counterpart. Vocalist Maynard seems intent on surpassing the emotional aspect of lyrics and digging right into the spiritual realm, and he exceeds wonderfully.

"Ticks and Leeches" This is the most aggressive track on the album and also drummer Danny Carey's moment to shine as he carries out some impressive polyrhythms. After the agressive intro a quiet passage utilizing subtle wind effects builds up into a beautiful, cathartic release of energy.

"Lateralus" The title track is an inspiring journey into purely spiritual territory. Just one of the subtle nuances here is the use of the Fibonacci sequence in Maynard's vocal pattern. Rest assured, there are many more of these details to be discovered and appreciated throughout the album.

"Disposition" This song is really the first in a three part epic collectively known as "Resolution". Sparse lyrics, echoes, synth, and even some tabla drumming help to create a vivid floating effect, one of the most impressive things ever done in progressive music.

"Reflection" The pinnacle of the album. It sounds like nothing before it, a musical labyrinth that mixes the standard rock instruments with synth and bassoon. I don't want to spoil it, but the lyrics are every bit as emotionally penetrating as the music.

"Triad" Although Maynard provides no vocals on this track, the music speaks volumes. Beneath the chugging guitar riffs exists a soundscape of chanting voices that I can only describe as awe-inspiring. The perfect end to a perfect album.

Report this review (#72278)
Posted Sunday, March 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a real masterpiece, and the first and more important point is that Tool brought progressive in the new millenium; Lateralus is the milestone number one. Every time I listen to it, I discover something new, and others come to my attention when I play it with guitar or bass, or when I try to sing. I don't play drums, but I think I'd go mad if I try to reproduce Danny's patterns.

1. The grudge. This track make definitively understand how things will work. More than 8 minutes of musical insanities, in which Maynard is able to hold a scream for 27 second (!!),and I won't describe all things they do. There are as many riffs as variants, soft and heavy sections. The turbulent end seems never to come but it sudden take your breathe away!

2. Eon blue apocalypse. A bridge, with a very nice guitar work.

3. The patient. Very interesting song, divided into 2 parts. The first is more silent, intimistic, while the second is explosive, that slowly rises with an outrageous chords progression. Maynard is great, and Adam uses an awesome amp mixed sound, both in clean and distorted situations.

4. Mantra. Another bridge, in which we can hear Maynard's mice thru synth work...I have no words...

5. Schism: one of the best songs ever, in my opinion. How many bands have ever built an entire song with that riff??? Maybe a solo, a micro-bridge, but that fantastic ta-ta-ta-ta-ta--ta-ta has never been the main one. Moreover, it's 11\8 on verses and 12\8 on choruses...Details make superior a band, don't they? And the second part is even more surprising, with the slow riff and the furious conclusion. Lyrics are in one word, poetry. "There was a time when the pieces fit\ but I watched fall away" or "cold silence has\a tendency to\ atrophy any\ sense of compassion\\between supposed brothers\lovers" speak for themselves. Great!

6. Parabol. More than an intro, with a wonderful guitar and Maynard who sings like a neverborn and immortal storyteller.

7. Parabola. "Thwirling down with this familiar Parabol"...Another perfect song. Danny is simply brilliant, while Justin makes hear himself with his distorted and powerful sound. This track has everything: the first hard riff, starting with increasing distortion, the brigde with voices harmonization, chorus with sudden stop and, the second time, bass arpeggio. Then the syncopated tempo section and the raising end. "WE'RE ALL ETERNAL ALL THIS PAIN IS AN ILLUSION!!!"

8. Ticks and Leeches. The heaviest song: Danny starts with one of the greatest drum solos ever, followed by all the others with an aggressive and smashing sound. They were really in anger at that moment, don't you think? The song continues with the usual alternate of parts and I think there's nothing better that this song to shout to someone "CAUSE THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT, THIS IS WHAT YOU GET!!!"

9. Lateralus. The song that completes everything: built around the notorious Fibonacci's sequence, words have a peculiar metric in every line of verses, in which syllables follow the sequence 1(black)-1(then)-2(white are)-3(all I see)-5(in my infancy)-8(red and yellow that came to be), and then back 5(reaching out to me)-3 (let's me see). in the second verse it's even more complicated, cause syllables go up to 13, then down to 1 and rise back. The spiral drawn on the album artwork exatcly represents this serie. Amazing! The song continues just like a labyrinth, with the powerful chorus ending with bass and exploding again.

10.Disposition. When does a band can be considered mature? when it can write a song in which a wall of amps is not necessary; that's disposition, in which Maynard sings just a few lines, while others create a perfect musical picture, Hiptnotyzing and moving.

11. Reflection. This is not my favourite song, but I appreciate it as well.

12. Triad. Very strange song, I can define it progressive. The band here shows all its qualities, as a kind of manifesto, in which all members give the best of themselves: to be listened carefully!

13. Faaip de oiad. The secret track is also the eeriest. It seems to me a radio clip in which someone is worried about an alien attack.

In the end, I can say that it's impossible to consider Tool a not prog oriented band. Which gives prog? Experimentation, of course! And they keep on create brand new songs from 1990 and I opine they will never get the attention they really deserve. RIDE THE SPIRAL!!!

Report this review (#73036)
Posted Saturday, March 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well first off i must say that i hate tool's lyrics and for what they stand for...but their music is incredible. I have always wanted to hear a band that can play rhythms so tight and so complex that it would take years for someone to master and well to me that's what Tool is. I really didn't like Undertow it was too weird and Aneima has great music but the lyrics suck cause all maynard does is say F U FU. However LATERALUS to me is probably Tool at their best and most mature as you got lots of great polyrhythmic songs that will blow your mind away. I can tell that these guys love to play songs in time signatures like 5/8 or 12/8 for that matter cause that's what most of these songs are in. Anyway all the songs really display some awesomeness with the great heavy metal opener THE GRUDGE with some great rhythms by the band all with Maynard's scream that lasts for like a million years, then you see a very mellow side to with the beautiful PATIENT i love the drumming in this one when Danny Carey goes from triplet double bass hits to some extreme thiry second notes. but some of my all time favorites are these great heavy tracks like PARABOLA, TICKS AND LEECHES, SCHISM, AND OF COURSE LATERALUS. These songs definitely can show the band at its finest with their very progy style however i wish maynard would've calmed down a bit in TICKS AND LEECHEs still i love this song because of the greatness of mr. carey. Then comes the shorter tracks which i really don't care for since their intros but then you have in my opinion the arabian section of the album with is DISPOSITION, REFLECTION, AND TRIAD. Which is originally suppose to be a 23 minute song but were seperated into tracks. at times the songs sound weird but really sound groovy when you listen carefully. This album would've given my grade a 5 star if it wasn't for the last track having that weird sound effect going and letting danney carey's solo play out more. I do love the great rhythm section of Danny, Adam, and Justin just sometimes i wish Adam would play some more solos but the stuff he does in this album are awesome. This was my first Tool album and i still get excited from hearing the rhythms in this album. Definitely one of the best progressive metal rhythm bands ever.
Report this review (#73291)
Posted Tuesday, March 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Is Lateralus being worthy of a 5 star rating? I think it is most easily deserving. Would a prog-folk fan think this album is a masterpiece, probably not. But then again, Lateralus is a masterpiece of "prog-metal", not "prog-folk". Within the genre of prog-metal this album is one of the best recordings by exemplifying all the charactoristics of what make this genre special. Lateralus is heavy just as prog-metal should be. The music is also complex and intricate as progressive music should be. All this while never losing it's soul, like a great recording should be.

I'll be the first to admit the guitar and bass work are average for the prog-metal genre. It tends to be more percussive in nature. That fits the style of music rather well. What truly makes the instrumentality impressive on this album is the drumming of Danny Carey and the vocals of Maynard James Keenan. Danny Carey is an incredible drummer, one of the very few I hear in all of metal music that knows how to use his cymbals to add dimension and texture. He's leagues beyond drummers like Mike Pornoy in that the cymbals are an essential part of percussion and should be treated as such. In addition his poly-rhythmic drumming styles are breathtaking in their power and precision. His drumming is what propells the music, much different than other bands. Then there's MJK, a truly unique vocalist and lyricist. He sings with great power and emotion (often anger) and yet can sing with a delicate vulnerability when the music calls for it. His lyrics are crypic and deep, a cut above the rest of the genre.

As for the songs, they flow well together using little musical interludes to transition from one suite of compositions to the next. The transition from Parabol to Parabola creates an amazing song in that it goes from delicate beauty to precision power. Same goes for Disposition and Reflection. The title track Lateralus is an amazing journey with it's shifting time signatures based upon a mathematical principal. The only week song on the album is Ticks and Leaches which sounds like a throw back to the AEnima album. Otherwise every song on this album is a step up from the previous albums and are more progressive than ever. No wonder Robert Fripp likes this band and co-headlined a tour with them.

Report this review (#76273)
Posted Tuesday, April 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my FIRST PROG CD!!!In those dark ages I had no idea about prog's existence - I just listened to NIRVANA and hated all around me :-).A friend of mine gave me this odd CD saying:"This guy sounds exactly like Kurt...but the music's a bit weird..." I put this CD into my player and I'm!!!Writing a review on it!!! Well,Lateralus is one of my favouritest prog-metal albums.It has everything that The Masterpeice of Prog should have:it's innovative,modern,dark,complex,challenging and UNIQUE.I just CAN'T compare TOOL with any other band from our planet:TOOL are unique,and the same goes for their music. The best tracks here are "The Grudge","Parabola"(what a video!),"Lateralus"(the last 2 minutes of it just drive me insane!!!"With my feet upon the ground...") and "Disposition".I must add,that Lateralus is a must-have for EVERY prog-fan,and if you still haven't it,your wasting your life in vain!!!Come and get it!!!HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Report this review (#76364)
Posted Wednesday, April 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Tool's first fully prog album. The first two were not prog at all and the third was inconsistent in regards to it, with the progressive stuff being saved (aside from Eulogy) for the second half of the album. Here, it's all over the place... aside from the finale, anyway. It's not a Tool studio album if they aren't showing their hate for their fans by shoving filler in, right?

It's the first fully prog and the first cohesive one. Could argue that it has the least filler of the bunch too. However, I find Ćnima to be the better of the two albums. Why? Ćnima just has better tracks when they're not doing the filler. Much of the second half of Lateralus is fairly boring to be (excluding Triad) and you just couldn't say that about Ćnima's non-filler tracks. Only The Mars Volta rivals these guys in filler, I swear. At least Tool doesn't tack theirs on to the starts and ends of their regular tracks, I guess (see track four on Frances The Mute for details).

Anyway, occasional boredom aside, this is still a strong album. The album's first half is nearly five star worthy. If they inexpicably put out a second EP and just included tracks 1-7 from here, it would be worth about 4.75. But that's not the case and the second half is there. So it's knocked down to about 4.25. I guess that means it's a four.

Report this review (#77366)
Posted Saturday, May 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A excellent dark, moody, and emotional album from perhaps the most original prog-metal band on the scene today.

The music here is driven by the incredibly powerful drumming of Danny Carrey. He has an amazing sense of rhythm and even while playing in the most complex signatures he allows the listener to get sucked in and to grove along. He draws on a variety of influences for his drumming with tribal being the most unique and adding the greatest to his originality and power.

The music is comprised mostly of the rhythm section with Adam Jones jumping in at the perfect moments to add the most delicate texture, or solo to fit the song like a key into a lock. Maynard comes in on top of all of this with his vocals that will move you whether you like it or not. The man can sustain a note like few others and holds emotion with him the entire time. Whether screaming or gently lulling he adds a great presence to the music.

The album contains a fair mix of tunes. It has your obligatory rocking out sessions with "The Grudge", "Parabola", and "Ticks and Leeches", but it also has its more atmospheric and overall stronger moments. If you're going to buy one Tool album let this be it but be warned after you hear this you won't be able to stop with just one.

Report this review (#79127)
Posted Tuesday, May 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Undoubtly the best prog album to be realsed so far this century. This is the highlight of prog metal and tool at it's finest. Thier unique sound is cleraly drawn from inspirations like Pink Floyd and Metallica. The sound production reaches the levals of classics like "Dark Side of the Moon" and "Brain Salad Sugery"

The lyrics and vocals are amazing, filled with anger and meaning "Lateralus" is an essential piece. Essentially, you have the same sort of lyrics as in "Dream Theater" though a bit darker, but far better vocals behind them. There are no real highlights as there are far to many excellent sections

By time it is over, you won't think that 76 minutes have gone by

The Grudge: An excellent song with a cool bass and lyrics. The scream is one of the best I've heard (nearly a minute long, no breaths). This will instantly draw you into the sound and feel of Lateralus

Eon Blue Apocalypse: A nice instrumental bridge, continues the dark sound of the album

The Patient: A bit more mellow than the opening track, but still a good tune. Works to further drag you into the album

Mantra: another bridge, but short so as not to let your attention slip away

Schism: The most awesome song ever in the past five years and my favorite from tool. The bass opener is amazing and catchy (as many of thiers are). The lyrics are great and the distorted guitar riff is adds to feel of the album. great message to the song. "Schism" apparently won the "best metal preformance" at the grammys the year it was released

Parabol/Parabola: Two songs that are essntially one track. The dark, mellow first track is an excellent tune that explodes into the even better, heavier "Parabola"

"Ticks and Leeches": A great song to play when you're mad, the screaming lyrice and heavy riffs are built on the rising tempo of the previous two tracks. Great song

"Lateralus": An incredibly addicting bass riff to open the album followed by the best vocals to come from the band. Has a weird feel to it, like you're falling down a mineshaft

Dispostion/Reflection/Triad: The 23 minute epic is divided up into more manageble pieces. Dispostion contains awesome drumming, very hypnotic and dreamlike piece. Reflection is by far the best movement with a creepy instrumental section and soft lyrics. Triad closes the movement as a cool instrumental with some heavy guitar riffing

Faaip De Oiad: After the haunting epic that cam before the album closes with a strange track that's not really a song. Some heavy drumming bookends a static radio message about aliens. A nice end to a very dark album

While not being "true" prog rock, i's the finest example of prog-metal (though some may argue there is no such genre) and is essential for those who want to collect contemporary prog music instead of just the classic symphonic prog

Like it or not, this is what prog music has evolved into. I mean, think about, isn't progressve music characterized by change? If it is, then expect the forms of progressive music to change as well.

This album is essential for those who want to see the full extend of prog on music

Report this review (#79236)
Posted Wednesday, May 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars TOOL's masterpiece. I can't describe how good this album is.

Danny is incredible, he's hands down the best drummer I've ever heard. Not only can he be fast, and play the most amazing drum rolls or anything, he also has an amazing amount of feeling, plus he knows when to add a fill at the right time. This is an incredible ability for a drummer, most just seem to look for the spot in the song when they can just band away, this is not the case with Danny, he actually looks for the place where he can play less and in that way less is more because the feeling becomes eerie, atmospheric, calm, haunting, great.

Adam and Justin also have their best performances in this disc, but Dannu and Maynard steal the show. Maynard, as always, gives the longest screams, the most melodic screams, the feeling, it's amazing, he feels every note and gives it all he's got.

Every song is amazing, and even though some people might disagree the only filler song on here is Faaip de Oiad, which is not exactly worth it, even though it's a great ending to a haunting album nevertheless.

If you're looking for amazing musicianship, complex time signatures, metaphysical lyrics, metal riffs, and some jungle-like drumming this is definetely for you. Danny is incredible, and I'm not even a drummer, Danny is probably orgasmic for drummers who actually understand what he's doing.

5 stars, no less, if I could I'd give it an extra star!

Report this review (#79786)
Posted Tuesday, May 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Lateralus

Third studio album which was released in 2001. This is my first Tool album after many recommendations from friends, school friends and guitar forum fellows. And yes, since I am very into Dream Theater, Lateralus by Tool is one of the best progressive metal albums ever made.

My first impression of the album was when I looked at the cover. For you who don't know yet, the inner cover is the layers of human body. When I looking at it, I was thinking, ohh, this must be a progressive metal band. I also have asked some of my friends who are very into Tool. Most of them said, Lateralus is possibly the best album that can reflects the real character of Tool's music. Personally, I think besides progressive metal, Lateralus also contains some alternative metal/rock elements. But don't mistaken, the songs are just as heavy as progressive metal song can be.

The Grudge - What a great way to start the album, the intro of the song is really dark and heavy. The guitar sound is very dark and creating mysterious ambiences. And again, the song is very progressive, by looking at the time signature, 10/8, what a really unusual time signature. The drum riffs are very dynamic and change throughout the song, with heavy guitar rhythm. The vocal style is constant, always metal and dark. Really perfect and fits with the title, The Grudge.

Eon Blue Apocalypse - The song is rather short, just about one minute. In an interview, Eon Blue was Adam Jones's Great Dane that had cancer and died. The song is also rather simple, just guitar and bass for the whole song.

The Patient - Cool nice muted guitar intro along with wah-wah guitar sound. The vocal sound is also nice and mellow with slow drum riff. The energy of the song increased at 2:22, becoming heavier and metal, just great. Great vocal style and combination of cool melodic and drums. The style keeps constant until the song ends, however, the ending really good, with percussions and guitar part just like the intro.

Mantra - Another short song, just about one minute. I was freaked out when listened to this track for the first time, moreover, it was midnight. The track is just a weird sound like a slowed-down recording creating a sound like mantra being recited. Keenan stated the sound was the slowed-down recording of his Siamese cats being squeezed.

Schism - This is my favorite song and this is probably the most complicated song. The song won a Grammy for Best Metal Performance song. The time signature varies throughout the song, in this song, the time signature changes for about 20 times. The song starts with a nice mellow guitar line follows with cool bass line, very good, the time signature is 5/4. I always admire any drummer who can create and mastered such an amazing song with sick time signatures because I know its not easy to play a song with lots of time signature changes. The guitar solo has sound like Tom Morello's Audioslave, the song is Like A Stone, I don't know, that song was just passed through my head. The song ends with 4/4 time signature, very cool.

Parabol - A quite short song, but is the first part of a nine minutes song, since this song is directly connected with the next song, Parabola. Parabol is somewhat a mellow song, but very dark, and seems mysterious. The bass and guitar line is the same throughout the song, with nice slow/mellow vocal style.

Parabola - The continued song from Parabol, really different with Parabol. The energy of the song really high and very dynamic. The best part of this song, for me is the guitar rhythm and melody, just beautiful, with non-stop and dynamic drum riffs.

Ticks & Leeches - Cool drum intro with steady bass line. Slowly, the guitar volume brought up, really good, with also strange time signature. The drum riffs then becoming heavier with scream vocal sound. The song is also considered as one of the hardest vocal sound for the vocalist himself, as this song was rarely played at a concert because of its difficulties. With lots of screaming sound, he has to have a somewhat great stamina, that's why the song was rarely played.

Lateralus - Starts off with nice slow guitar line but changes when the drum section begins. The song is really metal and heavy, from four of the instruments (including vocal). This song is my second favorite song, really good musical composition.

Disposition - Not a very long song, but not very short as well, about four minutes. The bass line for the intro is really beautiful and good with guitar harmonics. The overall style is a slow song, no drum line whatsoever, just percussion sounds, simple but really has deep feeling.

Reflection - The first three minutes is instrumental section, means no vocal, just slow guitar, bass and drum lines. The vocal style is also dark and deep for the entire song. The coolest part is the guitar solo, simple but really fits the song, deep and mysterious.

Triad - It's a really strange song, with no vocal. The last two minutes is just empty, no any sound whatsoever, I was keep waiting for surprise, whether crazy guitar solo or sick drum riffs but there was nothing. However the instrumental part is pretty good, really has feeling in it.

Faaip de Oiad - The last song and somewhat short. The song is somewhat related with extra-terrestrial activity and Area 51 with a recorded sound about, like a interview with one of ET witness. Faaip de Oiad also means "the voice of God". The track ends with just like it was cut (the witness voice).

I give five giant stars to this album. Although at the first time, I don't really appreciate their music because its too strange for me at the first time, but lately, I can understand the real composition and concept behind it. Moreover, the hidden nuggets are extremely amazing, a masterpiece of progressive music.

Timur Imam Nugroho - Indonesia

Report this review (#80311)
Posted Sunday, June 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars what we have here is probably the only album that can look 'The Wall' in the eyes...Tool achieved the impossible:to make an album even better than 'Aenima'... Maynard James Keenan's theatrical performance is incomparable... Adam Jones plays riffs that follow mathematical patterns and is responsible for the great, once again, artwork... Justin Chancellor's accreditation is simply that he can play next to the monster called Danny Carey..what a drummer.. Danny had to choose between becoming a high mason priest and a drummer.. Lucky us, he chose the latter one... his drum kit is set according to the architecture of the Temple of Solomon... His drumming? Extraterrestrial.... Progressive rock at his peak...
Report this review (#81449)
Posted Monday, June 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I just got this album from a friend, and I was excited because of the great reviews. I had seen alot of the "Goth" kids at school wearing tool shirts, so I figured if that many people liked them, they should be pretty good.

However, while listening I was sorely dissapointed. I have listened to a few of their albums, and I dont get what people see in them. The only real talent in the band is their drummer. His stuff is pretty intricate and neat, but its lost amidst sensless heavy power riff guitars and alot of screams and grunts from the vocalist. Tool is your average metal band. They dont have many unique qualities, and I've heard this stuff before in other metal bands.

I also heard their side project A Perfect Circle, and I have to say they are ALOT better than Tool, but still nothing special

If you haven't heard Tool before, I would reccomend A Perfect Circle instead.

Report this review (#82867)
Posted Wednesday, July 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Tool's most acclaimed release, Lateralus gives us one of the most commercially available "prog" albums in quite some time. However, this is probably one of the most overrated albums in the prog archive, much like DT's Metropolis Pt 2., and they are overrated because of the building fan base from previous albums.

Lateralus, when compared to Aenima, pales in comparison. Aenima is more interesting, and generally the songs hold more qeight to them. A cool Lateralus concept is the Fibonacci numbers, which adds quite the intrigue to the album. Lateralus has many filler songs, like Aenima did, but the ones in Aenima were far more interesting than what is found here. The great tracks here are The Grudge, Schism, and Lateralus, with the rest being ok, but nothing amazing.

Lateralus is fairly heavy, and while interesting, lacks the depth that we find on Aenima. However, this album is far better than the abysmal 10,000 days.

Report this review (#83774)
Posted Friday, July 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars OK, I've talked a big game in the past about Tool, so it's time I get down to brass tacks and write a review or three. Let me first address the fact that because this album is my favorite recording of all time, and has been since its release, that this review is terribly biased and therefore worthless. Tool get bashed on this forum for being 'overrated' and 'untalented', just because they are not shreddy prog metal or symphonic balladeers. Tool are their own band, they always have been, and hopefully always will be. This album is everything a progressive metal album should be: technical (but only when necessary), dense, complex, intricately arranged, thoughtful and original. Tool integrate visual art into their music in unprecedented ways. The conceptual art on this album is brilliant and matches the music perfectly.

Since the album has been broken down track-by-track in at least a dozen other reviews, I will just highlight the fact that the title track is the very pinnacle of prog metal composition. I can't be 100% positive, but I think Tool are probably the first band to match their time signatures to mathematical sequences which tie into the themes of the song. I could write an essay on that idea alone, but I'll spare the reader at this point. The section that starts at about 4:50 and goes to the end of the song is a prime example of four artists, each at their peak, weaving together to create something greater than themselves.

It is not necessary that 'everyone' like this record, and clearly everyone does not. But I do think it is essential that everyone at least give it a shot, even if it isn't your proverbial 'cup of tea'. Sorry to have a fanboy moment, but I needed to make my feelings about this record known. Have a nice day.

Report this review (#84315)
Posted Thursday, July 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This was my first Progressive Metal CD ever, so, naturally, it's hard for me to look back on it and say anything truly negative. However, that fact remains that Tool just isn't that good.

When I first heard them, of course I was blown away, but now their music just comes off as pretentious, ignorant and dull. Lateralus is probably an okay place to start if you're just getting into this type of music, but otherwise, there's just so much more out there.

Tool is one of the most overrated bands of all time in my opinion. How I ever liked them is beyond me, because listening to this music now,everything seems very bland and distant. It gives me a headache. Don't get me wrong, DC is a great drummer (although he's seeming less and less original all the time) and Maynard is a decent singer, but overall, they're a very average band and I say this having listened to them for years. Most Tool fans just refuse to wake-up and realize that their favorite band simply isn't all that good.

Upon buying 10,000 Days, I actually said, "Ugh, what happened to them? They used to be so good." Well, as it turns out, nothing happened to them. They've always been this way. Sorry, Tool just isn't my cup of tea. It's very average music that thinks it's better than it actually is. 3/5

Report this review (#85086)
Posted Saturday, July 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Arguably Tool's most brilliant effort, at least until this point in their career. It's also the one album that's harder to digest and it works both ways. You have to dig and explore and at the same time the songs voluntarily come to you. In my experience and with that of my friends, it inevitably comes a moment of clarity where Lateralus suddenly starts shining in all its glory.

"The Grudge" is a powerful yet intriguing opener, featuring towards the end what's vocalist Maynard James Keenan's longest scream ever on record towards the end. Amazingly, it clocks in over 20 seconds. "The Grudge" should be mandatory listening to every emo/core band that's popping out of nowhere these days. "Eon Blue Apocalypse" serves as a segue into "The Patient", a typical strange yet beautiful Tool track which washes into another segue, "Mantra".

Then comes the singles stuff, first "Schism" in which bassist Justin Chancellor shines. "Parabol" prepares the terrain for "Parabola", sharing the same melody line between both and the former segues into the latter with an explosion that's unlike Tool yet sounds distinctly like them if that's even possible (it's Tool, boys and girls, anything is possible, remember that). "Parabola" features some of the most kick-ass riffs Tool has ever produced and is definitely a great choice of a single - but just how Tool manages to release unedited over 6 minute singles and still having a raging success plus lots of airplay, is just beyond my comprehension.

Things get darked and even more intriguing towards the end. The "Lateralus", "Disposition" and "Reflection" segment is brilliant and totally Toolesque in every way, from the constantly odd and changing time signatures, to Danny Carey's brilliant drumming, Maynard's soulful voice while guitarrist Adam Jones - who is responsible for all the art work and video production - handles procedures rather well. "Triad" wraps things up but not without the weirdest recording of someone rather excitedly talking about aliens and Area 51.

I find it very difficult to convey the power and genious this album contains and I'm sure I haven't done a good job on that department. Listen for yourself because this album is truly a landmark of progressive metal in the new millenium. Granted, Tool is not for everyone but this is an essential in every proghead collection.

Report this review (#85111)
Posted Saturday, July 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I have had an impression that Tool is a completely metal band but now that I listen to this Lateralus I find that that is not the case. Of course there are some uninteresting metallish moments on the record but over all this is quite good prog music. Yes it is strong in it's means ofg expression but there are alot of gentle and atmospheric music too. This is not essential and many prog collections do well without but I think that nobody can say that this is bad music. It's wel done and enjoyable to listen and has enough imagination to keep your attention all the way. A good 3 stars album!
Report this review (#85250)
Posted Monday, July 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This, to me, is definitely one of the prog masterpieces of the past 15-20 years. I think that those who arn't really into prog metal or those who do not like Tool's earlier stuff should at very least check this out.

The album begins with the masterpiece that is "The Grudge". Danny Carey's drumwork is the highlight here, as it is throughout much of the album. This song is varied and complex, ranging from soft and brooding to heavy and explosive. Although I don't hold Keenan in the "God" status that he seems to have obtained among Tool diehards, I think his lyrics are somewhat thought provoking and his singing is excellent--very expressive.

"Eon Blue Apocalypse", a soundscape introducing "The Patient" (or is it ending "The Grudge"?) follows. "The Patient" is another dynamic rocker in 5/4. The layered guitars are very interesting here. One of the highlights of the album for me.

"Mantra" is another sort of ambient track. It sounds almost like whale calls. It is more or less a filler, connecting "The Patient" to "Schism".

"Schism" is a solid song, definitely some interesting bass work and drumming here. It builds in a similar way to "The Patient" and "The Grudge". The lyrics here are good, discussing communication, I believe.

"Parabol" is the softer beginning to "Parabola". I enjoy this two song set a lot. The riffs here are pretty powerful, and there are some more good lyrics. "Parabol" is an excellent introduction, as the themes presented here are presented again in a heavier fashion on "Parabola".

"Ticks & Leeches" is by far the heaviest song here, and many cite it as the weakest. My opinion, is however, that it is one of the best. There are some truly sublime guitar parts here, and some very technical yet expressive drumming. The volcals are pretty incredble as well, as they put incredible strain on Keenan's vocal cords. This song has only been performed once, I believe.

"Lateralus" is the second true masterpiece on this album. The lyrics deal with the fibonacci sequence, and interestingly enough the patter of syllables in the opening lines is the first part of the sequence. I can't really explain what it is I like about this song so much, but it might be the way it flows and just fits with the rest of the album.

The "Disposition/Reflection/Triad" trilogy is interesting, and incorporates a lot of ambient elements. Disposition is entrancing, and the steady groove and build of Reflection holds my attention througout the song. Triad is the weakest song in the trilogy, and possibly of the album (excluding the "filler"), and is just a hard rocking instrumental in 3.

The album concludes with "Faaip de Oiad", Danny Carey's percussion piece. He solos madly in the background while a hysterical man warns the listener of the infiltration of the US government by extradimensional beings. An amusing (yet spooky) end to a serious album.

I think that this album works very well as a whole, and should definitely be given your full attention. It flows well and is very atmospheric. The packaging is very good. No liner notes here! Just a cutaway of the human body. The production is excellent. Every instrument comes in clearly, even in the heaviest of passages. The "HDCD" format sounds full and bright. This album is an experience. A gripping masterpiece of prog.

Report this review (#86713)
Posted Friday, August 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Tool took a whole new direction from their grungier sounding 90's material with "Lateralus", 2001's "Intelli-Prog" album by the band. The album does sound more intelligent while still keeping the metal fans happy with their hard hitting riffs and shouts.



The CD opens with one of the heaviest songs on the album. It has a large build-up before bursting into a metal frenzy. There's a lot of highlights in this song from a guitarist's standpoint, and Maynard James Keenan's vocals are shouty, a lot like what was heard on the previous album "AEnema".


This merely acts as a bridge between "The Grudge" and "The Patient" and it works pretty well.


This is probably the best example of the prog side of Tool. A soft repeated guitar part plays along with Maynard's softer vocal range. Two minutes in, the guitar crashes into an epic and powerful sounding riff, and you can really hear by the drumming that Danny Carey is something special here. The song continues after relaxing a little, before returning to the softer side of things before ending.


More of an intro to "Schism", as it is included in the music video.


Another proggier track, it begins with the bass and guitar repeating a simple part. The drums softly come in along with Maynard's soft vocals, repeating lyrics almost like an android. The song is played in a very strange time signature, like many of Tool's songs. Probably one of the songs you must hear yourself to understand. The drumming is spectacular on this track.


The soft part leading into "Parabola". We hear some echoes and some strange chanting vocals from Maynard.

"PARABOLA" Straight away, the song kicks in at full force, and sounds like some strange Science Fiction song asking for purpose or reason of being. Another song which explores Tool's newer sound. The guitar solos pulled off almost weave through the sound of the vocals, which is something that sounds pretty special. A variety of vocal ranges are used here.


Sounds a little out of place from the rest of the album. Some bongo-style drumming is heard at the start, along with one of the strangest vocal performances I've ever heard. Apparently this song puts so much strain on Maynard James Keenan's voice that the band almost never play it live. And you can almost feel how much strain is put on his voice.


A very special sounding song, which, like many songs on the album, begins softly and then explodes into a killer headbanging riff. Some of the science-fiction style noises evident in "Schism" or "Parabola" make a return.


These three songs are in a trilogy clocking in at about 23 minutes. "Disposition" is a very soft relaxing style song which is the softest heard on this record. The song then moves into "Reflection" which has more bongo-style drumming. It adapts the first movement into something heavier, then moves into "Triad", which is an explosive and tense guitar riff combined with huge drum clatters and echoing vocals in the distance. We are given two minutes of "breathing space" at the end, which provides the space for the secret track.


This is rather pointless, and it contains the prank sample of the Art Bell Area 51 phone- call combined with static which almost hurts your ears.

- - - [4/5]

Overall, this album is definetely an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Even if you just like metal music, then there's something for every rock fan to find something good in here. Though it's not too heavy to put too many people off. There are a couple of main flaws in this album, mainly that the amazing sounding parts are only a few seconds long and just don't go on for long enough. I often find myself skipping forwards just to get to the good part of a song. Also, there are tracks that aren't actually real songs. At the front end of the album, there's a song, then a filler "intro" track and then another song, and this leads right up to "Parabola". Apart from that, this is an amazing album, and if you listen to it you'll soon see that the positive drowns out the negative. It's an aqquired taste.

Report this review (#87295)
Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars First, Lateralus is thus, far, is a masterpiece of progressive metal and for that mater, impeccable display of muscianship in th eexpansive realm of modern rock as well as one of most consistent albums released in the 21st Century. Other albums, released this centurry held similar, venerated regard are: Taal's Skymind, Porcupine Tree's Deadwing, and The Mars Volta's De-loused in Comatorium, as well select others.

If you are intersted in prog metal and are searching for speed solos Grade A musicinaship, a la Dream Theater, I would not advise you to purchase this album, or other Tool albums for this matter. It is quite misleading to label Tool as a progressive metal band considering company the are with Dream Theater, Symphony X, Andromeda, Anathema, ect...

Tool is more similar to Grunge than metal. As huge fan of Nirvana, Pixies, early- Smashing Pumpkins, Green River, Melvins, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Primus, perhaps, Tool was an easy transistion, and should be and smooth transition for those who appreciate "Grunge," no pun intended as I do. However, Tool has more intellectual capacities than their similarly sounding Grunge counterparts, and thus, have been deemed progressive metal.

A couple examples of the erudite innuendos found in of Tool's music, particulalry on Lateralus, are:

"Schism" is a song about the dichotomy within the church, and how, supposedly, it has been corrupted by the peole who take part in it

"Lateralus" trhe vocals are sung in the Fibonacci sequense. Perhaps more fascinating is the lyrics "Black and White are, all I seee, I my infancy, Red and Yellow then came to be" comes from the Aborigines people of Australia who only used to paint in black and white, and found out in time, how to paint in the colors of red and yello.

^^Its these esoteric references that place them and intellectual step above their prog metal counterparts, and several floors above their Grunge counterparts.

I strongly would advise you to purchase this album if are intriguied in angst-ridden yet thought-provoking reminiscent of classic grunge.

Report this review (#88604)
Posted Thursday, August 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
el böthy
5 stars "This body holding me, reminding me that I am not alone in This body makes me feel eternal. All this pain is an illusion."

To say the least, an extremely interesting say the least! To say the truth: A masterpiece in music. This album, this music is not bound to one genre, as in a way Tool is a genre of its own. To say they are Metal is not right, nor wrong... to say they are progressive is a fact, with this album those who are still debating the "Is Tool prog?" matter should have no second thoughts, this album is progressive in nature, cause Tool is progressive in nature. And yet it's not the progression we are all so accustomed to. This is not Yes, this is not Dream Theater (by this I am not saying this bands are weaker in any way), Tool is Tool, and Lateralus is genius.

What makes this band so hard to swallow for us prog-heads is that at first listen, Tool seams some kind of alternative rock band more than a prog band. This is because Tool's music, what makes them so damn good is that they are not evident, to understand and appreciate Tool one must really dive in it, one must listen to their albums entirely, and maybe even keep in mind that you are not listening to a collection of songs, but rather one big piece of music. And last, but certainly not least...the lyrics. I don't remember any band, with the exception of maybe Van der Graaf Generator and Pink Floyd, where the lyrics are so important to the whole feeling the album delivers. This album has some of the best, if not the best songwriting I have ever heard and read, all thanks to Mr. Keenan.

The record starts with "The Grudge", possibly the best track of the album. Here all instruments start at the same time, every one of them playing their version of the song so to speak till Keenan drops in after almost two minutes. This song is a rollercoaster, although maintaining a certain link to it, it keeps on changing from hard to soft to some different kind of hard to some different kind of soft...and so on and so on...

"The Patient" was actually the first song I heard from the album, thanks to this site. I could not see what the big fuzz was all about. But as I said before, this all changed when I got the album. In this song Keenan delivers of many incredible moments with is writing and singing repeating over and over again "I'm going to wait it out" till you believe he actually will.

"Schism" is quite possibly the best known song as it was released as a single and had a video, disturbing and brilliant I might add in Mtv. Again Keenan does an impeccable job, as well as the rest of the band.

"Parabol/Parabola" are two sides from the same corder. And as the name implies it, if you know some math, this parabola never stop, they go into does the meaning of the lyrics when Keenan softly chants "This body, this body holding me, feeling eternal all this pain is an illusion".

"Ticks & leeches" starts with some crazy drumming, courtesy of Daney Carey, one of the best drummers out there. In a 100 top drum album I saw recently in the internet Laterlaus hold the first position thanks to this man. You have not heard any drumming like this before, I tell you its absolutely unique and brilliant.

"Lateralus" the title song has the impressive Fibonacci sequence in it...if that is not a work of genius I don't know what it is. Ah, and in case you think this song is just an excuse to use this kind of "mathematical junk"...I must also say that it works and in fact this is one of the best moments in the whole album.

"Disposition" has just three lines of lyrics, some atmospheric guitar and bass sounds and some tribal...but the end result is hypnotically great! I really, really enjoy this track a lot.

"Reflection" follows is a similar path, as this is also the sequel to "Disposition". This, the longest track of the album takes 11 minutes to climax, and every second of it is justified and brilliant.

The last song is an instrumental: "Triad", in which the guitarist Adam Jones plays hard rocking riffs and tunes while Carey keeps the rhythm in 3/4...although this is not the closer. The closer is actually a radio recording of a frighten man saying that he worked in Area 51, this all while some soundscapes play along this mans story...the end result? DO NOT LISTEN TO LATE AT NIGHT! It's really disturbing, but a really unique way to end a unique album.

"So crucify the ego before it's far too late To leave behind this place so negative and blind and cynical And you will come to find that we are all one mind Just let the light touch you and let the words spill thorough Just let them pass right through, bringing out our hope and reason."

Just another proof of this album genius...

Report this review (#89397)
Posted Sunday, September 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars At first I liked the album, I would have given it a 4 star rating. But as time passes by I find Tool more and more undesirable and less enjoyable. Lateralus is an okay album, on some occasions I'll pick it up and listen to a few select songs from the album. Tool is weird to me, I can't find a way to like them at all. Sure the bass and the drums are quite talented but they're a little to slow and repetitve to me. Lateralus isn't that bad of an album if you've liked them, it's the best I've heard so far, and I find it okay, good but not essentail all together. Schism is good, so is Porabola, Lateralus and some others. Give a listen and see how you like it, as for me I stick with 3/5 for the band.
Report this review (#89677)
Posted Thursday, September 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Mr. Wakeman Can Do No Wrong!

I did purchase the CD right here in my country - just three weeks ago after having been satisfied with the band's 10,000 Days album. As I said on my review of 10,000 Days (TTD) album at this site I did mention that the trigger to purchase Tool's TTD was that the powerful statement by Mr. Rick Wakeman during his interview with ProgArchives wheen he did say that Tool is an excellent band. You bet, Mr. Wakeman! This "Lateralus" album confirms again your statement that this band is truly an excellent band.

A Bit of Background .

Please don't get wrong perception about the above title! It's never meant to elaborate the story of the band - you can search abundant resources on the net that talk about Tool. What I mean with this "Background" thing is to give you the point of reference on the nuances when I'm writing this review. To be specific, I'm trying to give you an idea of what sorts of music I'm listening to at the same time when I'm listening to "Lateralus" album so that you know how I feel and how I project my opinion about this album. I'm also listening to Evergrey "Apocalypse Monday", Shakary 2006 double CD, Iron Maiden "A Matter of Life and Death", Mastodon, God Bless (Indonesian famous rock band that has just released their vintage albums on CD format - thanks God!), Guruh Gypsy (Indonesian prog band), Zenit "Surrender", Dream Theater "Score" DVD, David Gilmour "On An Island", Cardeilhac, IQ "Subterranea" and "Dark Matter", Billy Cobham "Spectrum". Hmmm .. quite a diverse music styles, I think. This has given me a flavor of various music styles and it enriches my opinion about "Lateralus".

Album Review

The music of "Lateralus" is really solid, clean and neatly composed. It's not just the composition, the performance - how each member of the band delivers his virtuosity - are also great. Each member seems to have a good sense of how to interject their instrument at precise time so when it is all summed up together it produces great sound and nuance. The album is best enjoyed with high volume and decent sound system. Beware the guitar and vocal distortion! One thing peculiar to this album and TTD album is that it sounds to me that Bill Bruford is playing progressive metal music because the drum sound is very similar with Bruford.

The album kicks off with hard bashing music of "The Grudge" (8:36) with an upbeat tempo and high energy. The track projects an excellent dynamic that moves naturally in unique time signatures. Observe how the tom drum is creatively played by Danny Carey. It's one of the most dynamic drum works I have ever listened. Maynard James Keenan delivers great vocal in high and low register notes excellently. He even makes a distorted vocal in long sustain mode. The combined effort of Adam Jones (guitars) and Justin Chancellor (bass) is really excellent.

"Eon Blue Apocalypse" (1:04) is a bridge that connects to next excellent track "The Patient" (7:14) which still maintain the upbeat tempo but in an ambient mood. Maynard still continues with his high register notes singing. The repetitive guitar riffs are enriched with dynamic drumming and distorted guitar solo. It's a great composition. After ambient bridge of "Mantra" (1:12) the music continues with "Schism" (6:47) with music style that sounds like a continuation of previous tracks. The opening part is an ambient and mellow music with bass and guitar accompany vocal followed with hard edge guitar riffs and screaming vocal. The interlude part with repetitive guitar fill (that sounds like synthesizer) is nice.

"Parabol" (3:04) is another mellow bridge that connects to excellent track with a dynamic rhythm section and powerful melody, "Parabola" (6:03). "Ticks & Leeches" (8:10) opens beautifully with impressive drum work followed with metal music demonstrating heavy riffs and screaming vocal. In a way, it reminds me to the music of Metallica with softer guitar riffs and more dynamic beats. I like the way Justin plays his bass followed with distorted guitar work by Adam on top of dynamic drumming. Maynard's vocal also screams like hell in his energetic way. Wow! Man .. this is one of my favorite tracks of this album.

The album title track "Lateralus" (9:24) starts off with soft guitar fills in repetitive set of notes - well, this has become the characteristic of Tool music: repetition! It flows with heavy rhythm music with hard guitar riffs - and again .. dynamic drumming! - with powerful vocal line. The strength of this track is on the richness of variations between one segment of the music to the other. The nuance created by this track projects an excellent combination of ambient and metal music.

"Disposition" (4:46) is an ambient and mellow track in monotonous form with repeated chords of guitar and traditional percussion. "Reflection" (11:07) is in the similar vein with "Disposition" and I tend to get bored with these two tracks. Hey need "right" mood to enjoy because of the elongated repetition. "Triad" (8:46) concludes the album with another heavy rhythm music with excellent riffs and powerful drumming.

Overall, this is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Tool's music is unique and I don't think there is other band alike. The root of Tool sounds to me like a King Crimson ("Discipline" onwards) music with heavier guitar distortion. Take King Crimson "The Power To Believe" album and play "Level Five" track. It sounds similar with Tool music. Another band that I think the style is a bit close to Tool is Tiles. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#93537)
Posted Thursday, October 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've said it before, I'm not a fan of prog metal. I've tried to listen to some of your classic prog metal and find them too similar to 80's hair bands and those cliched speed metal bands like Metallica and the like. Now, I'm not slagging them, it's just that it's not my style. Now, what is it about TOOL that makes me enjoy them so much? It has to do with the themes that Keenan writes, (no Tolkienism/fantasy to be heard anywhere) and the way they can switch gears in the middle of a song without using keyboards as a main instrument. They do use a little bit of keys here and there, and they remind me of early 80's RUSH with there use, but it's mainly a showcase for the band, especially Chancellor's bass and Carey's drumwork. Although Keenan wails during "Ticks and Leeches", (and that's a good thing), he does his best singing on this album, just check out the title track for all you need to know and hear. Kudos also to Jones who's guitar work never gets the acolades, he's a steadfast part of the band and his riffs and buzzing guitars are wholly original, never cliched. What I love so much about this album is the way they melded the little inbetween songs that, when done on their previous album, halted the overall rhythm. It's angry, soft and grooves when need be and in all the right spots. What it also has when compared to their latest disc is thunderous climaxes, and man they just blow me away. What then makes them prog? There's no simple chorus, bridge, guitar solo, chorus. They do things their way, and damn if they don't do it with their own style. Sure, maybe in their early days you'd hear a bit of Sabbath, mixed with a smidgen of King Crimson, blended with some Grunge. On this album and their previous, they created a sound that many, many other bands have copied with middling success. This is their masterpiece and I don't think it'll ever be topped, (even by themselves, sadly). A modern day prog/metal classic of the highest order.
Report this review (#97481)
Posted Monday, November 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Excelent metal album with considerable Crimson influence.

The Grudge : Powerfull track. Excelent opening with perfect drums and very good guitar/bass crafting. 5 stars.

Eon Blue Apocalypse : It would be anfair to rate this track because a 1 minute song can't be rate as a masterpiece nor a lame track, but i will discrive it nontheless. It's basically a suspence track with very nice guitar armonies at the end. At first, the guitar holds a high pitched and the molody is done by the bass.

The Patient : The first two minutes are very carefully done, with nice effects and scared-like vocals. Then it starts a heavy part with the ausence of the usual counterpoint guitars, it's more like a DT riff would be, but Adam Jones' spirit is still present. 4 stars.

Mantra : Another track which cannot be rated. I think it's whale singing for a minute, it doesn't add or takes anything.

Schism : Great track, a very Crimsonish riff with great ( as always drums ). Some of the signatures found in this track are 10/4 and 12/8 (correct me if i'm wrong in the last one). 5 stars.

Parabol / Parabola : Parabol is a very minimalistic opening for parabola. It consists on a bass, a guitar, assolated cymbals and extended vocals. Parabola is (in my opinion) the most straightfoward metal song in the hole album. Great drums and bass, good vocals and guitars. 4 stars.

Ticks & Leeches : Good musicanship, but the lyrics are the worst of the hole album (in my opinion). Some screams, not death metal growls, but real screams. Drums are the best as always. 3 stars.

Lateralus : Good enough. A very standard tool track though, it contains elements of all the previous tracks. 3 stars.

Disposition : An excelent experimental track in the sence of that Jones experiments a lot with uncommon ways of playing his guitar. It's difficult to tell, but it seems like he is using metal objects to pull de strings, playing very close to the bridge and stuff like that. 5 stars.

Reflection : I haven't heard very well 10,000 days but 'till this album, no track is more experimental and ambicious as reflection. Wired effects, in the guitar and in the vocals as well. 5 stars.

Triad : One of the few tracks with keyboards. First part is very rock oriented, then a spacey-metal part with the keys i mentioned, then some ciclonic guitar solos, then all fades out, and the guitar keeps doing some riff which ends suddenly. Then a minute of silence and... 4 stars.

Faaip de Oiad : Noises with scary words basically, good closure.

5+4+5+4+3+3+5+5+4 / 9 = 4.2 stars

Report this review (#104031)
Posted Thursday, December 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. This is dark, atmospheric and heavy as hell ! Too long for my tastes but man this is good. I prefer "Aenima" because it's not as polished and is more raw and dirty.

"The Grudge" opens with bass and drums creating a dark atmospheric soundscape right away. This tune really gets better as it plays out. There are lots of great guitar before Maynard's scream, followed with an ominous bass line with scorching guitar melodies over top. The drumming is amazing. "Eon Blue Apocalypse" is really a short guitar exhibition. "The Patient" starts kind of slow, but things kick in about 2 1/2 minutes with guitars and drums, and the vocals sound fantastic. The melody is incredible after 6 minutes. "Mantra" is a short, haunting composition. "Schism" features a powerful melody of drums and guitars, it's quite heavy. The drumming is again awesome, and the vocal line "I know the pieces fit ! " is great ! "Parobal" is a short, slow paced, atmospheric tune that is like an intro to "Parabola". The contrast between the two songs works to perfection. "Parabola" has an absolutely scorching intro and the drums,guitars and vocals are outstanding throughout.

"Ticks & Leeches" opens with more amazing drum work, Maynard is at his best and at times reminds me of Eddie Vedder. Love the way he screams over the crunchy guitars about 6 minutes in. "Lateralus" opens with riffs that are destroying everything in it's path, no survivors ! I really like the contrast between the atmospheric and heavy soundscapes, and both are so good ! This is too good to be true ! "Disposition" gives us time to recuperate after the assault of "Lateralus". This song consists of calm vocals with guitar and percussion. "Reflection" is more uptempo but also more experimental.This is the longest song and drums lead the way.The vocals are sort of dark and deep in this mysterious, haunting track. "Triad" may well be my favourite song on this album. This is an instrumental that opens with drums that build and build until you can't breathe, while the guitar pierces through the pounding drums. This is punishingly heavy as guitar riffs join the drums and bass. The last song is samplings of some guy speaking.

I confess this record blew my socks off ! My three favourite tunes are "Parabola" , "Lateralus" and "Triad" but in truth this whole album is absolutely amazing !

Report this review (#104629)
Posted Tuesday, December 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Tool´s masterpiece Lateralus came from a five years hiatus in which the band was involved in some legal battle with their label. No one knew what to expect really beacuase as usually when asked about the new album Maynard James Keenan and the guys would say ¨oh do we have a new album? what is it called? ¨. So after a million rumors and jokes from the band like posting on their website that the album title was ¨Systema Encéphale¨ it came out.

The Grudge starts the album and right away you here a completely different sound from that of Aenima, Maynard starts with some strange vocal effects, Danny Carey´s drumming in this song (and on the rest of the album) is just superb, an epic Tool song well known for Maynard´s 20 second scream near the end.

Eon Blue Apocalypse is the intro to the Patient, another beatiful track featuring excellent vocals and guitar work.

Track four is Mantra, this is Maynard squeezing his cat.

Schism was the first single of the album a really strange and awesome song with excellent bass by Justin Chancellor who mainly wrote this track, a video from this song was also released and like all Tool videos it was visually amazing.

Parabol/Parabola an amazing song divided in two parts about inmortality (seems to be the subject of the album). Every member is at he´s peak here.

Ticks and Lechees is a really heavy track featuring some excellent drumming from Carey and sick voclas from Maynard but somehow this track doesn´t fit in the album, it seems to me they HAD to release a really heavy song for fans that are more into that but that´s just my opinion, there are 3 minutes of silence in the middle of the song which i also don´t understand.

Lateralus is a Tool classic, it has an odd time signature that supposedly is related with the Fibonacci sequence and therefore the album can be arranged in different track orders to get another experience - meaning, this is the best song on the album.

Disposition/Reflection/Triad - A 20 minute epic divided into three parts different from everything Tool had done before, very spiritual lyrics and very emotional music, also Triad is Tool´s frist instrumental track ever.

Faaip de Oiad is an awfull track where a guy talks about aliens and area 51, this type of closure has become a Tool´s trademark.

Overall this is an almost perfect album, a masterpiece.

Report this review (#108260)
Posted Sunday, January 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars WOW. Just, WOW.

Not much can be said about this album that hasn't already been said. For me, this is it. This is the masterpiece of the past 10 or 20 years. This is one of the few modern albums I can put next to recordings of Beethoven or Schostakovich and feel it completely belongs there. In 100 years, they'll be teaching it in schools.

As with every other great piece of music I have ever heard, I didn't get Lateralus on the first listen. Like Mahler's 9th Symphony, it sounded like nothing at first. Only slowly, with time, do the pieces start to click into place, and the big picture suddenly dawns on you. That 'reveal' is one of the reasons I listen to music. Other reasons include moments like the outro of the title track, where the band suddenly scitches into 4/4 and gives us one of the great song outros of all time. It's the kind of moment Wagner lovers pay $100 and sit through six hour operas to hear. It's music of the highest calibur, and if it isn't 5-star worthy than not much else is.

Report this review (#118777)
Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I am so impressed by this band. I went out and picked this up about three weeks ago after reading all the great reviews and I was not the least bit disappointed. The music is dark and murky and as intense as anything put out in prog. They have an uncanny knack of meshing or weaving the bass and guitar into a sound that is almost one. The bass player uses more treble in his sound and less of a bottom end while the guitarist has a greater bottom end sound making for some really compelling arrangements The vocalist is incredible with stuff like "The Grudge" and "Ticks and Leaches" It is incredible when he sings "is this what you wanted" it is almost as if he is at one with the band and they are just slamming you with every ounce of musical energy any band could muster. Really punishing and intense as some weapon of mass destruction in musical terms. The drummer is extraordinarily technical and he plays a lot of "off timing beats" with a ferocity that is unmatched by most today. I have been unable to take Lateralus out of my cd player. I even brought it to work with me but it was too intense to play there as it keeps me from being able to focus on my work. It is that powerful. I just bought Aenima but I am waiting until I wear out Lateralus before I attempt to listen to it. Five Stars as this is an essential in my book. If it takes five years between albums then so be it as there is almost 80 minutes of music on this album which in my mind makes for two releases.
Report this review (#118909)
Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Musically and poetically inspired. What else can you say about an album that is so near- perfect in every way? From the excellent production and mature musicianship to the brilliant lyrics, LATERALUS shows us what happens when a band has something to say and follows through on it to the smallest detail.

While admittedly not a concept album in the traditional sense, any close listener will pick up on the idea that LATERALUS is telling a story of sorts. And what makes this story so masterfully powerful is that it doesn't rely on a tired plot that follows a rigid linear flow. Instead, TOOL offers us a collection of songs that represent sentiments more than episodic installments in a time-bound story. The result, then, is a timeless work of art that forces the listener to pick up the pieces and make sense out of the apparent fragmentation. And when it can be discovered, the wholeness here can be experienced as arguably one of the most profoundly inspiring musical journeys that any band has yet to offer.

Anyone who may have been turned off by the band's inflated public personality or by their previous musical explorations into the occult or sarcastically bitter realms should look no further than LATERALUS to find some truth. In fact, anyone who claims that TOOL is nothing more than an angry metal band has obviously not listened to this album. If they have, they haven't listened closely enough. Through LATERALUS, we hear a narrator that is so sensitively in tune with his fellow person that he finds himself victimized by his brother's selfish tendencies, his lover's fading interest. In "The Grudge," we hear in the anxious lyrics and blistering hard rock the song of the better man trapped in a stagnant situation that can only be resolved if the stubborn party will only "give away the stone." "The Patient" gives us this same man, now wondering why he's sufferring and waiting for someone who inflicts so much pain. Surely, if there was no "loving embrace to see me through, I certainly would have walked away by now." In fact, we understand in "Schism" that the pieces have to fit seeing as how "I watched them fall away." "Parabol" and "Parabola" serve as a beautiful distraction for the sufferer. But is it really a distraction? Surely there is some truth in the idea that "this body holding me" is a reminder that as we are eternal, "all this pain is an illusion." Nevertheless, the man is sucked back into the conflict in "Ticks and Leeches," and it is here when he loses his humanity. As he screams, "Is this what you wanted? Is this what you had in mind? I hope you choke," we understand that the stubborn party has succeeded, and the beautifully contemplative musical break toward the end of the rageful song testifies to the notion that the better man has now been made worse.

The mystery here, however, is whether "Lateralus" serves to conclude the album proper or comment on the tragedy that precedes it. Reminding us of the eternal nature of life and of the implicit futility of engaging in such conflicts, we are forced to make up our own minds when it comes to the end of the album. Is our sufferring narrator able to rise above the trials and tribulations of this world and recognize the inherent transience of it all, "finding beauty in the dissonance"? Or does the song merely lead into the atmospherics that make up the ethereal end of the album? Perhaps the conflict and the peace are meant to coexist. After all, despite all the pain that the most sensitive of us experience as a consequence of being so intensely connected with our brothers and lovers, would we really want to "rise above" it all? Sure, we'd find more peace, but would we still be here? Would we truly "swing on the spiral of our divinity and still be a human"?

Report this review (#125329)
Posted Sunday, June 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Tool are the kind of group in which each album they produce and sell has its own feel to it. Every one of their works is individual, there's no real common surface sound [aside from the obvious intensity put into it] throughout their discography. Undertow was sort of grungy and metallic, but still had its progressive elements. Ćnima was still very agressive, but the songs were constructed in a different means, and far more progressively. The recent 10,000 Days album was very dark and atmoshperical [heavy still in tact by all means], but it just had a different style of sound.

Then there's Lateralus. This album is perhaps the most original and gripping of the Tool releases, as its sound branches off from anything any band in Progressive Metal have ever constructed. The layering, the soundscapes, the textures, even the segue tracks are welcoming on this album. Everything Tool put into this screams "Progressive," but still seems to maintain the angst and emotion that heavy music has. Its basically intense prog without the boringness or the cliche keyboards, or fiddling with xylophones or bagpipes or whatever those pretentious, spacy burnout prog artists are doing. Lateralus is indeed a unique and powerful release, arguably Tool's best [though one should never have to choose their favored of Tool's work, that is indeed a decision no one should ever have to make]. The album begins with...

1. The Grudge: ...this song. At a first listen, its a great song, but not much happening here. Well, listen closely [or with headphones]. There are patterns on the drums and bass that match higher than those patterns explored by Meshuggah or Pelican. The more you hear this song, the more you manage to take in how brilliantly mathmatical it is. The Grudge is a fairly heavy song, consisting of very strong parts and a 20-second scream by the man himself, Maynard James Keenan. Its about letting things go, and forgivness through...alchemy? Cryptic as they may be, the lyrics are insightful and as a usual Tool song are open to interpretaton. Unforgettable track. 8.5/10

2. Eon Blue Apolcalypse: People are screaming "filler" all over the place here, but I'm not complaining, its a neat little guitar piece that establishes a good foreground for the next track. It would probably be more important to the overall layout of the album if it were only a bit longer, though. 6/10

3. The Patient: One of the best tracks that Lateralus has to offer, and perhaps the best set of lyrics, The Patient is surely a trip to remember. Opening with Eon Blue Apocalpyse-reminiscent guitars, and some atmospherical computerized-synth noises, it may seem a bit foriegn to an average Tool fan, but once the vocals kick in, you feel as if you're right at home, but still on an amazing journey. When the song denses up with distortion and throbbing drum patterns, the experience intensifies, all in all delivering an indescribable and brilliant piece kudos to Tool. 9/10

4. Mantra: This one I don't always get, but hey, to each their own. Whatever Tool wants to do with segues is fine with me, as long as there's plenty of substance on the album. 5/10

5. Schism: Radio single, yes. Music video, yes. But prog indeed, and also the defining bassline that makes Justin Chancellor a fine bassist to respect. I didn't know that these types of time signature existed [the band jokingly refers to it as 6.5/8] until I listened to this album. Schism seems constructed for radio at first, but much like all of Tool's catalog, doesn't follow cookie-cutter instructions that the media dishes out. And hey, if you ever invite Maynard over to hang out, don't test him with a jiggsaw puzzle, 'cause he knows the pieces fit [can't stunp MJK!]. Beautifully done. 8/10

6. Parabol: Its debatable whether or not this one is really "filler." I think it serves as a beautiful intro to "Parabola." Not much can be said here, its sort of calm, ambient, just a chill-bridge into the next song, which isn't either calm nor ambient. 6.5/10

7. Parabola: Yes! Another song that is played on the radio but still has progressive inclinations and credentials [without being soft or boring]. Hats off to Keenan and Jones for a foward performance here, both hold a lot of notes and put a lot into this song [except Jones is holding guitar notes, and Maynard is putting fourth vocal notes]. Fairly intense but not quite as dark as your typical Tool track, Parabola offers a new kind of Tool atmosphere: a vortex of beauty and significant crunch to pacify the metal heads and those damned progressive elitists with their high expectations and whatnot...7.5/10

8. Ticks and Leeches: Ah, so much for not dark...most brutal track on the album, but still quite enjoyable. If you've heard it, I don't have to tell you twice that Carey on drums is magnificent, and Maynard deserves more than usual credit [due to the fact that he sort of screams, which is a strain on his usual angelic and melodic voice, sort of like if Steve Wilson screamed]. This track especially strays from the album's perky morals [thusfar Lateralus has displayed forgiveness, patience, communication, and love in the song's lyrics] by singing about people who take things from you, or parasites. Well, so much for forgiveness....anyway, a great and intense track, though the part where it settles down in the middle could be shorter, I believe that everything Tool does is for a purpose. 8/10

9. Lateralus: Woah. I mean...woah. This song is complete and utter art. One of Tool's most brilliant compositions. Words can hardly describe how intense this song is, but at the same time manages to articulate itself more than any Tool song I've ever heard. Almost ten minutes and about 9745 changes [well, not actually, that was a bit of a hyperbole...], this song never fails to amuse. Unpredictable and amazing, the title track of this album is amazing [and even better live]. 9/10

10. Disposition: The first of three tracks that blend together to make one "song" which is a little over 20 minutes [I think it achieves epic status]. Disposition is the first part of aforementioned epic, serving as a sort of intro. Compared to the previous few songs, its rather mellow, containing rhythmic tribal drums, a well-patterned and fine-tone controlled guitar part, and a smooth bassline. Its a fantastic song, but towards the end it just gets a bit repetitive, but otherwise perfect. 8/10

11. Reflection: Perhaps this track is the best song that this album has to offer. Clocking in at over 11 minutes, Reflection is the core of the final epic on Lateralus. It sort of picks up where Disposition left off, with the same sort of sound to the instruments, but is much heavier somehow. There's also a new instrument added into the mix: a strange, middle-eastern sounding violin is instituted in the 4-minute build-up to the vocals. Ah, and on the note of the vocals, Mr. Keenan is showing off some of his finest pipe work, with some serious note-holding that still astounds me each listen. Even as it starts to fade out into track twelve, the effects of listening to Reflection are permenant: enlightenment. I have always found it helpful to listen to this song whilst in a state of deep contemplation. My favorite song off of Lateralus. 9.5/10

12. Triad: Wrapping up the D/R/T trio, this one is purely instrumental. Keenan's vocals from here on out are absent from the album, and although they are missed, the rest of the band does fine without him for this one. Very heavy but still mesmerizing, kudos have to go to the drums and guitar here [but Chancellor is always in high performance mode], and what a pleasant, thought-provoking way to end the album. 8/10.

13. Faaip De Oiad: There's a bridge of silence after Triad. signifying that Faaip de Oiad isn't actually "connected" to the rest of the album. Which sounds about right because tit doesn't offer much; this is basically a recording of a prank call to some LA radio station talking about Area 51 and such, with some weird static added in the background for effect. The best part of this track is Carey's drumming, which provides an errie backdrop but its very well coordinated drumming. Only worth two or three listens, I usually skip this one or just never listen to it. 4.5/10

I'm not exactly sure how to follow up my review of Lateralus, so I'll make it short and simple: Each decade has a progressive masterpiece that defines how prog has...well, progressed to that point. Tool's album Lateralus has surpassed almost every piece of progressive music I have ever had the fine opportunity to experience, and with such amazing musicianship and production quality, climbs above the mountains of other prog albums that don't offer what this does. To me, no band can top Tool's emotionally riveting and inspiring music, which thrives as if it has a heart of its own. No matter who you are, if you listen to anything progressive, you need to listen to this album at least once, because it is a true masterpiece of our time.


Report this review (#126823)
Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Lateralus" is a great album if...and "IF" you've never heard mid-period Rush, heavy metal-King Crimson, Voivod, Dream Theatre or Anekdoten. If there is one thing that Tool have going for them, it's a special knack of the unexpected - especially bursts of thunderous volume - on trackas like "The Grudge", "Schism" and "Reflection". When I listen to this album, I keep reaching for the aforementioned. What they're doing on "Lateralus" is certainly experimental in the grand scheme of pedestrianism(is this a word?), but somehow, I feel like I've heard it all before. Tool is definitely a modern contender and a jumping point for many new listeners who refer to them as "prog". Tool's "Lateralus" could be THE great album to introduce the new to the old. If you run into a tool fan, recommend the other bands I'd mentioned at the beginning of this review. The rest will follow.

As an aside, I just saw Tool live at Copps Colosseum in Hamilton, ON. on June 24, 2007. Be prepared for something very similar to a '90s King Crimson concert. They were far more experimental than the material available on "Lateralus". If I could describe them, I'd say: "Tool was like Meddle-era Pink Floyd wearing a Ramones t-shirt". A lot of keyboards. That's all, folks! :-)

Report this review (#127111)
Posted Friday, June 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Here we have masterpiece of progressive metal, and prg rock in general. Math perfection behinds first song in here, called Grudge is unbelieveable. Tool have managed to show how much metal music can be interesting. This songs totally blew me away, especially after those 32 seconds of Maynard's (singer) screaming. It shows raw emotion, it is tottaly outstanding moment. And his pure voice is so beautifull, like it is not of this world. So it is in song Patient, after interesting guitar play in Eon Blue Apocalypse. Adam Jones manage to find sounds on his guitar that can not be compared to anything else before. He is true guitar scientist, one of the most creative guitarists of nineties. His guitar is full of colours, I can almost feel it like an synesthetic experience, seeing all those shades and structures of its light. Maynard's voice is, unlike for the most of metal singers, very unique and original. He might have been influenced by Joni Mitchell, but he really goes over this influence. He has very large range, and one gets impression that everything sounds smooth and nice out of his mouth. Smaller pieces, like Mantra and others, that are usualy called «fillers«, have their soul and purpose in album. These pieces make an ambient and prepair terrain for next song, and play games wih listener's imagination. My favourite piece here is Schism, just listening to vocal melodies is great thing, and bass is so killing here. (Damn, pitty I still did not figure out concept of this album; or may be not! I like to interpret it as I like it in that particular moment of time, not even care about lyrics.)

In so many other places, they manage to show that they have one of the most talented drummers of all times, and guitars are perfect everywhere, trust me. Enough said to conclude that this is my favourite metal album of all times, highly creative work, progressive (no doubt), never boring to me. People who like great drums, original guitar, perfect vocals, intriguing lyrics, rich imaginary, lots of colours, strange, math and powerfull rhythms, interesting bass, concept albums, original prog music, fans of complex metal music, people who like virtuosity, superb production, they should all hear this wonder.

Report this review (#127609)
Posted Thursday, July 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars As I will say about every Tool album, Tool is an acquired taste band!

I am not going to bother going through every song, because I will run out of positive words to use, and they're all 4.5+ rated songs anyway. All the musicians are at they're musical peak, almost completely flawless. The Grudge is my favirote opener song of any prog metal album, and my band is covering parabola it's so good, and Ticks and leeches contains drum work that will make portney turn red with envy =).

The tiny thing that I would have to complain about would be Maynards vocals on the chorus' of The patient and Lateralus. Besides thase two moment's ( which are easily replaced by Maynard's minuete long yell, on the grudge), this album is the epidomy of progressive metal.

Report this review (#128535)
Posted Sunday, July 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Aenima whetted the appetite. What does Lateralus offer?

Immediate impact with a heavy, at times thrashy, track; The Grudge. Does this set a new direction? No, the gentle Eon Blue Apocalypse leads into The Patient (which is fortunately available on stream on this site). Patient opens with characteristic subdued vocals building slowly. As always with Tool the particular instrument sound superb. However vocal arrangements have improved and show off Keenan's style and range to better effect.

This builds on the achievement of Aenima. A combination of improved musicianship and more mature arrangement make this another essential album for the prog metal section of your collection and an excellent addition for any general progger.

Report this review (#137494)
Posted Sunday, September 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Here it is, the masterpiece of Progressive Metal. Its not verry often that a band does somthing origianal and progressive in prog-metal (most settle to be clones), its even less often that a band breaks into the mainstream, and yet thats exactly what Tool has done. Tool succeded in taking an underground progressive sound (dissonant and psychedellic polyrythm) and fused it with a mainstream sound (grundge and nu-metal) they even through in some world music influence just to piss people off.

However this is not one of those bands where you go "ooh, thats pretty" or "oh wow listen to that skill" rather its one of those bands where you go "what the hell is this" you listen to it again and still dont get it, after a few listens you finally go "oh" or you just never do. Its one that you will ither understand or not, and even if you understand it you might not like it, after all there is plenty to not like, the goods however outway the bads for me. I guess I just want to say that its one of those love it or hate it ones.

The Grudge: Starts of quiet then goes strait for the throught pummeling you with insane bass riffage and polyrythmic drums that hit you right in the chest, and knock the wind out of you. Not your conventional opener but effective all the same. this is definatelly a drumming song, and the amazing vocal work (not singing mind you) dosn't hurt a bit, Maynard is a freakin' beast. there is not one note of this song that dosn't fit the situation perfectly and when it slows down it goes into a psychedellic build up that sounds insanelly like Isis. This song shows the guitar insanity that only tool can achieve, be forwarned it is achieved with minimal guitar lines and pedals, not blistering solos. this song also has a scream that makes you imagine all the training it takes to get that kind of lung capacity. "LET GO!!!!!" (me headbanging manically) the song ends as abruptly as it started.

Eon Blue Apocolipse: Like the first breath after being strangled, however that first breath is taken in a fog of smoke (not the tobacco kind)

The Patient: Starts slow and trippy but slowely builds up and then.... stays slow, what? wheres the speed, the anger I was expecting more and then more of the same untill you hardly expect it anymore. Thats when it hits you, wow, few other songs can build this kind of tension. This song has a sort of occult feel and has strage dissonant melodies that seem to be for some ritual. This is one of those songs that just pull you in and dont let go, one of those where you can't seem to do anything but sit and listen. Even the quiet interlude is captivating. I cant emphasize enough how great the dissonant vocal melodies are on this song. This song ends with simple tribal drumming slowly fading out. verry interesting indeed.

Mantra: a pshychedellic puff of drone brilliance, if only it didn't have that popping in it.

Schism: my personal favorite. Great bass driven song with haunting vocals. "I know the pieces fit cuz I watched them tumble down, no fault, none to blame it doesn't mean I don't desire to point the finger, blame the other, watch the temple topple over, to bring the pieces back together, rediscover communication" my favourite line(s) from Tool, ooh so haunting. I find it interesting how Tool applies the consepts of minnimalism in this song, keeping it the same, yet somehow progressing through different pieces and moods. The interlude on this song is particularly haunting, with great talk box effects. This song also shows that Tool isn't afraid to use singing, after all they arn't a one trick pony like some would have you believe. No other song can be so bleak and yet so interesting.

Parabol: continues with the fast paced rocker followed by short psychedellic durdge format, except that its slightly longer and better done, the guitars and bass create an atmospheres worthy of Pink Floyd, but they go about it in a different way altogether. Oh yea by the way did I mention that is really just the firs part of

Parabola: This song stays with the main musical and lyrical themes of Parabol but converts into Tools heavy side. This song has a perfect groove suited for moshpits filled with extatic teens all over the world, definatelly a face smasher. Perfect heavy guitar, driving bass, and rocking drums. This song actually has a verry good classic sounding guitar riff. How can any one not love the almost funky section at 4:10ish. the song ends with lots of good droney feadbacking and a Parabol reprise.

Ticks and Leeches: a perfect reminder that Danney Carrey is the salvation of modern drummers, seriously drumwork like this dosn't come around all to often. Its just too bad the song can't be preformed live, I guess it's just too hard on the old vocal chords (parts of the vocals sound like they got a black metal vocalist) There isn't a bad part of this song, every second fills you up with cold hearted anger, even the slow durdge is angry. Yes!!! I love those fake endings!!! sorry, its one of my sick little musical fettishes. The real ending of the song is good too, and really shows off the drumm'n.

Lateralus: Ok, so apperantly this song has the golden ratio in it? I don't know if thats true or not but to be brutally honest who gives a flying F****, The song is good without needing a mathimatical formula to back it up. Ok, little off topic but I carved "black and white are all I see, in my infancy, red and yellow then came to be" on one of my desks at school, my teacher was pissed for a while and then decided that I should join the poetry club, I still havn't told her I didn't make it up. Mabe that wasn't as funny as I thought it was, but it still brings to mind the brilliant poetic lyrics that have been all but overlooked by prog fans, who unlike Tools alternative fallowing tend to only focous on the music. Speaking of wich, there is not a bad not in the song, every note creates a spiraling atmosphere that wraps you up in the cold to the touch Tool. Defanatelly the centerpiece of the album, and most certanly an epic of epic praportions.

Disposition: a hipnotic song with wads of reverb and ooey gooey delay, not to mention oddly misshapen noises. The Tabla on this song fits the mood perfecly and is really well played, not sloppy like it all to often is when played by simple rock musistians. This song captures the feelings of depression like so much classic liturature. This song really dosn't feel like only four minutes it feels like a lifetime, in a good way.

Reflection: Builds of the feelings of Disposition, but sounds a TON darker and more evil. This is could be a soundtrack to being chased through the woulds be demons. Whatever raga they played on that sitar was evil, after all this is no Beatles track, this is no Within You, Without You, this is Tool: a cold macanical beast that rumbles in a way that just so happens to sound good. Great eastern influences, and never sound new-age or silly like "indo-prog/raga rock" this is a serious song written by serious musitions being serious. The tabla on this song is some of the best outside of indian classical music. The vocals on this song are so un-melodic they sound squeaky but somehow it fits the song perfectly. This is probably the best example of what non metal tool sound like, their masterpiece of their softer yet still evil side. also to be noted: some of their most interesting guitar work. The song builds up to rock for a while, but not too long before it dies out. At 11minutes a perfect epic.

Triad: starts out with a repetitive simple guitar peice that continues to build tension through the song, the feedbacking here is only rivaled by The Melvins. At three minutes the song really gets going, showing its heavy side and forboding textures. This song is made to get your brains rattling, if you listen to it without banging your head your ither dead or old enough to be. The drumming on this song is great although relitivly subdued (for Carry that is). The song slowly dies out the way it started, a perfect ending, but wait whats this it must be...

Faaip de Oiad: Why????? Triad was a perfect ending, this is just silly, oh well it makes me laugh so i'll ignore it. It's simply some guy going on about extra dementional beings that are chasing him. Cool I guess.

Overall: 5 stars, the best prog-metal has to offer, Tool never gets stale like Opeth and has feeling unlike DT, and this is the best that Tool has to offer.

Report this review (#138484)
Posted Saturday, September 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars One thing about Lateralus that amuses me is how easily it flows together. Lateralus isn't quite as heavy as all of Tool's other albums, but thats ok, i prefer Lateralus to ANY of their other material.

There's a few really big songs on this album, including the great opener, The Grudge, in which Maynard gives an astonishing vocal performance.

The songs were obviously written to go together, songs like Schism and Parabola are heavier and fit in surprisingly well with some of the "filler" tracks that are moody and mysterious, not really filler at all in my opinion.

My favorite track is Disposition... which most people call a filler track. Theres something so eerie about it that makes my skin crawl and my ears crave more. Its mysterious and personal sounding.

Overall a really good album, by far Tool's best

Report this review (#142316)
Posted Friday, October 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Grudge - Great lyrics, very powerful riffing. I don't know why, but it took me a whole month to finally appreciate how absolutely amazing this track is. Eon Blue Apocalypse/The Patient - almost-psychedelic trancing guitar intro building into a couple of minute long pounding section, which slows back down to a great tabla drum section by Danny Mantra/Schism - Ambient intro, Interesting meter signatures, very nice breakdown near the end Parabol - Trancing/drone-like introduction to Parabola Parabola - Hard hitting piece, great singing by Maynard, many differing guitar styles Ticks & Leeches - Amazing drums, vocal chord straining lyrics by Maynard Lateralus - Great time changes, lyric syllables based on a mathematical sequence (What more could you ask for!?) Disposition/Reflection - Great tabla drums by Danny Carey, Triad/Faaip de Oaid - an almost industrial sounding instrumental by the three instrumentalists

This is the album that made me start listening to lyrics. The numerology and hidden metaphors behind this work are astounding and very interesting. Either the fans are overthinking, or the band's genius is showing. I think it is the latter. An absolute masterpiece.

Report this review (#142578)
Posted Sunday, October 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
Eclectic/PSIKE/JRF-Cant Teams
2 stars Prog Metal Savior?

Prior to visiting PA, I had never heard Tool mentioned with the word progressive in the same sentence. I was even more surprised to be informed that Tool was saving Progressive Metal. Needless to say, being a Progressive Metal fan, this required more investigation. Fortunate for me this investigation required no out-of-pocket expense as my [edit]ex-[/edit]wife is a Tool fan. But...not even remotely a Progressive music fan in any of its manifestations. There, on our shelf, sits the alleged Progressive Metal flagship, Lateralus.

As the first song, The Grudge starts, I am immediately reminded, "Yep, this is Tool". As Objective as I try to be, the angst laden vocals still hit me as being unambiguously FM radio chanelled. Put I made it past that, I have been trained by Meshuggah and others to ignore vocals. After the 4th attempt at listening to the album the Tool sound can be deconstructed enough that close listens can identify the elements of the song that are progressive. The undercurrent of syncopation and polyrhythmic breaks are certainly there. And there is no shortage of contrast as short non-metal breaks are present. Several songs are indeed entirely psychedically ambient. But getting further and further into the album each time I listen fails to make it more pleasurable. The little prog elements are there, but the whole thing comes off as redundant, enough tom shuffles already! As talented as the bass player sounds on Schism, he remains formuliac with an over abundance of pegged high end on the equalizer. The guitarist ventures away from generic radio-metalisms enough that he might be enjoyable in another project.

The bottom line for me is that Tool is really just an album oriented metal band. There are a few prog elements to Lateralus, so I guess I might consider the album, and the album only, "Prog-Related". And it certainly does nothing for me as a "Savior" of Progressive Metal because it has prog elements and mainstream appeal. There are lots of Progressive Metal bands. And there are, as well, other sub-genres that survive without any bands with mainstream appeal.

2 Stars, its not awful, I just don't want to hear it anymore. And it will be my only Tool review. I have heard enough of the other albums that I really would rather not sit through another one.

Report this review (#143431)
Posted Wednesday, October 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars A modern masterpice of prog rock/metal, tools first masterpice and no doubt one of the best albums of the 2000, As usualy the album starts with one of its best songs The grudge, and you can hear direct that tool have realy improved thiere sound and polished everything up to perfection nice sound effects and temposhifts, some realy awsome riffs and great singing, Eon Blue Apocalypse is a short intro for the patient and its another awsome song starting slow before goin into a more hard rocking part. Another short into typ of song Mantra leads into schism one of the most popular song from the album and not hard to see why i even seen a realy wierd music video of it, a great song one of the slower on the album tough. Parabol is an acustic songs that leads into its bigger and hard rocking brother Parabola both fits toghter and are realy awsome, Ticks & Leeches is the most stright out rocker on the album but still great even it its probobly the weakest song on the album, the title song is one of the real highlights for me, the next 3 songs are a typ of epic, Disposition starts with some realy cool drums and then leads into Reflection my favorite part of the album this is tools best song imo, simply amazing its so cosmic almost a ballad after that Triad ends the album in a rocking way with great riffs. One of the best albums in modern time and a must for everyone metal fan or not 5 stars, i have lisend to it over and over and never get tierd of it a real prog gem.
Report this review (#146135)
Posted Saturday, October 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I first heard this album in 2002 and thought it was boring.

After getting into Aenima I came back for another round of Lateralus and loved it. Great as an album unlike the follow-up 10,000 Days in that all the tracks work together. Excluding the interludes, which are a pointless exercise to add to the alternative and obscure facade Tool build up for their fans to try and decipher.

I really just love how the album gives off a vibe of it's own. They tried to replicate it with 10,000 Days but failed and made it sound like a parody of their own sound.

Report this review (#146648)
Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I love this album!!!at first i had some doubts about tool..but after listening to Parabola and the grudge i changed my mind. I think this is the best tool album: a dark and mistic album, influenced by psychedelic space rock (above all pink floyd), but at the same time there are lots of elements typical of metal sound. fantastic!the perfect wedding between progressive and industrial metal
Report this review (#146869)
Posted Thursday, October 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the TOOL masterpiece and overall an amazing album, music created by master musicians. This is their best work next to Aenema and there is not a dull moment on this album. Every song is not to be overlooked, the albums starts off with the heartpounding track The Grudge, what a amazing vocal performance from Maynard, the drums at the end of the Grudge are out of this world good. next is ion blue, a good intro by Adam Jones, this leads into the beautiful song The patient. This song builds up so great a very epic track. Next is mantra, the intro that leads to Schism, this a popular Tool song you might hear a lot , it opens with great bass playing by Justin, a solid tool track. Parabol and parabola are song that got together with each other, first Parabol is very slow paced song with haunting vocals by Maynard, the song fades into the hard rocking Parabola. This song features some awesome solos by Adam Jones, nice tarck this one is. Next is Ticks and Leeches, a track which is very different from all the other on this album. Very hard powerful vocals by Maynard and the highlight of this song is Danny Carey's drumming. Never have i heard drumming like this before, no can even come close to this amazing drum performance. The title track Lateralus could be the greatest Tool track ever created, such an epic song. If you ever see them live wait for song this to be performed, it will amaze you.The next 3 songs are like a trilogy and these are the highlights of the album, my favorites also. Disposition starts it off very mellow,a tool song very unlike any other, nice and relaxing song. It blends in to my Favorite song on the album Reflection. The song starts of with awesome tribal drumming by Danny, and the song gets better as it goes on,also great lyrics on this track. Triad is next, a instrumental song that just features Justin,Adam,and Danny. All three just jam out on this song, very underrated musicians. Such unique/epic/amazing music, Lateralus is a album any music fan should own. 5 stars no doubt
Report this review (#149493)
Posted Wednesday, November 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars When I scroll through the list of ratings for this album the first thing I notice is the polarizing outcome. This is really an album you extremely like or (almost) hate apparently. When I bought it 5 years ago it was album of the month and Tool was mentioned as a metal sensation. I didn't know them then so I bought this one. In such a situation you expect a lot and because I didn't know them I hoped for something like Dream Theater or even better. That proved to be a big misjudgement.

Tool isn't at all like Dream Theater, it could even be their opposite. In a review of an Agalloch album I maintained that prog metal could roughly be divided in two categories: The DT- like prog metal with recognazible song structure and almost symphonic compositions at times. Symphony X could also be in that categorie as of course quite some others. In the other categorie there were bands like Tool, Anathema and Fates Warning. Every time I listen to an album of one of those bands I can't help it, but I'm not enjoying myself. Even if I give it the best try I can I can't get into that groove. I can't really get my finger on it what that is. I mean, it's metal, I like almost all metal but not this. There are not really great songs or compositions found with these bands.

So when I was going to review this I thought I was going to give this 2 stars but I gave it another listen and I have to admit that there is a certain class about this band. They are not doing a bad job for their style of music and usually I only give 1 or 2 stars when the music is really bad or the band is doing a poor performance or something. That is not the case here so I will give them 3 stars for this but it will never be my cup of tea.

Report this review (#150270)
Posted Monday, November 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Lateralus is one the best albums of the new millenium. Tool have created their masterwork with this one; tighter than Aenima, and more powerful than 10,000 Days. This is where it came together best for them, and you can hear some serious inspiration on this album. The Grudge, The Patient, Schism, Parabola, Lateralus, and Reflection all use the Tool formula to powerful effect and are all in their top 10 best tracks. I also like Ticks and Leeches, a track that some don't because of the vitriolic spat vocals from Maynard. I think the track is powerful and the riffage is good. The quiet middle part is also very well done, with Maynard in the background in some strange Toolish swamp cussing and ripping off the ticks and leeches you can picture all over his body. Not to mention Triad, the best track Isis never recorded. I'd say that as a metal album, it's the best of the decade, as a prog album in the top 5, and as music, truly essential to all fans of powerful music.
Report this review (#150555)
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Before I became a prog fan, I was a Tool fan. So I want to make my first review to this incredible album from one of my favorite bands, Tool, which is Lateralus.

What I love about Tool is not only the fact that they make music, but they make art. From the album cover, you can see that this is going to be a fascinating, intricate trip to new lands and spaces. The booklet in the inside shows you what this album is all about: retrospection, self-research, and with all the colors and the images in the booklet you even can "see" the music, feel this stupendous music.

So, all this combine with the deep, mysterious and abstract lyrics perfectly sung by Maynard and obviously the powerful, energetic, challenging, touching, sophisticated music that the band create, makes this album unique and definitely a masterpiece.

After saying this, let's check out the songs.

The Grudge: Great song, the classical sound of Tool. It reminds me sometimes when i hear 'stinkfist'. Maynard changes his tone of voice from soft-calmed to reach the powerful screaming tone at the end. The music is dominated by the bass with a perfect combination of the drums of Carey and the guitar of Adam. I think the winner here are the drums, and in general through the whole album, Denny Carey shows the influence and well executed work and what we will see next, the work with the numerology. 4.5 stars.

Eon Blue Apocalyspe: One thing that got better with respect to Ćnima, are these "connecting songs" are so called "fillers". In Ćnima, I think Tool wasted these spaces to create the mood to the next song, but here in Lateralus, there are no "fillers". These 'links' are perfectly combined and beautifully created to provide a wonderful bridge to the next song. And 'Eon blue' is a perfect transition to what it comes next. if ihad to rate this track, I would say 4 stars.

The Patient: We have a winner. And it is still the third song. This is where the things start to drag you down to this new wonderful spiral. The Patient is a beautiful prog song, starting with the calming, and tired voice of Maynard singing "a grown of tedium escapes." Accompanied by the soft sound of the guitar and calming drumming. 2 minutes after this whispering and reclaiming voices from Maynard, the music bursts out to a great combination once again of drums and guitar and bass, making the sound powerful. 3 minutes and a half once again the tempo changes going a little faster to return to the previous sound and 4:30 and a half the tempo changes and after this everything is changing, evolutions to a climax, loving the final singing of Maynard "still may. be patient" and returning to the calm expressing "gonna wait it out" Beautiful song. 5 stars. Mantra: Another bridge to lead you to the next song. Feels like someone breathing difficulty. Trippy i would say. 3.5 stars.

Schism: Another winner. Great song dominated by the bass, all over the song, making its hallmark. Once again, we have tempo changes and great drumming by Danny. I consider this song really progressive because of all the variety of sounds, going from the tribal sounds, and ambient spaces I find approximate in the minute 3:30 making it a emotional-joyful trip combined with the sad but deep lyrics of Maynard: "cold silence, has a tendency." ending with the powerful tribal drumming and "I know the pieces fit!..". 5 stars.

Parabol: Parabol suppose to be an intro to Parabola. And this is what I have been talking about. Parabol sets the mood for the spectacular parabola. This is a mellow song, very smooth and links you to the next song. So I think in reality Parabol-Parabola are just one song. Even both of them are totally different. Good intro. 4 stars.

Parabola: This is the antipode of Parabol. Here everything is flashy and heavy. And here the show in my opinion is taken by Adam. He showing us that he is a good guitar player and performs a little guitar solo in the middle of the song. But I cannot leave behind the clean performance of Justin on the bass; I really find him suitable and flowing through the song. Catchy, with a progressive atmosphere, Parabola is another great song combine with the energetic drumming of Carey and completed with the abstract lyrics of Maynard. 5 stars.

Ticks and Leeches: Another song (yes!, once again, but this is tremendous) incredibly executed by Danny Carey. I don't know if Carey felt touched by his tribal side, but hell that he was inspired! (And believe me, the best is yet to come!). His drumming is heavy and fast, tribal and deep. Even if the lyrics in this one are kind of lame (Supposed to be against music industry) the music is dominant and the bass provides a good rhythm in the background. Here you can hear the potent voice of Maynard, screaming out loud. Cool heavy rock song, with some elements of progression. 4 stars.

Lateralus: I don't know where to start here. Lateralus is an astonishing song. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of work I ever heard. This is like falling down to the rabbit hole. With a complicated signature, Maynard performs his lyrics in a Fibonnaci sequence, the guitar intro lets me know that something big is coming, and the way after that all the instruments comes together is amazing. Just the perfect sound. This is a spiritual travel to ourselves. The bridge and the chorus are totally full of joy and hope and becomes a tour de force as it goes further. It is impossible not to feel touched by the last paragraphs "come embrace my desire. to feel the rhythm. to feel connected." to finish with "ride the spiral to the end." Am I losing my objectivity? Maybe yes, but I love this song, and it touches my deepest nerves and once again, the trip is just the beginning. Totally a highlight. 5 stars.

Disposition: For me Disposition is an intro song to Reflection. After the energy displayed in Lateralus, you need to relax and calm down, speed down a little bit for what it come next, so I think this is why this album is so great and why Tool has become a giant band, very mature and definitively show us at the end, the work of a genius. Disposition manages perfectly the transition between Lateralus and Reflection. This song, very simple but at the same time deep and beautiful, with an atmospheric guitar and a steady bass line accompanied with some tribal drumming, demonstrates that Tool do plays very emotional songs with simple things. I cannot hear disposition without a tear coming out from my eye. Another highlight for me. 5 stars.

Reflection: this is the pinnacle. This is the song that shows Tool at best. I haven't heard another song more intricate and minimalist, deep and emotional, so strange but at the same time so beautiful. This is where the entire thing comes into the right place to create the best song. For me, definitively it's the best work performed by Tool by far. Great and deep bass line, wonderful-I mean wonderful- drumming, perfect singing and lyrics (you need to check out the lyrics of this three last song to see the connection) and for the final the guitar comes creating sounds and really psychedelic passages at the end. Moving and touching song. I feel overwhelmed after hearing this song. I feel insignificant but at the same time I can feel the glorious of living in this planet and comprehend the mysterious and beauty that surrounds us and I can feel the relation between the universe and us as human beings to become more "humans" and understand this trip we are in . 5 stars definitely.

Triad: the end of this epic suite (Disposition-Reflection-Triad supposed to be one song but for commercial reasons I guess, it decided to cut the piece into 3 tracks; even I like to include Lateralus for his connection with these songs, making a suite of aprox. 35 minutes!) and for the end, this great, really progressive song that let us know the level the band has acquired. Tremendous passages of power and the best way to close the album. The only thing is that I miss the vocals of Maynard. 5 stars.

Faaip de Ooiad: Enochian for "the voice of god" is supposed to be a prank of a radio station related with the area 51. Really don't find it place in here, even it is funny, but I usually push stop button after Triad. I enjoy better this track when ordering the songs in the Fibonacci Order. 3 stars.

So my final opinion is you should go to your local store and get this cd as quick as possible and rejoices with this masterpiece created by genius. Do not hesitate to get it, because you will no regret.

Report this review (#151069)
Posted Friday, November 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Let me first start by saying, i'm not a fan of prog-metal as a rule. Never have been, and I don't think that I ever will. However, this album is considered one of the seminal albums of the genre, so I thought that i'd give it a listen. The only tracks on this album that stand out to me as being interesting are "Ticks and Leeches", because from a drummer's point of view this, along with most of the album, is very nice technical stuff. The track I would rate most musically is "Parabola", which is certainly the high point of the album with it's Floydian electric guitars and once again, well maneuvered drumming. A decent listen for prog metal fans, but really not my cup of tea. 2 stars.
Report this review (#153019)
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes I hear traditional Prog/Prog Metal fans being a little squeemish at excepting these guys.They are after all peers of NIN,Marilyn Manson or Ministry and every young male I know raves about Tool.Dont let that fog your judgment.I cant believe how quickly Tool changes tempo and how dark the atmosphere is throughout.I found modern metal vocals to be a aquired taste and as with Opeth it took me a while.Call me old school but I like my metal vocals to be like Ozzy,King Diamond,Rob Halford,James Librie or Russal Allen.To me Tool is teaching Prog ideals to a new generation and they are worthy.Why else would King Crimson tour with them?
Report this review (#161430)
Posted Sunday, February 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Pessimist
5 stars This one's a grower, no doubt about it. It took me about 2 weeks of listening before I started to appreciate it, but it was worth it. Danny Carey and Maynard James Keenan are at both their pinnacles here, and Danny is especially a pleasure to listen to, no doubt one of the greatest modern drummers in the business, his solid beats peppered with insane solos have a certain charm to them. The bass is also worth listening to, whereas the guitar takes more of a rhythm role, on contrary to most guitarist attitudes ;-)

Anyways, onto the tracks. There is not a single weak or bad track on here, which is a breath of fresh air for me, as I've listened to some bad songs in the past! The sound is consistant as well, which I also like in a band. As been mentioned before, the shorter tracks (Eon Blue, Mantra, Parabol, Disposition) are merely nice build ups to the big daddies. They play a major part in the likeability of Lateralus. My personal favourite actually songs are by a mile The Grudge, Parabola, Ticks & Leeches and Reflection. Reflection is one of the most surreal and beautiful tracks I've ever heard, with some once again very nice drumming from Danny. Lateralus also deserves an honerary mention.

Overall, this is an excellent, heavy and yet beautiful album with capital drumming, outstanding vocals and some really memorable songs. Tool's masterpiece.

Report this review (#162458)
Posted Saturday, February 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well here's an interesting album by a group of four extremely talented musicians. The lyrics are very interesting on this album, and the drumming has been rarely matched on any other albums that I have heard (apart from KC's Red possibly). The guitar work is very innovative and quite technical. The bass isn't amazing but good nonetheless.

Things kick off with 'The Grudge', a heavy track with a slight nu-metal feel, but is a thousand times more complex and sophisticated than anything in that genre. Maynard's 30 second long scream is amazing. 'Eon Blue Apocalypse' is a short interlude that provides as a segue between the grudge and 'The Patient', which although being relatively simple by Tool's standards (read 'this song is immensely comlex') it contains the album's second best lyrics. 'Mantra' leads us nicely into 'Schism' a more commercially oriented song by Tool's standards (read 'read daring and innovative with no commercial gain in mind'). 'Schism' has more brilliant lyrics and some great catchy refrains which make this song a highlight (along with 12 or so others) 'Parabol' is very soothing and leads straight into its heavier twin: 'Parabola'. This is a great song pair. Next we have the uber-heavy 'Ticks and Leeches' in which Maynard's screeches make this song quite inaccessible, but rewarding for the open minded. 'Lateralus' takes the throne here, being a masterpiece musically, lyrically and compositionally. Very progressive and played in an unusual time signature. Mind blowing stuff. Next up is the suite of 'Disposition', 'Reflection' and 'Triad'. The first is a soft, repetitive introduction preparing is for the psychedelic monster that is 'Reflection': a brilliant epic with some great drumming in the intro. A very Indian sound is predominant here. 'Triad closes the suite with an industrial sounding instrumental full of angular riffs and samples. The album closes with the experiment that is 'Faaip de Oiad'. This track has the ability to terrify when listened to in the dark.

Overall this album is brilliant but doesn't quite reach the masterpiece as I can imagine living without it. I recomend finding the yrics on the internet to accompany your listening experience. Four Stars

Report this review (#163107)
Posted Monday, March 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars An intricate, carefully crafted symphony of inspired metal compositions howling out dark emotions from the brooding shadows of the music industry. Perhaps unlike Aenima, which has enough fabulous hooks in its songs to immediately catch an angsty listener, Lateralus demands appreciation. It is lengthy, unfolding slowly and demanding the listener to take it in with time. For those who do, it transforms into a stellar display of creative songwriting and musical energy, filled with dark textures and memorable riffs.

For those who are put off by Aenima's overt anger, Lateralus might be more your piece of cake. The music is deep and heavy, dominated by powerful complex, chugging metal riffs with interludes of delicate textures during the transitions and in a few wonderfully extended places as well. Carrey delivers are more insteresting performance behind the drums here, and Jones' guitar handles the mix of heavy/light sounds wonderfully-- with a few creative solos as well. Keenan's lyrics are cryptic and stunningly smart, with his vocal deliveries more mature and calculated than last time around, but as the band's personality he is absolutely irresistible.

Unlike Aenima, which was dominated by individual songs, Lateralus is about atmosphere-- punctuated by moments of intense metal.

While certainly a dark piece, I think it is erroneous to label this album as strictly angry-- the title track is surprisingly uplifting. All in all: a modern metal marvel of creative music not to be missed; will very much appeal to any open minded individuals who can take dark sounds, and what a pay off.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

Report this review (#164463)
Posted Thursday, March 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This body holding me...

A grand achievement of massive proportions, Tool's masterpiece Lateralus is an album whose superb blend of sludge metal and prog have made it into a classic over the years. While it does take a good amount of criticism from some sources it is generally revered by all from fans of the band to critics of the band to people who are critical towards new music in general this disc certainly deserves all the praise it gets. Certainly not an immediately accessible album, this is one that takes time to grow on the listener. The dark themes and thick music are not comforting on the ears as much as some people would like it to be, but once you get through everything that makes it threating, this album reveals a whole other side of itself that is truly marvelous.

Because of the amount of times this album has been reviewed it may be difficult to add anything to the mix, but it's worth the shot. The album opens up with the evil The Grudge. One of the faster tracks on the album, this track paces right along with a strange vocal style coming from Keenan until he gets to his signature sound and eventual voice modifications near the end of the track which come off as spine tinglingly good. A very big standout.

The next group of songs on the album are all paired with a track that works as an intro for it. The first couple times through this can lead to a somewhat spastic experience, especially when you're a person obsessed with remembering the names of tracks, but in the end it's just another one of those Tool trademarks that make the songs more interesting. It would be fine to have each of the songs alone on the album, but with the addition of even a one minute intro the song is given another angle to it thanks to the oddly serene suspense that comes from listening to the intro tracks for all the songs.

A mixture of slow and low-key songs mixed with a few heavy and evil songs fill the middle of the cd, and almost every track here is a classic. Eon Blue Apocalypse/The Patient starts the fray off with one of the more lo-key tracks listening to it the first couple times, even if it is cataclysmic at points. This is a song that starts slow but picks up to a plateau where it manages to keep a steady pace until the end. This is something that many bands can't pull off well, but here it works. Mantra/Schism is up next, and this is the song that most people know the band for. That ever familiar riff that comes in quick after some slow and feverish intro which gives way to Keenan's chilling vocals. ''I know the pieces fit, 'cause I watched them fall away'' -- A song with a clear message and point (which is too much to discuss within the review) this one is a highlight of the album... Nay, their career. Following shortly is Parabol/Parabola, an amazing track that follows up Schism with a song that proves that Tool can indeed carry on with that caliber of material.

Moving into the later material things start to sound more familiar as Tool retraces a couple of steps. Ticks & Leeches is a track seemingly taken from the band's Aenima days, this heavy rocker still shows signs of progression in it's music rather than lyrical content. On Lateralus the band the tradition of having the title tracks being some of the best material on the album.

The last 3 tracks are pure genius. If anyone ever doubted Tool's progressive power this is where it shines through. The reflective Disposition gives way to the 11-minute masterpiece Reflection which does exactly as the name suggests and simply by progression of the song forces the audience to look inside. Triad finishes off the triad with an apocalyptic instrumental that brings everything to a conclusion.

Yes, there's a two minute outro track in there too, but since it's just Tool screwing around with the human psyche with general creepy content it's kind of hard to review.

Simply put -- Post metal's (and indeed, even prog-metal's) crowning glory. 5 stars, this one is a hands down masterpiece. Hopefully Tool will be able to top this, but it will be tough. Recommended to everyone who is capable to hearing. The only people who may not like this are those who cannot stomach Tool at all, but even they should be able to listen to a couple of tracks like Parabola or Reflection. Get it!

Report this review (#165569)
Posted Thursday, April 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Here is one masterpiece from Tool, a band I first heard back in 1995 and thought, Wow these guys sound weird. It took so many years for me to appreciate them and what they do.

Like the typical Tool sound, Lateralus is thick, really dense. A knife won't cut through this bad boy; get the chainsaw. Each member uses he talent effectively and the result of this dark blend is a flavor that will excite any Progressive Rock fan. Seconds please!

Taking apart this album song by song just simply would do no justice. To me, this is a listening experience. So grab the headphones and set aside 77 minutes to engulf your music palette in some of the most flavorful modern Prog around.

Report this review (#168279)
Posted Monday, April 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars I was attracted to this album because of the drumming. The ridiculous drum work by Danny Carey, specifically in Ticks & Leeches, drew me in far more than the hype they receive on prog metal forums. Schism, also, I'd heard before, and thought was pretty cool.

As it turns out, those are the only two tracks I've ever given a listen to out of actual desire to hear them and not a hope that eventually I'll enjoy them.

I almost feel bad giving them such a low rating, as I can see they both have some serious talent and are bringing ideals of progressive music to a new generation of mainstream fans. I can live with that. I appreciate it that people can find other bands like Dream Theater or Opeth or Devin Townsend because of Tool. But when it actually comes to listenability, most of this album falls quite short. The production just sounds terrible to me, very murky, very indistinct, and yet bitingly brittle. If that's what they were going for, then that's an artistic statement, and hooray. But to me that guitar tone and ambient sound just grates like a band playing in a pool of sawdust. Flat. I think that's the thought I'm looking for. The sound is very flat throughout.

And that brings up the vocalist. For some, Maynard James Keenan has a lot of skill and power to his voice. He does have good breath control, I'll give him that. But on this album, his voice ranges from uninspiring to thoroughly obnoxious. The vocal lines, when they exist, are mostly weak. The long passages of soundscapes and ambiance never seem to actually elicit any mood in me at all save boredom.

This really works for some people. I understand that. But to me, everything about it screams underdeveloped, underproduced, and overly pretentious. If my opinion is worth anything (which would surprise me), I'd recommend fans of more developed and creative prog stay away from this album.

Report this review (#168659)
Posted Friday, April 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Tool - Lateralus

There was a time when I hated this album. I just could not, for the life of me, see the magic in this "masterpiece", as so many hailed it. My eyes were closed to this spectacle of wonder, and therefore, I saw and heard nothing but crunchy guitars--something I was heavily opposed to at the time--"grungy" vocals (which, despite my using the term now, you can be assured, do not exist on this album or anywhere near it), and empty compositions of a long-winded proportion. 1 star and nothing more. A waste of time.

Luckily, that time has long since past, and I have welcomed this obvious masterpiece into my arms and ears quite happily. The album, simply, is stunning. From start to finish, every note seems perfectly placed, every climax is emotionally gripping, and this album's atmosphere.don't even get me started. Let's just say that I love dark music, when done well, and this is essentially the epitome of this idea; dark, gripping, and sometimes nightmarish, Lateralus is something very special--something Tool themselves have not been able to surpass since (despite their great follow up 10,000 Days). It is one of those very few slices of perfection that some higher being, or perhaps in this case, some lower being, has handed down (or up.) for these wonderful musicians to tamper with and to perfect. The best part of all of this: we humble listeners are the recipients of this godly gift.

If there is one thing I did not make clear with my initial paragraph, it is that this album may take time. Tool is one of those bands that, like Radiohead and perhaps The Mars Volta, garners immediate hatred from some people (including my former self) simply because of the majority of their fan base (it's no use lying here.). Let it be known that even front man Maynard isn't quite the fan of what his fans are.and neither am I. Why so many "goth" and "metal" kids dig this music, I do not understand. Perhaps it is the disturbing, distinctly dark aura that surrounds this band and is helped by the art surrounding them as well, perhaps not. Either way, I must say that this band, and particularly this album, does not deserve the belligerence it receives. Just listen to it--more than once (it took me literal years to come to grips with the fact that, indeed, I actually liked this album), and let it sink in. The time spent will be well worth it. Just because the kid down the street likes Undertow (the band's first album) doesn't mean you can't love Lateralus. Get to it.

Now, the music:

There are about a billion reviews on this album below and above this one, so I'd not dare wasting your precious listening time, or this site's dear, dear space by composing a long-winded, detailed look into a track-by-track analysis. Instead, I'd like to take time now to note the sound this album creates, the mood it supports with its technical polyrhythmic structures and shifting times. I'd like to point out that the relentless, percussive majesty Danny Carey pours onto this album is not only magnificent, it is almost spiritually uplifting. Transcendent, yes.

That's what this album is. It is on another plane of existence, though I could never be sure if this plane was closer to heaven or to hell, but that matters not. From the driving guitars on "The Grudge" (not to be confused with the mediocre horror film of the same name), to the smooth, atmospheric bass-tones employed on the definitive "Schism"; from the climatic and lyrically competent vocals on "Parabola" to the lazy (in a good way), rainy atmospheres employed on "Disposition"; from the driving, Eastern-tinged percussion that litters that "Reflection", to the emotive and epic instrumental conclusion in "Triad", this album just shines the best, and brightest (or is it darkest?) lights music has to offer.

All of Tool's tricks and whims are expressed to their fullest potential throughout this magnificent album. This is the music of the darkest, most foreboding gods that have ever existed, and if that weren't enough to creep you out, they concluding "Faaip De Oiad" might just do it for you (it's a good approximation of the overall tone this album contains, at any rate).

From starting lick to ending white noise, this album is just spectacular--a monument in progressive music, and also in metal. So forget the goth kids and the reputation this band might have as something stereo or overplayed (true of pretty much one song, and that song is the magnificent "Stinkfist" off of the preceding album Aenima)--forget this all immediately. You owe it to yourself as a music fan to give this album a year's worth of tries. Who knows, perhaps one day you'll grow to love it as I do (that is, if you don't already). Stranger things have happened, as this album is keen to remind us; I'm not entirely sure what this album is all about, if anything, but it definitely has many hints towards astronomy, and towards hints of other life--things unexpected, and things ethereal.

And there it is, the word of the day--the word this album surely encompasses: Ethereal. Lateralus is something extraterrestrial, something vague and new; it is something perfect, and something that receives a very certain 5 stars.

Report this review (#171270)
Posted Saturday, May 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
1 stars Lateralus: A Tall Ruse or A Real Slut ?

'The Grudge' - Without a shadow of doubt one of the very few traces on this wretched and bloated corpse that betrays a vestige of life with an elusive groove in 'five' plus a semblance of melodic intent from the improbably christened Maynard Keenan. Effective albeit hackneyed use is made of quiet/loud dynamics and the guitar sounds employed do at least have a slight variation on the numbing predictability of most modern metal. However Keenan merely recites most of his bon mots and he sure as hell ain't no Mark E Smith (do your self a favour son, and get your still wet ears round some Mancunian Fall soon) I should mention the drummer Danny Carey who is unfailingly brilliant on all this album: Word to the wise Danny boy, the pipes are calling, so go play with people who write memorable and original music cos you is wasted in this mob me old mate...

'Eon Blue Apocalypse' - Guitarist's warming up exercise masquerading as composition. Is this a royalties scam?

'The Patient' - I can wait lads, for this slow brooding chuggalong to actually GO anywhere. Ah there it went...guess what? the usual 'kerrrang' barre chord climactic device that was even considered old hat by the Osmonds during their 'rebellious' phase. Nice double kick from the unerring Carey and the developmental section does contain a decent vocal hook. ( I really think we ALL need to reappraise Crazy Horses in the light of these developments)

'Mantra' - if you listen REALLY hard, you can almost hear four earnest young men moving their lips silently while counting out the convoluted and contrived meter in this eastern tinged dirge. Those 'countless' hours these disaffected youth spent in detention is reaping it's reward.

'Schism' - Ditto (ain't this the same song as the previous one? someone tell the performing rights society about these shenanigans)

'Parabol' - The sound your dad might make while humming to himself while vacuuming.

'Parabola' - I geddit, you just need to jumble the words up say from 'a lament' into 'lamentable'?

This body holding me reminds me of my own mortality. Embrace this moment. Remember. We are eternal. All this pain is an illusion

(I hope so Maynard, I hope so and gulp, you're gonna stick around for a while then?)

'Ticks and Leeches' - Sprawling epic in the sense that the condensed 'Brer Rabbit' could be considered a sprawling epic. OK there is a visceral power evident here but if only Tool could harness their ahem 'tools' in the creation of something considerably less ambitious and more accomplished. This is tantamount to a very well rehearsed collection of disparate 'bits' that simply do not belong together no matter how hard or furiously the band plane these square pegs into round holes. How did it start? What happened in the middle? How did it end? (I can't remember even after 20 spins)

'Lateralus' - Tool love that solitary 'skeletal' guitar on many of their intros and it certainly is an attractive feature but when overused the device just becomes wearyingly predictable. Yet more forgettable sludgey riffery before a lovely cascading toms pattern via Carey sets up a nice vibe (and carries the melodic interest considerably better than Keenan) Quiet/Loud techniques i.e palm mutes on then off over the same harmonic material cannot completely camouflage a paucity of musical ideas.

'Disposition' - Nice use of tabla percussion on this tune which drifts along quite pleasantly but outstays it's welcome and has a melody with all the subtle twists and turns of a sulking sloth. Is there such a thing as 'monody'?

'Reflection' - Carey contributes another yummy tom driven groove here which is strangely redolent of the Cure circa Pornography and there is WOHWAH! a filtered synth thingy in the background (Keith Emerson run for cover and my cat has just woken up) I could be wrong here but is that a violin lending some oriental inflected accents to this otherwise monotonous American drawling vocabulary ? If this were 6 minutes shorter I might even hazard it would approach the lofty heights of 'samey'.

'Triad' - The arithmetic here probably looks better on manuscript paper than from out of my speakers on this 'up-tempo' bar-line balancing audit. Migraine as art. The complete silence that lasts for over 2 minutes on my version of this album is the best 120 seconds or so I have spent in a real long while. (Thanks lads, my cat has resumed his nap)

'Faaip De Oaid' - Mmm..., an anagram of 'A Deaf Aid I Op' - should be mandatory for the legions of fervent admirers this vacuous band somehow attracts. Fashions itself on the Enochian language translation of Voice of God which is begging of a pardon. Denied.

Despite what you may conclude from the foregoing, I really wanted to like this record as it was recommended to me by a fellow Crimson 'nut' whose opinion I value highly, as being representative of where 'prog' was going in the future.

NOTE TO SELF - emigrate to Neptune

PS - Maynard Keenan is an anagram of 'A Mannered Yank'

PPS - My cat won't even use Lateralus as a scratch mat

Report this review (#174773)
Posted Sunday, June 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is the definition of creativity. Tool has created a masterpiece, doing things that musicians have never done. Their creativity is astounding, and even though people don't consider Tool progressive, I'm sure that if they took a minute too look into the depth and meaning of this album, they would definetely see why they are considered prog.

First off, this album is filled with some very angry and loud music. At the same time, there are very meditative atmospheres here. There have been bands that have a large dynamic contrast, but few with such soothing atmosphere as Tool. I could really compare the heavy/atmospheric sound to Pink Floyd at times, though definetely much darker.

The Grudge is a great rocking song, and its quick 10/8 is metered very creatively. It kicks off loud and builds up until it drops out into some great atmospherics. The end has a fantastic drum part and after that a great polymeter of the band playing in 10/8 while Maynard James Keenan says, Let go! in a crescendo in 3/8. A good way to kick off the album.

I have never gotten why there's so much hate for Tool's filler tracks. They are part of the concept of their albums. Eon Blue Apocalypse is a great example. It's a very short atmospheric track segueing into the Patient quite nicely.

The Patient is a beautifully haunting piece of music. It's slow, and it's probably the most Ćnima sounding track on this album. It gets a bit of distortion later on in the song, but it's a quite lovely track.

Mantra is another filler. It sounds like a pointless minute of just ambient noise, but if you research into this track and the album's alternate track listing, you'll find that this track has just as much depth as the other ones on the album.

Schism is absolutely one of the most dark and beautiful pieces of music ever created. There is so much atmosphere, especially after all the electric instruments drop out and Maynard sings, between supposed lovers/brothers. The bass riff in an alternating 5/8 and 7/8 is quite unique, and the drums are just as creative. The lyrics match the music perfectly as well, as the alternating meters match the lyrical themes of division and the lack of communication.

Parabol/Parabola is one of the single tracks, but that doesn't mean it's bad. The parabol section is haunting and dark and very slow. One could fall asleep happily to this track. After a couple minutes, it explodes into Parabola, which is a rather alternative rock type song, dealing with the topic of separating the body from the mind.

Ticks & Leeches is a great track. The quick tempo and the 7/8 time remind me immediately of 46 &2 from Ćnima. There is a great drum intro by Danny Carey. This is definetely the angriest song on the album. Maynard James Keenan screams almost entirely through the song. Even this song drops off in the middle into a beautiful atmosphere. It finally picks up the tempo again and bombards the listener with all the loudness Tool can achieve.

The title track, Lateralus, is absolutely fantastic. It builds into a great guitar riff alternating 9/8, 4/4, and 7/8. Then stacatto drums in 5/8 pick up while Maynard sings quietly in a strange rhythmic pattern. If you'll notice that the syllables in each of the songs lines correspond with a few numbers from the Fibonacci sequence. The song uses the sequence as a metaphor to open your mind, a lyrical subject often touched upon by Tool. How anyone could think to blend lyrics and music together so well like this is beyond me. This is one of the reasons Tool is such a creative band.

Disposition/Reflection/Triad were initially concieved as one song, but later split up. They all have a very soft, slow, meditative atmosphere, except for Triad, but one could still find meditation very easy in that part as well. They have a very dark atmosphere, and are heavily reliant on the percussion in them. Even though Reflection goes on for 11 minutes with about the same sound all the way through, one rarely gets bored of it because of the atmosphere it puts one in. Triad is also great. It's instrumental and focuses on rhythm, experimenting with the triplet meter it is in. It is great.

Faaip de Oiad is 2 minutes of eerie drums and static behind the voice of a frantic man. This track is not to be listened to in the dark. There is a good chance you will be frightened when you listen to this track alone in the darkness. This may seem out of place at the end of the album, especially after the minute and a half of silence after Triad. This is because the album is actually supposed to be listened in an alternate track order to make it flow better. Tool did this to make the fans think, and again show another brilliant example of pushing the envelope of what we think of music.

Overall, this is a masterpiece album. The creativity is beyond what many can concieve, and Tool definetely shows that they are more than just a few guys with instruments. Giving this album anything less than five stars would be terribly innacurate.

Report this review (#180150)
Posted Wednesday, August 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Tool - 'Lateralus' 3 stars

Five years after Aenima, you would figure Tool would have more ideas brought to the table and an album full of great songs. Tool did not manage that, but keep the same sound as Aenima and maybe throw in some better songs. The long overdone riffs are still as apparent as ever; lasting minutes at a time repeating the same section over and over can really get on ones nerves.

If this album was cut down a bit, I might have even given this 4 or hell, even 5 stars. I don't think that would be possible since that would destroy the concept of the album that apparently, only Tool fans and no one else can understand. What I can understand is a difference between an album that has some good songs and one that has all good songs that merge well from beginning to end.

The album starts off with 'The Grunge' which I find has one of the most interesting intros ever. Nice bass in the forefront with guitar and drum polyrhythm's thrown in creates a truly divine sound. The song gets simpler as it goes on, dropping all the different polyrhythms but it keeps the changes going, a definitive Tool track.

'Eon Blue Apocalypse'. I understand that this is a 'segue', but it really isn't a good one. If I wanted to hear a track that serves as an intro to another, I would go with the majestic 'Parabol'.

'Patient'.more likes Patience. I'm really on the fence with this track, the intro is nice, but really has far must I go with it to get into the usual Tool chorus. I know what one is like on 'Aenima', and this one is no different/

'Mantra''s a minute long; you know you're in for some useless repetition and/or noise like all the others.

'Schism' is Tool's best known song. I used to like it.but 'Forty Six and Two'? I already heard a song, including the prior one that goes through one riff the entire song. The ending gets interesting, but you'll have to go through four minutes of the same riff.

'Parabol/Parabola' is beautiful no doubt. Parabola is finally something I looked for in this band. The anger, the changes in mood and all the things Tool is known for. Too bad I only found those accusations to be true here.

'Ticks & Leeches'. All I hear about this song from friends when it is discussed is the majestic drum work of Danny Carey. I'll agree 100% with that. Sadly enough, does the use of Maynard and Adam Jones make this track better or deteriorate it? I feel if they didn't play at all on this song, it could have been shorter, and a drum instrumental piece of our time. It happens to be now a boring Tool track. Fantastic drum work, but a ruined and below average song was the outcome of the collaboration.

'Lateralus' is an inspiring track. It gives off the feeling that you're in another place, and it works for me. No complaint about the music or the mood Maynard pushes the listener with his vocals.

'Disposition/Reflection/Triad' is where the album takes a serious nosedive like Aenima. This, from what I understand is supposed to be one piece. If I treated it as such, I'd call it one of the worst epics ever created. 'Disposition' is a wonderful piece of music. Slow and steady with the guitar driving it and creating numerous effects in the background. Not too long to make the listener impatient. 'Reflection' and 'Triad' represent everything wrong with this band. The former is an insult to the word repetition and the latter is another track of Tool's terrible creativity, 'Hey!, this riff sounds cool, I'll play it here for the verse, then up here for the chorus and maybe throw in a hook or two for the breakdown!'

'Faaip De Oiad'. Pfft, what am I supposed to think of this really? A grand scheme to the concept of the album. It's just useless noise. The gothic kids that sit in the corners of the class were never the most intelligent anyway.

5 years after Aenima, Tool never even changed their sound. They seemed to be just doing fine with their loyal fan base and mainstream attention. I feel if this band were better known at the time of Aenima, this album would have received the flack of 10,000 days. Tool got lucky in that case.

I'll go with the crowd here and list 'The Grudge', 'Lateralus' and 'Parabola' as the best songs. What would separate me from the crowd is that I don't think the rest of the 'not as good' songs or in my case, the bad songs, make this a 3 star at album most. Not a five.

This is slightly better than Aenima. If you didn't think that album was any special, avoid this one.

Report this review (#180388)
Posted Wednesday, August 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Soundtrack to a shark attack

Think about the images of the shark attack, before and during. Tool have these two modes that so perfectly fit the imagery. They bob and brood very softly and quietly, chugging away on a single string maybe with a few cymbal brushes, creating immense amounts of tension for the listener. On and on, nervous and tense, building. Perfect music for watching a flailing human in the water trying to stay above the surface as the sharks circle. The panic and adrenalin keep him going and going far beyond the point where he should have succumbed to exhaustion and drowned. Suddenly the water surface explodes in violence, teeth, blood, and pain as the band kicks into full volume assault.

The first thing that captured me about this album was the ferocious drumming of Danny Carey. Tribal, heavy, and consistent but with these perfect acrobatic fills that grab your attention.I can focus on his playing as a lead instrument and be entertained. Add to that the infectious and inventive guitar work of both Jones and Chancellor and you have the whole package. It is mind-boggling how Jones can move from sludge metal to nervewracking Frippish mode to updated psych-space-metal textures that almost sound like "Interstellar Overdrive" for the new century. Think about the riffs of Overdrive compared to some of the sections in Lateralus and while the final product is certainly different I think the comparison is interesting and I'd love to ask them about Floyd. The music ranges from the crushingly heavy riffing to the bounds of rage, but are made so much more engaging by the progressive elements of theme and explorative instrumentals full of hooks and color. While generally not a fan of albums that are this long Lateralus has enough high-minded vision and energetic rapport to keep even borderline metal fans on board so long as they can appreciate an overall dark emotional vibe...there's not much cheeriness on display. Much like some of my favorite symphonic works this album is so dense and full of layers that it is not easily assimilated to memory, meaning repeated listenings get more interesting instead of less. Certain grooves will begin to emerge and thrill you but there is always something else happening in the background that you didn't remember from your last spin. A good snapshot of the album is the title track which builds to a monstrous powerful ending before dissolving into the reflective "Disposition" with its ringing spacey clean guitars, strange whispers, and hand percussions. Then the 11 minute "Reflection" continues with brilliant ethereal guitar-scapes over sound effects and masterful drumming. Some contend the production is murky and the sound flat but I honestly think the sound is as intended and conveys the mood of the music quite well. These guys seem detailed-oriented and not prone to letting a work of this scope get out the door without the sound they intended. I think Lateralus is quite an achievement and a feather in the cap of progressive metal. It's an album that I enjoyed very quickly but one that could take years to fully appreciate, something I consider a positive attribute for a progressive recording.

Report this review (#183064)
Posted Sunday, September 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars Tool's 'Lateralus' is neo progressive at its darkest.

Tool compacts metal staccato riffs of varying metrical patterns with cynical lyrics to produce an album of exceptional quality. 'The Grudge' blazes from beginning to end and features very off-balance guitar riffing and time signature changes reminiscent of the best of symphonic prog such as ELP's 'Tarkus' and Yes's 'Long Distance Runaround'. Tool stands alone as an edgy, industrialized prog metal.

Highlights include 'Patient', 'Schism', 'Parabola', 'Lateralis', 'Reflection' and 'Triad'. Of note is the guitar riffing and percussion tremors that pound incessantly.

How do you end an album of this grand scale? Why, with a quirky monologue of course. The monologue in 'Faaip De Oiad' features a filtered voice over an ethereal atmospheric soundwave. The voice explains as follows:

I, I don't have a whole lot of time. Um, OK, I'm a former employee of Area 51. I, I was let go on a medical discharge about a week ago and, and... I've kind of been running across the country. Damn, I don't know where to start, they're, they're gonna, um, they'll triangulate on this position really soon. OK, um, um, OK, what we're thinking of as, as aliens, they're extradimensional beings, that, an earlier precursor of the, um, space program they made contact with. They are not what they claim to be. Uh, they've infiltrated a, a lot of aspects of, of, of the military establishment, particularly the Area 51. The disasters that are coming, they, the military, I'm sorry, the government knows about them. And there's a lot of safe areas in this world that they could begin moving the population to now. They are not! They want those major population centers wiped out so that the few that are left will be more easily controllable.

Creepy stuff and unforgettable once it penetrates the conscious. The soundwave of sonic white noise is incredible. The same approach is revisited on '10,000 Days' closing track.

In conclusion 'Lateralus' is a prime example of prog metal genius. Overarching themes and huge wall of sound metal. It is Tool's finest album, never bettered.

Report this review (#185171)
Posted Friday, October 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars A good prog metal/post metal album.

It took me a while - and several repeated listens - to start appreciating the music in Lateralus, even to a basic level. This album is widely acclaimed as a progressive metal masterpiece, but I have a hard time agreeing to that.

Tool displays a somewhat unorthodox compositional style, in which the songs start with a certain rhythmic pattern, using repeated guitar/bass lines, which evolves by creating slight variations to that pattern. Then, after building tension, the songs explode at certain points. They completely avoid the verse/bridge/chorus song structure. This kind of music has a lot of potential to satisfy progheads, as the evolving rhythmic variations usually are very stimulating to the brain. But, it also has the potential to create a mesmerising effect, which is, to a good extent, the case with this album.

I'm not really into Tool and I find the music a bit bland, although the atmospheres in Lateralus are dark (which I usually like) and the lyrics are very good. One thing that bothers me (and with other bands too) are Maynard James Keenan's mumble and then scream type vocals. Throughout the mumble parts, the vocals seem dull and almost dead, and the screaming is just that: screaming. I really appreciate aggressive vocals, but usually something with a bit more melody and purpose (Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt comes to mind).

But I certainly understand why this album could appeal so much to others. Like I said, the lyrics are very good and the drumming fantastic. In fact, drummer Danny Carey's performance is the highlight of the album. He shows excellent technique and delivers very solid, creative grooves. The songs that most stand out to me are The Grudge and Parabola.

All in all, a good album. If you're into bands like Riverside or Porcupine Tree, check this album out. You'll probably like it too.

Report this review (#185946)
Posted Thursday, October 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Absolutely phenomenal. Tool has created a distinctive blend of art rock, metal, and ambient music over the course of their unfortunately concise discography. Though the albums they have released were over prolonged periods of time, they are definitely worth the wait. Ćnima was an incredible album, but Lateralus is undoubtedly the quintessential Tool album, and it definitely belongs in every prog collection.

Early in the album, beginning with The Grudge, we are treated to a dark, angst-ridden collection of compositions. About halfway through the album, Lateralus experiences a change of pace, resulting in ambient, experimental tracks such as Disposition and Reflection. The album ends off with the disturbing, enigmatic Faaip De Oiap, which contains excerpts of an interview with an ex-Area 51 employee.

Very unique, however, are Danny Carey's syncopated polyrhythms in his drumming on these compositions, where he plays in different time signatures than the rest of the group, resulting in the trademark Tool sound. Maynard James Keenan's vocals are better than ever on Lateralus, and Justin Chancellor's bass playing never disappoints. A must have.

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Posted Tuesday, December 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I listened to this record all the way through again just a couple of days ago, and it is indescribably magnificent. I think that Tool has a way of creating songs that have this insanely masculine, tribal, and spiritual fury to them that is just magical. When I listen to The Grudge, I just can't help but thinking that it is the most masculine song that I have ever heard. It is full of rage, but is perfectly calculated and executed. Maynard's vocals are just so awesome, and can I say anything about the godly rhythm section of Danny Carey and Justin Chancellor that hasn't already been said? My only reason for giving this album four stars is because I don't think it's absolutely perfect. Ticks and Leeches, Reflection, and Triad, too to a lesser extent, tend to drag on a little too much. I really like Reflection and Triad, though, but Ticks and Leeches is probably the weakest track on the album in my opinion, however, the lyrics are pretty powerful, especially if you think about a tick or a leech when listening to the song. Overall, I had to give this a four because I think I am a pretty biased listener when it comes to Tool, and since I've never fallen in love with Ticks and Leeches, I don't think this album is perfect. I do, however, think that this album is absolutely brilliant. I highly recommend this album and 10,000 Days to anyone I meet.
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Posted Saturday, December 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars My first exposure to this group came through their strange videos back in the mid 90s that aired in heavy rotation on MTV. The sordid images of twisted claymation imps cavorting around in shadowy, macabre catacombs where bloody, sausage-like substances flowed endlessly through sewage pipes delighted my then-teenage offspring no end. I wasn't particularly impressed by their music but I could appreciate their uniqueness nonetheless. The subsequent years rolled by and I thought little of the band until I found that they are revered by many in the prog community and that respect piqued my interest even though I own nothing from the Experimental/Post Metal category. In fact, Dream Theater and Riverside are about as metallic musically as I normally care to venture near to but I've never been one who is afraid of exploring different aspects of music so I felt it was about time I delved into the universe Tool inhabits and form an opinion for myself. The extreme heaviness of their approach was exactly what I expected but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the lyrical content is intelligent, literate and poignant throughout.

"The Grudge" is an excellent introduction to everything this entourage and this album is about. After a rumbling onset it reveals an ominous yet highly-skilled voice accompanied by huge guitar chords from Adam Jones before it backs down for a more emotional vocal from Maynard James Keenan. It then gets quite intense as the group surrounds the finely-tuned drums of Danny Carey and takes the listener on a journey through various textures of sound, culminating in a glorious, prolonged primal scream and a supercharged ending. Here Maynard urges us to let go of perceived sins or we will become people who "wear the grudge like a crown of negativity/calculate what we will or will not tolerate/desperate to control all and everything/unable to forgive your scarlet lettermen." This tune serves as an impressive start but couldn't someone have toned down Justin Chancellor a hair? I have to roll back the bass knob just to be able to hear the rest of the ensemble. "Eon Blue Apocalypse" is a shorty that comes off like incidental music for a spaghetti western where some naďve cowboy has made the horrible mistake of saying something curt to snake-eyed Lee Van Cleef. "The Patient" follows and, while it's not as good as the opener, it has its moments. It features a much quieter beginning with a repeating guitar riff and just when I start to wonder why it was necessary to bury the vocal so far down in the mix the whole thing explodes with gigantic power chords that shake the walls. They eventually settle into a flowing groove and the dynamic arrangement keeps it from getting too stale but nothing really grabs my attention and makes it memorable. Lyrically it compares existence to that of a terminal patient who somehow maintains hope that things in his life will get better. It has to because "this paranoid, paralyzed vampire act's a little old," he relates.

"Mantra" is a brief piece that sounds much like moss-covered gnomes chanting in an immense underground cavern and it leads directly to the best tune on the album, "Schism." This driving ball- breaker contains a highly infectious riff, sublime guitar tones and a track that is as tight as they come. I love the way Keenan fits the words around the odd time signatures. He laments the sorry state of the world we live in and what he expresses about the human condition is timeless. "I've done the math enough to know the dangers of our second guessing/doomed to crumble unless we grow and strengthen our communication" for "cold silence has a tendency to atrophy any sense of compassion between supposed lovers/brothers" he sings. That's primo stuff. The subtle "Parabol" follows and its mystical aura and Indian influences provide a nice change of pace at this juncture. "All this pain is an illusion" he warbles. The obviously related "Parabola" is next and it's more of a straight ahead rocker than what's come before. Carey's drum work is outstanding on this cut but I find the finale to be uninspired and somewhat tedious. However, the words continue to dwell in the metaphysical realm and the optimism they convey is refreshing. "Twirling round with this familiar parable/spinning, weaving round each new experience/recognize this as a holy gift/and celebrate this chance to be alive and breathing" he encourages.

A hot drum intro draws you into "Ticks and Leeches." This sledgehammer of a song has a plethora of hardcore metal screaming and general mayhem running through it from A to Z. There's not much prog here, just a pressure-relieving head-banger that eventually slides down into a more serene segment briefly before predictably returning to a full-force onslaught of cold, hard steel and flying shrapnel. I understand the need to lash out at soul-sucking corporate/government ogres and trolls but this brand of loud, symbolic carnage is better suited for younger ears than mine. "Lateralus" is okay but it reveals a pattern that this band falls into much too often. It has a subdued outset with tribal drums rattling along and, though the dynamics are well-intentioned and the ending is suitably intense, one gets the sensation of been there, done that with the whole thing. The song's saving grace lies once again in the competent words being sung. Here Maynard dips into the well of Hermetic principles and serves up gems like "as below, so above and beyond" and "over-thinking, over-analyzing separates the body from the mind/withering my intuition, leaving all these opportunities behind." Again, not what I expected to find in the land of throbbing metal. Kudos are appropriate.

But just when musically their process is getting to be routine Tool smartly offers up something entirely different. "Disposition" is a slow-to-build, mesmerizing number where the introduction of tablas is a welcome turn of events and it segues smoothly right into "Reflection" without tampering with the hypnotic mood or the momentum as a droning synthesizer adds yet another dimension to the thick atmosphere they create. I particularly admire how they resist the urge to bring in their standard wall- of-sound approach until the later stages. Here again the lyrics uplift instead of grovel in self-pity. "So crucify the ego before it's far too late/to leave behind this place so negative and blind and cynical/and you will come to find that we are all one mind/capable of all that's imagined and all conceivable" Keenan sings. Well put. These two tracks are true highlights of the album. I can't say the same for "Triad," however. It's a pointless jam that drifts in from the ether like a tormenting swarm of cosmic wasps and Jones' screechy guitar noises and gratuitous feedback are nothing short of nerve- wracking. This is what they should play non-stop to get captured terrorists to spill vital information but then I can also see where such torture could be considered inhumane. (They'd probably opt for waterboarding over this!) After a much-needed two minutes of blessed absolute silence they throw in the queer "Faaip De Oiad" which consists of grating static and an overwrought basket case delivering a frantic, conspiratorial soliloquy about aliens taking over. I prefer to think the boys were playfully inspired by the hilarity of The Firesign Theater's classic album "Everything You Know Is Wrong" than to contemplate that they are being serious in any way, shape or form. Surely they jest.

Some reviewers I respect think this is a masterpiece. Others think it is a waste of plastic. I'm right in the middle though I've heard much, much worse in my time and am inclined to give the Tool men the benefit of doubt. There's no denying that they sound like no one else and their intent to convey something substantial, positive and thought-provoking through their music is a major plus with me. Their talent and dedication to their craft is evident as well. The downside is the overall sameness to their approach that grows tiresome after a while. I can appreciate their loyalty to the legion of metalheads that made them superstars but I think they are capable of incorporating a wider variety of influences into their art. "Lateralus" is not an album I'll spin often but I know there will be days when this will match my mood perfectly and I'll be glad I have it in my collection. 3.3 stars.

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Posted Saturday, December 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
1 stars Beware of (prog) metal groups said to be "influenced" by KING CRIMSON and PINK FLOYD. I'm not sure how the "post" prefix has become attached to groups like TOOL, but I feel obligated, as someone who represents a segment of the progressive aficionado base, to say that this is 90% undistinguished growling atonal, angry metal, and 10% prog. Unfortunately, even that small percentage is marred by precious little certifiable progression. Instead what we hear are repetitive atonal quiet phrasings just before the metal plunders the entire landscape, with precious little by way of transition. I myself do not consider this to be progressive in any significant sense. It is not the ponderous part of PF and KC that makes them progressive, but how they meld the disparate parts into a whole.

Of course, exceptions can always be found, and here the notable exception is called "Reflection" which experiments with violins in lieu of violence, and actually brings RIVERSIDE to mind, which in this barren wasteland is a distinct positive. But TOOL considers 5 extra minutes of a good thing to be a great thing, and even in more melodic subgenres this is rarely the case.

This power tool performs too often at deafening volume, and moves more laterally than forward. 1.5 stars rounded down.

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Posted Sunday, January 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Im gonna do brief short review,On songs I think stick out most to me what they mean.The Title of this cd says lot just by the title.Lateralus we sometimes like to live in parallel world where pendulum swings,We like to be violent but also nice to.We like to horde money,But also like to give it out.We like to be human one time and christlike next,What is it that binds us to all this negativity in lateral sense.Our ego,We need to crucify this part us daily,Otherwise there gonna be deception. Lot of prid, lot of misery to ourselves.Till we choose let this grudge go which is part our ego.

3)the patient-This song is killer song bout being patient,Till the answer comes. we have no rewards to reap,No loving embrace to see me thru.The tedious path I chosen here,I certainly walk away by now. We all like to be first to get rewards,But isnt that hidden agenda.When we desire to recive for us alone,You'll be wating forever then walk away from it.Also be pateint walk away from evil,Dont try in your power to change someones character.When you have your ownself to take care of,Just walk away be patient they eventually hit brick wall sooner or later wake up to reality like i did november 23rd

5)Schism-Lot of marriages relationships,would not end up divorced or seperated.If you use communication,To come to terms of compromise.Watch the pieces fit when yu work as team,Use diffrent tongues of babylon never get anything done.Be in mass confusion,All you hear is yourself talking not other person.

6)Parabola-we are eternal all this pain is illusion,Yes it means it just temporary.Without pain on earth we never learn to be sad,Or you cut your hand off,If u felt no pain or etc.Without pain we never learn anything,Your stuck in parabola between 2 dimensions.Your heart is so cold,You dont even feel the pain of nother persons soul crying in aguish.To please help me,Save me before I commit suiciide etc.

12)Triad-This song uses 3 to the 4th power,Whole way thru they play in multiples of 3.On measure of 4,Using mathematics in this song is unreal,Very hard to do advanced math in song.Danny Carrey shines thru and Adam Jones Also..

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Posted Saturday, January 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Lateralus' - Tool (6/10)

While this is ultimately thought to be Tool's progressive masterpiece, I didn't find much enjoyment with it as '10,000 Days,' which will condemn me almost automatically right off the bat. This is not to say however, that I don't find the album appealing. It's just that the album (for the most part) lacks alot of the emotion necessary for a purposeful impact.

Songs like 'Schism' and 'The Patient' are fantastic and complex compositions which help me better understand why 'Lateralus' is held in such high heavens. 'Schism' has upwards of fifty time signature changes! There is a very dense soundscape to be heard on 'Lateralus' and relatively bass-heavy and oriented.

The reason I have never been able to get into 'Lateralus' is because some of the music just never hit me as being 'master' worthy. It is most certainly thoughtful, but I usually think of something like the ambitious 'Be' album from Pain of Salvation when I think of a true masterpiece. There's definately talent and intelligence at play here, but theres nothing that triggers emotion here from me, which is the main point of music altogether.

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Posted Monday, March 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Tool's 2001 release, Lateralus, is considered by many to be the best of the band's small catalogue. Featuring a massive spread of musical influence, from straight up metal, to experimental to avant-garde, if their ever was an essential piece to their catalogue, this is it.

1. The Grudge

Opening with a distorted riff and heavily intoxicated drum beat, this song continues in such a fashion until it finds its feet in a yelled, overlapped, complicatedly tempo'd vocal riff, this then travels into a much more soft guitar riff and some stereophonic drum use. From there on, it leads into a song proper, featuring a solid vocal tempo contrasted by distorted guitar and bass. Continuing in this fashion, yet picking up intensity through many fills and the use of interesting dynamics, this track never gets old, even in its 8 and a half minute length. A very solid track, this is incredibly energetic and plays out in a typical TOOL fashion. Floating out in the same way it made its entrance, albeit much louder, this track features one of the longest yells I've ever heard in a song. A solid opener, which also showcases each members technical potential and ability.

2. Eon Blue Apocalypse

Not much can be said about this one minute track - A short instrumental featuring a nice guitar riff and overall atmosphere, but nothing overall special.

3. The Patient

An iconic TOOL guitar riff opens this one up. A fan favourite from the album, this is much slower than GRUDGE, and features a much cleaner overall sound. This carries on into another heavy chorus, featuring an excellent rhythmic section overlapped perfectly by the vocal section and guitar melodies. Featuring a somewhat repetitive continuation of the riff and heaviness, this is a good track, although somewhat thin and repetitive.

4. Mantra

Another one minute instrumental, this is one of TOOL's more post-metal moments. Nothing to really say about this one, its nothing special.

5. Schism

One of TOOL's best ever tracks, this features what is perhaps their best ever riff. This track features excellent lyrics, aswell as an intense rhythmic section. One of the best tracks on the album, its obvious to see why fans and new listeners find this to be a great track. Carrying into an interesting guitar bridge, this track never gets repetitive, even after hundreds of listens. Excellently overlapping guitar melodies and vocal patterns are a standout towards this track's end, helping to take this song to a new level already. Closing in a different riff to the one in which it began, this is a great track and should be heard by any self-respecting prog, metal, or straight up rock fan.

6. Parabol

Meant as an interlude into Parabola, the album's single, this mellow track is good, but not amazing. Featuring some atmospheric effects a la Brian Eno, this track carries a good guitar riff and picks up volume towards the end. This track also features many of the lyrics in the next track, PARABOLA.

7. Parabola

The obvious single from this album, this is the most mainstream and accessible of the album. Another great track, this features a solid formula of vocals, guitar and drums. All work together in tandem to make a great tune which fans of any genre can usually enjoy. Featuring some great guitar soloing work aswell as solid rhythmic and chord musicianship, this makes a great addition to an overall very good album. At around half way through at 3 minutes, this takes a turn back into the regular TOOL channels, but still keeping up an overall more heavy metal feel than the rest of their tracks on this album. The last two minutes of this album are particularly interesting, as they feature the same lyrics as the intro, in a much less upbeat tone and at a completely different rhythm. Towards the end of this track, guitar distortion reigns supreme with a heavy yet defined tone. A very good track, although much more mainstream than one should usually expect from this band.

8. Ticks And Leeches

This track opens with a marked change from the one which preceded it due to its heavily rhythmic drum track and eventual flow of distortion. Featuring much higher pitched guitar noise than all of the tracks which come before it on the album, this feels a lot less formulaic in comparison to the other tracks on the album, and also features an inspiringly technical yet well grounded drum rhythm similar to something Gavin Harrison (PORCUPINE TREE) or Carl Palmer (EMERSON LAKE AND PALMER) would play. At around halfway through, this also reverts to a softer repeat of the intro. Continuing into a once more distorted repetition of this riff with much heavier over (and under) tones, this is an interesting track, although follows an incredibly repetitive format which drags its quality down as a stand alone track.

9. Lateralus

Ahh, here it is! The best track on the album, and also one of (if not) the best ever TOOL songs, this opens with a great guitar riff, which it carries for around a minute before picking up momentum and (Yep, you guessed it!) grabbing some distortion and continuing the riff in a much heavier fashion. Another great guitar riff, this is backed up by a mathematically perfect rhythmic section. Vocals carry the usual TOOL feel in this track, although feature a much more interesting lyric and are underplayed by another great drum track. Excellent verses carry this track into its brilliant chorus, and this track really can't disappoint anyone. Another brilliant drum track helps this track keep fresh and interesting. Eventually flowing into a great, short, but great guitar solo, this track keeps the TOOL standard high and features some of their best songwriting and composing ever, all rolled into one excellent song. One of my favourite ever moments from TOOL centers this piece, carrying the same riff from the intro with another great lyric, I can't see how anyone can dislike this track. Its obvious the band tried hard with this one, and its even more obvious that it paid off. Another great guitar solo eventually arises, and carries this song into the same riff which it filled itself with. The last two minutes of this track are simply excellent ? Brilliant musicianship and songwriting combine in a rare way, which we see even less with bands these days. In my opinion, this is easily the best track on the album, and deserves its status as a fan favourite.

10. Disposition

A huge change in pace from the title track, this is another great track, although much quieter and reflective than the other tracks so far on the album. A repetition of the same lyric "Watch the weather change" continues through out this track.

11. Reflection

The longest, and in my opinion, the darkest track on this album, I can't see whats really very good about this track. It feels very bland and repetitive, and doesn't do justice to the rest of this album. It is interesting for the first listen, but seems paper-thin after more than one spin. Its good ? Just nothing special or at all great, and I can't see why it was necessary to carry this track out over the space of eleven minutes. Its not bad, but it does wear thing after a couple of minutes of incredibly monotonous repetitions.

12. Triad

Similar to DISPOSITION, although much more lively, this is another solid track in this album. A mar of guitar squeals and effects pedals provide the harmony for this track, played over another interesting, eastern drum track. Towards the halfway mark, this track completely changes its pace to become much more like other TOOL tracks. Not a bad thing, but due to the fact this sound and atmosphere is used in every track on this album, it does feel a bit old. Two minutes of silence close off this track's 8 minute length.

13. Faaip De Oaid

The final track on this album is filled with eerie white noise, and more Eno-esque atmospheric effects and soundscaping. A decent closer to a good album, but once again, nothing special in any way or form.

Lateralus is a masterpiece after you let it settle in, and thats why I've edited this review - I don't know where I'd be without this album now. An absolutely briliant disc.

Keep proggin', and enjoy!


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Posted Friday, May 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Part 1

You wanna know how a band like this is so awesome?Because of how polarizing they are.Never do you ever hear of someone shrugging their shoulders when approached with the band Tool.They either love them or hate them with a passion.Most people simply give this a bad review because they are so indulged into prog rock that when they hear that someone says that this album is a great prog masterpiece that when they listen to it they realize that it's not exactly the prog that they've come to know and love.So they automatically get angry and write this band off altogether without even listening to it a few more times just to give it a chance.

Good music gets you hooked in no time but later on down a few years other things come to take its place.Great music though,and I mean truly beautiful music,will not get you hooked.No,instead it grows on you and it keeps growing until it has become something entirely different: an important passage in the book of your life, a cure to go to when you're down and in doubt, a state of mind, a fire burning deep within your heart in almost spiritual sense.You get the idea.

Very rarely does a certain kind of music come a along that defines a generation.And very rarely does music come along that defines society.But even rarer still does there ever come a certain kind of music that doesn't simply reflect the state of society in its time or expresses a strong opinion about conflicts national or global,but shows us something never seen before,an alien world that just might be a transcendental portal supreme revelation.It is a view that simply cannot be seen through ignorance or prejudice.It takes time to adjust your ears to this musical horizon so you must be patient and give it exactly well spent time.Most people would argue that music shouldn't have to take so long to become effective but I so very beg to differ. All truly awesome things take time to develop. Trust me,look up anything be it a sport or band or artist or religion that you share a strong bond with and you'll see that anything you have come to like didn't happen just like that.It took time and struggle and persistance.It is the same with everything else.

Let's face it,nodobdy completely loved any album off this site through just one listen.It took a little more than that.Some albums take more time than others like Tales From Topographic Oceans.It took me at least ten times till I finally "got it".But that preserverance paid off like you wouldn't believe.It brought me a new vision,a new way of looking at things,and so much raw emotion,fire for my heart.There have only been two albums to help me transcend the previous state for which I lived:Tales from Topographic Oceans and Lateralus. Lateralus sent me on a musical journey like no other.

Transcendental,inspiring,mystical,spiritual,an uncanny masterpiece.This album didn't just become enjoyable to listen to,it became superb insight for my heart,mind,body,and soul.Should music be this effective on a person?Should it even have this purpose at all.In my eyes,this is what makes music matter: to bring an overwhelming rich of pure uncontaminated emotion that can rid the mind of one's current hardships and regrets,make someone a totally new person.Jimi Hendrix made my dad the man he is today.And now Tool has made me the man I am today.

Full of very lively spiritual passages as well as contemplations of one's own journey throughout the darkness in their life,the musicianship is so very dark.I see Lateralus as a complete double-edged sword.One side is the dark musical side,with absolutely drenched dread chaotically yet uncannily organized and technical ideas that scrape the landscape ferociously to hellish inferno.Then there's the bright lyrical side,filled with an almost supernatural language that can only be correctly deciphered through the breaking down of one's own walls of security and comfort and leaving them to complete utter vulnerability.And when the sword becomes ultimately one plane instead of two edges,you get Lateralus's effects.Very few albums are able to pull off a revealing omni-drug that can positively uplift the mind and spirit as well make the whole process so unforgettable and enjoyable as if one was sent into god's dimension for a brief amount of time only to catch a fleeting glimpse of the unexplainable. For me Lateralus does all of this and so much more.

I won't go into too much detail about the whole album because I feel that most of the people on here have done a good job with explaining the tracks and their qualities.But I strongly believe that this album is prog,though not the kind of prog that we're used to.How can anyone say that this is not innovative or progressive?I've people say time and again that "Tool ripped this part off from so and so" and "So and so have done this way before Tool started that".First off,I think it is safe to say that every single band today has gotten their chops from bands in the past and mashed those chops up into their own kind of music.Tool has done this as well,but that doesn't make the music bad.Everything has been explored in the realms of music already so the only innovative thing left to do is mix things together and hopefully come out with a worthy product.Yes,Tool is guilty of this,but in my opinion they have mixed together something so wonderful that it has become a thing all its own.And there are a few traces of king crimson "progression" in their works.King Crimson was their main influence for goodness sakes!But those traces I would have to say are well hidden.And of course these guys can be loud.Is that bad too?Surely not if that loudness is put to a meaningful way.And Tool knows how to be effectively loud in this album.

I could go on writing a book about this album but I'll leave that to someone with better writing skills.People have already why this album is so great so I only wanted to explain it in personal sense.

This album and Tale from Topographic Oceans are probably the only two albums I will ever give 5 stars to period.Lasteralus is a masterpiece in it's own wonderful metal way.

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Posted Friday, May 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Sleepwalker
5 stars Tool is not one of the most productive bands. After a five year gap they released Lateralus, which is regarded their masterpiece by many. On Lateralus Tool would create a sound that is now often seen as their distinctive sound, featuring grungy riffs, lots of triplets and unconventional song structures. Parts of this style had already made an appearance on the band's previous release, Ćnima, but on Lateralus they are more dominant.

Lateralus opens with "The Grudge", the most aggresive song on the album together with "Ticks & Leeches". Both of these songs are absolutely mind-blowing in terms of power. The latter was the final track on the album to be recorded, because of the strain that the aggresive vocals would give to vocalist Maynard James Keenan's throat. Despite being great tracks, both of these tracks might not be the most representative of the musical style mentioned earlier in this review. Songs like "Schism", the two part suite "Parabol/Parabola" and the absolutely brilliant "Lateralus" are more distinctive.

There is very few negative to say about Lateralus, except maybe that the song "Triad" doesn't have much to offer to my ears and feels a bit out of place on this album. Also, I enjoy listening to albums as a whole. I'm usually not able to sit through 80 minutes of music, even if it's as amazing as the music on Lateralus. Apart from this, the album really is astounding in my opinion.

I've been doubting if I should give the album 4 or 5 stars. I went for the latter, as I don't feel that the length of the album should affect its rating. The music on this album is some of the most amazing I've ever heard. Lateralus is one of the biggest highlights in the history of music.

Report this review (#222249)
Posted Monday, June 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ah yes, here it is. "Laterlaus" the pinnacle of Tool's discography, and in many's opinion the pinnacle of music. I often find myself as a moderate in the Tool debate. Most seem to love them, and are the greatest, most intelligent band ever or they are boring and suck. I will say, "Lateralus" is a great album. Not my favorite, in fact not even in my top 10, (maybe my top 20) but is a great album and completes Tool's transformation from alternative metal to progressive rock. Yes, I think this album is progressive rock, not metal.

Like any Tool album, and prog in general, it took some time to really "get" it. However, the album did grow on me. As my tastes expanded I grew to really like this album. I also realized thing like their weird "songs" of nothingness are actually not songs but transitions. Some are done right and really are good transition pieces, some just sound like a waste of space. That is one other problem I have with Tool... I DO think they make length for the sake of it. Especially with Danny Carey's comments that they had a maximum of 79 minutes, and figured "we'd give them two seconds of breathing room."

Anyway, Tool is a talented band. Adam Jones' guitar work is good and all over the place stylistically. Justin Chancellor does the same, as his bass style has no actual "style" to it, but it is awesome. Great use of effects and making sounds. Danny Carey is truly one of the great drummers and Maynard is one of the best at creating atmosphere with his vocals and fitting the music.

The album starts off weak. The Grudge is actually not a very good song. It starts out fine, with some great guitar and bass work, some of Danny's infamous drumming and some nice vocals. The middle section is nice, but near the end it becomes slow and I have a tough time finishing it.

Eon Blue Apocalypse is a transition piece done well! It is not noise, but soothing. It really is a mellow, wonderful transition.

The transition into The Patient is smooth as silk. The Patient is a great song. Starts off with some simple guitar and trippy bass. It is a slow, mellow, minimal song with some great lyrics. The song gets heavy in the middle, with a great, and weird, guitar riff and some sweet drumming. A very progressive song and a great ending!

Mantra is a transition piece done poorly! It is just noise. What noise I have no idea. Someone once told me it was Maynard stroking his cat, but extremely slowed down.....whatever it is, one thing is for sure: It's a waste of space!

Schism, one of Tool's most well known songs. With good reason in my opinion. A great bass intro followed by the guitar and a great drum beat to match. Honestly, this is just a really great song! You have to hear it really.

Parabol is another segue, and a good one. It is really haunting, yet beautiful. What makes it a great transition piece is how it throws us right into Parabola. And thrown into it is exactly how you feel! The heaviest song on the album. It is a bit slow in parts, but overall a good song, and some truly great drumming.

Ticks and Leeches is actually my favorite song on the album. Starting with a frantic drum beat, then quickly some bass and building guitar this is a frantic song. At first. Maynard belts out some INTENSE vocals here. I love them! The vocals are great, fits the music perfectly, and some good music to boot! It does not need to be said, but again Carey's drumming is superb. Also a VERY progressive song!

Lateralus, the banner song. Actually I find it alright. It has some amazing parts, but also has some parts that really drag. While the music is a bit slow in parts this song is the epitome of Tool's genius, or in some opinions their pretentiousness.

The song deals with the human desire to explore deeper, and understand everything. Keep that in mind. OK, the song is built around the Fibonacci Sequence, (in which the first 2 numbers add equal the next). This is done in the first verse, as the syllables follow the pattern: 1,1,2,3,5,8,5,3,2,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,8,5,3. It is in a spiral pattern. This Fibonacci spiral, when drawn, creates a never ending spiral. The lyrics "spiral out" are mentioned throughout. Remember, the human desire to keep exploring deeper and learn more answers? It only leads to an infinite, expanding spiral.... Very cool. Very brilliant. However, without them telling us this, (or being a super genius) how would we even know such things?

Disposition is a beautiful song. Beautiful, relaxing, peaceful.

Reflection is another song that has great parts, but also boring parts.

Triad is the exact same thing, though I really like the end.

Not really the end! There is a hidden track. After some noise, (which continues) there is actually some pretty sweet drumming. Then too much noise.

Lateralus is a great album. While some parts are slow and drag on way too long, much of it is brilliant. This is not an album you can "listen" to, especially at first. You have to lay down and really absorb all the fine little details of it, then one can truly appreciate it. This album is also ripe with style changes, and constant time signature changes. Carey's drumming is truly spectacular. While the album's use of stuff like Fibonacci Numbers is brilliant, it is partially the bands shortcoming. In the song Lateralus the time signature in the chorus alternates between 9/8, 8/8, and 7/8. In fact it was originally called 9-8-7....987 happens to be the 17th number in the Fibonacci sequence.

That is pretty awesome, but pretty pretentious and again...unless you have a vast knowledge and extremely keen ears, who on Earth would know that? But Tool makes music for themselves. It is their personal journey. This is by nature very pretentious, but hey they let us join them on their journey. I am rambling now. This is a great album. Brilliant, and even more so when it really all sinks in. However, it is slow in quite a few parts. Long for the sake of length, some of the filler is totally useless.

Four Stars

Report this review (#230780)
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Lateralus is the greatest rock/metal album ever recorded. It's transcendently beautiful and challenging in a myriad of facets varying in profundity. Musically, it's incredibly tight and focussed. Maynard's voice is full of emotion and strength and each band member shows incredible precision with their respective instruments. According to the band (especially Danny Carey, the drummer), sacred geometry played a prominent role in the musical structure of the album; each rhythm or riff is charged with its own meaning. Content-wise, Lateralus dares to reach a level that few albums can touch. A level that few works of any type of art reach. I can only say that for introspection, Lateralus provides a narrative of incredible scope to guide the listener. Lateralus guides the listener through issues ranging from frustration with dogma and ignorance, to confronting despair and emptiness, and, as the album progresses, ever deeper levels of enlightenment. This is one of the most encouraging, overwhelmingly powerful works of art that I've had the privilege of experiencing. After what must be several hundred listens, I can say with confidence that Lateralus is a masterpiece in a league of its own.

Rating: 10/10

Here's an extremely well-done video that reveals some of the underlying structure to Tool's music, which is not immediately apparent.

Report this review (#232025)
Posted Sunday, August 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars It seems like one either has to love or hate this album. I happen to love it as much as I hate it since I could never understand how these guys could ruin such a promising release. Most of the tracks toward the end could have been shortened or even never released. Another big problem for me are the tracks that I never can remember after I've listened to them over and over again, like The Patient and Triad. They are by no means bad but considering that I've heard them so many times I should remember them by now.

Yes, there are a few forgetting compositions but when this album is good it's really good. The Grudge is a real killer of an opening track. Parabol/Parabola with it's great video is a true gem in Tool's discography and Lateralus almost reaches the level of the title track off Ćnima.

Overall it a mixed bag that still manages to get a spin or two every year so my grade is good, but non-essential.

***** star songs: The Grudge (8:36) Parabol (3:04) Parabola (6:03)

**** star songs: Eon Blue Apocalypse (1:04) Schism (6:47) Ticks & Leeches (8:10) Lateralus (9:24) Disposition (4:46) Reflection (11:07)

*** star songs: The Patient (7:14) Mantra (1:12) Triad (8:46)

** star songs: Faaip De Oiad (2:05)

Report this review (#257877)
Posted Saturday, December 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Restraint and reflection, two qualities of great artists, yet entirely missing from Tool's third. This album overstays its welcome by a long stretch. Still, it's the best from Tool so far, even though it keeps repeating their three main tricks ad infinitum, buffing them up with pretentious filler and thin vocals, or whatever Maynard's monotonous narration and tuneless whine are supposed to be named.

So what are the three Tool tricks? The first is obvious: continuous quiet-loud dynamics. My guess is somebody told them it's a proggy thing to do so they started applying it all over the place. I'm not sure though if they really understood the essence of it. On a real prog album there are like 99 levels of volume and intensity inbetween loud and quiet. Not here, what Tool does is mostly an all or nothing attack, either deafening or hushed. This wouldn't have been a bad thing as such, hadn't the raucous moments been as pointless and annoying as the gentle moments are tedious.

The second trick is those short looping bass lines. Songs have little development and next to no melody. Not that that is a necessary feature for me but Tool fails to complement that absence with elements that could replace it, basic musical ingredients such as rhythm, emotion and sound. On emotion we can be very short, there is not much of it, mainly due to Maynard's lifeless vocals, the playing is generally adequate and focussed though. On sound there is little interesting to say, it's the basic drum-bass-guitar rock sound with little experimentation. Regarding rhythm, a more elaborate argument might be appropriate. Rhythm is an important aspect in Tool's music and they aren't too bad at it. This is a band for lovers of bass guitar and drums and this album might deliver for those people. I even find myself enjoying some of it here.

The third typical Tool feature is their lack of talent to come up with anything memorable, and if they do, to keep repeating it for intolerable lengths. I can play each song here 10 times in a row and still not remember one thing about it, except for the fact that it sounded exactly like all the previous ones.

Now, all this criticism doesn't apply to all songs. I just thought it might be interesting to have some Tool fans registering here especially to bash me. The first track The Grudge for example easily surpasses all their shortcomings and is an entirely convincing piece with acceptable dynamics, some catchy riffing, enough ideas for 8.30 minutes and even some real excitement at the end of it. Also Parabola is an acceptable piece of grunge rock and Reflection has always moved me with its brooding dark atmosphere and Eastern flavours. Most other tracks, The Patience and Schism to name just two prove all points I wanted to make: repetitive riffs, inadequate vocals, uninspired melodies and anonymous compositions.

The album has enough moments to push it towards 2 stars, but this is not great prog, nor great metal or rock, maybe it's adequate alternative rock but essentially it isn't much of anything really. Its main value is that it testifies of Tool's defiance to do what they want to do, not to follow trends but to create them. It's something I can always appreciate in an artist and it makes me add - a bit begrudgingly admitted - an extra flattering star.

Report this review (#260550)
Posted Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ok, I've put off adding any reviews at all, because, to be honest, there are probably people out there who are far more adept at this than me. It is my favourite album of all time, ever. And while you may notice I've only given it 4 stars I will hopefully explain my decisions and turn you on to a really brilliant album....

It took me a couple of months to really understand this album. There were a one or two stand out tracks, but over a period of time all the songs seemed to just get better. Parts of the songs (and even whole songs) that were originally meaningless (and unheard) seemed to open before me as if I were on a journey, and certain knowledge would only present itself when I was ready to understand it. It was a strange experience and one that has been totally unique in my musical explorations. Now I should explain why I only gave It 4 stars.

As a whole the album is pretty perfect. there are however, when listening, a few tracks I skip through. Mainly all the 'filler' tracks, eon blue apocalypse, mantra et al (they were irritating on aenima although they arent as intrusive on lateralus) also ticks and leeches, disposition and reflection (as a drummer I know ticks... is a good song, but it irritates me) disposition and relection are sleepy time songs and when I listen to Tool I don't want to sleep! The other songs however are outstanding. The title track is to my mind one of only a few 'perfect' songs that I have ever heard (acres wild by Jethro Tull being one that springs to mind). The other songs on the album are pretty faultless though. In short I gave it 4 stars because while most of the album is indeed perfect, there are parts that I can't say I like all that much. This is however the best album that Tool have made, they seem to have taken a retrograde step with 10,000 days (a fact that has been stated by the band in interviews) and I can only hope that their next album will be building on Lateralus rather than their other material.

Personally I could listen to the title track every day for the rest of my life and never get bored, and that is a privilege reserved for very few songs indeed. A truly great album, but flawed in a very small way. 5 stars would be a perfect album, this is as close to perfect as I ever hope to find. ENJOY!

As a foot note, there were rumours of an 'alternate' track listing to the one on the album. Called the 'holy gift' it was a tracklisting based on the fibonacci sequence. Just Google 'the depth of lateralus' to find the explanation....

The alternate track listing is 6,7,5,8,4,13,1,12,2,11,3,10. I burned this off as a cd, and the music did seem to flow in a more 'continous' manner. The only problem is, is that the band are known for their disinformation and hoaxes, so was this just a product of an overactive imagination? You decide......

Report this review (#263372)
Posted Friday, January 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Apex of Tool's Musical Achievement ? With Asterisks

I was a Tool fan long before I became a prog nut, before even AENIMA hit the shelves. My band banged along to two-chord "Sober" for hours on end, and I learn a lot about jamming based simply on rhythm and your own muse. AENIMA was exactly what we young metalheads expected: a twisted, strange ball of angst with some of the most simultaneously literate and nasty lyrics in existence. Then the band was apparently gone (contract disputes) and one day I stumbled upon the first Perfect Circle album. I thought I'd found heaven. Textural goth metal, but without the minimalism (especially on guitar) that was my biggest beef with Tool. MER DE NOMS filled my eardrums over and over. So it was that when I heard that Tool was coming back with another album, I had extremely high expectations. I expected that Maynard's vocals would take a huge step forward due to the increased melodicism of APC, that we'd get more texture in the guitars, more fullness in the sound.

I heard the first single "Schism" played on the radio before I got the album. It was not what I expected. The riff was prototypical Tool but more intricate. Maynard's voice was no longer buried in the mix, but still within his Tool style. The lyrics displayed emotion and intelligence without simply being intentionally deviant. I was encouraged and I bought the album. I was almost entirely disappointed. The disc sat in my car CD player for a long time, but nothing on it grabbed me by the seat of my pants and threw me against the wall as AENIMA and MER DE NOMS had. Tool were no longer dangerous. Worse, they were starting to get boring. Though "Ticks and Leeches" drew on some of the anger that was the Maynard and Tool trademark, the band just didn't have the emotional impact without the depravity of "Stinkfist" or "Magdalena." Personally, after hearing Maynard sing against Billy Howerdel's guitar textures on APC, Adam Jones' playing (though better than previous albums) just seemed bland. I actually lost the album during a move, or maybe I sold it. I can't even remember. Some years later, 10,000 DAYS came out and I loved it. But that's another review.

When I discovered ProgArchives, I was shocked to find LATERALUS at #1 in the Post-Metal genre and ranked in the top 100 prog albums of all time. This made me think maybe I'd missed something, that I needed to give the album another chance. I borrowed my brother's copy (who knows, maybe it was actually mine) and after a few listens liked it quite a bit better than I had initially. At the same time, there was so much new music to explore that I really didn't immerse myself in the album until now.

LATERALUS, after multiple listens, is drummer Danny Carey's album. That is decidedly a good thing. He is the most talented player of his instrument in the band, and his interest in numerology and sacred geometry permeates the group's music. The progressiveness that Tool displays is almost all derived from the complex time signatures and polyrhythms Carey loves. Bassist Justin Chancellor has developed a genre-defining style to accompany this style, first seen on AENIMA but reaching its zenith on LATERALUS. Early in the 21st century, prowess as a bass player was often displayed by playing Chancellor's riffs, most frequently "Schism." While Tool has often been placed in the grunge camp, this rhythmic style (the entire basis for their sound) really has very little to do with grunge. The precision and complexity of the rhythm section is completely at odds with the garage ethos of the Seattle crew. The mathematical nature of this sound is at least half of the key to whether a listener likes Tool or not. If the strange counting of "Schism" makes your spine start to twist in a helical sway, you're likely a fan. If you find the repetitive figures boring, it's unlikely that Tool is going to be your band.

There is a middle ground, however, and I find it common among musicians. Most everyone agrees that Tool's rhythm section is superb, at minimum Carey. But it is with the founding leaders of the band that opinions begin to diverge. Maynard James Keenan is one of the pre-eminent frontmen in the last 20 years. When one thinks of a lead singer as a theatric performer rather than just a sound-maker, it is easy to understand Maynard and the band's popularity. His costumes, cagey demeanor, simultaneous inward and exhibitionist artistic style, are all classic characteristics of rock's greatest dating back to at least Jim Morrison. But like Morrison, Keenan's actual vocal abilities are limited. While he carries a tune without problem, he draws repeatedly on the same melodic ideas. Further, those ideas are often not that evocative. He is able to find interesting rhythmic places to sing above Carey's foundation, and his emotive capacity is good. But as a pure vocalist, he's simply limited. LATERALUS shows him more in the forefront without the annoying mix problems of the previous albums, but there are no great hooks here besides perhaps the "I know the pieces fit, cause I watched them fall away."

This brings me to guitarist Adam Jones. Perhaps no prominent metal band has had a less intersting guitarist than Jones. His role early in the band's career seemed limited to mild embellishments of the grooves set up by Carey and Chancellor. While most bands are criticized because the bass player simply follows the guitars, in Tool, it's the other way around. Jones does add sustained notes of various tonalities (wah, feedback, slide) that serve the function of pads (ambient sounds) but there are essentially no leads. To say it a little more clearly, his guitars serve no melodic or rhythmic purpose, and their harmonic role is only limited. To be fair, his role has improved with every album and I think it's actually best on 10,000 DAYS (probably why I like it most, being a guitarist.) On LATERALUS, he finally takes an independent role in some places, vastly improving from AENIMA. Again, the contrast between his minimalism and the experimental textures of Billy Howerdel (previously his guitar tech) of MER DE NOMS is like comparing a black and white sketch to a color painting. While black and white can be powerful in certain artistic situations, it limits the artist severely. In Jones and Tool's case, some color would have helped.

My favorite parts of LATERALUS are rhythmic: Carey's drum break in "Ticks and Leeches," the tribalistic toms of "Reflection," and the intertwining pieces of "Schism." The album is more complete and consistent by far than any of the previous albums. Unlike AENIMA, I can listen to it straight through and turn around and do it again. The members seem to be drawing on their own artistic creativity rather than shock value, which is certainly something to be admired. In addition, the band is pushing their personal ideals (regarding mathematical concepts) on this album more than any other. I appreciate the album much more after the additional listens I've given it for this review.

But there is still something a little cold about the album. Too much brain, not enough heart. An admirable effort and an important piece of metal history. 3-4 stars out of 5, rounded toward to the center.

Report this review (#264172)
Posted Wednesday, February 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars 10/10

"Lateralus" is one of those timeless, yet complex and dark masterpieces that will be listened by the generations ahead of us.

Rarely you find albums like "Lateralus". Tool's third album is their best prog metal album, and one of the very best albums of the genre. The beauty that invades the album gives you emotions that not so often music can give, or at least not this effective.

But let's admit it openly, and say that this does not sound like your average, or even classic Prog metal album. That label was given to the band for pure and simple safety reasons. Tool has been a really unique band, and they prove it with "Lateralus". The sound is a little hard to describe, since it contains a lot of influences such as Progressive Rock, Alternative Metal, a bit of Sludge Metal (more the drums than anything else), Math Metal ( of course not in the Meshuggah sense of the word). The music is cryptic, full of time changes, thanks to the innovating sounding guitars,full of effects such as reverb, the tribal drums, the fat and warm bass lines, and Maynard's fragile and yet amazingly haunting voice.

Complex like a dogma, with an epic structure that allows all the songs to flow one after another one, "Lateralus" is the band's most mature album, the musicians are even more perfected and precise, especially singer MJK, one of the most beautiful voices ever. Like in Aenima, the album has many brief interludes, which sound a lot more mature and less naive than in their previous masterpiece.

"The Grudge" starts the album. Dark, mysterious, with an explosive riff played with the bass and accompanied by guitar, giving once more the reputation of the band as bass based. The structure is complex, the melody is present but not cheesy at all, the band reaches perfection generally speaking. "The Patient" stars calm, with Maynard's vocals that are absolutely beautiful. The song then explodes, with a very haunting melody. Another great one. "Schism" is Tool's biggest hit, probably because it's the most melodic song off the album. Despite this, the structure is still pretty complex, even though the song is shorter than the band's average. This is though one of the most emotive songs on "Lateralus", and one of the band's greatest songs. "Parabol/Parabola" stars calm and meditative, it explodes when Parabola kicks in, beoming the heaviest song of the album. "Ticks and Leeches" has one of Danny Carey's best performances, especially in the energetic and tribal influenced intro. The song generally less accessible to the great audience, because of Maynard's screaming and the heaviness that the rest of the band shows. It is though a great song, another Tool classic. "Lateralus" is another excellent piece, with a great melody and yet another puzzling structure, because of he alternation between heavy and calm moments. after the interlude Disposition, we have "Reflection", the longest song of the album, and also the creepiest, due to the enigmatic chords of guitarist Adam Jones, Maynard's mysterious high peaked voice, the ferocious bass line and the strange and unusual drumming by genius Danny Carey. One of the best moments of the album. The two final songs are "Triad" a long instrumental, very interesting and original, and the closer "Faaip the Oiad", which is probably the most creepy way to end a magnificent album such as "Lateralus".

I'm very fond to this album, especially because it was one of my first journeys through the fantastic and enigmatic world of progressive rock. I think this is one of those timeless, yet complex and dark masterpieces that hopefully will be always listened by the generations ahead of us. Essential.

Report this review (#282140)
Posted Sunday, May 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars My Absolute Favorite Prog Album.

I am proud to say that I was raised on good music. My father, a prog and hard rock/metal head from the 70's, weened my teet on Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, Rush, Iron get the idea. Upon my rediscovery of Prog Music, I found this band called Tool, who became one of my favorite bands. I get that a lot of people don't like them; Tool is like that. Love em or hate em. I happen to love them, especially their masterpiece of twisting time signatures, excellent musicianship and haunting and though provoking lyrics. The Grudge opens off the song well, and is fairly archetypal of the album to come. Danny Carey, as usual, steals the show on this song, particularly with the instrumental breakdown at the end of the song. Pure brilliance. The rest of the album continues with the same formula, culminating in the album's tour de force: Lateralus. One of my favorite songs, it hasn't gotten old yet, and continues to amaze with its complexity and strength. Musicianship wise, Danny Carey and Maynard James Keenan take the cake. Maynard's vocals tread the line from whispered vocal poetry to the shrieks on Ticks and Leeches to the 20 second plus vocal scream in the Grudge. Danny Carey has certainly earned his place among the pantheon of great prog drummers: Neil Peart, Carl Palmer, Phil Collins, Bill Bruford etc. His adept ability at hand and feet coordination are superb, and really lay a complex and heavy rhythmic base for Adam Jones and Justin Chancellor to layer over. While Adam Jones is certainly not a virtuoso guitar player, Tool's music, a rhythmic prog, doesn't require it. Instead, Jones and Chancellor lock into a solid groove with the music, reinforcing Tool's sound in their own way. 10 Stars. Check this album out! If you like King Crimson, The Mars Volta and even the heavier aspects of alternative music and other metal, Tool should interest you.

Report this review (#282787)
Posted Thursday, May 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars I will make a bold statement here. This album is overrated. I'm not saying it isn't good, but it isn't the amazing perfection that most make it out to be. I suppose it's a matter of taste, but there are some flaws in it. James Maynard Keenan is a great song writer, extremely intelligent man. However, it seems taht he got so caught up in trying to make his songs clever he forgot to make it as enjoyable as past releases by the band.

There are some great songs on this album. For example, take "Parabola", a brilliant hard rock tune which, although clever, manages not to get caught up in over-indulgence. "Lateralus" is also a magnificent song, working around mathmatics, however, eventually this album reaches a point where it just bores you. It's like a maths class, but better by a bit. The songs float past eachother and seemingly blend in, which I'm not sure if that'[s a positive or negative. Ah, well.

All in all, good, but not a classic, not by a long shot. Tool are still a great band though, and they always will be.

Report this review (#284809)
Posted Friday, June 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is absolutely a masterpiece as far as I'm concerned. This is achieved on a number of levels: 1. Lyrics/Meaning. I understand that in prog., lyrical importance generally takes a backseat to the music. This is even true in Tool, where MJK has always stated that the music is what really matters. However, I find that lyrical depth and significance is present in Lateralus, which only makes it better to me. The lyrics are very vague, but not without meaning. They simply allow for you to interpret it whichever way you want. I'll go further into the specific lyrical contributions to each song as I review the songs individually, though. 2. Musicality. This is where Tool really shines. Continuing to produce unique and inspirational music without any help from MJK and the lyrics. You cannot deny Tool's creativity in this aspect.. nothing is ever too similar and this is again, another great inclusion on Lateralus. 3. Complexity. And I don't mean the usual odd time signatures- they are by now a trademark of all prog music. I mean the Fibonacci Sequence hidden within the lyrics and time signatures on the title track. I mean the ability to rearrange the track sequence and being able to find whole new meaning and having the tracks actually flow together better. Tool simply outdid themselves with this album.

..Now, on to the track reviews. (This review is written using the Holy Gift track sequence, as I listened to all the songs in that order.) I'll include the original track listing in parentheses next to the song title.

1. Parabol (6) An unquestionably dark song but an immediate introduction into the album. Also the beginning of Parabola, which too starts immediately and keeps the dark feel, but is much louder and powerful than Parabol. The lyrical content pretty much holds the same meaning as Parabola, although much shorter. It is about living life in the moment ("choosing to be here right now") and embracing life as a gift. Truly beautiful meaning which is only lengthened with the next track.

2. Parabola (7) The lyrical significance begins to rise as the song continues, and the feel of prog. metal is finally underway as the volume greatly increases at the very start of Parabola and the end of Parabol. This song contains perhaps some of the most well-known Tool lyrics: "This body holding me, reminds me of my own mortality, embrace this moment, remember; we are eternal, all this pain is an illusion". The music itself is also amazing and helps showcase some of the technicality Tool are capable of.

3. Schism (5) And here is where the lyrics are vague and allow for your own personal interpretation. The Schism is obviously alluding to a breakdown of sorts. You can take it to reference religious fallouts or you can apply it to any relationship or personal situation that has had a schism. At any rate, the music holds many breakdowns itself and is another reminder of Tool's creativity and uniqueness.

4. Ticks & Leeches (8) As far as lyrics go, this one is pretty straightforward. No vagueness present. It's about MJK's (or I guess, Tool's) experiences with record companies and sucking them dry, constantly nagging them, wanting more. And this is their way of giving it to them. ("Hope this is what you wanted, hope this is what you had in mind, 'cause this is what you're getting.. I hope you're choking, I hope you choke on this..".) This is a song where the musicality far outshines the lyrical content, as most prog. usually is. However, this goes far above what most prog usually is within the music and kick ass drumming of Danny Carey, in what is widely considered one of the best drumming tracks in existence.. certainly so in prog. metal.

5. Mantra (4) A very strange prelude into Lateralus, but it flows well (as is the purpose of the Holy Gift track sequence).

6. Lateralus (9) The peak of Tool's complexity. (At least, for the time being.) The opening time signature of 9/8 into 8/8 into 7/8 signals the beginning of the Fibonacci within the song. (As 987 is the 17th step in the Fibonacci Sequence.) MJK then goes on to represent the Fibonacci within the lyrics (in terms of how many syllables are used in each section of lyrics). However there's no need to further explain this as I'm sure you're all already aware of how this is done. Lyrically speaking, this is also a great song. It's meaning is to live life by expanding, reaching out into the unknown, breaking the pattern of monotony that some of us live in.

7. Faaip De Oiad (13) Just a very creepy, spooky, haunting excerpt included simply because Tool are strange people and like to experiment. Not really a song at all, but if you don't get freaked out by listening to this in the dark and just letting your mind wander... well, you may be stranger than them.

8. The Grudge (1) One of my personal favorites as far as lyrics go. He's basically mocking those who hold grudges and refuse to let them go, as they have made the grudge the center of their being, and that is now the only way they know how to live so they keep it going. ("Clutch it like a cornerstone, otherwise it all comes down.") A very nice musical piece as well, not as consistently loud and angry as other songs, but it has it's moments, and I don't find the quieter parts dull at all.

9. Triad (12) An instrumental, and it allows the music to speak. It actually has meaning as part of the Disposition/Reflection/Triad trio, which is the only downside of the Holy Gift sequence (having that trio broken up).

10. Eon Blue Apocalypse (2) Simply a tribute to Adam's dog, no amazing musicality or complexity within. Although it does provide a refreshing and calm break amidst all the chaos.

11. Reflection (11) A much calmer song than usual, and it lasts the entire song, which is quite lengthy. The polyrhythms are ever present making it an interesting music piece, while the soothing guitar is something we haven't seen a lot of in Tool songs. The song's lyrics represent becoming a form of a higher consciousness and pushing boundaries ("We are all one mind, capable of all imagined and all conceivable").

12. The Patient (3) A simpler-sounding song musically, though as usual, even the most complex parts can be played to sound simple, and this is an example of that. Lyrically speaks about being patient and keeping faith, needing to believe in something.. waiting it out to find what it is. (This can be as deep as you want it to be, as it can be interpreted personally to fit whatever situation.)

13. Disposition (10) Lyrically saying just watch it all go by, take it all in.. again, more meaning within the trio.

So, that's my interpretation of the songs. I guess I kinda broke away from reviewing each track in terms of how good I thought it was.. but I got caught up in the album and decided to explore the possible meanings of it. I think the fact that I got lost in the album even after hearing it fully through multiple times before shows how amazing it is, though. Like I said at the beginning: a masterpiece.

Report this review (#291047)
Posted Monday, July 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars GREATEST TOOL ALBUM the best of tool some of the best in the genre as well so it starts with the grudge with great work by danny carey on the drums so i was hoping this album was going to be even better than Aenima i was very impressed even with the what some may call filler eon bule apocalypse then its classic tool until schism where i hear the GREATEST BASSLINE EVER a great track with a great meaning then parabol and parabola AMAZING to sum it up we then hear the title track lateralus which uses the fibonacci PURE GENIUS just based on that one song teh album is a masterpiece no other way to describe it 5/5
Report this review (#297653)
Posted Monday, September 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Despite strong warnings from the website about this, my first ever 5 star review, I don't feel as if I could rate it with anything else.

Tool, along with Genesis and Nine Inch nails were one of the bands that really got me to start "listening" to music rather than just hearing it. This album is a truly original and ingenious effort from a band who have always strived to push boundaries, with their hypnotic rhythms- Often copied, never bettered, and Maynard's voice subtly moving or epically soaring in, above and around the music, their sound, to my personal taste, is unique and amazing. This Album is a perfect example of Tool doing what Tool do best, and absolutely faultless in my eyes.

Opening track the grudge drives along, with spiralling, driving rhythms, The patient mesmerises, Ticks and Leeches will get your head banging, but for me, the album highlight is the middle section of lateralus Every time.

Report this review (#302704)
Posted Thursday, October 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album should have been their first album.

It would make more sense given their age and backgrounds in the arts, they just screwed around for so many albums that I cannot give this album high ratings.

There is something to be said against a following as this one and it is very simple, the band does not have any sense to them--#1 conjuring island based group against the mainland.

The group/band is performance based. I view them as much con artist as any other who pervert the innocent because they are so good at defrauding as a result the album did not record to expectation.

The larger problem is the lack of their audience to know the obvious the group is pretending on--most if not all their audience are in ignorance that in reference would distance consequence to the reviewer. for example-- Their lyrics support this throughout beginning with opiate exterminate them like a roach to this album watch the weather change--Hippie mafia.

The group is Mathematical Progressive--in other words they are most identical to fraternity brothers who can get rid of most problems as mentioned into the lyrics. On this album the example is in the whole album--the abstract title, the lyrics, and the instrumentation are in a continuum--This album is the parallel to their reflective previous album*(s).

Report this review (#305247)
Posted Monday, October 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Patient Holds a Grudge against Ticks & Leeches

The days when I was a die-hard Tool fan are long gone but the fact LATERALUS was a groundbreaking release is as valid as ever. Many consider it to be their opus magnum but the truth is Tool haven't done much to change that. Nothing has been released since 2006 and there's no sign of that changing any time soon. Hence, an obvious question to ask would be "how did LATERALUS stand the test of time?"

I'd say it has passed it with flying colours. LATERALUS is loaded with compelling melodies, ascetic, hypnotizing rhythm patterns and evocative atmosphere but emotional charge - ambiguous, weaved in a kaleidoscope of meanings and symbols - is what makes it timeless. Music-wise, the third album from Tool is very eclectic, but unlike many modern prog metal records, it's not a coarse collage of genres. The guys were mixing psychedelia, alternative rock of the 90s and progressive rock of the 70s together until it became a smooth dough of unique flavour. Structure-wise, LATERALUS features innovative character of rhythm section with prominent bass and eclectic drumming, evolutionary structure of tracks and clever polyrhythms. It drags out a bit towards the end ("Triad" is booooring!) but this is the only blemish on the album.

I regret that the title of this review is a lousy pun, but I hope the point I was trying to make throughout the text is clear. LATERALUS needs no recommendation and all fans of modern prog, alternative and post metal have already heard it. A flawed masterpiece it is. Check it out or die. Amen.

TRACKS BY RATINGS: 10/10[masterpiece!!!]: The Grudge; The Patient; Schism; Lateralus; Disposition || 9/10[fantastic!]: Reflection; Parabol/Parabola || 8/10[great]: Ticks & Leeches || 5/10[not bad]: Triad || OVERALL = 90/100

Report this review (#307965)
Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars OVERRATED, that is what this album is. I'm sorry, but Tool stopped being Tool with this release. They used to be raw, in your face and heavy. This album loses all of that and feels like a totally different band. In my opinion, they should have never tried to do Progressive music, because they are not a progressive band and nothing about this album makes me think progressive. This album is boring, meandering and without balls. Yes its a decent and solid album, but overall I rarely have any desire to listen to this album and that is the most important part.

Opiate, Undertow and Aenima are incredible albums which I can listen to over and over again without getting bored, but Lateralus just drags and pushed this band into a direction that really ruined them.

Also on one final note, 10,000 days is complete and utter garbage, which is also known as Lateralus part 2. That album is awful and made me stop listening to Tool.

Report this review (#359384)
Posted Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Lateralus: one of the greatest albums ever created.

Quite the statement, ain't it? But nonetheless, a statement I will definitely whole-heartily defend. Lateralus has been with me since the start of my prog-rock/metal journey, but I can never seem to find an album to surpass it. This is the one album I believe everyone should hear before they die; it's just really that good of an experience.

Now for the synopsis: Lateralus flows like a concept album as there are intro-songs for a good portion of the tracks on the album. It is also quite dark. I can tell you right now that you sure as hell don't listen to this album if you want something up-beat to brighten up your day. It's just a very powerful trip, is all I can say. This album creates the perfect mood.

Maynard's vocals fit perfectly in the album as his voice can certainly convey that dark tone the album has. He's also quite the skillful vocalist as well; hitting a wide range of notes. But along with the vocals come with the lyrics which are also some of my favorite. The only lyrics that I can say impact me as much are the lyrics in Ziltoid, but that's a WHOLE different experience. I can say safely these are my favorites lyrics in a serious piece. The combination of awesome vocals with creative and dark lyrics really make just Maynard's portion of the album a breath taking experience.

Next we move on to Danny's role. Let me just get it over with and say, yes, this is also my favorite album as regards to drumming. Being a drummer myself, I'm not awed by the immense technicality of the drumming, but the creativity. Just the shear imagination of the guy to put poly-rhythms where I never would have thought to in a million years makes this album so much more memorable. You can tell how much effort they put into this. Truly something to be studied by fellow drummers.

And then there's Adam and Justin. The most technical guitars you'll ever here? Not even close, but that's not the point of Lateralus. What they try to do they do perfectly. I will say that I never heard a guitar sing in such a beautiful tone before. They really are just perfect. And I will stress the point that Lateralus is not about technicality, but it's about creativity. I think the guitars perfectly reflect what Lateralus is about.

The Grudge - Just a way of saying, "Welcome to Lateralus!" The majority of the song is in 5/4, but it still flows very smoothly. The odd time signature does not feel forced by any stretch of imagination. The long scream paired with the drum "solo" at the end really sets up you up for the type of journey and you can feel confident that these musicians are the real deal.

Eon Blue Apocalypse/The Patient - It's just beautiful. It's such a dark song with a sense of loneliness and it has such a climatic ending. So beautiful it hurts. Everything is also just so perfect: the lyrics, vocals, drumming, guitars, they just all help create this crushing feel to the song. When I saw Tool live, my favorite song (next to Third Eye) that they played. Dark masterpiece.

Mantra/Schism - Another fantastic piece. All though this song maintains to the dark theme of the album, it's not quite like the previous ones. It's not a crushing dark, but more of an atmospheric dark. This being said, it certainly does have its points of aggression. The stop in the middle of the song is just another moment of beauty. Then when the drums come in, it just drives the song to the end with such's just great. The album definitely does not let you down with this song.

Parabol/Parabola - A fantastic intro that foreshadows the main course. It maintains the dark ambient feel for a while, but then it just hits you again, going back to kinda how The Grudge made you feel. But then it just stops. It goes back into the ambient mood of things and I do really love this part. The drumming is just so very intricate. This album just has so many forms of dark and they all meld together perfectly. Along with the sublime outro to end the song, an awesome experience in itself.

Ticks and Leeches - I know I've been saying "creativity before technicality" for a while, but sometimes you can have both. The drums are just insane on this song. Even with the drums being so good, it's not the hi-light of the song for me, that would be the sucker punch they give right after the acoustic guitar. The first time I heard the album, I thought they were playing the song out. Needless to say I was...surprised. It's such a unique song, and yes, the drumming does stay often through-out.

Lateralus - Ah yes, the song with the Fibonacci Sequence. If that's not enough to show you how creative this album is, I'm not sure what is. Along with just using the Fibonacci Sequence, the lyrics also are very well done to correlate with the song. As you probably know, the Fibonacci Sequence creates a perfect spiral and some of the lyrics are "spiraling out," you can do the rest of the math. This is also one of the songs that have an array of poly-rhythms. And that ending! Oh, it's just a great song. Truly a song worthy of being the self titled track.

Disposition/Reflection - Disposition and Reflection are the calm tracks to begin closing off the album. They're kinda hypnotic as taking some ambient guitar and bass along with tribal drums. Reflection does have a climax and, yes, it is also awesome. I just really enjoy the longing feel the song gives. It's a very good atmosphere and would have been an excellent closer to an album.

Triad - The final song off Lateralus (not counting Faaip De Oaid). This song brings my only complaint to the album. Let me start first by emphasizing this is by no means a bad instrumental; it's actually very good, I'm just questioning why they needed it. For me, it feels like the album should have ended with Reflection as that was the epic to send it off, not some 6 and a half minute instrumental. But in a sense, I am just complaining about getting more music on my CD. I think that's the way Tool intended it to feel. You get the epic ending in Reflection, but then they come back with an encore to finish the job!...but then I can't really forget Faaip De Oaid, can I?

Even with ending on such a sour note there, it is not enough to convince me otherwise that this is the greatest album ever created. It has too many good features within for me to put this down for giving me too much content in one CD. If there is such thing as a musical masterpiece, thy name is Lateralus.

(Originally made for

Report this review (#360336)
Posted Wednesday, December 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Third album of this great American band ..a band that always been characterized by the power in their music, heavy bass and powerful drums and the great riffs on guitar .. and the magnificent voice .. what else can we ask to hear a great album? .. anything really .. at times this album sounds a little crude .. being really interesting passages and atmospheres, always with great emotional protest conveyed by this band .. mystery .. whenever I listen to Tool fills my body of great energy, wanting to get up and run around ..

speaking in terms of album: Lateralus, tool with this record engineering partly improved the sound of the instruments, making strong tones that are used to combine best when you play it. Tool in this album its maximum power, declaring war on the world, creating a really dynamic album, leaving you wanting more with each song ending .. this is what I call rock ... a lot of testosterone in this album ...

4 stars ....

Report this review (#402603)
Posted Friday, February 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars To this day, I still have not heard all of AEnima yet. I've heard the majority of songs on it over the years, but it never really grabbed my attention. When that album came out I was going through my 'classic rock' phase where I discovered prog. Between 1995-1998 I mostly ignored new music coming out. I can't remember exactly why, but when this album first came out I was excited. I guess after hearing albums like Kid A I was thrilled to be living in an era where more experimental rock music was becoming popular again.

I no longer feel so strongly about Lateralus but still consider it a great album. After a long gap between albums, the lyrics here are much more esoteric and mystical than on the first two. The music is also a lot more 'proggy' as well. This went to #1 on the Billboard charts and "Schism" got some radio play. Somehow, ten years later, I could not see that happening today. Danny Carey is almost the star of the show with his great drumming. There are some shorter songs here which are not too great by themselves, but in the context of the album break up the heaviness.

The first half of "The Grudge" is in a similar vein to the songs on AEnima. Over halfway is some great Middle-Eastern style guitar playing. I like the repeated percussion sound before it rocks out at the very end with some awesome drum fills from Carey. Love the guitars at the beginning of "The Patient", especially the wah-wah guitar. Maynard singing "I'm still right here..." is sorta catchy before the song gets heavier. Nice harmonics and talking around 4 1/2 minutes. Almost goes into a groove afterwards. Nice percussion at the end.

"Schism" was the big single from the album, probably Tool's most well known song after "Sober". One of the highlights of the album. The middle part is great with what sounds like a guitar synth. "Parabola" sounds like something from the first two albums. I like the mellower middle section in "Ticks & Leeches" but don't care so much for the rest of the song. Next we have the title track, which is possibly the greatest thing here. Love the part after 7 minutes. I am horrible at math but some of you might be interested in knowing that the syllables of the lyrics in this song form Fibonacci numbers. The timing of the vocals incorporates the "golden ratio". The three Great Pyramids of Egypt incorporate the Fibonacci sequence, as well as other important things in the world. Deep stuff, baby!

Another highlight is "Disposition." I like the echoed/delayed guitars and percussion here. A little bit of acoustic guitar in this song. "Reflection" begins with the tabla-like drumming that ends "Disposition." Love the synth sounds (guitar synth?). A Middle-Eastern style wind instrument can be heard. The singing starts after 4 minutes; sounds backwards and forwards at the same time. Just drums and vocals in the middle for awhile. A guitar solo later. Gets more rockin' near the end. Yet another highlight. That triad of "Lateralus" / "Disposition" / "Reflection" is my favourite part of the whole album.

Speaking of triads, there is an instrumental called "Triad." It's good but maybe drags on a little. The last song is called "Faaip De Oiad." I'm not sure what that means but it sounds Gaelic. Lots of static and some spacey sounds before some jazzy drum rolls. Features a phone call made to the radio show CoastToCoastAM about Area 51. Freaky. These guys toured with King Crimson not long after this came out. KC are an admitted influence and you can hear some hints of Red and Discipline here. I still have Undertow on cassette tape but other than a few songs was never that big on it. I heard 10,000 Days but it sounded to me like the bastard child of this album. So it appears to me that this is their finest hour...and 16 minutes. 4 stars.

Report this review (#410622)
Posted Thursday, March 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars ---10/10 This is the most creative, brilliant, unique, inspiring, and just plain amazing album I have ever listened to.---

Tool is definitely one of the most creative bands I have heard, and I would say this is there best work; Lateralus.

Every song in this album has its own feel to it, each one has amazing performances by all four musicians, and they all interlock into an extremely hopeful, and inspiring message. Many people have reviewed this, and many people have said what this album is. To me this album is just about truth. Plain truth in all its forms. There is too much in this album to type out into one little review.

The Grudge is simply about the psychology of someone with a grudge, while using metaphors. This song is heavy, and has some amazing drumming (as do most Tool songs). Danny sets such a rhythm, the drums sound like a ball, and the song ends up feeling like a ball just bouncing until it reaches its minimum vertex, and then an amazing climax bursts upon you with Maynard giving a mighty scream for a whole 25 seconds.

The Patient is a song that is very beautiful and calm, and seem a bit angsty at first, but then theres an explosion and the true meaning of the song is let loose. A song about trust, and belief, and just being patient for the end to come, and fulfill our beliefs.

Schism is a complicated song with many shifts, and an awesome bassline. The song can be interpreted in many ways, but to me its about how people don't truly communicate with each other, and this has separated us, leaving us unable to achieve or true potential.

Parabol/Parabola. A song about how no matter what we believe, in the end we get to our peak, and we reach our goal. Parabol is quite, soft, and atmospheric, but it then builds into Parabola which is very riffy, and is quite a unique Tool riff. The song doesn't have a huge climax like the rest, and ends with a little soft instrumentals.

Ticks and Leeches. The heaviest Tool song, with some, frankly, insane drumming. This song is similar to The Grudge in the way that it is mainly focused on the loud vocals, and powerful drumming. The Riffs are a little repetitive, and play a bit in the background. There is a quite ambient part in the center of the song to act as a break before the very intense outro. I'd say this song is just about anger towards those that live off of others and not for themselves.

Lateralus ties some of the themes together into the album being about truth, reaching our true potential, and being open minded. This song uses the Fibonacci Sequence, and this creates some nice vocal moments for Maynard. Another awesome outro.

Reflection is an 11 minute epic, and is the highlight of the album, and is also my favorite song. This song is about the human ego, information, and how they relate. All information is from someone else, and we are just reflectors. This song is beautiful, and has some very nice drumming, and vocals, again.

The interluding tracks, and ambient tracks, are all very nice, and make the album flow nicely.

Favorite piece of art thus far, and it has affected me in so many ways. Some might not like the lowness of Maynards vocals, and possibly see this music as angsty, but it is actually very positive, and hopeful. Adams guitar playing is a little bit minimalistic, and at time Justins bass playing takes higher priority, but they both have a unique sound, that is crucial in making Tool one of the most creative bands out there. This album has a kind of formula to it which is to have the drumming, and vocals be the most heard, and at the end of the song have a heavy, powerful, and unique outro, or climax. Tool does this very well, I feel it is what makes Tool quite spectacular, and it makes every song feel like it is worth listening to.

This is my first of an album, and I am young, but I doubt I will ever not think this is a masterpiece. I don't know a whole lot about music, or the technicalities of it, but I do know that this album is fantastic.

Thank you for reading.

Report this review (#445489)
Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What a sonic treat! Now I finally understand all the hype around TOOL: They are the real deal!

Because the whole is so much more than its individual parts, my mind couldn't help but draw comparisons to LED ZEPPELIN, KING CRIMSON, U2, and PEARL JAM--not that the individuals suck or anything! Au contraire!

Drummer Danny Carey's playing and sound is so fresh, innovative, and creative--and with a willingness to think and feel 'outside the proverbial box' that I am reminded of the impact BILL BRUFORD or TRILOCK GURTU had on me upon first hearings. And how refreshing it is to hear a) a 'metal' drummer who is not obsessed with his multiple foot pedals and kick drums and, b) who uses something other than a snare as his beat-keeper.

Bassist Justin Chancellor likewise plays with a style so fresh and unorthodox that again I find myself somewhat reminded of the impact PERCY JONES, JACO PASTORIUS, and TONY LEVIN had on me upon first hearing them.

Guitarist Adam Jones is like an abstract painter using unusual SOUNDS drawn through his electronic apparati to add TEXTURALLY to the musical tapestry instead of through flash, speed or pyrotechnics.

And Maynard James Keenan's vocal contributions are more akin to additional threads in the sonic weave.

The clarity and depth of each individual instrument's recording is nothing short of astounding. This is so unusual in this era of mind-numbing walls of sound and infinite power chords that serve more to create sonic mush and chromatic washout. The clarity and distinctiveness and, dare I say it, SIMPLICITY of the contributions of Tool's individuals is, however, never bigger than or to the diminishment of the collective, instead, they are always adding perfectly to boost the whole, to create a strong, full, and rich sonic tapestry.

I have no single favorite song, though again and again, in song after song, I found myself thinking, "These guys are well versed in their Zeppelin" or "--in their Pearl Jam" or "--King Crimson" and especially "well rooted in U2's Joshua Tree." Awesome stuff. Kudos all around. Music like this is truly so very rare. Without question this is a masterpiece of progressive music--a veritable leap of fresh innovation.

Report this review (#505513)
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Tool's Lateralus is for me the nearest there is to musical perfection. Melody, harmony, rhythm, texture, color, repetition and contrast all seem optimally balanced, creating a paradox of minimalism and complexity. It at once satisfies both my intellectual, progressive rock needs - each track being sufficiently long to be fully developed - and my primeval, heavy metal urges. The individual musicians performances complement each other, fitting together seamlessly like the parts of a finely tuned machine - the definitive example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. The same applies to the overall effect of all of the individual tracks. "I know the pieces fit."
Report this review (#509729)
Posted Friday, August 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars The absolute MASTERPIECE!!! It has been about 10 years since listening to this album and WOW.... I never get tired to listening to it. I thing it's quite impossible to reach such perfection, when you continually listen this album you'll notice that it had been studied at the most detailed aspect: simply analysing the little linking songs you'll discover that they are as important and good as the main songs. And I think that thanks to these songs Tool have reached the total perfection, without them there would have been some gaps that would have lead to a simple great album (from 4 to 5). I think Tool reached their peek of ispiration and probably it will be very hard to get to another album like guys get this album and you won't be disapointed..beleive me!! For me absolutely 5 stars..even MORE..It ranks in the 5 best albums ever!
Report this review (#548814)
Posted Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I remember it well, that first listen. I don't mean first listen whilst with a friend in a car talking over it. No, I am talking alone, in the dark, in my room, 14 years old. That was 11 years ago now, but some things you just don't forget. That first listen. And that was it. I felt it, I was away.

So, it's not a secret, I love Tool. You know when some things just 'click' with you and how you feel and who you are as a person. Well this band do, more specifically, this album does. That first listen, laying on my bed, no distraction, just me and Lateralus.

The basslines, the guitars, the drums, and of course the vocals, each play their vital part in creating this beautiful album. You can tell right away that you are in for something special, just upon hearing that intro to The Grudge.

This album grabs you from the beginning and doesn't let go. I have heard and read peoples opinions when it comes to the 'fillers' on this album. Like a lot of prog albums i have come across, any 'fillers' are just segues into the next song, this album, to me, is just one long song. And what a song at that.

In a nutshell, it's heavy in the right places, it's relaxing and ambient in the next. If you haven't already, you should listen to this album, in full, at least once in your life. I really recommend it.

Report this review (#604211)
Posted Friday, January 6, 2012 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
4 stars TOOL are a 'Post Metal' band (a branch of Prog of which I'm no expert.....) who thrive on playing heavy, violent themes, crunching riffs, lots of jagged, odd-time sigs and atmospheric interludes. These contrasts actually flow along perfectly together - nothing sounds forced throughout this superb 'Lateralus' album. There's no doubt that these guys are well 'clued-in' on the concept of Progressive music and have amazing chops and compositional skills to back it up. It was 2002 when first I heard parts of this album when a friend of mine (Aussie Byrd Brother) had the disc in his car - the clear plastic-like CD booklet was instantly captivating, as were the selected tracks played. Years later(alus !), I finally obtained the double LP version. I just love the colourful, X-Ray type image on the cover too. Vocalist Maynard James Keenan possesses a dynamic voice suited to this type of music ; it can be bold and guttural, as well as soft and reflective (Hammill minus the theatrics ??), and he can hold his notes for an incredibly long time. The rhythm section is nothing short of amazing - incredibly tight and elaborate drumming of Danny Carey and crisp, intricate bass playing of Justin Chancellor. That leaves the suitably textural guitar work of Adam Jones, altogether forming a beautifully produced, ultra-modern sound which is somewhat accessible, appealing to the hip, 'Indie' kids as well as many proggers, no wonder they are quite successful. There's a lot to digest on this album - I sure admire the fact that the sequencing of the tracks has been carefully considered and well chosen, epic long tracks with occasional short instrumental links in between. My personal faves are the intense opener 'The Grudge', 'Lateralus' and 'Reflection', although I find no second-rate fillers here. A highly recommended 4 star album for those into the heavier end of Prog.
Report this review (#621726)
Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars To a large extent, Lateralus is simply part two of Aenima - and whilst I don't think it's quite as groundbreaking, novel, or fresh as its predecessor, it surely comes a close second to it. Justin Chancellor's bass work is a particular treat, and in fact on the basis of this album I'd say he's one of the absolute best bass players in the metal scene currently. Likewise, the rest of the band are on good form, and their tackling of their typical esoteric subject matter remains entertaining. Though I maintain that Aenima is the band's true masterpiece, this is a pretty good companion to it.
Report this review (#642870)
Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Tool - Lateralus 5 *****

The master piece. Let's start up by saying this is one of the best modern albums troughout in prog IMO and I listen this ervery single day. The Album starts with the song "The Grudge" which is the song I Iisten more in the album,the song begins with a powerfull riff and has in a middle of the song another perfect riff and is a catchy one if you listen we have "Eon Blue Apocalypse" that is an "intro" to "The Patient", this set it's not one of my favorites in Tool music..but kinda like it too,"Mantra" it's the next one..I love this intro somewhat refreshing and relaxing kinda feeling to enter the classy song "Schism". Next we got "Parabol" + "Parabola" song,one of the most emblematic songs of tool as we know,this is a song for life. "Ticks & Leeches" starts up with a great drumming pattern and the song opens up with a good vibe and with the most "heavy" feel of the whole album.Heading up to "lateralus" the self titled song is a masterpiece like the most of the album,very good composition of a song, progression at his perfection...Now the last part of the album starting with the epic "Disposition" + "Reflection" I know that many people say the song is very repetitive,but in fact this song could not been better written (for me the best relaxing song by tool) Next "Triad" excelent prog riff! I love this..this one gives me bumps..good song, and the last but not the least is "Faap De Oaid" wonderful song..first I have to mention that I love this call to the area 51 and this is song relates me to some of Bass Communion albums like "Continuum 2" that gives an destructive ambient..and the song combines this with the radio call of art bell. "Faap de Oiad" means Voice Of God in a laguage that goes by the name of "Enochian" (A laguage invented by Edward Kelley in the 16th century) For the most curious, Edward said this laguage had been reaveled to him by angels.

Report this review (#652123)
Posted Friday, March 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars The best of the best from this band. LATERALUS was released by Tool in 2001. Unfortunately, Tool always seems to put a few sound scape tracks and useless short interlude tracks that keep their work from being 5 stars for me. Here on LATERALUS, "Mantra" is a good example of this. "The Grudge", "Reflection" and the title track are what makes this a great album, though. They are near perfect Tool songs and show the chops this band is capable of when they wish. Those three tracks are worth the price of admission alone on LATERALUS. Easily 4 stars for this effort.
Report this review (#733636)
Posted Friday, April 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#748035)
Posted Thursday, May 3, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars 10/10

And the Grammy awarded a work bizarre ...

However, this is Tool, and they are not revered for nothing. A long, long time I had been trying to learn what is all this fuss about this band, but now, hearing his masterpiece maximum (I know, should have started by Undertow, but soon listen to their other albums) I understand. In fact, the first time I heard this album I was not really impressed. "So this is the work of all who speak?'m Not impressed." But successive tapping a deeper and higher in the proposal Tool's music led me to wonder more and more this album, and now I see it as a definite masterpiece.

Lateralus the principle is not easy to digest. Raw vocals, a tribal drums, distorted guitars intensely ... you may not like. Well, I love it all! Some poignant and powerful bass (Justin Chancellor is Chris Squire of heavy metal), and has a highly talented quartet. Maynard James Keenan is where most listeners find problem, first because it seems to be a chameleon - his voice changes with each album, like a singer per disc (and of course helped by the fact that the time of release vary among the works three to seven years, making it Tool one of the bands least prolific of today) - and he often makes a delivery experimental, aggressive, unorthodox. I think I got used to it and I can say that I like to hear him screaming, as it does in Ticks and Leeches, perhaps the most challenging song on the disc (and not for nothing, never been played live). Adam Jones has a distinctive style of play, as this is a band without keyboardists it often offers several layers of distorted guitars and their techniques, more or less the way Brian May Queen did in the 70s, but their styles of play are radically different, then the similarities stop there. But for me the highlight is Danny Carey, and will not say this to be drummer: his style is unique, bright sound of his dry box, the influences and the intense use of tribal tom-toms are really striking. I like everything in it (unless their interests by occult).

Starting with The Grudge, the album offers almost 80 minutes of art rock / alternative-prog metal / prog rock of the highest caliber. The first song does not allow for doubt: this is Tool. Look Carey drums' work in this song. Leaves me completely engrossed, especially when it increases the speed of your double pedal (God, I need to learn double pedal!). And the cry that gives Maynard for about twenty seconds at the end of the music is to rip your eardrums! Certainly this is for me the best on the disc.

Eon Blue Apocalypse and Mantra are typical interludes that the band puts into their albums. The first is a tribute to Jones to his dog that died of cancer, and the second is basically the sound of Maynard slowed squeezing one of her cats. Are "fillers" so to speak, although they are really efficient in making the transition between songs more. Note that almost all the tracks on the album are the interludes pairs, except for Ticks and Leeches and Triad.

The Patient was the first song I heard from Tool (yes, here on the site), and it never impressed me. Glad to hear Stinkfist later to see if the band was better than that. But today, after much listening you like this song, and I have some admiration for the late percussion. Schism is a song that everyone knows, the Grammy's winner. It is strange to see an award as "mainstream" be granted to a band as experimental as this, but I must say it is a recognition and so, and deserved. Notably, I have to mention the bridge of the song, which seems to be a synthesized guitar - but of course this is not the only highlight of this marvelous work, which also includes a wonderful bass' introduction.

Parabol / Parabola is an interesting double, the first a slow and atmospheric interlude and the second a strong hard-rock song that is another of my favorites (still long to play it on the drums). Ticks and Leeches is another highlight, brutal, intense - but the same song that features the hideous cries of Maynard has a relatively quiet bridge, which lasts about two minutes, loaded with soft samplers and instruemntos, six minutes before exploding again. It's another song with an explosive performance from Carey, and also have to mention the guitar phrasing Jones. The title track is no less than great, but it was not easy but I appreciate it as other songs on the disc. It took a while until I understand the masterpiece on which everyone speaks. It's all about math rock ... the bars, the ordinance of the letters, precision ... I really like the way the introduction, with a light guitar, accompanied by a growing vai pulsar that resembles the heartbeat before revealing the work of Carey, and especially love the climax of the song (the bass at 7:48is fantastic!).

The next three songs form a single whole, a real epic as distinct and complementary at the same time. Disposition is my favorite moment, the best of interludes - and would have been even better had it not contained the vocals of maynard and was totally instrumental, although I love the way he sings "And watch the weather change." Pay attention to the tabla drum! Reflection is the longest song here - 11 minutes - but while I see it as the weakest link in this chain can not deny its moments, especially the long intro with drums, synths (well, I seem synthesizers), and a low. .. violin? I dunno, looks like a violin. And Triad is a isntrumental epic, violent and accompanied by a deep breath, that when it comes in quieter parts resembles Porcupine Tree (hey, that's just me!), But it's good for your brutalidade.Só things to come the two minutes of silence, and all you can do is hit the skip button.

The last song of the album is Faaip de Oiad (Enochian for "The Voice of God," and I do not even know what is Enochian), and this may be the scariest two minutes of the story. A jazzy solo unbridled and chaotic, white noise, signal interference and desperate voice of a guy who worked at Area 51. Sinister.

And then? 5 stars, this album is acclaimed for nothing. A masterpiece, and I want more than Tool.

Report this review (#897966)
Posted Wednesday, January 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of those groups who have attained almost mythical status despite only issuing a handful of albums, Tool are known for their stark prog-metal landscapes, cinematic grandeur and aggressively anti-establishment lyrics, all the while enjoying unprecedented commercial success. Of their three major studio efforts, it is 2001's' Lateralus' that seems to have the faithful drooling the most, showcasing the razor-sharp guitars, sand- blasted metal wig-outs and surprisingly deft instrumental flourishes that have turned Tool into major label stars. Picking out highlights from a work as dense as 'Lateralus', however, seems a moot point. Like many of the better progressive albums, this is a complete work that demands constant attention, though occasional longeurs and unattractive noise-squalls do occasionally permeate the meaty din. If you have yet to sample the delights of this singular outfit, then there is really only one place to start: here. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013
Report this review (#932828)
Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I had a really hard time deciding how I should rate this album. On the one hand, there are very solid, inventive tracks that present unique atmospheres, complex ideas, and undeniably progressive development; on the other, it doesn't age well, there are parts I desperately want to skip with every listen, and I don't feel like I'm making any new discoveries with each listen. In fact, I'd go as far as to say the magic wears off a little more each time. Maybe my tastes are changing with each new group I discover, but regardless I will praise the innovation and high degree of musicianship the album demonstrates. Plenty other reviewers have already given their track-by-track analyses, both in positive and negative lights, so I won't pile on. What I will say, however, is that no matter what rating or opinion each reviewer has presented, this really is an album you'll just have to listen to and judge for yourself. Don't take the number of 5 star or 1 star ratings or reviews here; formulate your own opinions in regards to what you take away from the album.

It's unique and will undoubtedly offer something different for each person who hears it. I just don't feel the energy on this album I expect from a masterpiece and its diminishing returns for me are readily apparent. I give it 4 stars for now because of the strength of certain tracks and the talent of the musicians themselves, but don't be surprised if this rating falls, assuming the trend with this album for me continues and it never rebounds.

Report this review (#948385)
Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars After seeing Tool in concert last night, the time seems right to post a review on Lateralus.

I remember first sitting down to listen to this album when it was released in 2001, just a week shy of 12 years ago, and for several days not really knowing what to think of it. It was so dense, complex and intricate that I was somewhat overwhelmed. I knew that I liked it and wanted to listen to it more, and over the course of a number of listens the pieces fell into place.

"The Grudge" gets things underway and we're immediately assaulted with odd time signatures, and instruments juxtaposed with differing timings. These are undoubtedly some of the elements my head was trying to sort out in those first few listens. The math is sound, however, and all of the components ends up in the right place at the right time. For the rest of "The Grudge", it's all here. Intruguing lyrics, sweeping moods, amazing musicianship and a ridiculously long scream from Maynard at the end. And from there the album only gets better.

"Parabol/Parabola" are two halves to the same song. When the latter kicks in, it's simply a great rock track. The odd time signatures are dispensed with in favour of a good old fashioned belter. Add in uplifting, spiritual lyrics and there's an instant classic.

"Ticks and Leeches" is a thunderous, antagonistic track that would be more at home thematically on an earlier work such as "Undertow", but it's once again an amazing track and I have no issue with it appearing here. Danny Carey steals the show with some of the greatest percussion work you'll ever here. Maynard gives it his all, to such an extent that Tool rarely play this track live due to the strain it places on his vocal chords.

It's hard to pick a standout on an album such as this, but if I had to do so I'd choose the title track "Lateralus". It simply has everything, from a great buildup, catchy power chords, baffling and ingenious timing, and more great moments than I care to count. Take, for instance, the timing in the first verse, which is built upon a Fibonacci sequence: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, and back down again. Who would even think to incorporate that into a song, let alone have the audacity to make it sound amazing? Then there's the fretless bass goodness supplied by Justin Chancellor in the second half of the song, more inspiring lyrics, and everything else in between.

In short, the song "Lateralus" could best be described as the love child of a mathematical genius, an insightful philosopher and a sexed-up rock god.

"Disposition", "Reflection" and "Triad" are linked thematically and could be considered one creation. After the chaos of some of the earlier tracks, these show a more reflective, inward-looking approach that balances the album beautifully. Danny Carey once again shows his versatility by bringing other instruments such as tabla into the mix, and there's some excellent usage of synth to add to the atmospherics, something unusual for Tool.

Those complexities that had me scratching my head initially are the very thing that keep me coming back to this album 12 years later. In some ways, I'm still figuring it out. I could write a 300 page review on the meaning of lyrics and how the songs all fit together, but for now I'll leave it here.

Clocking in at over 76 minutes, one would be forgiven for thinking that Lateralus must at some point outstay its welcome. Albums of this length often do. But rest assured, this is an incredibly enthralling creation by a band at its peak. It's a towering monument to the skill, talent and creativity of all involved.

Report this review (#955157)
Posted Monday, May 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
1 stars This low rating gives a glimpse of what a bad record I think this is. But everything wasn't bad. I will begin with telling you what was nice and then start the indictment. "Lateralus" is the American Experimental/post metal band's third record and it was released in 2001. It has a total lenght of 76:15 minutes and features Maynard James Keenan(vocals), Adam Jones(guitars), Justin Chancellor(bass) and Danny Carey(drums). Somebody suggested Tool music when I told him I was into prog rock and open minded as I am this was an excellent occation to try something new.

Firstly the cover is an amazing piece of art and secondly there was two minutes of wonderful silence in the end of the track "Triad". Tool also uses very skillfull drums and in the song "Reflection" i heard oriental influences, perhaps instruments. Sometimes the overall feeling of the sound is appreciating(when I can't hear the voice). The best song is "Disposition" that was mild and also melodic.

But this listening was real pain for me. This music i very too long lasting and it is depressing all the time. This is not the most heavy music I have heard(and I like som really heavy stuff) but this was so psychotic I don't want to hear it again. The music is slow and very boring. Where is the intended melodies? I'm not sure I can hear any! Well the instrumentation is very good, well performed and I won't disagree this is progressive. The musicians are very clever in their stuff but I am not the man to handle it. Without vocals this record could have gained two stars from me because of it's sometimes cleverness but I found the vocals horrible. There are extremely atrocious and whining. This also reminds me of other very bad sounding music such as alternative rock and grunge etc. I wouldn't recommend you this album.

Report this review (#973732)
Posted Saturday, June 8, 2013 | Review Permalink
1 stars 1.5 Stars.

I have quite a bit of history with Tool which I have to go though before my viewpoint of this band and album becomes clear. I came to discover Prog music about 11 years ago (2004, I was about 14 at the time) though classic Prog bands such as Genesis and Yes. I spent a long time embracing that genre and loving almost all of it. Eventually I decided to look at modern Prog to see how the genre had progressed. So I randomly started with Tool and The Mars Volta given the praise they were getting at the time.

When I heard both bands back then I was horrified by what I was listening. It was brutal, relentless, over the top and I quickly developed a extreme hatred for both bands. I was so put off that I refused to listen to any form of modern Heavy Prog/Prog Metal for 5 years, assuming they would all sound just as horrible. This I now regret significantly as I ignored what would be some of my favorite bands (PT, Anathema, Opeth etc) at that time.

10 years on my musical tastes have changed and I am now much more at home with heavy music including Death and Black metal, but until last week I still refused to Give Tool or TMV a second chance. I figured now is a good time to give both bands a listen again using all the musical insight I have gained since my teenage years. <3>

OK that's enough personal history from me, lets focus on the review. Tool are a band that spend most of the time focusing on negative and aggressive emotions with the music being very heavy and in your face. Most of the songs a very gritty and rough unlike many modern prog bands which are usually very polished in their production and songwriting. Unlike their side project A Perfect Circle (a band I do actually enjoy a lot) there is a much lessor focus on strong melodies and hooks and instead the music tends to be driven by emotional momentum. What I mean by this is that there is often a buildup in their tracks which is in parallel with the increasing anger in the singer. Like a erupting volcano the songs spit out bursts of energy and power which only grows and becomes more frequent.

The problem with this method is that the songs themselves are messy and quite difficult to follow. The longer tracks have strong and interesting moments, but there are plenty of moments where nothing interesting is happening at all. The lack of melodies means the quieter points are very unattractive to listen to and quickly leave me bored or cringing. The shorter and quieter tracks are just painful to listen to. There is nothing to remember them apart from some very unpolished songwriting and cringe-worthy moaning vocals.

There are a few songs which are for the most part successful, the title track and "The Patient" in particular have some interesting ideas that are well executed. However other longer tracks such as "The Grudge" and "Ticks & Leeches" are just ugly and angry metal tracks, with limited amounts of Prog.

I would go into more detail with this album, but the problem is that it has a habit of merging all the songs together into a angry mess. At nearly 80 minutes long it wears out its welcome after 50 minutes with there not being enough ideas to fill the running time. I don't hate this album or band like I did 10 years ago, but I still am not impressed by them. I also don't like the hatred streaming from these tracks and they are very off putting for me personally. So as a full album it is simply impossible for me to get any real enjoyment from it. 1 star from me, I doubt I will ever listen to this band again.

Report this review (#1047397)
Posted Sunday, September 29, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5 stars. The best Tool album. Tightly constructed and with great production. Songs like "The Grudge" and "Parabola" are among the best the band has created. Since I don't actually have a lot to talk about, I'll comment on each track.

1. The Grudge - Best opening track to a Tool album. Featuring a long scream by Maynard, it is always exciting to listen to. *****

2. Eon Blue Apocalypse - A brief guitar interlude leading into the next song. ***

3. The Patient - Very human sounding lyrics and a good intro. ****

4. Mantra - Short noise experiment. Nothing more. *

5. Schism - The song from the album that gets the most radio airplay. Some complex rhythms and great drumming. ****

6. Parabol - Slow introduction to the next song. Very relaxing. ****

7. Parabola - Immediately starts with a great guitar lead and continues to progress. *****

8. Ticks & Leeches - A bit longer than it needs to be, but still a good track. ****

9. Lateralus - An interesting song that uses the Fibonacci Sequence in its verses and comes to a grand conclusion. One of the standout tracks of the album. *****

10. Disposition - Another interlude but this time with bongos. ***

11. Reflection - The epic of the entire album. *****

12. Triad - Good instrumental that could have been the ending to the album. ****

13. Faaip De Oaid - Creepy ending that features a panicked caller talking about possible alien invasions behind a loud drum track. Not the best ending. **

If you only buy one Tool album, make it this one.

Report this review (#1085539)
Posted Tuesday, December 3, 2013 | Review Permalink
1 stars STAGNANT! For most of you on here writing reviews for TOOL albums I can only assume you've all heard Aenima. I once back in the late 90s's was a huge Tool fan and could'nt praise them enough for this new sound that they brought into my life starting with undertow and evolving into Aenima. So you would think that after some 5 years that the band would have had plenty of time to evolve even further for their next release. They did not. Tool took to recreating Aenima pretty much for the rest of their career so far. In my opinion not only is that a slap in the face to fans but also down right lazy songwriting. For a band to break so much ground for a few albums and then to come to a complete stand still is an obvious sign that TOOL is afraid to grow any further in fear that they might lose that fan base and all important pay check. Is there any integrity in that? TOOl became horribly predictable ( In several spots on any post Aenima TOOL album you have DANNY CAREY subdividing the beat to end a song and ADAM JONES dragging his pick up and down some strings with a light delay on it). In the end it's a sad day when a band that is regarded as progressive stands still and refuses to move their sound forward in any real way. If you are new to TOOL check out Aenima and Undertow you really don't have to go any further in their discography because everything they do as a band is done on those 2 albums in a genuine way.
Report this review (#1129009)
Posted Sunday, February 9, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars An enormous slab of many-faceted metal, 'Lateralus' is considered by many TOOL's masterpiece. For me 'Aenima' is slightly the better album, a little more raw, a little more passion, a little less control. But, make no mistake, 'Lateralus' is the real deal, a showcase of progressive rock cast in an metal context. Even if you don't like such things - especially if you don't - you should have a listen.

The rage is a little more constrained by the complexities of this album's construction, but it is still there. KEENAN's voice flays you just as it did on 'Aenima'; the guitars grind into your skull and the rhythm cracks and punches you into numb submission. There are half a dozen genuine classic tracks here: 'The Grudge', the Grammy Award-winning 'Schism', 'Parabol/Parabola', 'Ticks and Leeches' and the title track are the heart of this album. A bit like 'Aenima', this album disintegrates into madness, induced partly by the effort of getting there (an opaque 80 minutes) and partly by design. The musicianship is peerless, the lyrics challenging, the music never anything but commanding. The only fault is that it asks too much of us.

Report this review (#1284149)
Posted Friday, September 26, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Tool defined their own sound and made it big.

There's not much to say about this record. Probably every prog rock and/or progressive metal fan has heard something from this record. It features Tool's signature riffing in non-standard time signatures and very pressuring, even claustrophobic atmosphere that finally defined Tool's vision. Keenan's vocals never sounded better and they are very pleasantly in key, even the most demanding screams. There are a lot of highlights in this record and obviously the opener : 'The Grudge' sets the mood very well, while not being the strongest track. 'Eon Blue Apocalypse' is more of an intro the 'The Patient' which is one of Tool's finest songwriting moments but unfortunately here Keenan's vocals are not arranged to their full potential. I think they should have utilized his screams instead of the whiny vocals to emphasize the different emotions going through this song.

As the album progresses to 'Schism' through 'Mantra'. The band introduces us one of the most memorable Tool moments. The bass riff is unforgettable and Adam Jones uses his guitar very well to support the bass, instead of the bass supporting the guitar. Parabol ja Parabola are quite weak and I never have quite enjoyed this pair.

The best two songs of this album are up next: 'Ticks and Leeches' and 'Lateralus' are of course every Tool fans favourites. While Ticks and Leeches is a heavy song, utilizing Keenan's voice to it's full potential - Lateralus us in contrast the 'prog epic' offering us multiple climaxes and superb song progression and riffing. Danny Carey gives us his best performance in these two songs as well.

Now the album has peaked and I rarely listen after this point. The rest of the songs seem to drag on, never progressing anywhere. Tool tries to keep up the fantastic atmosphere set up earlier, but most of the material seem rehashed and I think should have been left out. Production here is strange, almost completely devoid of loudness (maybe just my master) and it might be done on purpose to maximize the dynamic range required to perform these songs.

Either way, truly a classic and highly unique experience.

4,2 stars.

Report this review (#1565878)
Posted Monday, May 16, 2016 | Review Permalink
2 stars Before we get into the meat of my review, I would like to explain my 2 star rating. I am very open to listening to new types of music, and for me, progressive metal was a new journey. I figured I would start from what is considered the best in the prog metal genre. After listening to this album with an open mind, I've come to a conclusion: either I'm more biased against metal than I think, or I just don't hear something in this album that most everyone else seems to. Here is my actual review.

The Grudge: 5/10 A decent opener, didn't really peak, but was fun and decent to listen to. Sets the mood for the rest of the album. It does what an opening track is supposed to, nothing more, nothing less. If it had done a little bit more to not be repetitious, I would give it a higher rating.

Eon Blue Apocalypse: 3/10 A fine transition, but why? The album didn't gain anything from it being on the album. It's a decent track, but it just seems like pointless filler to me.

The Patient: 4.3/10 A solid track that should have been an instrumental. Let me get this straight; I absolutely despise the vocals for this album. The auto tune is very strong with this album, and this band in general, it seems. If this track had been an instrumental, I might have actually enjoyed it.

Mantra: 7/10 The only good transition on this album, and a great setup for Schism.

Schism: 9/10 This track (and the title track) are the only reasons I gave this album as high a rating as I did. This is one of the only tracks on the album that, for me, made me want to listen to even more of the album. My brain always feels absolutely numb afterwards. This song is genius (along with title track), but 2 rights compared to 10 wrongs (in my opinion) really doesn't do much for the album.

Parabol(a): 4/10 I'm gonna combine my review for these 2 tracks into one giant review. Which is exactly what the band should have done when they made these tracks. I understand that its cool to have a calm song before a heavy song and that the songs have a name similarity, but its such an overused prog cliche. Not to mention the songs just seem bland and generic.

Ticks and Leeches: 4.7/10 The only reason this song got even a 4.7 is the drumming. The vocals are [&*!#], and the song is repetitious (again). Thats probably my biggest problem with this album: it just seems like pointless repetition to me. Coming from a hardcore King Crimson fan, that should tell you something. 70's hardcore edgy Crimson is my favorite generation of the band, but this prog metal band seems pointless and repetitious. it tries too hard to be hardcore, and again, I despise the vocals.

Lateralus: 9/10 Like I mentioned while I was discussing Schism, this track and that ones are the only reason I gave this album as high a rating I did. its just an enjoyable track. Nothing else to say about it.

Disposition: 4.5/10 A "meh" transition track. Nice bassline, but goes absolutely nowhere.

Reflection: 3/10 A continuation of Disposition, it follows a similar pathway, and takes f*cking forever to climax. I love long songs, (Echoes by Pink Floyd is my favorite song ever), but just because its a long song doesn't mean it has to take forever to climax. I'll compare this to Pigs (Three Different Ones) by Pink Floyd because they have a similar song length. That song has amazing vocals and sends a political message. It also features about 3 guitar solos, one of which uses a talkbox (type of wah pedal). Reflection just seems pointless. Its got a slow (11 minute) build-up, horrid, auto-tuned vocals, and for what? A guitar solo at the end. There are many, many prog songs that follow the same trope and ace it. This track, however, did not.

Triad: 2/10 Another instrumental, (I almost forgot the band did instrumentals, as its been 7 tracks since we've seen one), it features some heavy riffing and then 2:10 minutes of silence. Absolute silence. Absolute. F*cking. Silence. I don't know if this is what some people consider "genius", but I sure don't.

Faaip de Oiad: 0/10 This album has a theme for pointless nonsense. This is exactly that. Just end the goddamn album already.

Thank you for reading my review (or rant, depending on your point of view). I apologize if I angered or offended anyone in my review. Please just remember that you are reading a review that someone you don't know personally wrote about an album he doesn't like. We cool? Cool.

Report this review (#1619257)
Posted Thursday, October 6, 2016 | Review Permalink
The Crow
5 stars Lateralus is without a doubt the Tool's most outstanding masterpiece, a milestone of progressive and alternative metal and an album wich influence is still notable today. A dark trip to human heart inspired by its rythm.

One of the most incredible facts of Lateralus is how good the album aged. Hearing this great work today is still impressive! Tool managed to create a timeless sound with a perfect production rich on details. The guitar and drums sound are astounding, and Maynard James Keenan never sung better.

Lateralus is also always fun to listen, thanks to the complex, surprising and deep structure of this wonderful bunch of songs. Here are also a pair of silly tracks (Eon Blue Apocalypse, Mantra), but they are not so abundant and not so annoying as they were in Aenima. The rest of the tracks are just flawless.

Best tracks: The Grudge, Schism, Parabola and Lateralus. But all the songs are really good!

Conclusion: Lateralus is the best Tool album, containing the finest work of every member of the band and also the best balanced production if the whole band's career. Variated, challenging, dark but also really enternaining music, with unforgettable songs that have reached the status of modern classics among the years.

My rating: ****1/2

Report this review (#1742139)
Posted Monday, July 10, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars 5/5 Exceptional Song writing, exceptional instrumental techniques and amazing riffs and drums. This is an album no prog fan should miss. From start to finish, it is one of the best grungy metal albums I have heard. From the song "The grudge" with its punch off bass riffs, to Schism with its iconic bass and guitar lines, to Parabol and Parabola with the amazing vocals from Maynard James, to Ticks and leeches with the drum intro and finally to the amazing song writing with the self titled album song. Truly an album that will deeply enlighten you to a higher vision.

Do not miss this.

Report this review (#2023132)
Posted Saturday, September 8, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars TOOL is a fancy band that uses weird time signatures and lyrics with deep meanings. Lateralus is in my opinion their best album they have. Not only are the band members great on their instruments, Maynard James Keenan is also a great singer with a distinctive voice. The album is really long and it takes a lot to sit through it but it's a great listen and it makes the listener think about the music. The Grudge is a great opening track and the songs Parabol and Parabola are great too. Then there is Schism which is one of their better known songs. (I personally prefer Parabol/a.) Then there is the title track which uses the Fibonacci sequence. (I am pretty sure this song is the only reason why most people know about it.) I don't really understand the whole concept but I enjoy the song, which is the whole point anyway. The album is really long and the songs are really long but Lateralus is a great album. It is not my favorite progressive metal album, but the fact that it is so influential and important to progressive and metal music is undeniable. Essential listening for the progressive music fan and the metal fan in general.
Report this review (#2151381)
Posted Saturday, March 2, 2019 | Review Permalink
3 stars Tool's masterpiece is a very long album, with cyclopic compositions, all arranged with drums (Danny Carey), bass (Justin Chancellor), electric guitar (Adam Jones) and vocals (Maynard James Keenan), and therefore extremely homogeneous as sound. Only occasionally we can feel electronics effects (Eric "Statik" Anesat) at some junit.

"The Grudge (8:36)": Tool begin with an explosive song: great rhythm, sound close to heavy metal, then rhythmic progression, instrumental and sung, rabmy, and towards the ending the piece becomes verbose: back the sound of the guitar with high volume for apocalyptic end. Powerful, bombastic piece. Rating 8+

After a short intro (Eon Blue Apocalypse, 1:04), starts "The Patient" (7:14), more percussive than the previous one, but evan more repetetive. Rating 7,5/8.

After the short intro (Mantra, 1:12), starts "Schism" (6:47): guitar lap too repeated, part in progression not exceptional. You start to see a repetitive pattern of the songs: start at bland pace, slow or mid-tempo, then growing with rhythmic progression and singing, finally ending with saturated sound, apocalyptic effect, very impressive. In this case, however, the whole thing does not have the quality of the previous songs. Rated 7 +.

"Parabol (3:04)" is an interlude, suspended, meditative, with semi-acoustic guitar and vocals, without beating on the snare drum. Dreaming: atmospheric piece, it lasts three minutes and then is mixed with the next song, which will deflagrates with power. Rating 7.

"Parabola" (6:03): song that starts with a frantic rhythm, powerful, very raby but successful. Long acoustic ending. Rating 7,5/8.

"Ticks & Leeches (8:10)" is a very aggressive song, with scream singing, almost death metal, but with a long central pause, excessively verbose and repetitive. I don't discuss the technical skill of the musicians and their performance, but in my opinion this track is too self-indulgent and uninspired. Rating 6.

"Lateralus" (9:24) is a long song with the typical characteristics of the album: beginning with slow semiacoustic guitar, then great work on the drums and bass, good rhythmic progression, heavy metal noise. Acoustic break around 5 minutes, and grand finale with distorted guitar. It's still a little bit forced. Rating 7.5/8.

"Disposition" (4:46): semiacoustic interlude, with beautiful guitar sound, as always dominated by rhythm and not by melody. Excellent sound and arrangement. Piece that relaxes, after so much pumping noise. Good, but not great (too much monotonous). Rating 7,5.

"Reflection" (11:07). This piece is exemplary of the art of Tools. Everything is based on the rhythm section, the percussions creates the sound and the musical writing. The guitar also contributes to creating a tribal atmosphere. The voice of Keenan arrives only after 3 minutes and 40 seconds and the vocal part goes in progression creating a sound saturation effect very suggestive, hypnotic, where the rhythm is always the same but it arrives at levels of pathos and atmosphere noticeable. At about 7 minutes comes the guitar solo and then comes the grand finale, cacophonic, this time not apocalyptic but mesmeric. Rating 8,5.

"Triad (8:46) is an instrumental song, very pumped, dominated by a distorted guitar in feedback. It ends after about 6 and a half minutes, and then there are two abundant minutes of silence before the last piece starts. Rating 7.

Last song: "Faaip De Oiad" (2:05). Song electronically treated to create a distorted, noisy effect: Spoken voice that you hear far away, like interference to the radio. Rating 6.

Tools compared to other titans that have brought heavy metal to progressive, see Dream Theater, are based on rhythm and progression, not on the melody and change of the theme music. The timings of the songs are dilated, the rhythm, on the whole, is medium-slow, not fast, although there are vehement progressions that reach a certain speed and a great sound impact. There are no large solos, the musical writing is reduced to the bone, but the percussive clout can lead to very intense tribal and hypnotic moments. The main flaw of this music is the excessive homogeneity of the compositions and arrangements that, associated with a prolissity (and sometimes repetitive prolissity) that often exceeds the line, makes it tiring to listen to the entire album.

Medium quality of the songs: 7,32 (but the shortest pieces have the worst score). Rating album: 8. Three and a half stars.

Report this review (#2203425)
Posted Friday, May 17, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars I started reviewing Tool albums in late august. I was pretty productive with it until I hit Lateralus. This is the big one, the one I've been looking forward too. I literally listened to EVERY track on undertow knowing that something good was coming. Aenima was a bit of that prize, it was an album I wasn't expecting to enjoy as much as I did. Then, I hit Lateralus. It might've been that it was on a road trip, but I didn't get it. It's so much more laid back and spacious, very little of the "in your face" values of their last two. Whereas the last 3 Tool releases were confrontational, Lateralus is like that pool of souls from Hercules.

My criticisms from my first listen (that I took note of) was that this was long and possibly boring. So I tried again and again for about 4 listens doing the usual idle things I do while listening to music (minecraft!!). Then, I put this on while working out. This actually helped me hone in on the first half of the album, through the opening of Ticks and Leeches. But, if you're running, the extended ambient sections starting at that point kill the energy when you need it most.

The Grudge is an awesome track, something that I always found engaging. While the palm muted riffs on the guitar manage to chug along at a rather even pulse, the track never speeds up where it doesn't want to. Danny Carey masterfully plays with the guitar line to build energy or take it away when need be. There's a lot of development that happens in its runtime. "Wear the grudge like a crown" becomes a connecting motif with a characteristic rhythm that pulls together every section. Almost everything repeats at some point, but it's never the same. There is also nothing like the scream around 7 minutes in. The Grudge is also a great introduction to the more thematically mature and introspective Tool. 10/10

Eon Blue Apocalypse is an echo filled ambient interlude that builds from tremolo picked guitar and sets the stage for the Patient. Fun fact, I knew this song before Schism because its name was also the name of a preset in some lighting mod I had for Fallout: New Vegas. That aside, I hated the patient when I first heard it. I can't explain or rationalize how I felt from an experience that happened 2 months ago, but it still stuck with me until I started running to Lateralus. Now I recognise it as another fantastically developped song. The vocal delivery between 3 and 4 minutes is a great moment. The first time I really started to appreciate Adam Jones' riffing was exactly the 2nd time I ran to this, and I just had a moment of awe at 5:30. So much comes together at once that it's hard to process. How do you explain the way a great chord change makes you feel? I think that's a fool's errand, just listen to the track. 9/10

Mantra is another cool interlude that reminds me of what being underwater sounds like. Next comes Schism, a track that has a riff that, while cool to play, does not work out of context. I loathed this song for the longest time because all I knew was the riff. If Schism was just the first section of the song, I would probably not like this song at all, but thankfully we exist in the alternate universe where Schism is a whole 6 minute song. But really, the first half is just a pickup to the second (and better) half. Tool is at their best when they use harmony, and especially vocal harmonies. "Cold silence has a tendency to atrophy any sense of compassion between supposed lovers". That's a mouthful of a lyric, but I couldn't think of a better way to phrase it than what happens here. 8/10

After the relative upbeat-ness of Schism (which is a lie) , everything comes down to a crawl with Parabol. This is a quasi-religious meditative song, brought to you by a band that was literally founded as a dick joke. Now that's what I call progressive. What I just wrote does sound pretty sarcastic, I think it does hold true. I mean, we can put it aside when Devin Townsend has done the same thing, so why not for Tool? On the note of "pain is an illusion" we hit Parabola, the best Tool song. This song actually has the greatest Adam Jones solo, it's tasteful and doesn't at all feel technically limited nor showboat-y. I'm trying to put to words something that is grand but not ecstatic or self- celebratory. Please listen to Parabola. 10/10

What I like about Ticks and Leeches is how much energy it throws at you. This is the heaviest vocal performance thus far in Tool's catalog. Juxtaposed with the spiritual introspection of Parabola is Tool's diss to the music industry. I think it makes thematic sense, having all this introspection put against the harshness of reality and egoism. At risk of becoming vain, Ticks and Leeches cools down for the middle section. The guitar vamps while an angry... rant or whisper (it's hard to tell) goes on quietly. It's almost like this song lights a fire and then immediately extinguishes it and sifts through the ashes, and then it remembers why it started that fire and goes right back into it, but with greater command and maturity. 8/10

Lateralus is another highlight of rhythmic prowess and a great sense of how to develop a song. While Danny Carey hits a tribal pattern on the toms, MJK starts chanting about colors. You have me 100%. But I love the chorus, "Overthinking, over analyzing, separates the body from the mind". It's not just a music thing, it's something that actually made me pause and think about the way I go about music. We have our own experiences of music that are very much entrained reactions to physical phenomenon. When you think about it, analyse it, you risk creating that experience as a monolith within your mind, something that you did not perceive or digest in any way. When this happens, you have a (drumroll) schism between your body and mind. Point is: accept your experience, live through your experience, think about your experience, but if you try to block it into every detail so that it makes sense to maybe a computer, you've lost the experience that made it important to you. That was a great lesson that this album gave me, and I really hope this doesn't come across as pretentious nonsense because I felt really moved by this. 10/10

Around this point I was trying to understand the final quarter of this album. You might think that it would be a matter of substances as per usual when trying to "get" stuff that is progressive or psychedelic. I found the opposite was true, just my opinion. It makes it harder to latch onto anything, which may make the droning parts cool, but the active parts (aka the whole other half of this album) breezes right by without a thought. So I exercised again, but this time I lifted weights through Ticks and Leeches, took a break for Lateralus, and ran for the rest.

Disposition is a collage of guitar harmonics and some really soothing buzzing noise. There's a lot sprinkled in here, like an acoustic guitar. It all forms a cohesive and almost ambient drone. After some distinctive percussion comes in, a very pitch shifted guitar signal starts sparkling from above. This fades into Reflection, which continues to be meditative in the same vein. This is a hard song to keep track of, and I think that's the point. It's not ambient, but it does just "happen" in front of you. There's a lot of reverse-reverb chanting and guitar tracks that come and go. By 7 minutes, the song has snuck up on you. Reflection is the most fluid song off of Lateralus. 9/10.

Coming second to last is Triad, a very menacing prog metal instrumental. What I think is really interesting is how cyclic it feels without necessarily being predictable. The first half of it is spent building up to a climax that happens 3 minutes it. This is an exhiliarating finale to the album in that the next track is the cooldown to this, but not in a traditional sense at all. 9/10.

Faaip de Oiad is terrifying. There's something about the way the manic drums and disturbing electronic noises combine with the area 51 call that gives it a sinking feeling. This reminds me of the experiences I had when I was younger watching Aphex Twin music videos like Rubber Johnny and Come to Daddy. Tool took this prank call and essentially turned it into a lynchian nightmare of a finale. 8/10.

I went through many phases of inner conflict, hours of listening, and 2 ˝ scrapped reviews in the process of trying to "get" Lateralus. I felt really driven by the fact that this is at the top of the post-metal charts. While I've been cynical about Tool, there's no questioning here that they made something worth listening to at least once. I'm glad I kept pushing myself to listen to this because I think that Lateralus is an essential album of 2000s prog.

Report this review (#2272647)
Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars Lateralus, released in may of 2001, as the third album by American metal band Tool. Tool is considered to be one of the best progressive metal band of all time, and for good reason, the amount of thought that goes into there music and lyrics is unreal. Lateralus for example makes use of the Fibonacci sequence in the lyrics and music which goes well with the lyrical themes of overthinking about how the universe works. This album is considered to there best work, and I can see why, the thought that went into it, the instrumentation, the lyrics, the production, its just perfect. I will give it a 5/5, its an essential in any prog or metal collection.
Report this review (#2508942)
Posted Thursday, February 25, 2021 | Review Permalink

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