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LATERALUS

Tool

Experimental/Post Metal


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Tool Lateralus album cover
4.23 | 1075 ratings | 153 reviews | 57% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Grudge (8:36)
2. Eon Blue Apocalypse (1:04)
3. The Patient (7:14)
4. Mantra (1:12)
5. Schism (6:47)
6. Parabol (3:04)
7. Parabola (6:03)
8. Ticks & Leeches (8:10)
9. Lateralus (9:24)
10. Disposition (4:46)
11. Reflection (11:07)
12. Triad (8:46)
13. Faaip De Oiad (2:05)

Total Time: 76:15

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Maynard James Keenan / lead vocals
- Adam Jones / guitars
- Justin Chancellor / bass
- Danny Carey / drums

Releases information

Tool Dissectional / CD Volcano Entertainment #31160 (2001)

Cover art by Alex Grey

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to p0mt3 for the last updates
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TOOL Lateralus ratings distribution


4.23
(1075 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(57%)
57%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(25%)
25%
Good, but non-essential (11%)
11%
Collectors/fans only (4%)
4%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

TOOL Lateralus reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by frenchie
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to frenchie (BETA) | Report this review (#31712) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, July 04, 2004

Review by TRoTZ
PROG REVIEWER
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

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Send comments to TRoTZ (BETA) | Report this review (#31723) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, December 24, 2004

Review by richardh
PROG REVIEWER
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!

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Send comments to richardh (BETA) | Report this review (#31731) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 02, 2005

Review by hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#31732) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 02, 2005

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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

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Send comments to Trotsky (BETA) | Report this review (#31740) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2005

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to FloydWright (BETA) | Report this review (#35541) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Review by Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
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

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#41308) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Review by Marc Baum
PROG REVIEWER
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

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Send comments to Marc Baum (BETA) | Report this review (#45623) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, September 05, 2005

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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!

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#55906) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, November 11, 2005

Review by MikeEnRegalia
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to MikeEnRegalia (BETA) | Report this review (#62011) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Review by AtLossForWords
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to AtLossForWords (BETA) | Report this review (#63327) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, January 05, 2006

Review by FishyMonkey
PROG REVIEWER
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 are...an 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.

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Send comments to FishyMonkey (BETA) | Report this review (#71988) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
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 ...here 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!!!

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Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#76364) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Review by imoeng
PROG REVIEWER
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

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Send comments to imoeng (BETA) | Report this review (#80311) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 04, 2006

Review by OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to OpethGuitarist (BETA) | Report this review (#83774) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, July 14, 2006

Review by GoldenSpiral
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to GoldenSpiral (BETA) | Report this review (#84315) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, July 20, 2006

Review by el b÷thy
PROG REVIEWER
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 album...to 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 infinity...as 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...

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Send comments to el b÷thy (BETA) | Report this review (#89397) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 10, 2006

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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

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Posted Thursday, October 05, 2006

Review by NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Monday, November 06, 2006

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
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 !

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Posted Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Review by Gooner
PROG REVIEWER
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! :-)

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Posted Friday, June 29, 2007

Review by Dim
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Sunday, July 15, 2007

Review by obiter
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Sunday, September 09, 2007

Review by Tapfret
PROG REVIEWER
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 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.

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Posted Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Review by progrules
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Monday, November 12, 2007

Review by The Pessimist
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Saturday, February 23, 2008

Review by SoundsofSeasons
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Get ready... to get angry.

Tool is a band you hear about all the time, and being a teenager, I hear about it that much more. Why? Because it covers all the bases. Are you a dirty druggie? Your welcome in the Tool family! Are you a depressed grunge head? Tool is the band for you! Do like complex time signatures, 'melodic' percussion, and good 'ol fashioned progressive metal? Well, suprisingly... Tool is the band for you too. And, in fact, if your listening for the prog element then Lateralus is the Tool album for you as well (otherwise, some may suggest Aenima). This wonderfully 'grungy' album will have you hating life in no time!... not really, but it does seem to be quite a downer. The main reason for that being quite unexpected... it's the drums! No matter how crunchy the guitar is, no matter how much the singer screams and sounds like a disturbed 20 something year old, nothing gives this band it's distinct sound more than that drummer. It's a kind of slow to mid pulse that never stops. It sounds to me like a ritual is being performed at the top of an aztec shrine. In fact, it sort of is, since the drummer is apart of a kind of cult- drum religion that he uses to summon 'demons' when he is possesed while drumming. Well, whatever floats your boat i guess... either way, it's fresh and interesting to listen to.

Outstanding grungy music, by a band that like The Mars Volta are trying something new in the 21st century of progressive rock. Leaning toward masterpiece

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Posted Monday, March 03, 2008

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
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

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Posted Thursday, March 20, 2008

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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!

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Posted Thursday, April 03, 2008

Review by LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Friday, April 25, 2008

Review by ExittheLemming
PROG REVIEWER
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

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Send comments to ExittheLemming (BETA) | Report this review (#174773) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 22, 2008

Review by ProgBagel
PROG REVIEWER
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'..it'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.

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Send comments to ProgBagel (BETA) | Report this review (#180388) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#183064) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 21, 2008

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#185171) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, October 10, 2008

Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
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 na´ve 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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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#194538) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, December 20, 2008

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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 significant segment of the progressive afficionado 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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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#197271) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, January 04, 2009

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
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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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#208404) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, March 23, 2009

Review by progkidjoel
PROG REVIEWER
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!

-Joel.

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Send comments to progkidjoel (BETA) | Report this review (#213112) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, May 01, 2009

Review by The Sleepwalker
PROG REVIEWER
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, Ănima, 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.

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Send comments to The Sleepwalker (BETA) | Report this review (#222249) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, June 22, 2009

Review by JJLehto
PROG REVIEWER
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

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Send comments to JJLehto (BETA) | Report this review (#230780) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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 Ănima.

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)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#257877) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, December 26, 2009

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
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.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#260550) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Review by Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#264172) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Review by EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#282140) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 16, 2010

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
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.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#410622) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, March 03, 2011

Review by Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to Tom Ozric (BETA) | Report this review (#621726) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, January 27, 2012

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
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

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#932828) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Review by russellk
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#1284149) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 26, 2014

Latest members reviews

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1129009) | Posted by Glimmung | Sunday, February 09, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1085539) | Posted by thebig_E | Tuesday, December 03, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#973732) | Posted by Dr÷mmarenAdrian | Saturday, June 08, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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, comple ... (read more)

Report this review (#955157) | Posted by bonestorm | Monday, May 06, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 eve ... (read more)

Report this review (#948385) | Posted by Neo-Romantic | Tuesday, April 23, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 liste ... (read more)

Report this review (#897966) | Posted by voliveira | Wednesday, January 23, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 distor ... (read more)

Report this review (#748035) | Posted by ProgressToChange | Thursday, May 03, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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", "Refle ... (read more)

Report this review (#733636) | Posted by mohaveman | Friday, April 20, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 r ... (read more)

Report this review (#652123) | Posted by Rodrigo Andrade | Friday, March 09, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 w ... (read more)

Report this review (#604211) | Posted by LateralusDSOTM | Friday, January 06, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 aspe ... (read more)

Report this review (#548814) | Posted by victor73 | Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#509729) | Posted by bassgeezer | Friday, August 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 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 c ... (read more)

Report this review (#505513) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Thursday, August 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 o ... (read more)

Report this review (#445489) | Posted by John Lateralus | Tuesday, May 10, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 l ... (read more)

Report this review (#402603) | Posted by JgX 5 | Friday, February 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 a ... (read more)

Report this review (#360336) | Posted by Xaxaar | Wednesday, December 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 no ... (read more)

Report this review (#359384) | Posted by Phoenix87x | Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 relea ... (read more)

Report this review (#307965) | Posted by bartosso | Tuesday, November 02, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#305247) | Posted by thewickedfall | Monday, October 18, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 albu ... (read more)

Report this review (#302704) | Posted by Faces and Traces | Thursday, October 07, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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