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Tool - Lateralus CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.21 | 1639 ratings

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2 stars Prog Metal Savior?

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

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

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

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

Tapfret | 2/5 |


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