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Tool - Lateralus CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.22 | 1645 ratings

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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!

Queen By-Tor | 5/5 |


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