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Tool - Lateralus CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.22 | 1644 ratings

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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!


progkidjoel | 5/5 |


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