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Tool - Lateralus CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.22 | 1644 ratings

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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

Gatot | 4/5 |


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