Publication: Seattle P-I
Date: August, 2001
Shawn L. (email@example.com)
Shawn L. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
page: title: Negativity rules in brutal sound of hellish Tool author: Bill White Negativity rules in brutal sound of hellish Tool; King Crimson still rocks Wednesday, August 8, 2001 By BILL WHITE SPECIAL TO THE POST-INTELLIGENCER "Wear the grudge like a crown of negativity," sang Maynard James Keenan at the beginning of Monday night's Tool concert at the Paramount Theatre. One of the most popular and influential of today's alt-metal bands, Tool assailed the capacity audience with its themes of therapeutic negation for two brutal hours. A video monitor dominated the stage, upon which were displayed grotesque images of human suffering. Singer Keenan stood before a smaller screen that was set up next to the drums. His shadowed figure at times blended with the video action as he screamed, bellowed and crooned his way through the band's catalog. From "Sober," the unexpected radio hit from 1993's "Undertow," to the Eastern-flavored riffs of "Lateralus," Tools' best-selling current release, the band members confined themselves to inert poses while the audience focused on the video images. The films, conceived in the main by guitarist Adam Jones, betrayed a fascination with the layers of veins, tissue and bone in the human body. His graphic designs are founded on the transparent diagrams of the various layers of human anatomy found in medical books. Much of it seems derived from Clive Barker's "Hellraiser" and the experimental films of the Brothers Quay. As Justin Chancellor fingered his rhythmic, one-note bass lines, fleshy vegetables with pained human faces cavorted in agonized spasms. Tool's perspective on existence was further defined by images of creatures with maps of their insides painted onto their skin. The capacity audience, which, due to alleged death threats against frontman Keenan, had submitted to extensive and humiliating search procedures to gain entrance to the concert, responded like a pasture of cows attempting to vomit in unison. Keenan prefaced "Third Eye" by leading the crowd in his non- conformist oath. The independent thinkers dutifully repeated aphorisms such as "never repeat what other people say," completely missing the irony of their compliance. "Lateralus," Tool's latest recording, is exceptional in its clean sound and dynamic range. Live, the band limits itself to a full frontal sonic assault dominated by a monotonous bass boom. The result is an aural bilge best appreciated by those whose senses are depressed by the excessive intake of alcohol. It is possible to construct a religious philosophy based on negativity, as evidenced by the works of visionaries like Hieronymus Bosch and Antonin Artaud. If Tool is to follow in such unholy yet hallowed footsteps, it could start by not conforming to accepted sound mixes that reduce intricate music to metallic sludge. Openers King Crimson, while no longer in the forefront of amazing guitar innovation, still have a gorgeous sound. Although they have been around for more than 30 years, the prog rock maestros were anything but retro. Their mostly instrumental journeys brought a standing ovation from the youngish crowd.
Posted to t.d.n: 02/04/02 02:38:33