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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Request

Date: July, 2001

Transcribed by
The Tool Man Patrick (lateralusperson)


  page: 35
 title: Tool Lateralus Reveiw
author: Don Kaye

   In the world of heavy rock, Tool has ascended to the realm 
of the mythical.  Following the release of Aenima five long 
years ago, the band vanished completely for large chunks of 
time as its members struggled to free themselves from their 
label (they ended up re-signing anyway).  Even before the 
hiatus, however, Tool wasn't exactly plastered all over 
television and magazine stands.  Shying away from media 
oversaturation, the band concentrated on delivering top-notch 
albums and live performances to its fans, an approach that 
ony has served to increase Tool's mystique and enhance the 
fanatical respect and adoration of its followers. 
   Given this history, it seems inevitable that an album as 
eagerly anticipated as Lateralus, Tool's third full-length 
effort,  might suffer under the weight of intense speculation 
and anticipatory hype.  But happily, it lives up to expectations 
while continuing the band's tradition of confounding them.  
Though clearly the work of older, wiser, more reflective 
musicians, Lateralus bears the trademarks that have made 
Tool one of the most popular heavy-rock acts of the last 10 
years: singer Maynard James Keenan's rich, almost crooning 
vocals; brutal slabs of guitar; precise grooves that give way 
to unpredictable tempo changes; and an aura of brooding 
mystery and unease.  But it doesn't just retread old ground.  
Added layers of subtlety, texture, and meaning - plus 
influences ranging from Eastern to aboriginal - move the 
group's sound forward into complex new territory.
   Catapulting the listener from introspection to confrontation, 
opening number "The Grudge" winds its way through peaks 
and valleys of emotion and energy.  Many of the new songs 
follow a similar pattern of lulling the listener with initially 
hypnotic arrangements that burst into jarring explosions of 
rage.  The tension peaks at the dead center of the album 
with the fastest, heaviest tracks, "Parabola" and "Ticks And 
Leeches".  These songs come closest to the raw aggression 
of the band's earlier material, but even they have quieter 
moments that set the tone for a moodier second act.
   At just longer than 79 minutes, Lateralus is epic in scope 
and, at times, a little self-indulgent and self-conciously arty.  
But it's also a demanding, dense, and unified work that 
sounds like nothing else on today's heavy rock scene.  In 
other words, this is not a "record", but an "album" - an idea 
that itself seems increasingly mythical.   

Rating-88, also Editor's Pick



Posted to t.d.n: 06/12/01 15:01:53