Date: May, 2001
Matthew Coleman (email@example.com)
Matthew Coleman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
page: 44 title: The Future Starts Here author: Dave Everley Tool re-write the metal rulebook once again Lateralus – KKKKK (out of 5) Lowdown: Produced by: Dave Bottrell (sic) Recorded at: Cello Studios, Hook Studios and Larrabee South North, Los Angeles. Stand-out tracks: ‘The Grudge’ ‘Parabola’ ‘Reflection’ The most surprising thing is that it isn’t actually that surprising after all. ‘Lateralus’, Tool’s third full-length album and the follow- up to 1996’s justifiably-exulted ‘Aenima’, is many things, and then some. It’s wholly unique and frequently dense, consistently breathtaking and occasionally otherworldly, sometimes harsh and often wilfully inscrutable. But then, that’s exactly what we expected it to be. ‘Lateralus’, in case you’ve been living under a rock on the Planet F**knut for the past millennium, is officially The Most Anticipated Album Of The Year By A Band Who Aren’t Called Guns N’Roses. ‘Aenima’ was a work of art – yes art - that redefined what could be done in the context of music made by four men and their instruments. It was the record NASA should have beamed into space to show the rest of the universe that, despite a swelling pile of evidence to the contrary, there is intelligent life within Earth’s musical community. ‘Lateralus’ doesn’t so much take what Tool achieved with that record and step up a gear as bust it through a wormhole in the space-time continuum and drag it to an altogether different place. Be warned: if you’re expecting ‘Lateralus’ to push back the boundaries of what can be done in the name of modern music, think again. That infers some acknowledgement of the boundaries in the first place. ‘Lateralus’ is the most unique collection of songs you’ll find outside of, well, the last Tool album. It’s also the most perfectly played, perfectly produced record you’re likely to hear this or any other year. In anybody else’s hands, perfection is just a code word for repugnant tedium. In Tool’s hands, it’s the ultimate raison d’etre. It’s almost easier to describe ‘Lateralus’ in terms of what there isn’t rather than what there is. There are none of the lightning- strike dynamics of the past (see: ‘Aenima’’s ‘Stinkfist’ or ‘Hooker With A Penis’). There’s no grinding repetition, no marathons of aural endurance (see: the same record’s gargantuan closer ‘Third Eye’). And there are, to paraphrase one of the band’s old slogans, absolutely, definitely, unequivocally no f**king hit singles. What there is, is a constant and unwavering feeling that something truly special is unfolding right before our ears. Of the 13 tracks that constitute ‘Lateralus’, only five duck under the five minutes mark, two of which (‘Eon Blue Apocalypse’ and ‘Mantra’) are short, hypnotic segues, and one more of which (‘Faaip De Oiad’, a piece that reputedly takes its title from the language of angels) is a ‘hidden’ track consisting of two minutes and 39 seconds of pure me(n)tal machine music. Which leaves approximately 68 minutes of music that ebbs and flows in washes of near-genius; 68 minutes that take in the astounding drum patterns that underpin ‘The Grudge’ and ‘Lateralus’ itself, the massive riff that brings ‘Parabola’ to a close, or the veins of biliousness that shoot through ‘Ticks & Leeches’, and in the 11- minute lysergic soundscape that is ‘Reflection’. And that’s not even mentioning Maynard James Keenan’s oblique, metaphysical lyrics. I’ll get back to you on that one sometime around Christmas... There’s just too much going on here to grasp in one sitting, or two sittings, or even 22 sittings for that matter. ‘Aenima’ was released five years ago, and it’s only just starting to make sense; extrapolate that, and the Chinese puzzles that make up this brave, epic, strange, beautiful piece of music should fully unveil themselves sometime around 2010. The crux of it is this: ‘Lateralus’ isn’t just one of the greatest albums you’ll hear this year, it’s one of the greatest albums you’ll hear this lifetime. Tool have just put rock’s shysters and shitkickers to shame with one wave of their collective hand. But then, that’s exactly what we expected all along. The Tool Shed (the same article) The band’s previous releases re-rated... Opiate (Zoo/Volcano/BMG, 1992) – KKK Debut mini-album that showcased the band’s formative sound. A million miles away from Tool 2001, though flashes of genius are in evidence. Undertow – (Zoo/Volcano/BMG, 1993) - KKKK Tighter, more experimental than its predecessor, and an even bigger taste of what the future would hold. Debuted at Number Two on the US Billboard Chart. Aenima – (Zoo/Volcano/BMG, 1996) - KKKK Towering, epochal, quasi-mystical masterpiece that wove everything from ritual magic to the work of late comedian Bill Hicks into its fabric. Often imitated, never equalled. Salival – (Volcano/Tool Dissectional, 2000) - KKKK Lavishly-presented box set featuring a CD of rare and unreleased music, plus DVD containing their groundbreaking promo videos.
Posted to t.d.n: 05/10/01 14:09:36