the tool page

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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Alternative Press

Date: July, 2001

Transcribed by
Preston Ginn (

  page: 57
 title: The long-awaited return of the art-metal masters
author: Phil Freeman

	Tool have spent five years battling companies to get another 
disc out after the throbbing brilliance of 1996's Ænima. Well, here 
it is, and it sounds...exactly like vintage Tool. Lateralus could 
have been released four years ago, for all the sonic progression 
that's contained (or not contained) within its 79 minutes. Some of 
the sonic hallmarks of Ænima are here in virtually cloned form. There 
are 90-second musical interludes ("Eon Blue Apocalypse," "Mantra"), a 
hidden final track full of radio static and found rants about alien 
mumbo-jumbo-and, of course, the sound is the throbbing morass Tool 
basically patented in the mid-1990s. Tracks like "The Grudge" (with 
its chorus, "Wear the grudge like a crown/Desperate to control/Unable 
to forgive and sinking deeper") and the first single, "Schism," are 
particularly archetypal. "Schism" begins with acoustic guitar, but 
recovers itself into a liquid bass line reminiscent of something from 
Jane's Addiction's hidden genius, Eric Avery. Tool always sounded 
like Jane's Addiction would have, if Eric and Stephen Perkins had 
been running the show-that is, if the anarchic elements (Perry 
Farrell and Dave Navarro) had been excised and voted down.
	There is no chaos in Tool's sound world. Every second of 
Lateralus is exquisitely, obsessively controlled-this is rock as 
Cornell box. Lateralus is more self-indulgent than Radiohead's Kid A, 
because of its very lack of experimentation-its steadfast insistence 
that fans smart enough to be listening to Tool in the first place in 
stead of, say, Pantera will still, after all the delays, expect-and 
deserve-nothing but 79 minutes of the same old thing.
	Tool are living in a bubble, and without some kind of outside-
world intervention they're going to turn into the thinking man's 
AC/DC. "Parabola" comes seven tracks in, and it's the first totally 
ass-kicking arena-rock moment on the album. It's got a big chorus, 
it's almost got a guitar solo, and it's the only track that indicates 
Tool have been listening to anything but their own back catalog for 
the last half-decade.
	Tool are brilliant, and they are at the top of their game on 
this disk. But it must be questioned whether their music still has 
and audience. Tool's brand of defiantly arty prog-metal captured 
underground America's consciousness in the band's first go-round. But 
now rock is owned by the Slipknots and the Limp Bizkits. The band who 
share Tool's worldview most closely right now are probably Deftones, 
so perhaps the success of White Pony bodes well for Lateralus. That 
would be a good thing. In the face of overwhelming, culture-wide 
mulletude, a thick slab of art-rock is exactly what's needed.

Phil Freeman

Posted to t.d.n: 05/29/01 17:48:24