the tool page

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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: HUMO (Belgian weekly magazine)

Date: July, 2001

Transcribed by
Jimmy De Keyser (

  page: 180
 title: tool de force
author: (jg)
remark : i believe my translation capacities aren't brilliant. 
Sorry for that. jimmy.

TOOL : "Lateralus"

'Long-winded, incoherent, dissapointing' is what we scribbled 
in our little notebook after hearing "Lateralus" - the fourth, 
long-awaited studio-album by mythic metal monsters TOOL - 
for the first time.  Yes, we have a notebook for such things.  
After hearing the record for the third time, this 
became 'cryptic, intriguing, self-willed'.
In the meantime we are a box of toothpicks, a pair of 
chewed-up spectacles and a twenty-some worried phone-calls 
from the editorial staff further and the book reads 'addictive, 
epically, nothing less than brilliant'.  Just to say 
that "Lateralus" has not become an easy record.
But had we expected that?  Of course not.  Pushing the 
envelope is what TOOL has been about, from "Opiate", 
over "Undertow" to "Aenima" : Excelsior!  That's what our 
soccer coach already knew in former days (handy indeed 
when a moral advice and the name of the pub are identical).  
The studio history of "Lateralus" learns us alot : the recording 
sessions were spread over a period of one and a half years, 
and in the final result all loose ends have been neatly tied 
Devoted to "Aenima" as we are, we get taken hold of by 
opener 'The grudge' and single 'Schism' first.  With their 
oriental strain, unexpected pace changes and archetypical 
building-up, both tracks could have easily been on that 
masterpiece from '96 considered unsurpassable.
The melodic 'The patient' then looks more like A PERFECT 
CIRCLE, the side project of singer Maynard James Keenan.  
His decision to use overdubs and multiple voice parts also 
with his own group ("I was very happy that we broke out of 
that purist thing", says drummer Danny Carey, extremely well-
to-do on this record) is at the same time the only positive 
effect of that totally superfluous jaunt (?!).  
Gradually "Lateralus" starts to demand more and more from 
its listener.  'Parabol' and 'Parabola' are actually one and the 
same number : they are each others twisted reflections, with 
the latter one an emotional remix of the former.
The closing trio, meant as a suite, is the most difficult to 
digest.  'Disposition', the prelude, is TOOL like you've never 
heard them before : calm, composed, contained.  In his lyrics 
however, Keenan already forebodes the upcoming 
storm : "Don't mention this to me / and watch the weather 
change...".  This perfect storm comes in the form 
of 'Reflection', a mighty motherfucker of a song and the 
apotheosis of "Lateralus".  This is TOOL on top of their 
game : with endless patience and breath-taking skill the 
group builds up a monstrous climax.  On its way, the major 
riff undergoes all possible and impossible mutations.  'Triad' 
finally is the aria ; a primitive, pumping jamsession with - 
we're not absolutely sure about this - a threnody taken from 
LES VOIX BULGARES on top of it.  It immediately made us 
think of THE GOD MACHINE at the time of "Scenes from the 
second storey", a record TOOL has clearly listened to a lot.
"Lateralus" is the work of a group with absolute control over 
its art.  It's an intelligent, original and compromise-less 
record, that moreover rocks like the beasts.  "I know the 
pieces fit / cause I watched them fall away..." sings Keenan 
in 'Schism'.  It looks like an impossible task, we know, but 
bite through, persevere and you'll see : finally all the pieces 
fall into place indeed.     (jg) 

Posted to t.d.n: 08/11/01 15:18:52