the tool page

this changes everything

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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Slant Magazine (

Date: June, 2001

Transcribed by
John Kieran (

author: Aaron Scott
Only a band like Tool, a band that has all but created its own 
genre, can get a seven-minute epic single played on the 
radio. Only a band like Tool can disappear for five years and 
reemerge bigger and stronger than ever. Tool shines again 
on Lateralus with songs whose instrumentation defies every 
strum of the four-chord structure that has reigned in rock 
since Chuck Berry picked up a guitar.
Lateralus features songs in a variety of time signatures that 
transition seamlessly from one to the other, a concept not 
seen in popular music since classical composition. But this is 
nothing new. We've seen this talent in Tool's previous 
records. The band has preserved its distinctive guitar and 
bass tones while continuing to produce new music that rocks 
the way only Tool can. And for those fans who thought that 
1996's Aenima lacked the ripping riffs of Undertow, Lateralus 
won't disappoint. Over half the record is infused with riffs that 
you can chew on for days. The old Tool is back with a 
vengeance. Almost.

Tool is a four-piston engine, but one is only pumping half as 
hard as the other three. The band recently confessed to Spin 
that they wrote most of the record while vocalist Maynard 
James Keenan was on tour with A Perfect Circle, and it shows. 
The instrumentation is spectacular, but Maynard just hums 
along. Gone are the wrenching melodies of "Sober" 
and "Sweat." Oh, Maynard, where have you gone?

The album's liner notes contain no words, just transparencies 
painted with successive cross sections of the human form, 
much like those you would find in an encyclopedia. The 
imagery is unclear and fascinating, which makes the absence 
of lyrics that much more infuriating. A band whose music and 
artwork is this good must have something to tell us. Then 
again, with the way Maynard is singing, maybe he doesn't 
have anything to say at all. Without strong vocals, Tool is 
reduced to instrumental background music. Still, it's 
background music from the most talented band around.

Aaron Scott

Posted to t.d.n: 06/30/01 23:55:47