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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: The Star Ledger

Date: June, 2001

Transcribed by
Vickie (

 title: Tool wipes the smiles off fans' faces
author: Adam Heimlich
This is a review of Lateralus from a local paper here in NJ.  





Three Stars

It's easy to laugh at Tool, who play every note as if with teeth 
clenched and eyes squeezed shut, see themselves as 
modern-day King Crimson (chosen to open for Tool this 
August) and have a knack for grandiose songs with zero 
memorable riffs.  Frontman Maynard James Keenan drops 
hints that he could carry a tune if he felt like it, but doesn't.  
The band's rhythm section proves it can release heavy-metal 
power, then makes a point of repressing it for several tracks 
in a row.

Tool loves to posture as if there's something experimental 
about reviving prog-rock experiments that failed the first 
time around, when actually it's highly commercial, and sort of 

Then again, not everybody wants to smile, and Tool has a 
very special relationship with people for whom moping is a 
lifestyle choice.  During the last five years, Tool's internaional 
army of angst-ridden fans had a lack of new Tool studio 
recordings to be morose about, on top of everything else.  
Long-awaited "Lateralus" is the realization of the long-
winded, ponderous metal style the group tried out on 
1996's "Aenima."  That's cause for celebration -- which for 
Tool fans means disturbingly long hours in their bedrooms 
alone with the door locked.

Tool differs from King Crimson in its concentration on guitar 
attack; there's none of the expansiveness of '70s prog's 
jazzy approach.  "Lateralus" maintains its scrunch-faced focus 
throughout, mapping out a distinct ebb and flow of grouchy 
energy.  The first three songs sound like tense soundtracks 
to an old Atari driving game, but they're really a 
procrastinating wind-up to the explosive middle of the album, 
which culminates in a cathartic tantrum song, "Ticks and 
Leeches."  The album's last 20 minutes finds Tool grinding 
and scraping to a very gradual halt, finally achieved during 
the seventh minute of the brutal "Triad."

The whole trip is surely no joke to those who relate to Tool's 
trapped, suffocating atmosphere.

Posted to t.d.n: 06/18/01 10:17:42