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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: CD Now

Date: March, 2001

Transcribed by
Stu (

 title: First Impression: Tool Challenges Listeners On Forthcoming Latera
author: Don Kaye 

The biggest hurdle in assessing the long-awaited new album from Tool -
- the band's first in five years -- is digesting it all at one 

At 79 minutes and three seconds, Lateralus is overwhelming in scope 
and, at times, perhaps a little self-indulgent. But it's also a 
demanding, dense, and ultimately epic album that will challenge fans 
old and new, the media, and the rock industry at large to rein in 
their rampant attention deficit disorder and re-evaluate their 
definitions of modern rock. 

Sounding like nothing else out there, Lateralus is clearly the work 
of an older, wiser, and more reflective band for sure, but still 
bearing the trademarks that have made Tool one of the most popular 
heavy rock acts of the last 10 years. Like Radiohead (to whom this 
band could arguably be considered the hard rock counterpart), Tool 
has made an album that's undeniably the band's own, yet adds layers 
of subtlety, texture, and meaning that move the band's sound forward 
into complex new territory. 

Starting with the precision drumming of Danny Carey (this is possibly 
the most percussion-driven heavy album since Sepultura's Roots), 
opening number "The Grudge" winds its way through peaks and valleys 
of emotion and energy, never standing still for very long, 
catapulting from introspection to confrontation in the blink of an 

Many of the band's songs follow a similar pattern, lulling the 
listener with initially hypnotic arrangements that burst into 
explosive, jarring moments of rage. A fine line of tension runs 
through the first half of the album, culminating in its fastest, 
heaviest tracks, "Parabola" and "Ticks and Leeches," both of which 
come the closest to the raw aggression of the band's earlier albums. 
But even within those songs, there are brooding, quieter moments that 
set the tone for the album's even moodier second half. 

Singer Maynard James Keenan has clearly been influenced by his stint 
in A Perfect Circle: His vocals here display an even greater range of 
melody than on previous Tool records, and he runs an emotional gamut 
that extends beyond anger and cynicism to more sensitive areas. 
Guitarist Adam Jones provides a constant barrage of serpentine riffs, 
while the aforementioned Carey and bassist Justin Chancellor ride the 
material's labyrinthine arrangements with ease and power. Eastern and 
even aboriginal strains run through the album, although there's nary 
a hint of the electronic overload that many current hard rock albums 
are drenched in. 

With most of its songs over six minutes in length (the title track 
reaches nine, while "Reflection" weighs in at over 11), there are 
moments when Lateralus drags or when the often repetitive 
arrangements seem self-consciously arty. But is that the band's 
fault, or that of the hit-driven, music-by-marketing-team culture the 
band finds itself in? In typical fashion, Lateralus doesn't offer any 
easy answers. As Keenan screams on "Ticks and Leeches" -- an apt 
enough description for the music business -- "Is this what you 
wanted? / Is this what you had in mind? / 'Cause this is what you're 

Lateralus is due May 15 on Volcano Records. The band will tour Europe 
from May 15 through June 29, hitting most of the continent's major 

Here is the complete track listing for Lateralus 

1. "The Grudge" (8:34) 
2. "Eon Blue Apocalypse" (1:05) 
3. "The Patient" (7:14) 
4. "Mantra" (1:12) 
5. "Schism" (6:43) (first single) 
6. "Parabol" (3:04) 
7. "Parabola" (6:02) 
8. "Ticks and Leeches" (8:07) 
9. "Lateralus" (9:22) 
10. "Disposition" (4:46) 
11. "Reflection" (11:08) 
12. "Triad" (6:37) 
13. "Faaip De Oiad" (hidden track) (2:39) 

Posted to t.d.n: 03/23/01 00:44:17