Date: May, 2000
page: title: Tool - Lateralus progfreak.com review author: -by Javier Elizondo It's been a while. Truly quite a while. For so long, Tool has only existed as a dormant memory in the minds of countless fans with hope that their true heroes would emerge once again. Although fans were partially satisfied in the meantime with the band members' alternate projects and offspring, like "A Perfect Circle", the return of one of current rock's best bands seemed to be highly improbable or, uncertain at the very least. A couple of months ago, however, many prayers were answered when Tool released a live album and promised to come back with a new record soon. Today, that's all history. After a lengthy five-year hibernation period of unending rumors and speculation, Tool is back with one of the most awaited albums of their career. Tool has always been a band particularly hard to pinpoint under any specific music genre. Because of this, they have been battered around endlessly, having been tagged as hard rock, grunge, prog, metal, and God knows what else; always being at the mercy of their reviewers. Clearly enough, Tool possesses the natural tendency of morphing with each of their albums, which is probably the reason by which most critics picture them as a rather ambiguous group and fail to represent them as they rightfully deserve. As expected, Lateralus stays true to this nature. The band has done it again, this time around implementing an intense prog ambience throughout the entire record, freeing themselves from any pre-established limits or parameters without forsaking their identity, signature sound & ideals. Now, this brings me to my point. Personally, I wouldn't even bother in categorizing them, as I consider this pointless because they are, indeed, in a genre all their own. Contradictory to the main rule (as Tool usually is), while so many bands are terrified of admitting any prog influence on their albums, it appears that Tool proudly embraces this tag, even attempting to name this new release "9-8-7" due to the odd-tempo rhythms within the record and have already courteously invited King Crimson as a supporting band for a couple of their shows. Certainly, with Lateralus, the band experiments deeply with most of the vital elements of progressive rock through songs filled by complex rhythm structures and arrangements. The approach is so borderless that most of the songs are strongly based and dependent of their time-signature changes. This is evident in tracks such as "The Grudge" and "Schism" where drummer Danny Carey and bassist Justin Chancellor maintain such an amorphous rhythm structure that one can only let go and be guided through the album as it naturally progresses. On a parallel universe, vocalist Maynard James Keenan and guitarist Adam Jones embellish these awkward rhythms and hard-pounding beats with amazing riffs, atmospheric, flowing melodies and glorious angelical passages that take us on a journey through Maynard's deep metaphorical mind. Tool is a pioneer and one of the few bands capable of flourishing outside trends or styles, stretching themselves without boundaries to the farthest corners of the mind. The group has an artistic chemistry virtually unparalleled by any band that allows them to come with great compositions and concepts, such as Lateralus. Quite right, Tool has done it again. It's been a while, but it's been definitely worth the wait.
Posted to t.d.n: 05/15/03 19:58:27