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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Atlanta Journal Constitution

Date: May, 2001

Transcribed by
I don't have a name (It's Lee) (

  page: D7
 title: Tool's depth and breadth much more than metal
author: Shane Harrison (
Review of "Lateralus"
Grade: A 

Tool is to Limp Bizkit as Marcel Proust is to Stephen King.  The 
former fashions art that is deep, dense and not easily digestible.  
The latter's work is undeniably well-crafted and entertaining, but 

Tool's first album in five years is unleashed into a very different 
musical environment from 1996's "Ænima."  Modern rock has evolved 
into a more metallic beast while carving out a bigger chunk of 
charts.  Some of it good, most of it bad, but none of it approaches 
the dense brilliance of "Lateralus."

The Los Angeles-based quartet takes raw, hard metal and twists it 
into suprising shapes.  Imagine the more mysterious side of Led 
Zeppelin (Tool has covered "No Quater"), Pink Floyd's experimental 
sprawl and Black Sabbath's sinister scariness melded together in a 
thoroughly modern musical maelstrom.  It may be metal, but Tool is 
more akin to edge-seekers such as Radiohead.  Vocalist Maynard James 
Keenan offers up lines that would make a fine band motto in the 
song "Lateralis" (yes, that's a different spelling than the album 
title, but willful spelling inconsistencies are one of the many 
quirks in the Tool universe): "I'm reaching for the random or 
whatever will bewilder me.  And following our will and wind we may 
just go where no one's been."

"Lateralus" defies easy analysis.  It will still be giving up its 
secrets after many months of intense listening.  Haunting and 
otherworldly, the surface blasts away at rock's conventions, led by 
the rafter-rattling precision of Adam Jones' guitar.  Keenan's voice 
is a more assured instrument on each successive Tool album, providing 
passages of aching beauty and thundering fits of rage.  On "Ticks & 
Leeches," Keenan's vocal is every bit as scathing as the lyrics, 
where he rants, "I hope you choke on this."  There's a lot here to 
choke down, but popular music is rarely this 
substantial.  "Lateralus" is worth every discomforting moment.

Tool plays a sold-out show at 8 tonight at the Tabernacle

Posted to t.d.n: 05/15/01 13:21:34