the tool page

rediscover communication

This site is no longer being updated. See here for details. Follow me here and here for updates. Thank you for 22 great years. (And yes, lyrics are posted for new album "Fear Inoculum".)


select a year

The Tool Page: An Article


Date: May, 2001

Transcribed by
Stu (

 title: TOOL - 'LATERALUS'
author: Simon P Ward

Arguably the most eagerly awaited rock album of the year - 
certainly on American shores - Tool's third album proper 
arrives, as one would expect, bound in cryptic packaging. 
Definitely no band shots allowed.

Opening track 'The Grudge' quickly reassures that all is as it 
ever was Tool's planet, melody deftly mingled with sheer 
power, bass and almost tribal percussion driving the track 
along, lyrics oblique and disguised in frontman Maynard 
James Keenan's almost messianic vocals.

The two instrumentals, 'Eon Blue Apocalypse' and 'Mantra', 
are far from superfluous, providing an ominous bridge to 
what might lie ahead, keeping the tension to a maximum.

The jazzy cover 'Schism' attempts to throw up is cast off for a 
passage of sheer brute force that grips like a vice. Layer 
upon layer of guitar overwhelms as Keenan repeats over and 
over, "I know where the pieces fit".

The funereal dirge of 'Parabol', the closest track on the 
album to Keenan's work with A Perfect Circle, gives way to the 
explosive 'Parabola', with its almost choral vocal crescendos 
and the repeated lyrical motif, "This body holding me/Is my 
reminder here that I am not alone".

Closing track 'Faaip De Oiad' builds up a howling mass of 
static noises, percussion and a gradually more deranged 
voice before suddenly, like a taut string snapping, ending. 

As an album, 'Lateralus' succeeds because it blends the 
visceral power of the early Tool with the densely layered 
taughtness of 1996's 'Aenima'. Just when the sheer brute 
force has dragged you in, the band let go, like a spring 
uncoiled, before reapplying the same ferocious stranglehold 
as before. 

Never a band to go for the easy option, Tool stand alone as 
an example of musicianship triumphing over sheer brute 
force in this world of the quick-fix nu-metal chorus. It is 
dense, it is long, it is complicated. It is also a magnificent 
triumph of artistry over blind anger. "Push the envelope" 
Keenan cries on the title track. His band do just that time and 
time again.

Posted to t.d.n: 04/21/02 18:47:40