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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: ICE

Date: May, 2001

Transcribed by
Alex Ovaitt (

  page: 6
 title: Tool Rears Its Head Once Again

Tool Rears Its Head Once Again

79-minute epic Lateralus defies length, structure

	Over the course of the last 10 years, Tool has scorched the 
alt-metal world with unsurpassed musical craftsmanship and artistic 
wizardry.  The quartet finally break an extended hiatus on May 15 
with their new volcano release, Lateralus.  After a five-year wait, 
Tool fans--a remarkably massive, conventional conglomerate for such an
unconventional act--will salivate over the new offering, as the band 
tries to penetrate the Billboard chart’s Top 5 (1996’s Aenima [sic] 
hit #2) and once again snatch another Grammy (Best Metal Performance, 
	The cumulative product of infrequent recording sessions held 
over the past year-and-a-half, Lateralus was completed last February 
but marred by a pair of stalled release dates.  The 79-minute saga 
will now follow last December’s eight-song box set of rarities, 
Salival, which held fans over until the new project could be 
	Despite the lengthy wait, production time for Lateralus added 
up to a mere four months, according to producer David Bottrill.  The 
English resident paid periodic visits to the U.S. starting in early 
2000, trekking with the band to Hollywood’s Cello Studios (the same 
location at which Aenima was solidified).  Lateralus was, for the 
most part, recorded in sizable chunks, as evidenced by two of the 
album’s adjunct tracks in particular, “Parabol” and “Parabola.”
	The other noteworthy suite on the new disc is the album’s 
climactic 22-minute overture, featuring the sister 
songs “Disposition,” “Reflection” and “Triad.”  The first two were 
recorded in the same breath, while the band chose to tack on the 
aptly titled latter track afterwards.
	Size is a central concern for the Bob Ludwig-mastered 
Lateralus.  Maximizing the potential of a single disc to its fullest 
capacity, drummer Danny Carey explains to ICE that while Tool set out 
to create an album that would guide the listener through an
engrossing aural journey, “We didn’t go out and say, ‘Let’s write 
eight- and nine-minute songs for the whole record.’”  While he’s 
content with the final outcome, Carey admits, “It would’ve been nice 
if some of [the songs] had turned out shorter, just for variety.  But
once the songs are in the process of being written, they take on a 
life of their own and you just gotta be as true to it as you possibly 
	Carey reflects on the recording process as “more relaxed” 
than with past albums, though producer Bottrillreveals to ICE that 
impending manager- and label-related lawsuits added “turbulence” to 
the project.  Carey asserts, however, that “On past albums, we felt 
imprisoned, although that’s a little bit strong of a word.  We always
wanted to be able to play everything live, just like we did on our 
	“We kind of let go of that [on Lateralus].  Adam [Jones, 
guitarist] did more experimenting with his guitar tones and layering, 
and Maynard [James Keenan, vocalist] did the same . . . he put a lot 
more harmonies on here that he wouldn’t be able to pull off live.  I 
was really happy that we broke out of that purist thing.”
	Bottrill views Lateralus as “a natural progression from 
Undertow.  Things like ‘Sober’ invited you into the strange world of 
Tool, Aenima took it a step further and said, ‘Well, c’mon, you may 
as well journey with us.’  This [Lateralus] is another page along
the way.”  Bottrill does cite a conscious effort on the part of Tool 
to “break the mold.  Without people like Tool and Radiohead to break 
the mold, we’re left with what’s on the radio.”
	Which, according to Bottrill, leaves much to be desired.  He 
identifies a large aggregate of young adults and teens that have yet 
to experience alternate forms of rock music, and predicts that 
Lateralus will act as a startling eye-opener: “I think a lot of the
older people that are their fans from before will get what they’re 
expecting.  And people who are old Sabbath and Zeppelin fans will 
understand it.
	“But I think it’ll just wake up a lot of kids to what you can 
do musically and still have it work as a song.  It doesn’t 
necessarily have to conform to the verse/chorus/verse format, that 
sort of thing.  You can develop structure and mood without having to
conform to length and classical structure.”
	Bottrill and believes that it’s Tool’s fierce emphasis on 
musicianship that separates them from today’s other hard rock and 
metal contenders.  However, he recognizes that the band’s deep-seated 
attachment to musicianship could, if not corralled, lead to a 
progressive-rock sound.  “The difference I find with Tool,” Bottrill 
says, “is that they’re not as esoteric as [prog-rock].  Their style 
is still powerful; it has mystery, but it still invites you [in].  
Whereas [prog] is all about musicianship, it’s all about the
esotericness of the piece.  It pushes people away a bit more; you 
have to be studied to understand it.  You don’t have to be studied to 
understand Tool.”
	As Tool fans know, the band’s album and song titles are 
frequently swapped at Tool’s discretion right up until the day of the 
album’s release.  Lateralus, for example, was originally titled 
Systema Encephale [sic], while the title track itself, according to
Bottrill, “was called ‘987’ because of the time signatures.”  At 
press time, the track list for Lateralus read as follows: “The 
Grudge,” “Eon Blue Apocalypse,” “The Patient,” “Mantra,” “Schism” 
(the album’s first single/emphasis track, for which the video has
been completed), “Parabol,” “Parabola,” “Ticks and 
Leeches,” “Lateralus,” “Disposition,” “Reflection,” “Triad” 
and “Saaip de Oiad” [sic].
	Tool is primed for a European tour from May 25 to June 29, 
but will sneak in three U.S. shows beforehand: an appearance at the 
Riviera in Chicago on May 17, a stop at the State Theater in Dertroit 
on the 18th, and a Hammerstein Ballroom show in New York on the 
20th.  Carey also hints at the possibility of a surprise Los Angeles 
show preceding the mid-May dates.  Then, in late August, the band 
will embark on a full-scale sweep of the States.
	As for the future, Carey is confident that fans won’t be left 
destitute for another five years.  In fact, Tool already has an 
album’s worth of undeveloped material leftover from Lateralus.  “I 
could see the next record coming in two or three years,” he says,
“unless we take on something huge, like try to do the next Wall.  
Which is a possibility . . . I think we’re the ones to step up and do 

Posted to t.d.n: 04/29/01 00:49:51