the tool page

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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Politiken

Date: May, 2001

Transcribed by
Dan Bjørnstrup (

 title: The Last Mystery
author: Erik Jensen

Review of 'Lateralus' from the Danish newspaper "Politikken" 
Section 2 - Saturday may 12, 2001 - "ROCK AND MORE" 

Translation by Dan Bjørnstrup

                      The last mystery

Mysterious Tool has not drowned in their own myth, but on the 
contrary they have recorded their best album yet. An undefined and 
mysterious masterpiece. 
Tool is on a mission, which is all about giving back the meaning to 
rock without fundamentally changing the premises of the genre.

One of the big mysteries still remaining in a still more self-
exposing and commercially waving rock-music is named Tool. At once 
both clear-sighted and cryptic, the quartet from Los Angeles are 
capable of marveling their fans time after time. By using layers of 
sonorous powerful "heavy" rock in a constant changing between 
ferocious and spherical beauty hidden behind a curtain of almost 
incomprehensible lyrics.
If anybody had thought it would be easier to understand Tool just 
because the band sells records by the million or because singer 
Maynard James headed down a more clear path with his successful 
sideproject A Perfect Circle, its time to rethink.
The cover of the much awaited third album "Lateralus", the first from 
Tool in nearly five years(!), only reveals that the mystery is 
intact. You can not find a single word in the transparent booklet 
only watch the torso and face of man gradually disappearing into the 
big emptiness. Another example which shows that you should not try to 
understand but just let yourself carry away by the powerful 
atmosphere and outlets from the universe of the band. Do this and you 
will stumble upon an incredible wealth of tangled feelings, released 
frustration and mental beauty from maybe the most endowed rock-band 
on the earth.
Inside on the cd itself "Lateralus" is not more mystifying 
than "Undertow" from 1993 or "Ænima" from 1996, on the contrary there 
is a vast musical clear-sight and weight on this spectacular album 
that fully lives up to the wildest expectations of the large number 
of faithful fans.

The midsection of the album with the incredible powerful 
songs 'Schism', 'Parabola' and 'Ticks & Leeches' with its eight 
minutes of total powertripping is some of the most obsessing, wild 
and beautiful rock-music we have heard for years. It´s all formidable 
displays at an incredible level. With the story goes that 'Schism', 
being a seven minute long track, is the bands new single. Commercial 
conventions, adverts and radioplay are not necessary ingredients in 
the universe of Tool and thank god for that.
On 'Schism', Maynard James Keenan´s voice often sounds like a lonely 
and desperate call from a foaming sea of incredible instruments, 
whose strings seems to be human nervefibres. A typical Tool-lyric 
goes "I know the pieces fit cuz I watched them fall away/ mildewed 
and smoldering. Fundamental differing" which sounds like the reversed 
description of a stumbling romance. The song is delivered with what 
could be a key-chorus for Tool :"The poetry that comes from the 
squaring off between/And the circling is worth, it/ Finding beauty in 
the dissonance". To find beauty in the dissonance is an artform that 
Tool masters completely.

It´s not that Tool is musically situated in an impenetrable jungle of 
mystique. Actually the band consists of very basic things such as 
drums, Danny Carey, on bass Justin Chancellor, Adam Jones on guitar 
(an arsenal of them, with unique sounds and visionary combinations) 
and singer Maynard James Keenan. Together they play music which 
mostly is a mixture of heavy-rock and lines to Black Sabbath, Led 
Zeppelin and Metallica but often surrounded by a resounding darkness 
that can be compared with The Cure, Sisters Of Mercy or Joy Division.

Together with Marilyn Manson, Tool is on a mission, which is all 
about giving back the meaning to rock without fundamentally changing 
the premises of the genre. Here there is no assertions in the shape 
of primitive rap-rythms or techno-like loops only pure and simple 
instruments on wild adventures in the twilight on a ridge between 
nightmare and dreams in rock-land.
While Marilyn Manson is aimed at using the clichés of rock in an out-
turned display of power, Tool is searching inwards for a constant and 
consistent soul-searching, which could easily lead to a self-
important scratching their own bellybuttons if it was not´t because 
the band has a visionary brute strength.
"Lateralus" is thus a scrub in the primeval forest, that you never 
cease to explore for new sidetracks, excrescence's, aberrations and 
shadowed places for a reflection in the restlessness.

With it´s long playtime there is a lot to work with, moods to find, 
acidiferous beauty with currents to swim in - as in the 
track 'Reflection', letting yourself be bombarded by powerful 
cannonades - as in the titletrack - with Tool as an amazing tool of 
as yet unknown landscapes of feelings. 
'Lateralus' shows that the band has not become martyrs in their own 
big big mystery. On the contrary Tool is one of the riddles you would 
never wish to solve. It´s far more fun to enter this riddle as in a 
musical labyrinth than to become hypnotized by MTV´s large-flowered 
wallpaper of sound delivered from the greedy music industry, who 
should count themselves lucky having a band like this as an alibi.
All of us can just look forward to Tool´s concert Thursday, June 28 
on the Roskilde festival. Which could be one of the big mysteries 
this summer!

Tool: Lateralus. Produced by Tool and David Bottrill Zomba Records. 
(79 min). 

Posted to t.d.n: 05/22/01 06:27:19