the tool page

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The Tool Page: An Article


Date: May, 2001

Transcribed by
Stu (

 title: Not With A Whimper, But A Bang
author: Christopher O'Connor 

No one  save, perhaps, troubled teens who need the 
comfort  should walk away with thoughts of the depression, 
blackness and illness scattered all over Lateralus, an 80-
minute juggernaut and an all-out war on brevity. On this, 
Tool's third full-length album and first since 1996's Aenima, 
the band continues to rock in the Rush/Metallica eight-minute 
flexathon tradition: it may impress you with individual lines, 
but in the end, it excels mainly at musical gymnastics. While 
lead singer Maynard James Keenan can capture the essence 
of a song's emotion with a simple phrase  such 
as "Rediscover communication," which he screams across the 
bitter, searing rocker "Schism" (RealAudio excerpt)  taken 
as a whole, his lyrics barely pass for high-school 
poetry. "Black and white/ All I see in my infancy/ Red and 
yellow then came to be ... There is so much more that 
beckons me/ Infinite possibilities," he sings on the otherwise 
sweeping title track (RealAudio excerpt). Bob Dylan  heck, 
Neil Peart  can rest easy.

This band, which formed in Los Angeles in the early '90s, 
accomplishes its dark mission the old-fashioned heavy metal 
way: it blasts and it pounds, quickly, even nihilistically. Even 
when it plays softly, it does so with a sinister tone. in fact, 
Tool can evoke the catharsis implied by their lyrics without 
ever singing a word. Guitarist Adam Jones, a magnificent 
noisemeister, hits hardest emotionally on his quieter 
moments  the lonely instrumental "Eon Blue Apocalypse" 
weeps in "Cortez the Killer" fashion. Drummer Danny Carey 
can bash out assault-rifle triplets or solemnly tap bongos with 
equal resonance and agility. Justin Chancellor keeps his bass 
notes nailed to the band's dark core, volume cranked at all 
times. When the words do pour out, they come from 
Keenan's powerful, intense, and at times alarmingly pretty 
voice, one of rock's most compelling.

Tool's mastery of their genre is most evident on "Ticks & 
Leeches" (RealAudio excerpt), a track seemingly destined for 
active-rock glory days. Carey jump-starts the song with a sick 
drum pattern, speeding and dodging his way through traffic 
while Chancellor does his best to keep up and Jones cuts 
through the groove like a buzzsaw. Keenan spews, almost 
indecipherably, until he lands on another knockout line: "This 
is what you wanted/ This is what you had in mind/ Cause this 
is what you're getting." A two-minute quiet zone follows, full 
of whimpering guitar wails and bass rolls. Finally, things 
speed back up and bang, bang ... the world ends. Eventually, 
so does this album  but the feeling that heavy metal 
greatness is upon us remains.

Posted to t.d.n: 04/21/02 18:50:54