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The Tool Page: An Article


Date: October, 2002

Transcribed by
Stu (

 title: Lateralus
author: Scot Nardullo

Tool's strongest and most definitive work to date, served on 
a silver platter.

October 02, 2002 - The third full length album from the prog-
rock masters 
Tool, Lateralus, begins with some sort of electrical machinery 
switched on and leading the way to the intro of "The Grudge." 
It's fitting, because in many ways the members of Tool are 
all part of a machine. In this latest release Tool proves itself 
to be well-oiled and refined.

"Wear the grudge like a crown, of negativity ... calculate what 
you will, or will not tolerate ..." begins the primal chanting on 
the first track of Lateralus. Spacial bass lines and guitar wet 
with effect trade off in balance before making a nice 
transition to the groovy and slow first verse; "Clutch you like 
a cornerstone ... otherwise it all comes down ... justify denials 
and ... grip them till their lonesome end." Its obvious singer 
James Maynard Keenan is speaking of someone or 
something in particular - could it be the never-ending lawsuit 
from their previous label Zoo Entertainment (who FORGOT to 
renew Tool's contract in time and therefore allowed them to 
be free agents at the height of their career?!) Or could it be 
in reference to ex-bassist Paul D'Amour who quit the band 
after Tool's first LP Undertow to join a band with his girlfriend? 
Yes, you read that right ...

Regardless of the rhyme or reason of any of the tracks, 
Lateralus is Tool's strongest and most definitive work to date. 
Ominous and short instrumentals like "Eon Blue Apocalypse" 
and "Mantra" preempt "The Patient" and "Schism", the latter 
being the band's first radio single for this album. "The 
Patient" is uncommonly good, and void of any kind of 
verse/chorus/verse formatting generally found in rock music. 
The slow intro leads to a crescendo that eventually plays over-
dubbed guitars soaked with heavy amplifier saturation. When 
the vocals return, it's a harmonization of lyrics and single 
note lead guitar melodies that complement each other 
perfectly, giving a much deserved if not anticipated look into 
the future of hard rock.

"Parabol" and "Parabola" follow in an example of how 
simplicity rules in rock and roll. Essentially the same in both 
lyrical content and rhythm structure, the two songs give the 
appearance of being completely different, yet reveal only a 
faster tempo to a slower one, heavy guitars to quiet and 
clean, and dry vocals to wet effects. "Parabola" gives way to a 
key change in the end and an outro with slower guitars and 
the lyrics "I choose to be ... alive and breathing..." There is 
certainly no doubt about that.

Tool is such a good band on so many levels, it's something 
to be marveled. This can be more readily appreciated by 
keeping one thing in mind: one voice, one guitar, one bass, 
and one on the drums. That's rock and roll. When you listen 
to the band and watch them live, they still manage to project 
the three dimensional layering you hear on the album. I 
prefer to break rock bands into two categories: A) The sum of 
all the parts, and B) The whole. By this I mean does what 
your hearing sound like a guitar, bass, singer, and 
percussionist playing together or does it sound like one 
slightly intangible signature of music that is as original and 
innovative as it is inspiring? All the best bands produce the 
latter, a defining element that you can identify in a one or 
two second sample of their work. Tool breathes life into the 
notion that new rock music can still be created using the 
same old ingredients.

-- Scot Nardullo
Liner Notes
Nice thorough liner notes, delves deeper into Tool. 8 
Album Art
Innovative, multi-layered packaging sets the stage. 10 
Lasting Appeal
This one has been out over a year and we're still listening to 
it. 10 
Overall Score (not an average) 8

Posted to t.d.n: 10/09/02 19:37:10