the tool page

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The Tool Page: An Article


Date: September, 2001

Transcribed by
Joe the Article Transcriber (

 title: Tool-Lateralus
author: Bob Messer

Every once in a while art and progression collide and emerge 
into pop culture. Tool’s Lateralus is one of those collisions. 
Tool definitely shows their maturity with an emotional 
rollercoaster ride of energetic and often long in length songs. 
Upon listening to this album I knew that my review would be 
centered more on the music than the message. Being a 
musician and appreciating progressive rock music can have 
that effect on you. But I will still try to interpret the best I can.

First of all, Danny Carey rapidly gains my attention as a 
drummer to be noticed and respected. Having said this, let’s 

‘The Grudge’ introduces the CD with a rhythmic drive. It 
slithers its way through the speakers occasionally erupting 
with hard guitar and bass driven riffs. Over eight minutes 
long, it compares a grudge to dragging a heavy stone behind 
you. (Genesis 27:41, Leviticus 19:18) Justin Chancellor 
delivers some interesting bass fret tapping here. It also 
sounds as if Danny has taken the snares down on his snare 

Track two is a short guitar based instrumental that leads into 
number three.

‘The Patient’ displays some soft yet effective guitar work from 
Adam Jones. The song ascends into a melodic power ballad 
like mood. Breaking with off timing rhythms throughout. The 
song speaks of having extreme patience with one’s choice in 
life. The first collection of verses tells of a vampire’s 
victim. “This paranoid, paralyzed vampire act's a little old. 
But I'm still right here. Giving blood, keeping faith. And I'm 
still right here.” But look past the gothic reference and to a 
choice that everyone must make. (Mathew 7:13) Have 
patience and faith in that choice.

‘Schism’ is the CD’s first radio single. Schism is also a real 
word too.

DEFINITION: A separation or division into factions, especially 
within a religious body. The definition and the words of the 
song go hand in hand. If singer Maynard James Keenan is 
singing about the Christian church today, then unfortunately 
he is dead on. He also reminds me of the seven churches in 
Revelations. (Revelations 1:4,11) Schism begins with an off 
tempo bass pull off riff and continues this with light to heavy 
guitar and drums. Danny shows us some incredible off timing 

‘Parabol’ is a somber dreamscape of sorts. Few words here. 
They seem to echo a moment in time shared by two 
people. “We barely remember what came before this precious 
moment, choosing to be here right now.” Transcends into…

‘Parabola’ which is also a real word. DEFINITION: A plane 
curve formed by the locust of points equidistant from a fixed 
line and a fixed point not on the line. Lets hope the song 
makes more sense.

“Recognize this as a holy gift and celebrate this chance to be 
alive and breathing. This body holding me reminds me of my 
own mortality. Embrace this moment. Remember. We are 
eternal.” Seems to state that we all live in a mortal shell and 
that our spirit within is eternal. Maynard has the basic idea. 
(John 6:63) Parabola is also the first to really rock on this CD.

‘Ticks And Leeches’ is another hard rocker that produces 
some melodic guitar chords. This style also take us back to 
Tool’s underground metal roots. It is very well written about 
someone who has been wronged greatly by somebody else. 
The anger here is orchestrated beautifully with overtones of 
bass and drum beats. Toward the end the music completely 
explodes in rapid drumming and fast guitar chord strumming.

‘Lateralus’ is the ninth track and third time I've had to look 
up a word. The closet I could come was the word Lateralis, 
which is Latin for lateral, which then lead me to the term 
lateral pass; A football pass thrown sideways or backwards. 
All sports aside, Lateralus saturates us with sublime like lyrics 
that reflects the poetic styling of Jim Morrison. “I embrace my 
desire to feel the rhythm, to feel connected enough to step 
aside and weep like a widow to feel inspired, to fathom the 
power, to witness the beauty, to bathe in the fountain, to 
swing on the spiral of our divinity and still be a human.” The 
proverbial mind trip.

‘Disposition’ brings in the ten spot with almost five minutes of 
music and only thirteen words. “Mention this to me. Mention 
something, mention anything ... and watch the weather 
change.” There you have it. Jungle bongo beats and other 
percussion wrap around the guitar and bass. Vocals are 
arranged in an almost middle eastern style.

‘Reflection’ speeds up the percussive rhythm and intros a 
very solid bass line. Wait, is that a sitar I hear? Reflection 
deals with finding hope when all is dark. (Proverbs 24:14)

‘Triad’ is a very long instrumental. Very well done. It keeps 
your attention.

‘Faaip De Oiad’ is a sci-fi masterpiece. It is an actual 
transcripts of the Art Bell AM radio show set behind music.

Lateralus has debuted at number one on the Billboard album 
chart. Tool will be touring this summer with King Crimson as 
well. King Crimson is one of the chief pioneers of progressive 
rock music.

If you want to read more about bands that play progressive 
music, then you can visit the new Prog Page on 

Lifting shadows off a dream once broken, 

Posted to t.d.n: 02/14/03 00:34:33