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4.38 | 141 ratings | 13 reviews
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Album · 2001

Filed under Progressive Metal


1. The Grudge (8:36)
2. Eon Blue Apocalypse (1:06)
3. The Patient (7:12)
4. Mantra (1:13)
5. Schism (6:45)
6. Parabol (3:06)
7. Parabola (6:04)
8. Ticks & Leeches (8:08)
9. Lateralus (9:24)
10. Disposition (4:48)
11. Reflection (11:09)
12. Triad (8:46)
13. Faaip de Oiad (2:40)

Total Time: 79:02


- Maynard James Keenan / vocals
- Adam Jones / guitars
- Danny Carey / drums
- Justin Chancellor / bass guitar

About this release

Tool Dissectional / CD Volcano Entertainment #31160 (2001)

Cover art by Alex Grey. The frames in the gif are as follows:

1. CD slipcase cover
2. LP cover
3-7. CD booklet layer by layer

Thanks to bartosso, adg211288, Pekka for the updates


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The Patient holds a Grudge against Ticks & Leeches

The days when I was a die-hard Tool fan are long gone but the fact LATERALUS was a groundbreaking release is as valid as ever. Many consider it to be their opus magnum but the truth is Tool haven't done much to change that. Nothing has been released since 2006 and there's no sign of that changing any time soon. Hence, an obvious question to ask would be "how did LATERALUS stand the test of time?"

I'd say it has passed it with flying colours. LATERALUS is loaded with compelling melodies, ascetic, hypnotizing rhythm patterns and evocative atmosphere but it's the emotional charge - ambiguous, weaved in a kaleidoscope of meanings and symbols - what makes it timeless. Music-wise, the third album from Tool is very eclectic, but unlike many modern prog metal records, it's not a coarse collage of genres. The guys were mixing psychedelia, alternative rock of the 90s and progressive rock of the 70s together until it became a smooth dough of unique flavour. Structure-wise, LATERALUS features innovative character of rhythm section with prominent bass and eclectic drumming, evolutionary structure of tracks and clever polyrhythms. It drags out a bit towards the end ("Triad" is booooring!) but this is the only blemish on the album.

I regret that the title of this review is a lousy pun, but I hope the point I was trying to make throughout it is clear. LATERALUS needs no recommendation and all fans of modern prog, alternative and post metal have already given it a spin. A flawed masterpiece it is. Check it out or die. Amen.
To a large extent, Lateralus is simply part two of Aenima - and whilst I don't think it's quite as groundbreaking, novel, or fresh as its predecessor, it surely comes a close second to it. Justin Chancellor's bass work is a particular treat, and in fact on the basis of this album I'd say he's one of the absolute best bass players in the metal scene currently. Likewise, the rest of the band are on good form, and their tackling of their typical esoteric subject matter remains entertaining. Though I maintain that Aenima is the band's true masterpiece, this is a pretty good companion to it.
Lateralus: one of the greatest albums ever created.

Lateralus has been with me since the start of my prog-rock/metal journey, but I can never seem to find an album to surpass it in its genre. This is the one album I believe everyone should hear before they die; it's just really that good of an experience.

Now for the synopsis: Lateralus flows like a concept album as there are intro-songs for a good portion of the tracks on the album. It is also quite dark. I can tell you right now that you sure as hell don't listen to this album if you want something up-beat to brighten up your day. It's just a very powerful trip, is all I can say. This album creates the perfect mood.

Maynard's vocals fit perfectly in the album as his voice can certainly convey that dark tone the album has. He's also quite the skillful vocalist as well; hitting a wide range of notes. But along with the vocals come with the lyrics which are also some of my favorite. The only lyrics that I can say impact me as much are the lyrics in Ziltoid, but that's a WHOLE different experience. I can say safely these are my favorites lyrics in a serious piece. The combination of awesome vocals with creative and dark lyrics really make just Maynard's portion of the album a breath taking experience.

Next we move on to Danny's role. Let me just get it over with and say, yes, this is also my favorite album as regards to drumming. Being a drummer myself, I'm not awed by the immense technicality of the drumming, but the creativity. Just the shear imagination of the guy to put poly-rhythms where I never would have thought to in a million years makes this album so much more memorable. You can tell how much effort they put into this. Truly something to be studied by fellow drummers.

And then there's Adam and Justin. The most technical guitars you'll ever here? Not even close, but that's not the point of Lateralus. What they try to do they do perfectly. I will say that I never heard a guitar sing in such a beautiful tone before. They really are just perfect. And I will stress the point that Lateralus is not about technicality, but it's about creativity. I think the guitars perfectly reflect what Lateralus is about.

The Grudge - Just a way of saying, "Welcome to Lateralus!" The majority of the song is in 5/4, but it still flows very smoothly. The odd time signature does not feel forced by any stretch of imagination. The long scream paired with the drum "solo" at the end really sets up you up for the type of journey and you can feel confident that these musicians are the real deal.

Eon Blue Apocalypse/The Patient - It's just beautiful. It's such a dark song with a sense of loneliness and it has such a climatic ending. So beautiful it hurts. Everything is also just so perfect: the lyrics, vocals, drumming, guitars, they just all help create this crushing feel to the song. When I saw Tool live, my favorite song (next to Third Eye) that they played. Dark masterpiece.

Mantra/Schism - Another fantastic piece. All though this song maintains to the dark theme of the album, it's not quite like the previous ones. It's not a crushing dark, but more of an atmospheric dark. This being said, it certainly does have its points of aggression. The stop in the middle of the song is just another moment of beauty. Then when the drums come in, it just drives the song to the end with such's just great. The album definitely does not let you down with this song.

Parabol/Parabola - A fantastic intro that foreshadows the main course. It maintains the dark ambient feel for a while, but then it just hits you again, going back to kinda how The Grudge made you feel. But then it just stops. It goes back into the ambient mood of things and I do really love this part. The drumming is just so very intricate. This album just has so many forms of dark and they all meld together perfectly. Along with the sublime outro to end the song, an awesome experience in itself.

Ticks and Leeches - I know I've been saying "creativity before technicality" for a while, but sometimes you can have both. The drums are just insane on this song. Even with the drums being so good, it's not the hi-light of the song for me, that would be the sucker punch they give right after the acoustic guitar. The first time I heard the album, I thought they were playing the song out. Needless to say I was...surprised. It's such a unique song, and yes, the drumming does stay often through-out.

Lateralus - Ah yes, the song with the Fibonacci Sequence. If that's not enough to show you how creative this album is, I'm not sure what is. Along with just using the Fibonacci Sequence, the lyrics also are very well done to correlate with the song. As you probably know, the Fibonacci Sequence creates a perfect spiral and some of the lyrics are "spiraling out," you can do the rest of the math. This is also one of the songs that have an array of poly-rhythms. And that ending! Oh, it's just a great song. Truly a song worthy of being the self titled track.

Disposition/Reflection - Disposition and Reflection are the calm tracks to begin closing off the album. They're kinda hypnotic as taking some ambient guitar and bass along with tribal drums. Reflection does have a climax and, yes, it is also awesome. I just really enjoy the longing feel the song gives. It's a very good atmosphere and would have been an excellent closer to an album.

Triad - The final song off Lateralus (not counting Faaip De Oaid). This song brings my only complaint to the album. Let me start first by emphasizing this is by no means a bad instrumental; it's actually very good, I'm just questioning why they needed it. For me, it feels like the album should have ended with Reflection as that was the epic to send it off, not some 6 and a half minute instrumental. But in a sense, I am just complaining about getting more music on my CD. I think that's the way Tool intended it to feel. You get the epic ending in Reflection, but then they come back with an encore to finish the job!...but then I can't really forget Faaip De Oaid, can I?

Even with ending on such a sour note there, it is not enough to convince me otherwise that this is the greatest album ever created in this genre. It has too many good features within for me to put this down for giving me too much content in one CD. If there is such thing as a prgoressive masterpiece, thy name is Lateralus.
The Angry Scotsman
Ah yes, here it is. "Laterlaus" the pinnacle of Tool's discography, and in many's opinion the pinnacle of music. I often find myself as a moderate in the Tool debate. Most seem to love them, and are the greatest, most intelligent band ever or they are boring and suck. I will say, "Lateralus" is a great album. Not my favorite, in fact not even in my top 10, (maybe my top 20) but is a great album and completes Tool's transformation from alternative metal to progressive metal.

Like any Tool album, and prog in general, it took some time to really "get" it. However, the album did grow on me. As my tastes expanded I grew to really like this album. I also realized thing like their weird "songs" of nothingness are actually not songs but transitions. Some are done right and really are good transition pieces, some just sound like a waste of space. That is one other problem I have with Tool... I DO think they make length for the sake of it. Especially with Danny Carey's comments that they had a maximum of 79 minutes, and figured "we'd give them two seconds of breathing room."

Anyway, Tool is a talented band. Adam Jones' guitar work is good and all over the place stylistically. Justin Chancellor does the same, as his bass style has no actual "style" to it, but it is awesome. Great use of effects and making sounds. Danny Carey is truly one of the great drummers and Maynard is one of the best at creating atmosphere with his vocals and fitting the music.

The album starts off weak. The Grudge is actually not a very good song. It starts out fine, with some great guitar and bass work, some of Danny's infamous drumming and some nice vocals. The middle section is nice, but near the end it becomes slow and I have a tough time finishing it.

Eon Blue Apocalypse is a transition piece done well! It is not noise, but soothing. It really is a mellow, wonderful transition.

The transition into The Patient is smooth as silk. The Patient is a great song. Starts off with some simple guitar and trippy bass. It is a slow, mellow, minimal song with some great lyrics. The song gets heavy in the middle, with a great, and weird, guitar riff and some sweet drumming. A very progressive song and a great ending!

Mantra is a transition piece done poorly! It is just noise. What noise I have no idea. Someone once told me it was Maynard stroking his cat, but extremely slowed down.....whatever it is, one thing is for sure: It's a waste of space!

Schism, one of Tool's most well known songs. With good reason in my opinion. A great bass intro followed by the guitar and a great drum beat to match. Honestly, this is just a really great song! You have to hear it really.

Parabol is another segue, and a good one. It is really haunting, yet beautiful. What makes it a great transition piece is how it throws us right into Parabola. And thrown into it is exactly how you feel! The heaviest song on the album. It is a bit slow in parts, but overall a good song, and some truly great drumming.

Ticks and Leeches is actually my favorite song on the album. Starting with a frantic drum beat, then quickly some bass and building guitar this is a frantic song. At first. Maynard belts out some INTENSE vocals here. I love them! The vocals are great, fits the music perfectly, and some good music to boot! It does not need to be said, but again Carey's drumming is superb. Also a VERY progressive song!

Lateralus, the banner song. Actually I find it alright. It has some amazing parts, but also has some parts that really drag. While the music is a bit slow in parts this song is the epitome of Tool's genius, or in some opinions their pretentiousness.

The song deals with the human desire to explore deeper, and understand everything. Keep that in mind. OK, the song is built around the Fibonacci Sequence, (in which the first 2 numbers add equal the next). This is done in the first verse, as the syllables follow the pattern: 1,1,2,3,5,8,5,3,2,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,8,5,3. It is in a spiral pattern. This Fibonacci spiral, when drawn, creates a never ending spiral. The lyrics "spiral out" are mentioned throughout. Remember, the human desire to keep exploring deeper and learn more answers? It only leads to an infinite, expanding spiral.... Very cool. Very brilliant. However, without them telling us this, (or being a super genius) how would we even know such things?

Disposition is a beautiful song. Beautiful, relaxing, peaceful.

Reflection is another song that has great parts, but also boring parts.

Triad is the exact same thing, though I really like the end.

Not really the end! There is a hidden track. After some noise, (which continues) there is actually some pretty sweet drumming. Then too much noise.

Lateralus is a great album. While some parts are slow and drag on way too long, much of it is brilliant. This is not an album you can "listen" to, especially at first. You have to lay down and really absorb all the fine little details of it, then one can truly appreciate it. This album is also ripe with style changes, and constant time signature changes. Carey's drumming is truly spectacular. While the album's use of stuff like Fibonacci Numbers is brilliant, it is partially the bands shortcoming. In the song Lateralus the time signature in the chorus alternates between 9/8, 8/8, and 7/8. In fact it was originally called 9-8-7....987 happens to be the 17th number in the Fibonacci sequence.

That is pretty awesome, but pretty pretentious and again...unless you have a vast knowledge and extremely keen ears, who on Earth would know that? But Tool makes music for themselves. It is their personal journey. This is by nature very pretentious, but hey they let us join them on their journey. I am rambling now. This is a great album. Brilliant, and even more so when it really all sinks in. However, it is slow in quite a few parts. Long for the sake of length, some of the filler is totally useless.

Great Album but suffers from some meandering and useless, often unpleasant, filler.

Four and a Half Stars
Conor Fynes
'Lateralus' - Tool (6/10)

While this is ultimately thought to be Tool's progressive masterpiece, I didn't find much enjoyment with it as '10,000 Days,' which will condemn me almost automatically right off the bat. This is not to say however, that I don't find the album appealing. It's just that the album (for the most part) lacks alot of the emotion necessary for a purposeful impact.

Songs like 'Schism' and 'The Patient' are fantastic and complex compositions which help me better understand why 'Lateralus' is held in such high heavens. 'Schism' has upwards of fifty time signature changes! There is a very dense soundscape to be heard on 'Lateralus' and relatively bass-heavy and oriented.

The reason I have never been able to get into 'Lateralus' is because some of the music just never hit me as being 'master' worthy. It is most certainly thoughtful, but I usually think of something like the ambitious 'Be' album from Pain of Salvation when I think of a true masterpiece. There's definately talent and intelligence at play here, but theres nothing that triggers emotion here from me, which is the main point of music altogether.
Tool's 'Lateralus' is neo progressive at its darkest.

Tool compacts metal staccato riffs of varying metrical patterns with cynical lyrics to produce an album of exceptional quality. 'The Grudge' blazes from beginning to end and features very off-balance guitar riffing and time signature changes reminiscent of the best of symphonic prog such as ELP's 'Tarkus' and Yes's 'Long Distance Runaround'. Tool stands alone as an edgy, industrialized prog metal.

Highlights include 'Patient', 'Schism', 'Parabola', 'Lateralis', 'Reflection' and 'Triad'. Of note is the guitar riffing and percussion tremors that pound incessantly.

How do you end an album of this grand scale? Why, with a quirky monologue of course. The monologue in 'Faaip De Oiad' features a filtered voice over an ethereal atmospheric soundwave. The voice explains as follows:

I, I don't have a whole lot of time. Um, OK, I'm a former employee of Area 51. I, I was let go on a medical discharge about a week ago and, and... I've kind of been running across the country. Damn, I don't know where to start, they're, they're gonna, um, they'll triangulate on this position really soon. OK, um, um, OK, what we're thinking of as, as aliens, they're extradimensional beings, that, an earlier precursor of the, um, space program they made contact with. They are not what they claim to be. Uh, they've infiltrated a, a lot of aspects of, of, of the military establishment, particularly the Area 51. The disasters that are coming, they, the military, I'm sorry, the government knows about them. And there's a lot of safe areas in this world that they could begin moving the population to now. They are not! They want those major population centers wiped out so that the few that are left will be more easily controllable.

Creepy stuff and unforgettable once it penetrates the conscious. The soundwave of sonic white noise is incredible. The same approach is revisited on '10,000 Days' closing track.

In conclusion 'Lateralus' is a prime example of prog metal genius. Overarching themes and huge wall of sound metal. It is Tool's finest album, never bettered.
Phonebook Eater

"Lateralus" is one of those timeless, yet complex and dark masterpieces that will be listened by the generations ahead of us.

Rarely you find albums like "Lateralus". Tool's third album is their best prog metal album, and one of the very best albums of the genre. The beauty that invades the album gives you emotions that not so often music can give, or at least not this effective.

But let's admit it openly, and say that this does not sound like your average, or even classic Prog metal album. That label was given to the band for pure and simple safety reasons. Tool has been a really unique band, and they prove it with "Lateralus". The sound is a little hard to describe, since it contains a lot of influences such as Progressive Rock, Alternative Metal, a bit of Sludge Metal (more the drums than anything else), Math Metal ( of course not in the Meshuggah sense of the word). The music is cryptic, full of time changes, thanks to the innovating sounding guitars,full of effects such as reverb, the tribal drums, the fat and warm bass lines, and Maynard's fragile and yet amazingly haunting voice.

Complex like a dogma, with an epic structure that allows all the songs to flow one after another one, "Lateralus" is the band's most mature album, the musicians are even more perfected and precise, especially singer MJK, one of the most beautiful voices ever. Like in Aenima, the album has many brief interludes, which sound a lot more mature and less naive than in their previous masterpiece.

"The Grudge" starts the album. Dark, mysterious, with an explosive riff played with the bass and accompanied by guitar, giving once more the reputation of the band as bass based. The structure is complex, the melody is present but not cheesy at all, the band reaches perfection generally speaking. "The Patient" stars calm, with Maynard's vocals that are absolutely beautiful. The song then explodes, with a very haunting melody. Another great one. "Schism" is Tool's biggest hit, probably because it's the most melodic song off the album. Despite this, the structure is still pretty complex, even though the song is shorter than the band's average. This is though one of the most emotive songs on "Lateralus", and one of the band's greatest songs. "Parabol/Parabola" stars calm and meditative, it explodes when Parabola kicks in, beoming the heaviest song of the album. "Ticks and Leeches" has one of Danny Carey's best performances, especially in the energetic and tribal influenced intro. The song generally less accessible to the great audience, because of Maynard's screaming and the heaviness that the rest of the band shows. It is though a great song, another Tool classic. "Lateralus" is another excellent piece, with a great melody and yet another puzzling structure, because of he alternation between heavy and calm moments. after the interlude Disposition, we have "Reflection", the longest song of the album, and also the creepiest, due to the enigmatic chords of guitarist Adam Jones, Maynard's mysterious high peaked voice, the ferocious bass line and the strange and unusual drumming by genius Danny Carey. One of the best moments of the album. The two final songs are "Triad" a long instrumental, very interesting and original, and the closer "Faaip the Oiad", which is probably the most creepy way to end a magnificent album such as "Lateralus".

I'm very fond to this album, especially because it was one of my first journeys through the fantastic and enigmatic world of progressive rock. I think this is one of those timeless, yet complex and dark masterpieces that hopefully will be always listened by the generations ahead of us. Essential.
The Apex of Tool's Musical Achievement... With Asterisks

I was a Tool fan long before I became a prog nut, before even AENIMA hit the shelves. My band banged along to two-chord "Sober" for hours on end, and I learn a lot about jamming based simply on rhythm and your own muse. AENIMA was exactly what we young metalheads expected: a twisted, strange ball of angst with some of the most simultaneously literate and nasty lyrics in existence. Then the band was apparently gone (contract disputes) and one day I stumbled upon the first Perfect Circle album. I thought I'd found heaven. Textural goth metal, but without the minimalism (especially on guitar) that was my biggest beef with Tool. MER DE NOMS filled my eardrums over and over. So it was that when I heard that Tool was coming back with another album, I had extremely high expectations. I expected that Maynard's vocals would take a huge step forward due to the increased melodicism of APC, that we'd get more texture in the guitars, more fullness in the sound.

I heard the first single "Schism" played on the radio before I got the album. It was not what I expected. The riff was prototypical Tool but more intricate. Maynard's voice was no longer buried in the mix, but still within his Tool style. The lyrics displayed emotion and intelligence without simply being intentionally deviant. I was encouraged and I bought the album. I was almost entirely disappointed. The disc sat in my car CD player for a long time, but nothing on it grabbed me by the seat of my pants and threw me against the wall as AENIMA and MER DE NOMS had. Tool were no longer dangerous. Worse, they were starting to get boring. Though "Ticks and Leeches" drew on some of the anger that was the Maynard and Tool trademark, the band just didn't have the emotional impact without the depravity of "Stinkfist" or "Magdalena." Personally, after hearing Maynard sing against Billy Howerdel's guitar textures on APC, Adam Jones' playing (though better than previous albums) just seemed bland. I actually lost the album during a move, or maybe I sold it. I can't even remember. Some years later, 10,000 DAYS came out and I loved it. But that's another review.

When I started reviewing music online, I was shocked to find LATERALUS at the top of the list of all time prog metal albums. This made me think maybe I'd missed something, that I needed to give the album another chance. I borrowed my brother's copy (who knows, maybe it was actually mine) and after a few listens liked it quite a bit better than I had initially. At the same time, there was so much new music to explore that I really didn't immerse myself in the album until now.

LATERALUS, after multiple listens, is drummer Danny Carey's album. That is decidedly a good thing. He is the most talented player of his instrument in the band, and his interest in numerology and sacred geometry permeates the group's music. The progressiveness that Tool displays is almost all derived from the complex time signatures and polyrhythms Carey loves. Bassist Justin Chancellor has developed a genre-defining style to accompany this style, first seen on AENIMA but reaching its zenith on LATERALUS. Early in the 21st century, prowess as a bass player was often displayed by playing Chancellor's riffs, most frequently "Schism." While Tool has often been placed in the grunge camp, this rhythmic style (the entire basis for their sound) really has very little to do with grunge. The precision and complexity of the rhythm section is completely at odds with the garage ethos of the Seattle crew. The mathematical nature of this sound is at least half of the key to whether a listener likes Tool or not. If the strange counting of "Schism" makes your spine start to twist in a helical sway, you're likely a fan. If you find the repetitive figures boring, it's unlikely that Tool is going to be your band.

There is a middle ground, however, and I find it common among musicians. Most everyone agrees that Tool's rhythm section is superb, at minimum Carey. But it is with the founding leaders of the band that opinions begin to diverge. Maynard James Keenan is one of the pre-eminent frontmen in the last 20 years. When one thinks of a lead singer as a theatric performer rather than just a sound-maker, it is easy to understand Maynard and the band's popularity. His costumes, cagey demeanor, simultaneous inward and exhibitionist artistic style, are all classic characteristics of rock's greatest dating back to at least Jim Morrison. But like Morrison, Keenan's actual vocal abilities are limited. While he carries a tune without problem, he draws repeatedly on the same melodic ideas. Further, those ideas are often not that evocative. He is able to find interesting rhythmic places to sing above Carey's foundation, and his emotive capacity is good. But as a pure vocalist, he's simply limited. LATERALUS shows him more in the forefront without the annoying mix problems of the previous albums, but there are no great hooks here besides perhaps the "I know the pieces fit, cause I watched them fall away."

This brings me to guitarist Adam Jones. Perhaps no prominent metal band has had a less intersting guitarist than Jones. His role early in the band's career seemed limited to mild embellishments of the grooves set up by Carey and Chancellor. While most bands are criticized because the bass player simply follows the guitars, in Tool, it's the other way around. Jones does add sustained notes of various tonalities (wah, feedback, slide) that serve the function of pads (ambient sounds) but there are essentially no leads. To say it a little more clearly, his guitars serve no melodic or rhythmic purpose, and their harmonic role is only limited. To be fair, his role has improved with every album and I think it's actually best on 10,000 DAYS (probably why I like it most, being a guitarist.) On LATERALUS, he finally takes an independent role in some places, vastly improving from AENIMA. Again, the contrast between his minimalism and the experimental textures of Billy Howerdel (previously his guitar tech) of MER DE NOMS is like comparing a black and white sketch to a color painting. While black and white can be powerful in certain artistic situations, it limits the artist severely. In Jones and Tool's case, some color would have helped.

My favorite parts of LATERALUS are rhythmic: Carey's drum break in "Ticks and Leeches," the tribalistic toms of "Reflection," and the intertwining pieces of "Schism." The album is more complete and consistent by far than any of the previous albums. Unlike AENIMA, I can listen to it straight through and turn around and do it again. The members seem to be drawing on their own artistic creativity rather than shock value, which is certainly something to be admired. In addition, the band is pushing their personal ideals (regarding mathematical concepts) on this album more than any other. I appreciate the album much more after the additional listens I've given it for this review.

But there is still something a little cold about the album. Too much brain, not enough heart. An admirable effort and an important piece of metal history, but in my opinion Lateralus is not the masterpiece it gets credit for.
Tool is not one of the most productive bands. After a five year gap they released Lateralus, which is regarded their masterpiece by many. On Lateralus Tool would create a sound that is now often seen as their distinctive sound, featuring grungy riffs, lots of triplets and unconventional song structures. Parts of this style had already made an appearance on the band’s previous release, Ænima, but on Lateralus they are more dominant.

Lateralus opens with “The Grudge”, the most aggresive song on the album together with “Ticks & Leeches”. Both of these songs are absolutely mind-blowing in terms of power. The latter was the final track on the album to be recorded, because of the strain that the aggresive vocals would give to vocalist Maynard James Keenan’s throat. Despite being great tracks, both of these tracks might not be the most representative of the musical style mentioned earlier in this review. Songs like “Schism”, the two part suite “Parabol/Parabola” and the absolutely brilliant “Lateralus” are more distinctive.

There is very few negative to say about Lateralus, except maybe that the song “Triad” doesn’t have much to offer to my ears and feels a bit out of place on this album. Also, I enjoy listening to albums as a whole. I’m usually not able to sit through 80 minutes of music, even if it’s as amazing as the music on Lateralus. Apart from this, the album really is astounding in my opinion.

I’ve been doubting if I should give the album 4.5 or 5 stars. I went for the latter, as I don’t feel that the length of the album should affect its rating. The music on this album is some of the most amazing I’ve ever heard. Lateralus is one of the biggest highlights in the history of music.

Members reviews

Lateralus is the greatest rock/metal album ever recorded. It's transcendently beautiful and challenging in a myriad of facets varying in profundity. Musically, it's incredibly tight and focussed. Maynard's voice is full of emotion and strength and each band member shows incredible precision with their respective instruments. According to the band (especially Danny Carey, the drummer), sacred geometry played a prominent role in the musical structure of the album; each rhythm or riff is charged with its own meaning. Content-wise, Lateralus dares to reach a level that few albums can touch. A level that few works of any type of art reach. I can only say that for introspection, Lateralus provides a narrative of incredible scope to guide the listener. Lateralus guides the listener through issues ranging from frustration with dogma and ignorance, to confronting despair and emptiness, and, as the album progresses, ever deeper levels of enlightenment. This is one of the most encouraging, overwhelmingly powerful works of art that I've had the privilege of experiencing. After what must be several hundred listens, I can say with confidence that Lateralus is a masterpiece in a league of its own.

Rating: 10/10

Here's an extremely well-done video that reveals some of the underlying structure to Tool's music, which is not immediately apparent.
Tool’s Lateralus is for me the nearest there is to musical perfection. Melody, harmony, rhythm, texture, color, repetition and contrast all seem optimally balanced, creating a paradox of minimalism and complexity. It at once satisfies both my intellectual, progressive rock needs – each track being sufficiently long to be fully developed - and my primeval, heavy metal urges. The individual musicians performances complement each other, fitting together seamlessly like the parts of a finely tuned machine – the definitive example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. The same applies to the overall effect of all of the individual tracks. “I know the pieces fit.”
This album is many things. Progressive, heavy, aggressive, calm, cerebral. However you want to put it. Tool creates a masterpiece of music with this album. All the members of the band give amazing performances. Justin Chancellor lays down amazing, fluid bass lines backed by Danny Carey's phenomenal drumming. Adam Jones provides intense riffs and Maynard James Keenan gives some of the best vocal performances of his career. All of the songs on this album flow perfectly, and there is not a bad track to be found. There are several very aggressive songs like Parabola and Ticks and Leeches which delve more into progressive metal, while others such as The Grudge, Schism, and Lateralus, change from progressive rock to metal frequently. If you want and in-depth track-by-track analysis, I'd just recommend listening to the album. You will not be disappointed. Recommended songs: The Grudge, The Patient, Schism, Parabola, Ticks and Leeches, Lateralus.
Tool's 2001 release, Lateralus, is considered by many to be the best of the band's small catalogue. Featuring a massive spread of musical influence, from straight up metal, to experimental to avant-garde, if their ever was an essential piece to their catalogue, this is it.

1. The Grudge

Opening with a distorted riff and heavily intoxicated drum beat, this song continues in such a fashion until it finds its feet in a yelled, overlapped, complicatedly tempo'd vocal riff, this then travels into a much more soft guitar riff and some stereophonic drum use. From there on, it leads into a song proper, featuring a solid vocal tempo contrasted by distorted guitar and bass. Continuing in this fashion, yet picking up intensity through many fills and the use of interesting dynamics, this track never gets old, even in its 8 and a half minute length. A very solid track, this is incredibly energetic and plays out in a typical TOOL fashion. Floating out in the same way it made its entrance, albeit much louder, this track features one of the longest yells I've ever heard in a song. A solid opener, which also showcases each members technical potential and ability.

2. Eon Blue Apocalypse

Not much can be said about this one minute track - A short instrumental featuring a nice guitar riff and overall atmosphere, but nothing overall special.

3. The Patient

An iconic TOOL guitar riff opens this one up. A fan favourite from the album, this is much slower than GRUDGE, and features a much cleaner overall sound. This carries on into another heavy chorus, featuring an excellent rhythmic section overlapped perfectly by the vocal section and guitar melodies. Featuring a somewhat repetitive continuation of the riff and heaviness, this is a good track, although somewhat thin and repetitive.

4. Mantra

Another one minute instrumental, this is one of TOOL's more post-metal moments. Nothing to really say about this one, its nothing special.

5. Schism

One of TOOL's best ever tracks, this features what is perhaps their best ever riff. This track features excellent lyrics, aswell as an intense rhythmic section. One of the best tracks on the album, its obvious to see why fans and new listeners find this to be a great track. Carrying into an interesting guitar bridge, this track never gets repetitive, even after hundreds of listens. Excellently overlapping guitar melodies and vocal patterns are a standout towards this track's end, helping to take this song to a new level already. Closing in a different riff to the one in which it began, this is a great track and should be heard by any self-respecting prog, metal, or straight up rock fan.

6. Parabol

Meant as an interlude into Parabola, the album's single, this mellow track is good, but not amazing. Featuring some atmospheric effects a la Brian Eno, this track carries a good guitar riff and picks up volume towards the end. This track also features many of the lyrics in the next track, PARABOLA.

7. Parabola

The obvious single from this album, this is the most mainstream and accessible of the album. Another great track, this features a solid formula of vocals, guitar and drums. All work together in tandem to make a great tune which fans of any genre can usually enjoy. Featuring some great guitar soloing work aswell as solid rhythmic and chord musicianship, this makes a great addition to an overall very good album. At around half way through at 3 minutes, this takes a turn back into the regular TOOL channels, but still keeping up an overall more heavy metal feel than the rest of their tracks on this album. The last two minutes of this album are particularly interesting, as they feature the same lyrics as the intro, in a much less upbeat tone and at a completely different rhythm. Towards the end of this track, guitar distortion reigns supreme with a heavy yet defined tone. A very good track, although much more mainstream than one should usually expect from this band.

8. Ticks And Leeches

This track opens with a marked change from the one which preceded it due to its heavily rhythmic drum track and eventual flow of distortion. Featuring much higher pitched guitar noise than all of the tracks which come before it on the album, this feels a lot less formulaic in comparison to the other tracks on the album, and also features an inspiringly technical yet well grounded drum rhythm similar to something Gavin Harrison (PORCUPINE TREE) or Carl Palmer (EMERSON LAKE AND PALMER) would play. At around halfway through, this also reverts to a softer repeat of the intro. Continuing into a once more distorted repetition of this riff with much heavier over (and under) tones, this is an interesting track, although follows an incredibly repetitive format which drags its quality down as a stand alone track.

9. Lateralus

Ahh, here it is! The best track on the album, and also one of (if not) the best ever TOOL songs, this opens with a great guitar riff, which it carries for around a minute before picking up momentum and (Yep, you guessed it!) grabbing some distortion and continuing the riff in a much heavier fashion. Another great guitar riff, this is backed up by a mathematically perfect rhythmic section. Vocals carry the usual TOOL feel in this track, although feature a much more interesting lyric and are underplayed by another great drum track. Excellent verses carry this track into its brilliant chorus, and this track really can't disappoint anyone. Another brilliant drum track helps this track keep fresh and interesting. Eventually flowing into a great, short, but great guitar solo, this track keeps the TOOL standard high and features some of their best songwriting and composing ever, all rolled into one excellent song. One of my favourite ever moments from TOOL centers this piece, carrying the same riff from the intro with another great lyric, I can't see how anyone can dislike this track. Its obvious the band tried hard with this one, and its even more obvious that it paid off. Another great guitar solo eventually arises, and carries this song into the same riff which it filled itself with. The last two minutes of this track are simply excellent ? Brilliant musicianship and songwriting combine in a rare way, which we see even less with bands these days. In my opinion, this is easily the best track on the album, and deserves its status as a fan favourite.

10. Disposition

A huge change in pace from the title track, this is another great track, although much quieter and reflective than the other tracks so far on the album. A repetition of the same lyric "Watch the weather change" continues through out this track.

11. Reflection

The longest, and in my opinion, the darkest track on this album, I can't see whats really very good about this track. It feels very bland and repetitive, and doesn't do justice to the rest of this album. It is interesting for the first listen, but seems paper-thin after more than one spin. Its good ? Just nothing special or at all great, and I can't see why it was necessary to carry this track out over the space of eleven minutes. Its not bad, but it does wear thing after a couple of minutes of incredibly monotonous repetitions.

12. Triad

Similar to DISPOSITION, although much more lively, this is another solid track in this album. A mar of guitar squeals and effects pedals provide the harmony for this track, played over another interesting, eastern drum track. Towards the halfway mark, this track completely changes its pace to become much more like other TOOL tracks. Not a bad thing, but due to the fact this sound and atmosphere is used in every track on this album, it does feel a bit old. Two minutes of silence close off this track's 8 minute length.

13. Faaip De Oaid

The final track on this album is filled with eerie white noise, and more Eno-esque atmospheric effects and soundscaping. A decent closer to a good album, but once again, nothing special in any way or form.

Lateralus is a masterpiece after you let it settle in, and I don't know where I'd be without this album now. An absolutely briliant disc.

Keep proggin', and enjoy!


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