TOOL — Lateralus (review)

TOOL — Lateralus album cover Album · 2001 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
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
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