Tool – Lateralus

I’m not one of those people who sit around and praise Tool. I think they’re a good band with a good sound and above average lyrics – so are a lot of other bands. When their videos were all over MTV, I personally thought they seemed more pretentious than entertaining. I have a couple of their CD’s and for the most part, I like the songs that got radio play and saw why the other songs didn’t. The groundwork I’m trying to lay here is that I’m not a Tool worshipper by any stretch of the imagination. With that being said –

This album is incredible.

Sonic soundscapes fill the disc from beginning to end. There’s not a dull or uninteresting moment to be found anywhere within. Songs build with massive power. Riffs grow into monstrous walls of sound, only to come crashing down around the listener at the end of each three (or four, or five) minute masterpiece.

Tool pushed the envelope of rock with 1996’s Ænema, when even the morons the song was about drove around singing, “learn to swim, learn to swim!” 2001’s Lateralus takes another step forward by using layers of guitars, incredibly complex drumming, Maynard’s familiar voice, and wraps it all together in a sound that is most definitely “Tool”.

And that’s the bottom line. Everything you love (and that I’m falling in love with) about Tool is here. Interesting lyrics mixed with interesting music. Tool offers up a nice balance of rockers and slower tunes on Lateralus. “Reflection,” an 11 minute laid back journey, is the only song that I ended up skipping the 2nd and 3rd times I listened to the album.

If you thought Schism was a highlight, just wait. The album opens with “The Grudge,” a hard rocking and very Tool sounding song that sets the pace for the majority of the album. “Parabola” is another great song that has the makings of a good single. “Ticks and Leeches” opens heavy, mellows out throughout the middle, and then comes back hard for it’s finale. The title track is another highlight.

There’s no sense beating a dead horse on this one. Tool fans will love it, Tool haters will not. Expect this album to be big, big, big. Despite what the band says, I can see several of these songs making it as radio singles. If you’re looking for something a little more intelligent than Kid Rock, sit down with this album for an hour.

One final plug – go out and buy this album. Napster does not do it justice. The CD comes out next Tuesday, and for your hardcore audiophiles, the vinyl version is expected mid-june.

“Black then white are all I see in my infancy.
red and yellow then came to be, reaching out to me.
lets me see there is so much more and
beckons me to look thru to these infinite possibilities.
As below, so above and beyond, I imagine
drawn outside the lines of reason.
Push the envelope. Watch it bend.” – Lateralus

01. The Grudge
02. Eon Blue Apocalypse
03. The Patient
04. Mantra
05. Schism
06. Parabol
07. Parabola
08. Ticks And Leeches
09. Lateralus
10. Disposition
11. Reflection
12. Triad
13. Faaip De Oiad

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