Tool
Lateralus


3.5
great

Review

by Greggory House USER (9 Reviews)
August 8th, 2008 | 56 replies | 4,540 views


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist


2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Tool, like so many good bands out there, bear the luxury of having fans that will follow them to their grave. Wisely they use this to their advantage. As everybody knows, the space between one Tool album and another is generally about six years. Having such die-hard fans also enables Tool to push their sound further and further; knowing that almost anything they release will still be well received must be a good feeling for them. With this information in mind, it brings to me their third full length effort: Lateralus. The previous album, Aenima was a success in nearly every way. While Undertow and Opiate were both solid hard rock albums, they were really only a small taste of what was to come. Lateralus however, showcases Tool at their most refined stage of their career; more so than the experimental and controversial 10000 Days. Track 1, "The Grudge" is proof enough of this. The production is far better than in Aenima, Maynard’s voice is more polished, and Justin Chancellor has cemented his position in the band. The last two minutes is some of Tool’s best material, with Maynard letting out an angst-ridden, 20 second scream, and Danny Carey going absolutely ballistic on the drums. The song ends with Maynard yelping 'Let Go' repeatedly, before some heavy riffing from Adam finishes it off. Overall, The Grudge is a great opener to the album.

It is songs like "Eon Blue Apocalypse" that make me cringe when thinking about Tool’s music. They basically serve as useless filler; and sadly this album possesses several tracks like that. While I was impatiently waiting for the next real track, "The Patient" is up next. With its decidedly dodgy lyrics, (Maynard sometimes has a habit of getting ahead of himself) and uninteresting basslines, it has forced me to conclude that this song is definitely not one of Tool’s finest. It simply cannot hold my attention for very long making it a pain to sit through. Unfortunately, after The Patient we are greeted with more useless filler. By this point, I was getting rather impatient and restless. It worried me that after four tracks, only two of them weren’t fillers, and one was not particularly interesting. But to my relief, "Schism" sees us getting somewhere again. Justin Chancellor is particularly noteworthy here, laying down some of the best basslines of his career. The slow section towards the end is again some of Tool’s finest work, with Maynard crooning: Cold silence has a tendency to atrophy any sense of compassion. (Don’t even ask me what those lyrics are meant to mean, I have no idea.) More top class drumming from Danny and the song dies down.

Whether you hate or love the album, there is no denying Tool is one of the most pretentious bands you will ever encounter. What other band do you know incorporates the Fibonacci sequence into one of their songs, and then lets their brain washed fans figure out the deeper meaning? The title track is the one I am referring to here; and boy is that at least a superb song. Starting slow with Adam Jones contributing some awesome, chilling guitar, Carey and Chancellor eventually join him at around the minute mark. One of Tool’s best attributes is their ability to compliment each others respective instruments so well. Quite often you can spend hours trying to figure out if that weird sound is bass, or guitar. This is used as a weapon against the listener, and makes their music a really satisfying experience. Overall the title track is possibly the best song so far at track 9; it best emphasizes the point that these guys are talented musicians that really know what they are doing. "Parabola" is another true classic here. As soon as it begins the listener is smacked in the face with heavy guitar and drums. Maynard’s voice is particularly dreamy here and it works really well with the music. Adam and Justin again, towards the end of the song create the illusion of ‘is that bass or guitar’, and it sounds great. The lyrics are sadly, near incomprehensible like with most Tool songs. I’m sure they have a 'deep meaning', but I am not one of those fans who is willing to spend hours trying to figure out what they mean. Don’t get me wrong, I generally like Maynard’s lyrics, but on this album in particular he is often guilty of getting ahead of himself.

The thing about Lateralus is, when it wants to impress it succeeds. "Ticks And Leeches" is a metal monster that literally rips you off your seat as soon as it begins. Danny Carey holds the spotlight for the entire duration of the song and executes his fills with ease. Justin Chancellor once again shows the listener why he is considered one of the best bassists in the world, and Maynard shows us yet another side of his voice that we do not normally hear; he uses a Hetfield like, aggressive growl. Yes, the lyrics suck, but this song is instrumentally driven, meaning the average lyrics are not too much of a pressing issue. Sadly for the listener, the album does not finish off on a high. After the title track the album essentially ends. The trio of "Disposition/Reflection/Triad" is a little too short on ideas to really be another Tool epic, with "Reflection" being particularly average; while Danny’s fills were impressive at the beginning, they lost credibility after being played repeatedly for 11 minutes, without variation or change. Maynard also feels the need to sing like a girl, and it just doesn’t work. "Faaip De Oiad" is more useless filler before the album ends. Thanks Tool.

To conclude, even though Lateralus has some true classics, it suffers from average lyrics, questionable tracklisting, and too much filler material. If you are new to this band I suggest you check out Aenima and 1000 Days first, then you can eventually purchase Lateralus. A good album overall, but not Tool’s best.



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user ratings (4771)
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4.5
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Comments:Add a Comment 
gasmaskman
August 9th 2008



1006 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

wtf 3.5?
neg

willfellmarsy
August 9th 2008



3844 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Second to last paragraph keeps my hand a millimeter above the mouse longing to click neg...seriously i hate you...not a poorly written review but a little too Maynard's lyrics are bad, good mood building short tracks are fillers...this is a borderline masterpiece though i'm a bitof a Tool fanboy so i can't really be counted as a fair opinion...this was my first tool album but i think aenima beats it by a hair...and parabol should be mentioned if doing a tbt because it is amazing...

rasputin
August 9th 2008



14504 Comments


To be honest the whole 'filler's argument to why this isn't good is just lame. The 'filler' tracks are not meant to be taken as proper songs, rather mood pieces that contribute to the album overall.

ChaosTheory
August 9th 2008



102 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

To be honest the whole 'filler's argument to why this isn't good is just lame. The 'filler' tracks are not meant to be taken as proper songs, rather mood pieces that contribute to the album overall.


Well if that is the case, why do so few bands have that many fillers in 1 album?



This Message Edited On 08.08.08

ChaosTheory
August 9th 2008



102 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Anyway, what does everyone think of my review? I know many will disagree, but i am more interested in knowing if it is well written, and helpful hints on how to improve are welcome.

Thor
August 9th 2008



10158 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'm not really bothered by the rating. There's plenty of people who don't like Tool/this album.

I thought it was a pretty average TBT tbqh

Digging: Cult Leader - Nothing For Us Here

rasputin
August 9th 2008



14504 Comments


Well if that is the case, why do so few bands have that many fillers in 1 album?

What does that have to do with anything? The fact of the matter is that the interludes are not meant to be taken as songs on their own, and whether or not other bands have them also is completely irrelevant.

renegadestrings
August 9th 2008



1416 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

how can you not decipher the lyrics. i'll help you out... in schism, he's essentially saying callousness kills compassion
also, Reflection is probably the best song on here. disagree, no negsThis Message Edited On 08.09.08

Lunarfall
August 9th 2008



3177 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Pretty good review. I'm considering bumping my rating for this up. Just a tiny bit.

Burn2Burn
August 9th 2008



2378 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cool thanks for sharing that, hey143.

Having such die-hard fans also enables Tool to push their sound further and further; knowing that almost anything they release will still be well received must be a good feeling for them.

nah i'm pretty sure they just do it because they love it, and because they have pioneered their sound; not because they know either way their fans will love it.

Lunarfall
August 9th 2008



3177 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Cool, you've enticed me to do so.

ChaosTheory
August 9th 2008



102 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

What does that have to do with anything? The fact of the matter is that the interludes are not meant to be taken as songs on their own, and whether or not other bands have them also is completely irrelevant.


Lol..Well your right, but that doesn't change the fact that Tool would be better off without those interludes. They are largely pointless.

how can you not decipher the lyrics. i'll help you out... in schism, he's essentially saying callousness kills compassion


Thanks for pointing thatout sir, it makes more sense now.



rasputin
August 9th 2008



14504 Comments


doesn't change the fact that Tool would be better off without those interludes. They are largely pointless.

No they're not pointless, they're mood pieces that connect different parts of the album. A lot of different bands use interludes like this.This Message Edited On 08.09.08

gasmaskman
August 9th 2008



1006 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Actually I think Aenima's are totally pointless. Intermission and Cesaro Summability and (-) Ions are perfect examples.

rasputin
August 9th 2008



14504 Comments


Intermission is one of the best interludes I've ever heard. It builds into that opening riff on Jimmy perfectly.

ChaosTheory
August 9th 2008



102 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah i agree with Rasputin about intermission. It is also used as a kind of comic relief.

foreverendeared
August 9th 2008



14678 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah i agree with Rasputin about intermission
but didn't you just argue with him that you think the fillers are stupid/useless? you said "but that doesn't change the fact that Tool would be better off without those interludes. They are largely pointless." this is why i didn't enjoy the review, you don't make much sense. i won't neg though
you see pointless tracks i see atmosphere that creates the album and fashions it in more spectacular wayThis Message Edited On 08.09.08

astrel
August 9th 2008



2613 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Most people are whining because they are over-anxious fanboys. I mean, I seriously love this album, but you describe why you think it wasn't a masterpiece pretty well. It is okay not to enjoy 'filler' tracks, some people would rather get straight to the song, rather than deal with the pretentious tension build-ups so many progressive albums have.

TrojanWhore
August 9th 2008



752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Average review for a near flawless album. I quite like some of the filler tracks tbh, particularly Eon Blue Apocalypse.

ChaosTheory
August 9th 2008



102 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

but didn't you just argue with him that you think the fillers are stupid/useless? you said "but that doesn't change the fact that Tool would be better off without those interludes. They are largely pointless." this is why i didn't enjoy the review, you don't make much sense. i won't neg though
you see pointless tracks i see atmosphere that creates the album and fashions it in more spectacular way


Maybe i was a little bit ambiguous. What i really meant was i enjoy the build up from Intermission to Jimmy, and for me "Intermission" isn't filler.

Most people are whining because they are over-anxious fanboys. I mean, I seriously love this album, but you describe why you think it wasn't a masterpiece pretty well. It is okay not to enjoy 'filler' tracks, some people would rather get straight to the song, rather than deal with the pretentious tension build-ups so many progressive albums have.


Thank you man, that is/was exactly what i am getting at.

This Message Edited On 08.09.08This Message Edited On 08.09.08



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