Review Summary: Put this one in, put it on repeat for about three months, and become enlightened musically until the damn CD player breaks down.
Pure, ingenious soul and feeling is comprehended all over the discography of Tool, but Lateralus is a record you’ll want to be proud of. It’s almost like seeing a loved one grow up into a fat rich bastard, who becomes the CEO of a company, and know you get to see the Bahamas. With the release of the band’s last disc, Ænima in 1996, Tool showed absolute disregard for the notion of letting another release see the light of day in a hurry.
With such themes of Jungian psychology and the philosophies of comedian Bill Hicks on Ænima, Lateralus continues an expressive, psychological, and [a bit more of an] emotional journey into the mindful perspectives on everyday life, with Maynard James Keenan on vocals leading the way. The opener, “The Grudge” deals with the stages of hate for another, but perhaps in a more mature way than most alternative-metal band singers/lyricists can manage, with the consciously forgiving shouts of “let go” at the end of the song.
Passion drips through on every track however, the opener not being the only one to think with theory and insight. Sprinkled within is the obviously borrowed influences of Pink Floyd (and a hint of Rush), but Tool rocks a little heavier than Floyd.
“The Patient” is a true progressive metal seven-minute long opus, starting with a simplistic, yet catchy and addictive bass line that progresses into melodic lines amidst distorted guitars, which fades back down quietly again. “Schism” is a song of miscommunication in a relationship that Keenan muses upon with the power chord that flows through most of the tune, backing him. “Ticks And Leeches” is one of the finest metal songs delivered, the vocal performance of Keenan is said to have knocked the old geezer’s vocal chords out for three weeks. The drums also create a sense of pure angst that certainly anyone can have knowledge about, and take preference in without feeling to “young” or “immature”. “Lateralus” is justly a masterpiece in its own right, with lyricism of letting the mind go and “spiral down” into the depths of lateral thinking that will better suit the mind of a struggling humanity. The structure of the song fits in with that of the Fibonacci Sequence, every word perfectly crafted to outfit it.
“Disposition” uses a thought-provoking and stimulating guitar ching-chime-like arrangement that is followed by “Reflection”, with its ball bouncing rhythmic institution, which styles the work of top-notch atmospheric Tool songs. “Faaip de Oiad” is definitely the Lateralus’ most chilling and unsettling moment, with a random static noises, a drum solo from the man himself, Danny Carey, and a sampled recording of a 1997 phone call about Area 51 to the Art Bell radio program, Coast to Coast AM, reminding us to not always have faith in the sometimes ignorantly blind notions of the mind.
Generally, the album succeeds in delivering the goods without the slightest suggestive sneering and remarking that the band is ever going to grow stale. As always, the band provides pure, raw, emotional, and progressive metal that quite honestly, is hard to be beaten by. There is not a more strictly correct album in the progressive metal world.