4.8 75
by Tool

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We've all heard bands take ages between releases, only to return with an album that could've been knocked off over a long weekend -- but that's most assuredly not the case with this long-awaited disc. Alternately challenging and frustrating, the wildly complex, 79-minute Lateralus sounds as if Maynard James Keenan and company spent the bulk of the five years


We've all heard bands take ages between releases, only to return with an album that could've been knocked off over a long weekend -- but that's most assuredly not the case with this long-awaited disc. Alternately challenging and frustrating, the wildly complex, 79-minute Lateralus sounds as if Maynard James Keenan and company spent the bulk of the five years since Aenima tweaking, deconstructing, and generally mucking about with the new disc's 12 pieces. Perhaps the most striking thing about Lateralus is its sheer density: "Parabola" wraps one of Keenan's most dissipated-sounding vocals in a haze of guitar fuzz thick enough to prompt a travel advisory, while its thematic doppelgänger, "Parabol," pins the melody down with layers of oppressive echo and creepy effects. Many of the album's songs seem long-winded at first, clocking in at seven, eight, even nine minutes, but few of them settle in one place long enough for ennui to set in. The purposefully ugly "Ticks and Leeches," for instance, gyrates madly, spewing caustic venom one moment and retreating into quiet, desperate moans the next; "Triad," on the other hand, flits from metallic stomp to neo-Arabic wail at the drop of a hat. Tool have paid lots of attention to space, with songs like "The Patient" and "Reflection" punctuated by drones and silences designed to subject the listener to a test -- or perhaps just offer an emotional rest. The sheer scope of Lateralus -- not to mention Keenan's unflaggingly confrontational presence -- makes the former scenario seem more likely, but as long as your attention span is in good working order, it's a test you'll want to repeat.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Rob Theakston
After an exhaustive five-year litigation battle between the band and their label management, Tool offer up the latest chapter in their musical self-discovery in Lateralus. Make no mistake, this is a prog rock record, reminiscent of King Crimson and Meddle-era Pink Floyd, with a hint of Rush mutated with Tool's signature sonic assault on the ears. Lateralus demands close listening from the first piece onward, as it becomes quickly apparent that this is not going to be an album one can listen to and accept at face value. Complex rhythm changes, haunting vocals, and an onslaught of changes in dynamics make this an album other so-called metal groups could learn from. While some compositions seem out of place, others fit together seamlessly, such as the 23-minute song cycle serving as the climax and resolution of the album. However, the album's most disturbing moment arrives at the end, with dissonant electronic noises placed randomly with a drum solo over a phone call to a talk show discussing the secrets behind Area 51, once again serving as a symbolic gesture from the band encouraging people not to take things at face value and to think for themselves. Overall, a solid, well-produced album from a band that never fails to deliver with each release.
Blender - Laura Sinagra
About the most punishing warm fuzzy you’ll get this year.

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Related Subjects


  1. The Grudge
  2. Eon Blue Apocalypse
  3. The Patient
  4. Mantra
  5. Schism
  6. Parabol
  7. Parabola
  8. Ticks and Leeches
  9. Lateralus
  10. Disposition
  11. Reflection
  12. Triad
  13. Faaip De Oiad

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Lateralus 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 75 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Sounding like nothing else out there, Lateralus finds Tool an older, wiser, and more reflective band for sure -- but it still bears the trademarks that have made Tool one of the most popular heavy rock acts of the last 10 years. Like Radiohead (to whom this band could arguably be considered the hard-rock counterpart), Tool has made an album that's undeniably its own, yet one which adds layers of subtlety, texture, and meaning that move its sound forward into complex new territory.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you are a Tool fan you must get this, but on a different note I have a question for a fellow reviewer, Chris Reynolds. Couldn't you have written an original review. You copied the first paragraph from the review and passed it off as your own personal review.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really don't know how to explain this cd. This cd has so many influences and it has many moods. This really is a work of a band that has no limit. I really couldn't wait to get this cd and after hearing it for the first time I really didn't know what to expect. The more I listened to it the better it became. I really hope Tool doesn't wait 5 more years to put out another cd, but I can't imagine if they did wait that long again, how much they could evolve from Lateralus. Excellent work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
TOOL has put out yet another great album. For so many years I have been waiting for an album that shows what art in the form of music really is. The irony of the album is what really gets to me... it makes me laugh and cry at the same time. Not only does this album have a great message, but it also shows you the different colors and textures within their wonderful soundscapes. Hopefully this album will inspire other acts out there to not lose sight of their objectives and just give it their all. And on that note, not to lose the objective of our lives as a whole.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was so excited when it was released yesterday. I've probably listened to it a dozen times already. It gets better with each listening! An album like this is a real treat, and I wish more artists would spend more time making their albums more original.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is Tool at it's finest. This album blends Maynard's singing from previous albums, but with some vocal techniques that I have only heard him use on A Perfect Circle's album, Mer de Noms. Instrumentally, Tool is beginnig to sound like a Heavy Prog-Rock Group. Tool's new sound is much more raw, yet refined, as opposed to AEnema, but they can still rock. My favorite tracks (as of this moment) are The Grudge, the Patient, Schism and Lateralis (no spelling mistake here, check out the track list), because of their almost-departure from old ways into new. I would, for all intents and purposes, like to say that is the 72-74 King Crimson lineup was around today, this is I assume they would sound like.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tool's new release is the best yet from this band! Long awaited and worth waiting for! It is Tool at their best. May more good things come from this band. I am the biggest Tool fan ever!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan of Tool's artistry now for almost 9 years, and with the release of Lateralus, I have seen the band's vision and artistry take a most dramatic, awe-inspiring, and accessible turn. With nothing more than the cover of a sectioned man splayed into physical and spiritual dimintions layered out by the master of sacred art Alex Grey, album credits on the back and an 80 minute opus in between, Tool leaves EVERYTHING to the imagination of the listener. While proving itself to be a very emotional and introverted cacophony of sound, fury, and inspection, it turns to be a journey into the unknown for all who listen to it, all the way from the venerablistic tones of ''The Grudge'' to the foreboding and frightening aura of ''Faaip de Oiad''. Just as this album has evolved the band, so has my listening and sensations of appreciation for everything, and so should be the same for all who find themselves lost in the kaliedoscope of this wonderful album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Even though the album seems darker and more artsy then their last two releases, its musical greatness cannot be overstated. Maynard's vocals are nowhere near the melodic as with his side project, A Perfect Circle, but the image and sound of Tool do not require that of him. His vocals perfectly fit the great mix of art and angst that has made Tool modern legends. The other musicians on Lateralus continue the sound and musicianship that made Undertow and Aenima so highly regarded. Not only will Lateralus be THE album of the Summer of 2001, but I believe that this album will help in ridding the popular culture of the saccharine Top 40 pop and confused rip-off active rock we have experienced since 1997. Lateralus is definitely worth the wait.
Guest More than 1 year ago
These guys have improved aesthetically with each album and this is no exception. Unfortunately it is not as great as improvement as Undertow was to Opiate or Aenima was to Undertow. It is certainly worth buying because it is still much deeper than any of the trendy hate/rage rock that is out there but to someone who has followed Tool's amazing progression, this may be a bit of a let down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is not an album for the casual listener; every track challenges you with a sonic palette so complex you just can't seem to get an easy grip on the songs. The pulsing guitar lines are totally Tool and their signature riffs and chord progressions are all there; this is a fantastic follow-ip to Aenima.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I get the feeling that tool fans want this album to be good so badly, they're missing it's obvious(and numerous)shortcomings. I can understand. I've been an avid tool fan since their first ep and have been eagerly awaiting this album. But all things must come to an end and this sounds like it should be their last album. They just sound completely tapped out. We should consider tools album Undertow as 'War of the Worlds' and Aenima as their 'Citizen Kane'. Naturally we should think of Lateralus as their Ernest and Julio Gallo commercial.Other than the intro to Schism, Justin's bass lines are not worth mentioning. We all get drummer Danny Carey's recent obsession with Aloke but we don't need 'tabla' in every song. Adam's guitar work is as reliable as ever. One can only wonder at the sounds emanating from his Les Paul on Parabola. Perhaps the biggest fault of the album comes from the increasingly pretentious Mr. Keenan. His vocals are fine but his lyrics are seriously lacking. There had been article upon article stating that the music had been finished and the band was waiting for Maynard to add the lyrics. And that's exactly what it sounds like. Maynard simply repeats himself far too often. During the first single(Schism)he repeats the line 'I know the pieces fit' no less than 11 times. One can speculate as to why there is this seemingly lack of effort, but he seems to have no trouble writing lyrics for his 'side'(though I'd wager soon to be full time)project A Perfect Circle. Also not helping Maynard's lyrical monotony is the formula for virtualy every song on the album. Adam plucks a few non-distorted notes and then plows the listener over with some heavy chords. Add an unassuming bass line and far too much tabla, then drag it all out for two or three minutes longer than it has to be and you've got Lateralus.
Guest More than 1 year ago
''I embrace my desire to feel the rhythm, to feel connected enough to step aside... to swing on the spiral of our divinity and still be human'' -Lateralis (Track 9)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD is easily the most ambitious and mature work that Tool have ever recorded, and in my personal opinion it is their best audio nightmare to date! It is also the most difficult out of all of their recordings to listen to all the way straight through in one sitting... It is the kind of album that you must take in small doses! Not to mention that this album just has so much going on and so many hidden layers that you will have to listen to it at least five or six times before you will be able to even begin to absorb everything that it has to offer... now, don't get me wrong... I'm not saying that you won't love it on the first listen... I'm just saying that the sheer magnitude of it is extremely intimidating and even terrifying at some points along the way ! I guess what I'm saying is that you should buy this album as soon as possible, but... BE AFRAID... BE VERY AFRAID!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is one of my favorite in the last 10 years. Progressive, pumping, sometimes relaxing, insightful, meaningfull,'s got it all. Maynard's lyrics; as opposed to one reviewer's oppinions, are utterly breathtaking. They borrow from such phsycologists such as Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud and put their own spin on the. Some of the best lyrics I've EVER heard. Danney Carrey's drums, seeming to have improved even more than the rest of the band this time around, are thourouly interesting and complicated, but still manage to get you moving. Adam Jones' guitar is in it's same signature style, but more inventive and skillful than other album's efforts. The bass is more inventive also, and Maynards vocal barrage is still up to par, but uses more variety and ideas. No wonder King Crimson in going to tour with them. Songs you don't wanna miss: Lateralis: Great vocals, very progressive. Ticks and Leeches: Damn, this is the hardest song they've ever done. I saw them at the Tabernacle a few weeks ago on their first concert for this tour, and they didn't do this live because it was a wreck on Maynard's voice. Schism- This really is good; even though alot of popular music can be boring. Parabol/Parabola- Great couple (really the same) of songs. My favorite melody in the whole album. Really good stuff. That riff in the middle is awsome! Grudge- This starts it all off. Strange time signatures, good vocal hook, ''Hairpin'' riffing, and driving beat. The whole album's great go buy it and post what you think......
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have never heard any thing like this tool album. This is a good album, but not the best. I personaly think Aenama is their better album. That dosn't mean Lateralus is not good. It has the best album art ever and is a beautiful addition to anyones CD library, but it's not all looks. This album is an amazing journy, straight from The Grudge to Faaip De Oiad, it's like one continous track that shouldent be interupted. it's definatly worth the money.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hands down the best album from begining to end that I have heard in several years. In an era where there are far too many adjectives for music,(ie..alternative, pop etc.) I can simply say that this is the best example of a ROCK album that I can think of. Not rock & roll(an out dated term) and not alternative.(a name given to anything that isn't The Beatles or The Who) If webster needs a picture to go beside its definition of ROCK, it should look no further that TOOL. Simply put, it is an excellent album that will be enjoyed by any true ROCK fan. I give it my full seal of approval!
Guest More than 1 year ago
its juust so good.(period)