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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 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.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/23/2005
Label: Volcano
UPC: 0614223116013
catalogNumber: 31160
Rank: 992


  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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