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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.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
in the least amount of words possible, Lateralus is the best song i've ever heard. period.
Guest More than 1 year ago
So here we are in this trapped, lifeless world, and we listen for the truth our whole lives, wondering... is there really a reason?? Then one day in our life a band by the name TOOL comes along and really defies our way of thinking, our way of gathering this world together. believe in what you want .. yet listen to what others have to say, and understand there is no moral there is no reason just what ever is here in front of us that we have to deal with... Tool doesn't try to make me think their way, which is why, I KNOW, I don't think exactly like Tool, but they have made believe in life in a perspective only of mine, while learning with others. All of the albums have been a perfect success, and have made me aww in so many different ways. So thank you Opiate Thank you Undertow Thank you AEnema Thank you Salival Thank you Lateralus And thank you Tool For being everything my taste has needed.
Heavy_Metal_Sushi More than 1 year ago
What else do you say after hearing an album this amazing other than "wow"? That's pretty much all I could say after having first listened through this album. Quite frankly, this has got to be one of the most amazing albums I have ever heard. After having listened to Aenima for quite some time and really enjoying that album as well, I then bought this one a matter of months after it had come out, and I was just totally blown away by it. The first track on the album, Grudge, was good and rocky and just totally amazing...a perfect song to kick the album off with. Following that, Tool goes back and forth between amazing rock riffs and stellar experimental ambient sound, and Myanard James Keenan provides excellent vocals throughout. The albums is quite a trip, and I mean that in a good way of course. The last track on the album will run chills up your spine too. It's pretty crazy. Be sure to check that out too. This is defintely one of my all time favorite albums for many reasons, and I recommend it for anyone looking for a unique musical experience that both rocks and opens your mind. Way to go Tool! You guys are amazing!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really don't know how to begin to do this album justice in the small ammount of space I have been allotted to write this in. To say that this is a good cd would be akin to calling the Mona Lisa a decent piece of artwork. In fact, i think that art would be a far more appropriate way of describing the incredible tapestry of emotion and haunting layers of sound that Lateralus presents. Quilted into this mixture are lyrics so profound and soul-searching that you can't help but feel the very essence of yourself crying out in recognition of the truths presented within the 79 minutes that the album encompasses. What else can I say? You really need to undergo the experience (for that's what Tool is) for yourself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is truly a masterpiece. Do yourself a favor and get this album
Guest More than 1 year ago
After the plodding predictability of 1993's ''Undertow,'' Tool has reinvented itself as a highly technical progressive rock band spouting rather vague messages in its' songs. Its quite decieving to the record buyer to display thirteen tracks on the sleeve when every other track is merely sound effects, or similar sounding noise. So, in actuality, discounting the filler in-between tracks you get around 7-8. With the exception of the Grammy winning ''Schism,'' most of the songs here seem intent on displaying technical prowess and fluid musicianship. The drummer has obviously progressed since the last outing and the production is a significant improvement. All the guitar leads sear with intensity, and the darkness of the mood here is contagious. Indeed, Tool have achieved something here, but it remains to be seen whether this will have a lasting effect on those except their loyal fan base. Even with this underground metal fan, much of it seems like an aberration.
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
Tool is an acquired taste. Some will like their stuff, some will not. That's the kind of band they are. I happen to be part of the former group. They are just about my favorite band. They create dark, eerie soundscapes, and they don't cater to the mainstream. They jam at their will, and it's an empowering, amazing experience. I always thought Aenima was the darkest album I'd heard, until I heard Lateralus. There is not one moment in this entire album that makes you feel comfortable. The riffs are menacing, and Keenan growls like never before, uttering a truly memorable pitch-black scream in 'Ticks and Leeches'. 'Mantra' is one of the most disturbing experimental songs I've heard in my entire life. I can't describe it, but you will most likely be creeped out when you hear it. Tool is one of the best bands to grace their genre, whatever that may be. They continually push the industry forward with everything they do. Rock on!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is the perfect example of what I like to call "art metal." My favorite song is easily "Parabola." It's hard to describe Tool's sound. If I wasn't a musician I don't believe I would like it as much. Oh well, even if you aren't a musician you should give Lateralus a listen. Peace.
Guest More than 1 year ago
the album is really original and makes u feel angry frustrated sad mad deep inside whatever u feel is in the album i adore it
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
I am not very old but i enjoy listening to all diversities of music, preferably older more 70's-80's rock...Tool has forever captured my attention, Each of their albums is unique and awesome in its own way, Lateralus is great but you need to listen to Tool's other stuff before this, Tool is a very deep and emotional band, they talk about stuff that no one else will, they actually put feeling into their music which is a very hard quality to find these days with all of the wanna be punk bands and pop/rap music...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone who thinks the new Tool CD isn't the most original and creative piece of art out right now, should be shot in the face.
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
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
Tool evolves here to a level of complexity, subtlety, and originality comparable to the great King Crimson, even as dark and mysterious as the best Pink Floyd stuff- even fans of experimental and truly progressive music may have to spin this one several times before all the richness is revealed. Atmosphere, odd time signatures, unusual contrasts keep the music interesting and powerful. The lyrics, especially to The Grudge, Eon Blue Apocalyse and Parabola- are fascinating, meaningful and moving, vocals powerful and emotional. One of the great jazz avant garde heavy metal progressive cds of all time - buy it
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
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