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Lateralus

Tool's third full-length album released in 2001.

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Vaya con Dios.

  • Nov 12, 2002
  • by
Rating:
+5
_Lateralus_ defies any description one can muster with the English language. German would be a better choice, but even then one must inevitably find the words to be failing. This is the 21st century's paragon of progressive rock -- a work of art so deep there probably is no bottom.

If you are still reading, I have not yet been dismissed as a sycophantic Tool freak. This album is a uniquely spiritual experience for me. It can be heavy and dark and brooding, but ultimately _Lateralus_ is cathartic for the soul. Even "Ticks & Leeches", the angriest song on the album, is a purifying release. The culmination of the record's power, found in the "Discipline/Reflection/Triad" trilogy, is like the musical embodiment of a spiritual sojourn -- the soulful cry of Adam Jones' guitar, the crippling rumble of Justin Chancellor's bass, the elephant stampede of Danny Carey's drums, the winding croon of Maynard James Keenan's vocal. Individually, they are interesting but it is their magical synergy that makes Tool unique (among other things). No band creates the aural panorama Tool does -- no one comes anywhere close. They are utterly beyond compare. I would trace back some influence to King Crimson, obviously, but I believe influences are also rooted in abstract mathematics and the ancient musical vernacular of Africa, and who knows what else.

Now I'm probably just sounding capricious and fanciful. I thought I was coming to a point with the review, but I don't really think there was one. Hmm. Well, I used to like this album a lot. I grew to love it. Now I am so overwhelmed by its greatness that I can only stand paralyzed during its full 79 minutes. Only then can I devote my full attention to the music, and truthfully, I don't think I have a choice -- _Lateralus_ obliges the entirety of my brain. No album has the effect on me that this does. I'm almost scared of what Tool will do next.

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More Tool: Lateralus reviews
Quick Tip by . July 29, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Without a doubt, my favorite album of the '00s. Tool's sound has progressed and evolved into something deeply philosophical, complex, dark, and meditatively brilliant. With terrific musicianship, unusual arrangements, challenging visuals, and intelligent lyrics, they are at their peak with this set.
review by . May 20, 2003
posted in Music Matters
_Lateralus_ reconciles the division between within & without, self & other, body & mind, heaven & earth and brings them into perfect harmony.
review by . April 03, 2002
You do not listen to this album...you surrender yourself to it. The experience of Lateralus penetrates deeper than the brain -- it is deeply spiritual and uplifting. Sonically, the dark sound works powerfully with MJ Keenan's dynamic, unique vocals and lyrical messages. Whether he's questioning emotional dichotomies ("Schism") or reflecting on a difficult spiritual sojourn ("The Grudge"), there is a dark, brutal beauty to this music.Few bands have a collegiality that matches that of Tool. With the …
review by . June 07, 2001
I'd always figured Tool was a lame "nu-metal" band with reams of angst and minimal talent.However, this album had become the focus of a discussion among progressive metal fans whose opinions I highly respected. I was hearing some interesting adjectives applied to them: "intricate," "original," "intelligent," "progressive." I was interested, but still skeptical. These guys were popular, after all, and I assumed that they were appealing to the lowest common denominator like so many""nu-metal" bands.My …
About the reviewer
Clayton Reeder ()
Ranked #438
Rogue capitalist in search of all that is interesting, weird, or beautiful.      Collected here are my hundreds of reviews from Amazon.com, covering mostly music that is offensive … more
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About this album

Wiki

Lateralus emerged after a five-year legal dispute with Tool's label, Volcano Entertainment. In January 2001, the band announced that their new album's title would be Systema Encéphale and provided a 12-song tracklist with titles such as "Riverchrist", "Numbereft", "Encephatalis", "Musick", and "Coeliacus". File-sharing networks such as Napster were flooded with bogus files bearing the titles' names. At the time, Tool members were outspokenly critical of file-sharing networks in general due to the negative impact on artists that are dependent on success in record sales to continue their career. Keenan had this to say during an interview with NY Rock in 2000, "I think there are a lot of other industries out there that might deserve being destroyed. The ones who get hurt by MP3s are not so much companies or the business, but the artists, people who are trying to write songs." A month later, the band revealed that the new album was actually titled Lateralus (supposedly named in combination with the words "Vastus lateralis", a human leg muscle and lateral thinking) and that the name Systema Encéphale and the tracklist had been a ruse.

Lateralus and the corresponding tours would take Tool a step further toward art-rock and progressive rock territory. Rolling Stone wrote in an attempt to summarize the album that "Drums, bass and guitars move in jarring cycles of hyperhowl and ...

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Details

Composer: Tool
Author: Tool
Performer: Tool
Release Date: May 15, 2001
Label: Volcano Entertainment
Artist: Tool
First to Review

"Rich and challenging."
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