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Customer Review

37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weird And Wonderful, 6 Feb. 2004
This review is from: Lateralus (Audio CD)
Some were made to write music and gather an audience. They sat in their bedrooms one day listening to Sonic Youth, Nirvana, perhaps even Pink Floyd, grabbed hold of a guitar given to them by a distant uncle or family friend, and started strumming and write lyrics from the heart and maybe even score a hit or two. Some however, were made to change how people like that see music altogether.
Tool are different. They're like the boy who stands in the corner of the playground, that has no friends, and is seen as weird, but you just know that he's got something up his sleeve. He's thinking something. From the first song of Tool's 'Aenima' album, 'Stinkfist', you'll find that if you bully this little boy he'll bite, hiss and scream at you. And then some. 'Aenima' is the album that changed a lot of people's opinions on music while sitting in their rooms with a guitar, so Tool really had nothing to lose, and since Aenima for the most part was a damn vicious affair, it was about time Tool tampered with the quiet, the quiet-loud, and dare I say it, an even more experimental formula. When 'Aenima' was released, nothing else sounded like it, and still nothing does, so if there's one thing that you know about buying a Tool record, it's that you're getting something unlike anything else. And that extends much further than 'Aenima'.
'Lateralus' was much anticipated upon it's release, and rightly so, there aren't many bands who can leave their fan base for 5 years with no new material and get away with it. Something else that there isn't many of is a band actually going and pulling it off and releasing a belter...
'Lateralus' will please those who have much admiration for 'Aenima' and then impress the next generation too, because let's face it, since 'Aenima' was released a new generation has come around. A generation of people listening to Linkin Park and Evanescence to be precise...so if only we could get 'Lateralus' into every single one of those young persons houses. They wouldn't be disappointed that's for sure, Tool possess more time changes than any Linkin Park, contain more rage into nearly 80 minutes than any Papa Roach, and still come out of it with the now fragile listener actually pushing the play button once more. Having said that, amazingly I don't think that Tool are the greatest band in the world, but they're pretty damn close.
Once 'The Grudge' opens electronically, those familiar Tool styled guitars kick in, maybe sounding slightly different. The fact is that 'Lateralus' has been produced far more cleaner than 'Aenima' was. A lot of people complain that 'Aenima''s production was far too turgid and dirty, but it made the record what it was. They were dirty songs, they were huge pieces of mud put into beautiful arrays of music, whereas 'Lateralus' is a much cleaner and shinier effort, almost mechanical. In it's full length (and it is long) 'The Grudge' has more up and downs than a trip to the red light district of Amsterdam, with a stunning Maynard James Keenan howl lasting near on 20 seconds, adding yet more anger to a mix that makes you think that if you weren't already het up, then you will be now, and while 'Eon Blue Apocalypse' is only a starter for 'The Patient' it shows Kennan's vulnerable voice for all it is, before being hit by the loudest riff on the album so far, when 'The Patient' rears its ugly head. And again, while 'Mantra' is only a, I must say, weird way to introduce, 'Schism', it seems amazingly eerie and doesn't prepare you for the albums highlight, making Tool sound like a modern day Pink Floyd re-writing 'Wish You Were Here' for a new generation of angst loving paranoids. 'I know the pieces fit/but I watch them tumble over', sings Keenan more vulnerably than ever it seems, and you start to wonder at just track 5, what's going on inside Tool's head. You wonder if you can figure 'Lateralus' out. I wouldn't try. 'Parabol' is the sober ying to 'Parabola''s vicious yang, it basically being the same song only the previous being a much lighter and more atmospheric side, and the latter being a bile spitting attack.
The rest of the album follows suit in a similar vein that may tire you, and occasionally exhausts you, particularily in the latter stages of the album, though 'Ticks And Leeches' has a fine ending, and the last track on the album maybe being pointless, but showing a sense of paranoia and fear from a different spectrum, just as Tool have done since they're career began.
It's a thoroughly entertaining affair if you can take the OTT as ever prog, and the dark, dark atmosphere and the quiet-loud formula that Tool do so well. 'Thoroughly' is the correct word in this instance, because just listening to 'Lateralus', you can't help but feel that you've certainly got 5 years worth of work. In this instance, 'Lateralus' will last the listener a lot longer than however long it takes Tool to release their next opus, and that shows a band that has produced their work effectively. Since 'Aenima', Tool have grown up from the little boy standing in the corner, and have become a fully working unit that now commands a lot more respect but keeps his vulnerable edge inside more. But when it does come out it's as vicious and perhaps as harrowing as ever, if not more so. You may also play this to your kids in time to come when they're a little older. Perhaps Tool will still be around when they start rooting through your record collection and perhaps they'll take Lateralus upstrairs with them and pluck a few strings on the guitar that sat in your cupboard for so long, but no matter what should happen, 'Lateralus' is a modern day masterpiece of prog-metal that should go down on the classics list. Not many little boys can say they've grown up to such prestigious things now, can they?
4.5 Stars.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Feb 2010 20:20:58 GMT
ALVARO says:
Tool the thinking man's metal band,shame that Aenima and Lateralus.Are their their only two masterpieces.

Posted on 20 Jul 2010 13:26:26 BDT
Last edited by the author on 20 Jul 2010 13:26:42 BDT
Crookedmouth says:
Top review!

Posted on 20 Sep 2010 11:24:24 BDT
STEVE666 says:
Well, I'd give you 10/10 for your review. Well written!
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Reviewer

S. Wright
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Location: Sheffield, England.

Top Reviewer Ranking: 5,537,886