Genre: Alternative Metal/Rock
1. The Grudge (8:35)
2. Eon Blue Apocalypse (1:04)
3. The Patient (7:12)
4. Mantra (1:12)
5. Schism (6:45)
6. Parabol (3:06)
7. Parabola (6:02)
8. Ticks and Leaches (8:10)
9. Lateralus (9:24)
10. Disposition (4:48)
11. Reflection (11:07)
12. Triad (6:44)
13. Faaip De Oiad (2:38)
Maynard James Keenan – Vocals
Adam Jones – Guitars
Justin Chancellor – Bass
Danny Carey - Drums
When it comes to Tool, I grow very partial. So, this review might sound a bit biased, but trust me, after you listen to the album, you’ll understand why. Tool are one of the toughest bands to classify into a single genre. Most widely they are considered to be Alternative Metal, so I’m sticking with it. They are a four piece who have released four albums. 1 EP and 3 LPs including this one. Their EP called Opiate came out in 1992, at the time when grunge was at its peak and this was a welcome change for some. Their next album was called “Undertow”, went double platinum and produced hits like “Sober” and “Prison ***”. In 1996 they released their definitive album, called “AEnima”, which I promise to do a review of later. Many consider it their best album, and I’m not arguing. 5 years later, most of which were spent in fighting with their record label, they released “Lateralus” in 2001.
The best part of the album for me is Danny’s insane drumming. This guys drum kit is seriously huge. He learnt percussion from Aloke Dutta, a famous Indian tabla player. The album is worth listening for his work alone. Adam’s guitar work is as usual unique in all aspects. This guy paints a picture with his guitar. Justin Chancellor proves that he is not just your regular bassist. He is amazing, an example you ask for? One word, Schism. And last but not the least, we have Maynard James Keenan on vocals. What can I say about him, that’s not already been said?? He is one of the best vocalists in Modern Rock today. And his lyrics? They are just Amazing. He is a true poet. There is no way anyone can miss his genius.
The first song on this album is called The Grudge. There probably couldn’t have been a better way to start this album. The song totally rocks. With Maynard’s mantra like vocals, absolutely brilliant lyrics that ask us to give up our grudges, and some extremely innovative bass work, the song is one of the best on the album. The highest point of the song however comes at the 7 minute mark, when Maynard lets out what could be the longest scream ever recorded, it lasts for about 12 bars. (That’s usually the length of an average Nu-Metal song, isn’t it? )
The second track is basically just an instrumental filler called Eon Blue Apocalypse. Nothing much to mention really, because it’s very short and quickly blends into the next track, which is The Patient. This one starts of with an odd intro, unlike anything Tool have done before. But once the Vocals start, I tend to forget what the intro was like. Yet again, the lyrics are wonderfully done, check my signature, the lines are from this song. Maynard is ever so great on this song, and Adam’s solo to the end, though nothing close to brilliant, mixes well with feel of the song. Overall this is a great song, and is not to be missed. It’ll take some time to grow on you, but be Patient. “Gonna wait it out……”
Next up is Mantra, which again is a filler. Very very odd, initially I thought it was whales moaning. If you think that’s weird, the fact is that, its actually Maynard’s Siamese cat!! The song adds a bit more to the next track, the ever so famous Schism. I don’t think there are many people who haven’t heard of this song. It is Tool’s most famous song and a brilliant song to start with, if you are trying to get into Tool. The opening lines of the song, “I know the pieces fit, ‘cause I’ve watched them fall away….”, in my opinion, are one of the best opening lines to any song. Maynard is at his best in this song. Wonderfully executed. But what most people know this song for is the amazing bass intro. Rated as one of the best by many, it hasn’t yet managed to not impress anyone, at least not anyone I know. The ending of the song with MJK screaming “I know the pieces fit” will leave you amazed for quite some time.
Then we have Parabol/Parabola. They are essentially one song, ‘cause one sounds empty without the other. Parabol is a slow one, with clean guitars and soft vocals. I love the feel this song gives me and after one hears this, they are most likely to think Parabola is going to be more or less the same. But boy are they wrong. Parabola picks up where Parabol ends. Its hard and heavy from note one. This is an instant hit with all the Tool fans. This is what they do best. Awesome guitar work by Adam. The chorus of the song “This Body, This body holding me, be my reminder here that I am not alone in this, This body, this body holding me, feeling eternal, all this pain is an illusion” is addictive. Probably the catchiest of all Tool choruses (but, there aren’t many) after H. off AEnima.
Next comes Ticks and Leaches. A hard song to get into, took me awhile, but now I thoroughly enjoy it. The highlight of this song is Danny’s drumming. Brilliant stuff.This is the closest Maynard will ever come to rapping. Very fast uttered lyrics and tight rhythms. This is the only song MJK refuses to perform on stage, because the screaming he does in this one, screwed up his voice for over 3 weeks. This song, like most other Tool song, has a breakdown, but I think the one in this is just something extra, considering the fast pace of the song. On the whole it’s a very good song and makes for an interesting listen.
Ticks and Leaches is followed by the title track, Lateralus. Starts of with a guitar riff, which to me at least sounds like they are making a statement. And by this I mean, its almost like “Here, you wanted a piece of us?? Well this is what we’re all about”. The drums gradually build up and the main riff explodes. Adam at his best. Then in comes Maynard, with the lines “Black then white are all I see, in my infancy…” while Danny whips out a Fibonacci sequence on his enormous drum kit. Then comes the chorus, where Maynard shows us how he is one of the best singers today if not the best. The song obviously has a breakdown. It builds up slowly and leads into a solo. The solo ends and a catchy riff starts and then the best part. The bass goes absolutely WILD. He does some open to 15th fret slide followed by a bend. This part of the song gets me absolutely pumped up. And take my word for it; after this one is over, you’ll be longing for more.
Then comes Disposition. A very short song, which some consider to be a filler, but I’m not too found of that accusation. Interestingly Danny uses tablas in this song. The two simple lines “Mention this to me…and watch the weather change” have a lot of effect on me. This song and the next two are a part of what was originally supposed to be one song. Disposition the starting, Reflection the main part and Triad the ending. Reflection is the longest song on the album and probably my least favourite. It’s a good song, with some great lyrics and brilliant singing, but it bores me. At first I just didn’t listen to it, now it grew on me, but still, it is the only song on the album, which fails to keep me singularly focused on what I’m listening to. Triad is a very interesting instrumental. Over 6 and 3 quarter minutes long and not at all what one would expect from an instrumental of that length. No super fast solos. No crunchy metal riffs. But it’s still wonderful. Listen to it, you’ll know.
The last song on the album is called Faaip De Oiad. It’s about a former area 51 employee and it’s a spoken word thing. Doesn’t really fit into the album if you ask me, but interesting to listen to nonetheless.
So, that’s the album for you, all 75 minutes of it. It is one of my all time favourite albums. Amazingly done. There is more than what meets the eye to this album. Its not just music, its Art. The only album, I could ever say that to. If you don’t own it, I suggest you buy it.
Rating: 5 stars
Best songs: Lateralus, Schism, Parabola, The Grudge.