Lateralus

by TOOL

Released May 15, 2001 via Volcano Entertainment

Reviewed May 19, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Lateralus (64%), Schism (56%), Parabola (49%)

With their third studio album, Lateralus, TOOL provide their most complete work amongst one of metal’s strongest runs throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Released five years after their sophomore record, Ænima, and five years prior their next effort, 10,000 Days, this near 80-minute exercise in complexity is crafted to stand the test of time. As one of the most successful and critically acclaimed bands within all of metal, it would be hard to say they didn’t get the job done. Vocalist and songwriter Maynard James Keenan sets the baseline through his haunting and frequently aggressive performances, combined with lyrics that draw upon existentialism and a desire for more. But what pulls it all together and solidifies Lateralus as a defining work for progressive metal is the undeniable chemistry and musicianship the band displays; shifting and unusual time signatures mark a sense of unpredictability, rumbling and explosive peaks embody feelings of confusion and rage, and drawn-out, atmospheric instrumental sections create an environment ripe for introspection, while adding just a touch of theatrics. – Dominick (8.5/10)

TOOL bring plentiful ideas to the table on Lateralus; ever-changing would be a good way of describing their incessant need for a mid-song rebirth. Whether or not they fulfill these ideas is another question. A lot of dead ends await the band at the end of the road. Lateralus is generally looked upon as a flying flag for the progressive metal genre, but it doesn't necessarily do anything out of the ordinary, even if we remember that re-inventions of the wheel are few and far between. You won't find groundbreaking ideas on Lateralus, but you will find incredible musicianship. TOOL have become a band known for their complexities and near over-analytical approach to music. You've got to feel that the material loses a bit of its special touch with its emphasis on “2+2=5” musicality. It's the thing that makes and breaks Lateralus; musical wizardry at the cost of enjoyment. – Peter (6.5/10)


Cam: 9.3/10 | Pax: 8.6/10 | Dominick: 8.5/10

Jared: 7.5/10 | Alan: 6.8/10 | Peter: 6.5/10