Tool Lateralus
Grade
A
 
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The problem with most modern rock and metal bands recently is that they often have to sacrifice inventiveness and creativity to repeat the sound and style that has been established in previous albums. Because of this, most recent releases often sound familiar and unoriginal. With Lateralus, Tool have proved, once and for all, that they have established themselves in a position most envious by other creative rock musicians. Created and developed with the philosophy of mind altering and advancing music and concepts, their third full release is as fresh and rewarding as both Undertow and Aenima.

Starting with The Grudge, which lays down a firm groundwork, weaving between esoteric and solid soundwaves, this album rolls along, jumping from one emotion to another. Maynard James Keenan's voice is as well-defined as ever. Very few vocalists can carry themselves with a presence that conveys so much emotion as he does in this album. Even his boughts of rage don't fall into the traditional screaming fists that often discredit most bands as serious artists.

The Patient, Schism and the title track all showcase the intelligent musical score written by the four men. While these songs don't fall into the traditionally catchy hooks and patterns, they are still memorable on their own strength. Listening to Tool and this album in itself is an adventure for the mind. Both bass and guitar lines are intricate and well developed, flowing back and forth, taking turns at the spotlight.

Lateralus is proof that Tool has managed to get better as they grow older. While there are some dark and heavy-ended portions to this album, the overall ebb and flow of the emotionally driven music is gratifying in itself to listen to. In between opus-like tracks are small vignettes of music, bridging the gap between each of these finely tuned songs. If there was ever a progressive album worth purchasing, it is this one.

- - Kinderfeld

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