Tool Lateralus (Volcano)

Lateralus (Volcano)

Tool

Lateralus (Volcano)

Never let it be said Tool doesn't give you your money's worth. At one point on Lateralus, only the band's second release since their 1993 debut Undertow, Maynard James Keenan even sings about "this tedious path I've chosen." If nothing else, this 80-minute opus will cement Tool's standing as the King Crimson of alt.rock. It's the sort of LP where a six-minute communication breakdown like "Schism" gets released as a single -- that is, after some of the more Dr. Who flourishes have been excised. By design, Tool's songs often take several minutes to get truly cranked, but when they do, the payoff's usually brutal. If they didn't take meticulous care to fashion such intricate webs of deceptive harmonic calm, it wouldn't be nearly as impressive when they inevitably shatter them to pieces. Though this formula is present in some form or another largely throughout Lateralus, it's best distilled on midlength (for Tool) numbers like grinding opener "The Grudge" and the withering "Ticks & Leeches." Elsewhere ("Reflection"), the band crafts these yawning vortexes of circular riffs and tribal drums that all at once coalesce into a fearsome thundering metal beast with laser-beam eyes. Such overwhelming barrages of blunt yet also refined musical force continue to define Tool, offering the added bonus of largely obscuring the fact that, sometimes, Keenan sounds a like he's having a Depeche Mode/Martin Gore "piano" moment.

***

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Sabbath Crow
Carrion Highway Weird Sun (Record Review)

Michael Toland, Aug. 16, 2019

Texas Platters
USA/Mexico
Matamoros (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Aug. 16, 2019

More by Christopher Gray
Margaret Moser Tribute: Alvin Crow
Alvin Crow
Summer camp with the kids

June 30, 2017

Margaret Moser Tribute: The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
That Margaret Moser, she’s a rainbow

June 30, 2017

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle