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1.
If I told you that Tool's latest album,
Lateralus, was way better than everything
else currently on the market, would you
believe me? Probably not. First of all,
you don't know me. Second of all, you
probably don't listen to Tool, because most
radio stations pretty much ignore them. It's
easier to follow what the radio tells you to
listen to, isn't it? The answer, of course,
is yes. But what if you are looking for more
than the everyday stuff?

It's an undeniable fact that mainstream
music is becoming bland. The record
companies churn out single after single
of "one hit wonders", creating radio
garbage. Manufactured artists with no
potential play their song, make some money,
and then are never heard of again. ("Who
Let the Dogs Out" anyone?) It has been
happening since the beginning of Rock and
Roll, and it probably will continue on
forever. The only problem is that it seems
to be getting worse. One has to ask him or
herself, "How many of these bands are going
to be remembered thirty years from now, the
way bands like Led Zeppelin and the Rolling
Stones are remembered today?" Yes, every
era has had its share of bands that come and
go faster than Mick Jagger's voice at a
Rolling Stone's Concert, and there is no
stopping them. So why not go for something
different?

It is hard for the average music fan to
change his or her taste. Your average music
fan usually starts off listening to what his
parents listened to, simply because he is
not aware of anything else. Then, he turns
the dial on the radio, and discovers rock,
rap, pop, and other exciting genres. At
about the same time, the average music fan's
friends start to turn the dials on their
radios, too. As they get older, they
collectively start to worship a certain type
of music. Then, whatever their radio
station of choice tells them what listen to,
they blindly obey. It doesn't matter that
the quality of the music is steadily
declining. The radio says do it, and then
like the sheep humans are, they listen to
the voice. Then the sheep run to the music
store and spend fifteen to twenty dollars on
a compact disc containing one popular song,
and forty minutes of noise. Two weeks
later, the family dog chews happily away at
the shiny round thing it found in the
garbage can. For some people, this cycle
will never end.

For others however, it does. Around their
late teens, some people start to notice that
there is other music out there. It doesn't
get played on the radio. Naivety may have
told them its because the music is
not "good enough", but they now know
better. It's too good. The average music
fan won't like it because it doesn't make
sense to him. The radio won't play it
because the average music fan won't listen
to it. Progressive rock tends to fall under
this category.

Progressive rock is like modern rock;
however, it is smarter, longer, and
instrumentally diverse. Progressive rock
does not get played on the radio because
after five minutes, the average music fan
gets bored. This is very unfortunate,
because progressive rock is spectacular. It
can move a person in ways that regular
mainstream music can't. Some like to refer
to it as "smart rock". Pink Floyd is good
example of a great progressive rock band,
which did make it big. That is because
during the seventies, long instrumentals
were popular and were allowed to be played
on the radio. Today, they are not. Pink
Floyd's "The Wall" is the definitive
progressive rock album. Many are
comparing "Lateralus", by Tool to The Wall.

"Lateralus" is not like "The Wall". Yes
they are both long, and they both have a lot
of synthesizers in them. That would be the
end of their similarities. Neither one is
better because they cannot be compared. So
why try? "Lateralus" is not a typical Tool
album either. None of its songs sound
like "Sober" or "Prison Sex". Tool has gone
a few steps higher with this album. It is
meant to be heard all at once, almost like
an opera. It is slow. Not slow in its
speed, but slow in the way it gets from
point A to point B. While a good riff in
any other song gets heard a few times before
the song is over, a Tool riff is explored
like it could be the cure for cancer. The
riff plays on, only slightly changing, to a
point of hypnosis, before the song
continues. The members of Tool are not
afraid to do this. They aren't worried if
the song exceeds ten minutes in length.
They don't care that this kills their chance
of getting on the radio. Tool is simply
interested in making beautiful music.
Beautiful music may be an odd word to use on
an album that is so heavy and full of
anguish. But it is beautiful the way fire
is beautiful. It is destructive yet
captivating. As usual, Maynard James
Keenan's vocals are heavenly, and his lyrics
are deep and poetic. The guitar, base and
drums are rock solid, and play together like
an orchestra. And the synthesizers top it
off, making it eerie and full.

The album is a masterpiece. One can listen
to the radio, and then again, one can find
something better. Lateralus mocks radio
music, and takes pride in the fact that only
a select audience will listen. Perhaps
this is a blessing. Popularity is often a
band's downfall. It would be hard to accept
the fall of a band like Tool.
Lateralus is one of Tools greatest albums.
by TTM March 16, 2005
 
2.
Tool's 2001 album. One of the best albums today. The music incorporates higher intellectual themes and odd time signatures (5/4, 7/8, 9/8, 6/8, 6.5/8??) without sounding forced or geeky. for example: in the ninth track (and albums namesake), "Lateralus", Keenan's vocals during the verses coincide with the Fibonacci sequence of numbers by syllable. the fibonacci sequence is a set of numbers in which each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers:0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12. a pattern that often appears in nature.

The number of syllables progress to the sixth step, then back down to the first step; up to the seventh step, and then back to the fourth step:

1 Black
1 Then
2 White are
3 All I see
5 In my infancy
8 Red and yellow then came to be
5 Reaching out to me
3 Lets me see
2 There is
1 So
1 Much
2 More that
3 Beckons me
5 To look through to these
8 Infinite possibilities
13 As below so above and beyond I imagine
8 Drawn outside the lines of reason
5 Push the envelope
3 Watch it bend

Also, the vocals begin at 1 min 37 seconds, or 1.618 percent of a minute. 1.618 is the golden ratio, were the whole (that is, the sum of the two parts) is to the larger part as the larger part is to the smaller part. The golden ration is the theoretically the most pleasing ratio to the human eye. The golden ratio is mainly used to describe spirals, which are mentioned several times in the lyrics.

In addition, track one, The Grudge" references the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne in the line 'Unable to forgive your scarlet lettermen'.

Some song lyrics on this album can be interpreted as references to alchemy, especially due to the fact that the Philosopher's stone often serves as a spiritual metaphor to evolve from a lower state of imperfection and vice (symbolized by the base metals) to a higher state of enlightenment and perfection. References to this spiritual transmutation are:

"Give away the stone. Let the oceans take and transmutate this cold and fated anchor.
Give away the stone. Let the waters kiss and transmutate these leaden grudges into gold." ("The Grudge")
"Black then white are all I see in my infancy, red and yellow then came to be, reaching out to me....Lets me see". ("Lateralus")

In addition to all the cerebral crap, the album just plain kicks ass. Drummer Danny Carey exhibits some of the most impressive drum performances I’ve ever heard (listen to track #8, "Ticks and Leeches, the end of track #1, "the Grudge" or the middle of #7 "parabola") and does so without degrading the listening quality of the music, simply to show off his skill.

The albums main, downfall is its annoying ambient, not-real-song tracks (#2, #4, and #12) that I always skip.

In spite of this though, "Lateralus" is probably my favorite album. The songs have enough depth to make getting bored extremely difficult.
Lateralus is awesome.
by Daemons August 19, 2006
 
3.
Pertaining to the way I think. A lateral way of thinking.
You think in a straight line. I think in a way of lateralus.
by Rufus June 04, 2004
 
4.
side by side
by Sarah September 04, 2003