Sound — 10
Okay, I'm writing this almost purely because "Str8Savage" ticked me off big time. First off, I don't know how you can say they didn't put as much effort into the album as usual. Heck, it took them 5 years to release it. I, personally think that alone is saying something. Also, have you actually taken the time to try to figure out the bass or guitar or drums in any of the songs? Extremely complex. The sound is constantly changing even in the middle of songs, not too much of course, but just enough so that it makes even a single song feel like a full-fledged story. And comparing it to "Stinkfist"? That's just wrong. Heck, if you want to find a song they created for pure publicity, that's it. (In my humble opinion, one of their worst songs) Not "Vicarious", which brings me to one of my bigger grudges against your review. "Vicarious" was yes, admittedly, a song to help get lots of publicity and get played over and over on the radio, and make a lot of people (including me) say "hell, yes! I've gotta get the new Tool album!", but when you listen to it on the album (with all the other songs), it fits right in perfectly at it's rightful place at the beginning of the album. But according to you, it "has no place on any Tool album what'soever". Shall I go further? I think not. At least when you said "Right In Two" was great, I thought maybe I wouldn't have to submit this, but then you went and said the lyrics sucked. total shit. That song has some of the most emotional, meaningful, and downright awesome lyrics in the entire history of Tool, and it's the main reason I listen to that song. "Monkey killing monkey killing monkey over pieces of the ground"? "Where there's one your bound to divide it right in two"? "Give them thumbs they make a club and beat their brother down"? How are those lame? They're full of meaning, full of emotion, full of Maynard himself. There is nothing wrong with these lyrics. the ones in "Stinkfist" were the pointless ones. "Boredom's not a burden anyone should bear"? What does the title even mean in relation to the lyrics? That's the song he wrote on drugs, if any, not "Rosetta Stoned", one of the most amazing songs on the album, not only for the lyrics (which aren't all bad, all though the shitting the bed choruses weren't the best), but for the sheer complexity of the song as a whole. Hell, this was probably the song that took them a good two years to finish completely. And as far as the "3D experiance" goes, have you ever actually tried it, and the songs by themselves are amazing as well, they're certainly not only playable together, and they're certainly not the result of Tool running out of fresh ideas. Now for "The Pot". it's not a typical Tool song, and, admittedly, at first, I hated it. But once you listen to it a few times, it's plain to see that Maynard certainly shines like a star on this one. From the high-pitched intro to the more-than-slightly lower-pitched bridge and refrain, his incredible voice range is showcased off throughout the song. He hits not one wrong note. It's simply amazing. And the nerve that you say it has "very little drums". Have you never heard of a guy named Danny Carey, who has inspired my drumming in so many ways that I can't possibly list them all off, like, ever? Without a doubt, my favorite of the four members of Tool, his rhythyms being so complex that even I, drummer for 6 years, can hardly even begin to play songs like "Rosetta Stoned". As for "kickass bass lines," have you not noticed all the bass soloing in songs like "The Pot"? Putting wah on bass is not something that's normally done, and he pulls it off great, it fits in perfectly.
Lyrics — 10
As far as the lyrics go, I basically already stated a lot of my feelings on that subject when I was talking about the crazy good lyrics of "Right In Two", but I could go on. I think I'll start with "Vicarious". Some of the best lyrics in town, man. Same goes for "Wings for Marie", "10,000 Days", "The Pot", and even the extremely under-apreciated "Rosetta Stoned." In fact, I think the lyrics off of this one are some of my favorites. But then, "Lateralus" has some great ones as well. If only I knew the deep, deep meanings behind half of them. "10,000 Days" doesn't have bad lyrics, they're just more aggressive is all. And they're certainly better than "AEnima" and before.
Overall Impression — 10
So, has Tool really run out of ideas? No. Have they succeeded once again creating something completely new and different from all the shit out on the radio today? Yes. Does my opinion really matter, or mean that you will feel the same way? No, it does not. It's all for you to decide (my sister has always hated them and probably always will). But my worthless answer to the following question which was asked before in Str8savage's stays the same: "Has finally become normal?" No. Not at all.