Sound — 10
When I first heard Tool I already knew they had a reputation, and I know I've heard and remembered bits and pieces of certain singles, so I eventually got myself Lateralus. I liked it's challenging textures and detailed arrangements, but it made me curious as to just who Tool are. Sometime later I bought Aenima, and Tool struck me as murky, menacing creature that won't let you in unless you let yourself in. Distorted guitars buzz and fade in a aching way, drums roll through complex patterns (also notable on Lateralus), and Maynard's somewhat demented presence fills the void of an otherwise unhumane territory. This was no pop-friendly record, but it seemed to fulfill Tool's goal.
Lyrics — 10
The music in itself could leave your head spinning, but Maynard's lyrics only add to the complexity. He doesn't use your average metaphors, he doesn't use your average verse structures, he doesn't even give you a hint as to what's going on in the song. It's all interpretation. Here's a quick review of each song in terms of my interpretation: 01. Stinkfist - supposedly a song about moshing, this track is a great opener for the album. Rock out - 9/10. 02. Eulogy - as far as I can tell, this song is about standing up to fake rulers, and thinking for yourself. Something Maynard seems to adress in most of his songs - 9/10. 03. H. - the title of this song was supposed to be Half Empty or Half Full. Since it could be both, it was simply called H. I'm sure it has some relation to Maynard's feelings for his son. Great song - 10/10. 04. Useful Idiot - I was surprised when I heard this song had to do with Redneck hicks that supported Bush (you will either like it or find it as a waste of time, sometimes both). 05. Forty-Six & 2 - 'Steppin through my shadow' yeah. Another track that you may find the lyrics are bland or too covered in mystique. Hate or like it's still a great bassline - 9/10. 06. Message To Harry Manback - I think this track was made just to mess with people. I find it as a total waste of time - 3/10. 07. Hooker With A Penis - this basically sounds like Maynard going insane. It's raunchy and unstable and seems to cry out metal - 7/10. 08. Intermission - on the borderline of stupid and funny, yet it seems to fit perfectly after HWAP. Gives Maynard time to calm down - 6/10. 09. Jimmy - very creepy, very complex, there's no way out of the mystique this song drags you into. A song you will either love or you'll hate - 9/10. 10. The Balls Of Satan - what a weird track. Very unsettling, yet somewhat goofy and tells you these guys can be pretty nerdy when it comes to humor - 8/10. 11. Push - a great track for those who want to see the 'in-depth' side of Tool. I can't decipher the lyrics too well but they are very emotional. A masterpiece you will either love or you'll totally hate - 10/10. 12. Cesaro Summability - I hate this track. I can't stand hearing the baby scream in the beginning, way too disturbing - 2/10. 13. Aenima - not the best lyrical-wise, but it's an anthem to the angst-ridden. I like the way the track flows, it makes it one of the best-composed pieces on the album - 9/10. 14. Ions - if you like the aspiring artist of Tool you can appreciate this track, even if it sounds like some guy flickering a light-bulb and another fooling around with aluminum sheets. That's Tool for ya - 8/10. 15. Third Eye - this track may arguably be Tool's greatest accomplishment. Spanning nearly forteen minutes in length, Tool cast a gazing eye over the listener and draw them into a complex world of buzzing guitars and synthesizers, with that line creeping around your head 'I opened my eye and there we were. Prying open my third eye.' There is no easy way out of this song, it just keeps going and haunts you with it's murky mystique. If you want to know the power of Tool, observe this song as closely as you can and let it open your eye. At least the eye that can see Tool's message - 10/10. I noticed there are many things hidden in these songs. You may listen to a song about 20 times and still notice something. Until the real Maynard tells you (I doubt he will, it's too much fun messing with peoples' heads), you won't really find any true meaning to a song. Just interpretation. And of coarse, as always Maynard's voice is great.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall, if you want to know what Tool's all about, this is the album to be looking for. The only flaws are some of the prodution, which is not the band's fault. I think this is an essential addition to any Tool/heavy metal fan's CD rack. My favorites are hard to say, each song is unique. If I had to put my money on it I'd say H., Forty-Six & 2, Aenima, and Third Eye because they seem to defy the record. If this were stolen I'd chase dat wigga down and beat da ugly out of his face. If this were lost, I'd chase a wigga down and beat him for no apparent reason. Then I'd be occupied by something else.