Sound — 10
Tool has crossed the bridge between heavy metal and trance music creating an amazing mix that I don't even think should be classified as "nu-metal". Their earlier albums were simeler but still not nearly as reliable on progressive themes. They raock hard but you can tell from listening closely that they are true musicians. Maynard James Keenans voice is probably the best of the genre. He is able to keep complex melodies, as long as use his voice as an instrument along with the drums and guitar. His singing and screaming really just fits in. Adam is not the best, but definetly one of the most soulful and musically inclined guitarists of our day and age. His use of alternate tunings and un-pop meledies makes Tool unique along with Maynard. Danny Carey is in a league of his own. I cannot describe in words how insanely and precisely he masters his 30-peice set. His work in "Ticks And Leeches" and "Schism" makes me rank him up their along John Bohnam. The musical aspect makes the lyrics come alive.
Lyrics — 10
In this genre of music you can usually expect to hear rather ill-concieved lyrics that are all about misery and death (as were Tool's lyrics from previous albums). This is not the case in Lateralus. Songs area bout seperation from those who you love, forgiving others, avoiding narcissism, overcoming hard times, and connecting with your inner spirit. Tool urges you to think for yourself and question the authority of those "higher" than you, but just as well, Maynards lyrics are all aobut compassion and inner strength. Truly beautiful.
Overall Impression — 10
This is by far Tool's best work (though I'm anxiously awaiting the new album) and is a musical and poetic masterpiece from beginning to end. listen to it all the way through, including the "Filler" ambience parts to get the full effect! The first time listening to this was like a journey for me. It was an experiance to hear the beautiful poetry set to almost symphonic music. If you are having a hard time at the moment, or just are curious as to this bizzare, but wonderful band. Get this album, you will be surprised.