Sound — 10
My impression of Tool's sound and music on this album is that I think all four of them are at their absolute best on this album. This is their best album in my opinion and they sound so tight and have the perfect melding of influences on it. A story I can attach to the album's creation is that, if I recall correctly, there was some confusion for the band members about whether or not they were going to get back together to make this album because everyone in the band was off doing their own thing for a while and seemed too occupied with those activities. There was especially some confusion about Maynard doing his thing with A Perfect Circle. I get that information from reading the book of Tool that Revolver Magazine put out. I haven't read it in a while, but I'm pretty sure about that. The styling of this album is a more progressive rock turn as opposed to the more metal influenced sound of Opiate and Undertow. The band is definitely very heavily influenced by King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Rush, and other old school progressive bands on this album and that shows in their sound. As far as some interesting musical innovations on it, this album has a lot of progressive time signature changes going on, Justin's bass playing got more experimental and prominent in the mix of the songs, and Danny's drumming took an even more jazzy turn. Only thing I feel like sharing about this album is that this was my first Tool album I bought or listened to and I got it only because Schism was on it. I am so glad that I bought it because it changed my outlook on music forever.
Lyrics — 10
My overall impression of the lyrics is that I think Maynard did a fantastic job on this album with them. This album deals a lot with religion, the relations between human beings, philosophy, and change, among other topics. This album has some of their most profound lyrics, in my opinion. The lyrics compliment the music perfectly. Maynard makes it his job to try to make the vocals presented like another instrument in the music and I think he delivers that well. Maynard's singing skills are top notch on this album. He perfectly delivers that "loud-quiet" dynamic in the songs on this album.
Overall Impression — 10
As far as comparing Lateralus to other albums, it definitely is more stylistically in-sync with 10, 000 Days and some aspects of Aenima. I believe this album to be better than those two, though. The most impressive songs on this album, for me, are Schism, Parabola, The Grudge, and Lateralus. What I love about this album is that I like all of the songs for their own reasons. I think that every band member was playing together so tight on this album. They really pull of the odd song structures well. I don't really have any complaints with the album. Faaip de Oiad was a weak way to end, I thought. But that's about it. If my copy were stolen or lost, I would definitely buy it again because I love Tool and their music that much. Especially this fantastic album, my favorite album of all time.