Tool's new album Lateralus is, like, the most awesome music ever made by humans. In fact, it's like Tool are aliens from a more musically evolved planet, and their music is in fact a super-advanced programming language disguised as music, which is designed to hack our DNA and our minds and lift us to the next level of human evolution. Repeated exposure to Lateralus will turn you into a post-human, man. Plus the album is really, really long, and, like, a concept album, which is good. Also Danny Carey has a huge drum kit, which is also good.
This is exactly what my inner 15-year-old Rush fan thinks. But I am older, wiser and infinitely cooler. Or so I thought. Yes, as a teen I used to love prog-rock and thrash metal. My ideal band would have been Pink Floyd and Rush crossed with Slayer. My ideal band would have been Tool. But soon I realized the error of my ways and put away childish things. I was no longer allowed to like this kind of music. At University I discovered the joys of, erk, "electronica" and "post-rock." I was cooler-than-thou. That was me at the Tortoise gigs, bored out of my skull, but one of the chin-stroking cognoscenti. I still pride myself on my large collection of obscure and unlistenable CDs made by mad Austrians torturing PowerBooks with cattle prods. ("Get Out" by Pita being a supreme example).
But then something happened. I was a member of the achingly hip Web-designer/flasher hangout dreamless.org, where one of the threads was on folks' favorite music. Along with all the usual suspects I noticed a remarkable number of hipsters raving about a CD called Aenima by Tool. Who? That weekend I checked it out of the library and had a mini-epiphany: Tool Fuckin' Rock(s)! And they sampled the mighty Bill Hicks, which meant they were fairly cool, huh? Huh? Y'see, I was still feeling guilty for liking this music. But anyway....
I bought Lateralus the day it came out, listened to it on headphones a few times at work, thought it was okay, not outstanding. But I was listening to it all wrong. Research has led me to conclude that the correct, and possibly only, way to fully appreciate this album is at extremely high volume on a decent hi-fi whilst massively stoned out of your gourd. Silly me.
The guitars will morph into genetically-engineered cyborg sharks which will eat your mind. Maynard's lyrics will reveal their full transcendent wisdom. The unbelievably good production will convince you that this is alien music, and when "Parabol" kicks into "Parabola" you will, I guarantee, just about lose your shit. Seventy-eight minutes will seem woefully short. The album will end just as you are starting to get into an interesting headspace. You will be impatient for the next Tool CD, which will be a 7-hour long concept-film DVD based on "Cosmic Trigger," William Blake, "VALIS" by Philip K. Dick and all sorts of other dreadfully clever and esoteric stuff. You will, for an hour and a bit, be 15 again. Try it, it's fun.