Last updated

Tool - Lateralus.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 15, 2001 (2001-05-15)
RecordedOctober 2000 - January 2001
Studio Cello Studios, Hollywood, CA
The Hook, North Hollywood, CA
Big Empty Space, North Hollywood, CA
The Lodge, North Hollywood, CA
Genre Progressive metal [1]
Label Volcano Entertainment
Producer David Bottrill, Tool [2]
Tool chronology
10,000 Days
Singles from Lateralus
  1. "Schism"
    Released: January 15, 2001
  2. "Parabola"
    Released: 2002
  3. "Lateralus"
    Released: February 2002

Lateralus ( /ˌlætəˈræləs/ [3] ) is the third studio album by American rock band Tool. It was released on May 15, 2001 through Volcano Entertainment. The album was recorded at Cello Studios in Hollywood and The Hook, Big Empty Space, and The Lodge, in North Hollywood, between October 2000 and January 2001. David Bottrill, who had produced the band's two previous releases Ænima and Salival , produced the album along with the band. On August 23, 2005, Lateralus was released as a limited edition two-picture-disc vinyl LP in a holographic gatefold package.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Tool (band) American alternative metal band

Tool is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California. Formed in 1990, the group's line-up includes drummer Danny Carey, guitarist Adam Jones, and vocalist Maynard James Keenan. Justin Chancellor has been the band's bassist since 1995, replacing their original bassist Paul D'Amour. Tool has won three Grammy Awards, performed worldwide tours, and produced albums topping the charts in several countries.

Volcano Entertainment American rock record label

Volcano Entertainment is an American all-round music record label founded in 1996 which released albums by Tool, 311, Size 14, Survivor and "Weird Al" Yankovic. It is owned by Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.


The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling more than 555,200 copies in its first week of release. [4] It was certified double platinum by the RIAA on August 5, 2003. On August 30, 2004, the album was certified silver by the BPI. It was also certified platinum in Australia, and double platinum in Canada. The band won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance for the song "Schism" in 2002. [5] Lateralus was ranked No. 123 on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's "Definitive 200" list. [6]

The Billboard 200 is a record chart ranking the 200 most popular music albums and EPs in the United States. It is published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists. Often, a recording act will be remembered by its "number ones", those of their albums that outperformed all others during at least one week. The chart grew from a weekly top 10 list in 1956 to become a top 200 in May 1967, and acquired its present title in March 1992. Its previous names include the Billboard Top LPs (1961–72), Billboard Top LPs & Tape (1972–84), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–85) and Billboard Top Pop Albums.

In the United States, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) awards certification based on the number of albums and singles sold through retail and other ancillary markets. Other countries have similar awards. Certification is not automatic; for an award to be made, the record label must request certification. The audit is conducted against net shipments after returns, which includes albums sold directly to retailers and one-stops, direct-to-consumer sales and other outlets.

Recording Industry Association of America Trade organization representing the recording industry in the U.S.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is a trade organization that represents the recording industry in the United States. Its members consist of record labels and distributors, which the RIAA says "create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legally sold recorded music in the United States." The RIAA headquarters is in Washington, D.C.


Lateralus emerged after a four-year legal dispute with Tool's label, Volcano Entertainment. [7] In January 2001, the band announced that their new album's title would be Systema Encéphale and provided a 12-song track list with titles such as "Riverchrist", "Numbereft", "Encephatalis", "Musick", and "Coeliacus". File sharing networks such as Napster were flooded with bogus files bearing the titles' names. [8] At the time, Tool members were outspokenly critical of file-sharing networks in general due to the negative impact on artists that are dependent on success in record sales to continue their career. Keenan had this to say during an interview with NY Rock in 2000: "I think there are a lot of other industries out there that might deserve being destroyed. The ones who get hurt by MP3s are not so much companies or the business, but the artists, people who are trying to write songs." [9] A month later, the band revealed that the new album was actually titled Lateralus (supposedly a portmanteau of the leg muscle Vastus lateralis and the term lateral thinking) [10] and that the name Systema Encéphale and the track list had been a ruse. [11]

File sharing is the practice of distributing or providing access to digital media, such as computer programs, multimedia, documents or electronic books. File sharing may be achieved in a number of ways. Common methods of storage, transmission and dispersion include manual sharing utilizing removable media, centralized servers on computer networks, World Wide Web-based hyperlinked documents, and the use of distributed peer-to-peer networking.

Napster is a set of three music-focused online services. It was founded as a pioneering peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing Internet service that emphasized sharing digital audio files, typically audio songs, encoded in MP3 format. The company ran into legal difficulties over copyright infringement. It ceased operations and was eventually acquired by Roxio. In its second incarnation, Napster became an online music store until it was acquired by Rhapsody from Best Buy on December 1, 2011.

MP3 is a coding format for digital audio. Originally defined as the third audio format of the MPEG-1 standard, it was retained and further extended—defining additional bit-rates and support for more audio channels—as the third audio format of the subsequent MPEG-2 standard. A third version, known as MPEG 2.5—extended to better support lower bit rates—is commonly implemented, but is not a recognized standard.

Lateralus and the corresponding tours would take Tool a step further toward art rock, [12] [13] [14] and progressive rock [2] [15] [16] [17] territory, in contrast to the band's earlier material, which has often been labeled as alternative metal. [18] Rolling Stone wrote in an attempt to summarize the album that "Drums, bass and guitars move in jarring cycles of hyperhowl and near-silent death march  ... The prolonged running times of most of Lateralus thirteen tracks are misleading; the entire album rolls and stomps with suitelike purpose." [2] Joshua Klein of The A.V. Club in turn expressed his opinion that Lateralus, with its 79-minute running time and relatively complex and long songs—topped by the ten-and-a-half minute music video for "Parabola"—posed a challenge to fans and music programming alike. [19] Drummer Danny Carey said, "The manufacturer would only guarantee us up to 79 minutes ... We thought we'd give them two seconds of breathing room." [20] Carey aspired to create longer songs like those by artists he grew up listening to. The band had segues to place between songs, but had to cut out a lot during the mastering phase. [20] The CD itself was mastered using HDCD technology.

Art rock is a subgenre of rock music that generally reflects a challenging or avant-garde approach to rock, or which makes use of modernist, experimental, or unconventional elements. Art rock aspires to elevate rock from entertainment to an artistic statement, opting for a more experimental and conceptual outlook on music. Influences may be drawn from genres such as experimental rock, avant-garde music, classical music, and jazz.

Progressive rock is a broad genre of rock music that developed in the United Kingdom and United States throughout the mid- to late 1960s. Initially termed "progressive pop", the style was an outgrowth of psychedelic bands who abandoned standard pop traditions in favour of instrumentation and compositional techniques more frequently associated with jazz, folk, or classical music. Additional elements contributed to its "progressive" label: lyrics were more poetic, technology was harnessed for new sounds, music approached the condition of "art", and the studio, rather than the stage, became the focus of musical activity, which often involved creating music for listening rather than dancing.

Alternative metal is a rock music fusion genre that infuses heavy metal with influences from alternative rock and other genres not normally associated with metal. Alternative metal bands are often characterized by heavily downtuned, mid-paced guitar riffs, a mixture of accessible melodic vocals and harsh vocals and sometimes unconventional sounds within other heavy metal styles. The term has been in use since the 1980s, although it came into prominence in the 1990s.

Just as Salival was initially released with several errors on the track listing, early pressings of Lateralus had the ninth track incorrectly spelled as "Lateralis". [7] The original title of "Reflection" was "Resolution" before being changed three months prior to the album's release. [8]

The track listing is altered on the vinyl edition, with "Disposition" appearing at track 8. Because of the long running time, the double vinyl edition could not be released like the disc since the songs would not fit on each disc side in that order. By moving "Disposition" to an earlier point, the sides were balanced and could fit the material. However, this edit breaks the segue that occurs between "Disposition" and "Reflection" which, along with "Triad", are often grouped together.

Two of the singles from the album, "Parabola" and "Schism", are featured in the video game Guitar Hero World Tour .

Parabola (song) single by Tool

"Parabola" is a song by the American rock band Tool, the song was released as the second single from their third studio album Lateralus. It was released in 2002 as a promo only, however, on December 20, 2005, the single was re-released, which includes the song and a DVD containing the music video and an optional "dual" audio commentary on the video by Jello Biafra of Dead Kennedys fame. The dual commentary consists of two separate recordings of Biafra's voice, one playing in each stereo channel. The DVD was released alongside a DVD single for "Schism" as well.

Schism (song) 2001 single by Tool

"Schism" is a song by American Metal band Tool. It was the first single and music video from their third full-length album, Lateralus. In 2002, Tool won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance for the song. "Schism" was released as a DVD single on December 20, 2005. The DVD contains the music video, audio commentary by David Yow, and a remix by Lustmord.

<i>Guitar Hero World Tour</i> video game

Guitar Hero World Tour is a music rhythm game developed by Neversoft, published by Activision and distributed by RedOctane. It is the fourth main entry in the Guitar Hero series, the sixth on home consoles and the seventh overall. The game was launched in North America in October 2008 for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360 consoles, and a month later for Europe and Australia. A version of World Tour for Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh was later released.

The insert is translucent and flips open to reveal the different layers of the human body. Disguised in the brain matter on the final layer is the word "God". The artwork was done by artist Alex Grey, who would later design the 3D edition cover for the followup to Lateralus, 10,000 Days .

Composition and content

Drummer Danny Carey sampled himself breathing through a tube to simulate the chanting of Buddhist monks for "Parabol", [21] and banged piano strings for samples on "Reflection". [21] "Faaip de Oiad" samples a recording of a 1997 call on Art Bell's radio program Coast to Coast AM . [22] "Faaip de Oiad" is Enochian for The Voice of God.

"Disposition", "Reflection", and "Triad" form a sequence [2] that has been performed in succession live with occasional help from various tourmates such as Mike Patton, Dave Lombardo, Buzz Osborne, Tricky, and members of Isis, Meshuggah, and King Crimson. [23]

The title track, "Lateralus", incorporates the Fibonacci sequence. [24] The theme of the song describes the desire of humans to explore and to expand for more knowledge and a deeper understanding of everything. The lyrics "spiral out", refers to this desire and also to the Fibonacci spiral, which is formed by creating and arranging squares for each number in the sequence's 1,1,2,3,5,8,... pattern, and drawing a curve that connects to two corners of each square. This would, allowed to continue onwards, theoretically create a never-ending and infinitely-expanding spiral. Related to this, the song's main theme features successive time signatures 9/8, 8/8, and 7/8. [25] The number 987 is the sixteenth integer of the Fibonacci sequence. [26]

"Eon Blue Apocalypse" is about Adam Jones' Great Dane named Eon, who had died from bone cancer. [27] The track "Mantra" is the slowed-down sound of Maynard James Keenan gently squeezing one of his cats. [28]

Release and reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Metacritic 75/100 [29]
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [15]
Entertainment Weekly B− [30]
Kerrang! 5/5 [31]
Los Angeles Times Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [32]
NME 7/10 [33]
Pitchfork 1.9/10 [34]
Q Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [35]
Rolling Stone Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [2]
USA Today Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [36]
The Village Voice C [37]

Overall, Lateralus was critically well received, but its complexity provoked many responses akin to Spin's Ryan Rayhil's summarization of it as a "monolithic puzzlebox". [38]

Commercial performance

The album was a commercial success in the United States, debuting at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart with over 555,200 copies sold in its first week of release. [4] On August 5, 2003, the album was certified double platinum by the RIAA. On April 30, 2010, the album was certified gold by the BPI for sales of 100,000 in the U.K. [39] In addition, Lateralus was certified platinum by the ARIA [40] and double platinum by MC. [41]


Tool received the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance for the song "Schism". [42] During the band's acceptance speech, drummer Danny Carey stated that he would like to thank his parents "for putting up with [him]", and bassist Justin Chancellor concluded, "I want to thank my dad for doing my mom." [43]

Kludge ranked Lateralus at number two on their list of top 10 albums of 2001. [44] Kerrang! placed the album at #1 on their 2001 "Albums Of The Year" list. [45] Q listed Lateralus as one of the best 50 albums of 2001. [46]

In 2016, Loudwire named Lateralus the No.1 hard rock/metal album of the 21st century. [47] The same magazine named the album at sixth in the list "Top 25 Progressive Metal Albums of All Time." [48]

The album was ranked number 32 on Rolling Stone 's 50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time list. [49] TeamRock placed the album at No.33 on their Top 100 Prog Albums of All Time list. [50] ranked the drumming performance by Danny Carey on the song "Ticks & Leeches" #3 on their list of Top 100 Rock Drum Performances. [51]

Special editions

A vinyl edition and two DVD singles from the album were released later. The "double vinyl four-picture disc" edition of Lateralus was first released as a limited autographed edition exclusively available to fan club members and publicly released on August 23, 2005. Two music videos were produced; one for "Schism" (with the short ambient segue "Mantra" at the beginning) and one for "Parabol/Parabola". These were subsequently released as two separate DVD singles on December 20, 2005, featuring remixes of the tracks by Lustmord.

Track listing

All lyrics written by Maynard James Keenan; all music composed by Adam Jones, Danny Carey, Maynard James Keenan, and Justin Chancellor.

1."The Grudge"8:36
2."Eon Blue Apocalypse" (instrumental)1:04
3."The Patient"7:13
4."Mantra" (instrumental)1:12
8."Ticks & Leeches"8:10
12."Triad" (instrumental – the song "Triad" ends at 6:32, before 2:14 of silence)8:46
13."Faaip de Oiad"2:39
Total length:78:51

On the vinyl version of the album, "Disposition" follows "Parabola". On the first presses of US CD, "Lateralus" is misspelled "Lateralis" on the tracklist of the outer packaging.




Lateralus sold 555,000 copies in its first week, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200. [52] As of July 7, 2010, Lateralus has sold 2,609,000 copies in the US. It is ranked number 123 on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's "Definitive 200" list. [53]


ChartPeak positionRef.
Billboard 200 1 [54]
Billboard Top Internet Albums 1 [55]
Australian Albums Chart 1 [56]
Austrian Albums Chart 9 [57]
Canadian Albums Chart 1 [55]
Dutch Albums Chart7 [58]
Finnish Albums Chart11 [59]
French Albums Chart 21 [60]
New Zealand Albums Chart2 [61]
Polish Albums Chart1 [62]
Swiss Albums Chart31 [63]
UK Albums Chart 16 [64]


YearSongChart peak positions

NLD [65]
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

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