20 years ago in May 2001, TOOL released their album Lateralus. This album by the alt-metal band TOOL, based in Los Angles was something else, something different. This seventy-eight minutes and 51 seconds long album is still one of the longest single albums ever released on a CD. But this album is not only about its long time. With Lateralus, Tool created that will offer a whole new perspective to a genre. They made everyone look differently to the progressive metal before and after listening to Lateralus. This affected both the music industry and the band that brought us this masterpiece. After their third studio album Lateralus, Tool became a very unique, very remarkable band in history.
“The manufacturer would only guarantee us up to 79 minutes We thought we’d give them two seconds of breathing room.” – Danny Carey, Drummer
The Lateralus album wasn’t their first album. Or they didn’t start influencing people with this album. TOOL was already active and very successful even before that Lateralus Album. But 20 years ago, they did something. Their work was so remarkable and even after 20 years, people still think about the meaning behind their Lateralus album.
Speaking of time and years, we sure need to include the fact that fans need to wait 5 years for the Lateralus album back in 2001. Their last work before that was the Ænima (which was another top-chart album for them). In 5 years between those 2 albums, we can say that Tool has found themselves, found how to be unique. After Ænima, they were headlining in Ozzfests and winning Grammies, which helped their way to find themselves. At the same time period, they had some legal problems with their record label, fired their long-time manager, that stuff labeled them ass “sellouts” etc. After having all that problems, they went silent for a bit at the end of the decade. Kenan went to the A Perfect Circle form and released Mer De Noms. Adam Jones played with Buzz Osborne, they’ve all done other stuff and played with other people/bands.
No Time Wasted – 79 minutes of pure music
After a while of radio silence, in 2001, fans finally heard from Tool. They’ve reemerged for a new album. But that album wasn’t named Lateralus back then. They first announced an album called Systema Encéphale, they even had the song names for the album. “Riverchrist,” “Pain Canal,” “Numbereft,” “Encephatalis,” “Musick,” and “Coeliacus” were some of the songs that were going to in Systeme Encéphale. But turned out that rumors were fake because sometime later, Tool released their third studio album, Lateralus. After getting released on May 15, 2001, Lateralus just destroyed charts. Debuted on top of the Billboard 200, managed to sell more than half a million in just a week. They prove that they wasted any second in this long 79 minutes album.
During that 79 minutes, fans, journalists, conspiracy theorists everyone started to think about the “real meaning of Lateralus” and the relations with the Fibonacci sequence.
But what makes Lateralus that special? Why does even in our current day, that album still count as a very smart work? Well, it’s not only lyrical nor musical. Lateralus is a masterpiece as a whole. They’ve used different tones, rhythms, everything so well together. In lyrics, Tool managed to touch on some important topics such as the meaning of existence. And somehow they managed to do all this complex stuff so accessible. It was complex but not unachievable.
“Overthinking, over analyzing separates the body from the mind”
Besides all their other clever, smart work there is this Fibonacci sequence play in the title track. In the title track Lateralus, they’ve used the Fibonacci sequence. This is a mathematical sequence that can basically be explained as “to get the next number, add the two numbers before. Here is the example from the song.
Black (1) / and (1) / white are (2) / all i see (3) / in my infancy (5) / red and yell-ow then came to be (8) / rea-ching out to me (5) / lets me see (3) || there is (2) / so (1) / much (1) / more that (2) be-ckons me (3) / to look through to these (5) / in-fin-ite pos-si-bil-i-ties (8) || as be-low so a-bove and be-yond i i-ma-gine (13) / drawn out-side the lines of rea-son (8) / push the en-ve-lope (5) / watch it bend (3)
Now even after 20 years, with the help of Lateralus Tool is seen to be one of the most successful alt-metal bands of its time. And it seems like, after more and more years, this masterpiece is still going to have a so important place.