Studio album by Tool
Released May 15, 2001 (2001-05-15)
Recorded October 2000 – January 2001 at Cello Studios, Hollywood, California; The Hook, North Hollywood, California; Big Empty Space, North Hollywood, California; The Lodge, North Hollywood, California
Genre Progressive metal, art rock
Length 78:51
Label Volcano Entertainment
Producer David Bottrill, Tool[1]
Tool chronology
10,000 Days
Alternative cover
Holographic gatefold package
Singles from Lateralus
  1. "Schism"
    Released: 2001
  2. "Parabola"
    Released: 2001
  3. "Lateralus"
    Released: 2002

Lateralus (play /lætərˈælɪs/)[2] is the third studio album by American rock band Tool. The album was released on May 15, 2001, and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart. On August 5, 2003, Lateralus was certified double platinum by the RIAA. On August 30, 2004 the album was certified Silver by the BPI for sales of 60,000 in the UK. On August 23, 2005, Lateralus was released as a limited edition two-picture-disc vinyl LP in a holographic gatefold package. Lateralus was ranked #123 on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's "Definitive 200" list.[3]



Lateralus emerged after a five-year legal dispute with Tool's label, Volcano Entertainment.[4] In January 2001, the band announced that their new album's title would be Systema Encéphale and provided a 12-song tracklist 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.[5] 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."[6] A month later, the band revealed that the new album was actually titled Lateralus (supposedly named in combination with the words "Vastus lateralis", a human leg muscle and lateral thinking)[7] and that the name Systema Encéphale and the tracklist had been a ruse.[8]

Lateralus and the corresponding tours would take Tool a step further toward art-rock[9][10][11] and progressive rock[12][13][14] territory. 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."[13] 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.[15] 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."[16] 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.[16] The CD itself was mastered using HDCD technology.

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".[4] The original title of "Reflection" was "Resolution" before being changed three months prior to the album's release.[5]

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.


The album was a commercial success in the United States, reaching number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart in its debut week.[17] Well-received by both fans and most critics, it was named Kerrang!'s album of the year in 2001, and the band received the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance for the song "Schism".[18] During the band's acceptance speech, drummer 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."[19]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[20]
Drowned in Sound (10/10)[21]
Entertainment Weekly (B-) May 25, 2001[22]
Kerrang! 5/5 stars May 9, 2001 (p. 44)
NME (7/10) May 25, 2001
PopMatters (favorable)[23]
Q 4/5 stars December 2001
Robert Christgau (C)[24]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[25] ranks the drumming performance by Danny Carey on the song "Ticks & Leeches" number three on their list of Top 100 Rock Drum Performances.[26]

Overall, Lateralus was critically well received and its complexity provoked many responses akin to what Ryan Rayhil of Spin magazine had to say about the album, calling it a "monolithic puzzlebox".[27]

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.

Composition and content

Drummer Danny Carey sampled himself breathing through a tube to simulate the chanting of Buddhist monks for "Parabola",[28] and banged piano strings for samples on "Reflection".[28] "Faaip de Oiad" samples a recording of a 1997 call on Art Bell's radio program Coast to Coast AM.[29] "Faaip de Oiad" is Enochian for The Voice of God.

"Disposition", "Reflection", and "Triad" form a sequence[1] that has been performed in succession live with occasional help from various tourmates such as Mike Patton, Buzz Osborne, Tricky, and members of Isis, Meshuggah, and King Crimson.[30]

The title track, "Lateralus", incorporates the Fibonacci sequence.[31] 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.[32] The number 987 is the sixteenth integer of the Fibonacci sequence.[33]

"Eon Blue Apocalypse" is about Adam Jones' Great Dane named Eon, who had died from bone cancer.[34]

The track "Mantra" is the slowed-down sound of Maynard James Keenan gently squeezing one of his cats.[35]

Album art

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 their fourth album 10,000 Days.

Track listing

All songs written and performed by Tool.

No. Title Length
1. "The Grudge"   8:36
2. "Eon Blue Apocalypse"   1:04
3. "The Patient"   7:13
4. "Mantra"   1:12
5. "Schism"   6:47
6. "Parabol"   3:04
7. "Parabola"   6:03
8. "Ticks & Leeches"   8:10
9. "Lateralus"   9:24
10. "Disposition"   4:46
11. "Reflection"   11:07
12. "Triad"   8:46
13. "Faaip de Oiad"   2:39
Total length:


  • David Bottrill - producer, engineering, mixing
  • Vince DeFranco - neurocistance, engineer
  • Alex Grey - illustrations
  • Statik (Collide) - machines on "Triad"

Chart positions

Lateralus sold 555,000 copies in its first week, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200.[36] 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.[37]


Chart Peak position
Billboard 200[17] 1
Billboard Top Internet Albums[38] 1
Australian Albums Chart[39] 1
Austrian Albums Chart[40] 9
Canadian Albums Chart[38] 1
Dutch Albums Chart[41] 7
Finnish Albums Chart[42] 11
French Albums Chart[43] 21
New Zealand Albums Chart[44] 2
Polish Albums Chart [45] 1
Swiss Albums Chart[46] 31
UK Albums Chart[47][48] 16


Year Song Chart peak positions

2001 "Schism" 67 2 2 54
2001 "Parabola" 31 10 56
2002 "Lateralus" 18 14
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.


  1. ^ a b David Fricke (14 May 2001). "Album Reviews: Lateralus". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 19 February 2008. 
  2. ^ "MTV Riot Interview with Danny Carey and Justin Chancellor (pronounced at 23–26 second mark of video).". UNK. Retrieved 29 December 2007. 
  3. ^ "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's "Definitive 200."". UNK. Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Akhtar, Kabir. "The Tool FAQ". Retrieved 14 September 2008. 
  5. ^ a b Akhtar, Kabir. "Old News. January — March 2001". Retrieved 6 March 2006. 
  6. ^ Gabriella (September 2000). "Interview with Maynard James Keenan of A Perfect Circle". NY Rock. Retrieved 28 April 2006. 
  7. ^ Joel McIver (2002). Nu-Metal: The Next Generation of Rock & Punk. Omnibus. pp. 137. ISBN 9780711992092. Retrieved 27 January 2008. 
  8. ^ D'Angelo, Joe. "Tool Tinker With Album Title, Set Track List". MTV News. Retrieved 6 March 2006. 
  9. ^ "Lateralus review". E! Online. 2001. Archived from the original on 18 December 2003.,1107,2309,00.html. Retrieved 18 June 2007. 
  10. ^ Bond, Laura (2001). "Tool Stretch Out And Slow Down In Show With King Crimson". Retrieved 19 July 2007. 
  11. ^ Brett, Milano (2006). "Power Tool: Maynard James Keenan and band craft epic art-metal". Boston Herald. Retrieved 27 May 2006. [dead link]
  12. ^ Theakston, Rob (2001). "Lateralus Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 April 2006. 
  13. ^ a b Fricke, David (2001). "Lateralus Review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 24 April 2006. 
  14. ^ DeRogatis, p. 562.
  15. ^ Klein, Joshua (29 March 2002). "Lateralus review". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 25 May 2007. 
  16. ^ a b J.R. Griffin (May 2001). "Interview with Danny Carey". Mean Street: pp. 26. 
  17. ^ a b c d e "Tool Chart History". Retrieved 14 September 2008. 
  18. ^ "Grammy Award Winners". The Recording Academy. Retrieved 28 April 2007. 
  19. ^ D'Angelo, Joe (2002). "Alicia Keys Takes Five, 'O Brother' Gets Most At 44th Grammy Awards". MTV News. Retrieved 7 August 2006. 
  20. ^ Theakston, Rob. Album review at Allmusic. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
  21. ^ "Album review". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  22. ^ "Album review". Entertainment Weekly.,,127211,00.html. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  23. ^ "Album review". PopMatters. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  24. ^ "Album review". Robert Christgau consumer guide. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  25. ^ "Album review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  26. ^ "Top 100 Rock Drum Performances". Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  27. ^ Rayhil, Ryan (April 2002). The Spin Top 40 (Only Bands that Matter). Spin. p. 77. 
  28. ^ a b Ken Micallef (June 2001). "Danny Carey: Demon On Drums". Modern Drummer, transcribed by Ruskin F. for The Tool Page. Retrieved 17 April 2007. "I also had a piano that was destroyed. I got some good samples from that, banging on the strings for 'Resolution.'" 
  29. ^ Jim Abbott (24 May 2001). "Tool's latest a step ahead of the `metal' mouths". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 15 April 2008. 
  30. ^ Brad Kava (13 August 2001). "Tool, King Crimson remind audiences how rock should be" (fee required). San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 19 February 2008. 
    "Tool shakes the walls" (fee required). The Roanoke Times. 5 November 2002. Retrieved 19 February 2008. 
  31. ^ "Fibonacci in Tool's Lateralus". UpVenue. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  32. ^ "Tool - Lateralus tab". GuitareTab!. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  33. ^ "Fibonacci and extensions". Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  34. ^ "The Tool Page: Articles". Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  35. ^ "The Tool FAQ". Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  36. ^ "Discography Tool Laterlaus". Archived from the original on 11 March 2007. Retrieved 29 April 2006. 
  37. ^ "The Definitive 200". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 2007. Retrieved 15 September 2008. 
  38. ^ a b "Lateralus > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". Retrieved 14 September 2008. 
  39. ^ "Tool Australian Charting". Retrieved 14 September 2008. 
  40. ^ "Tool Austrian Charting". Retrieved 14 September 2008. 
  41. ^ "Tool Dutch Album Charting". Retrieved 14 September 2008. 
  42. ^ "Tool Finnish Charting". Retrieved 14 September 2008. 
  43. ^ "Tool French Album Charting". Retrieved 10 November 2007. 
  44. ^ "Tool New Zealand Charting". Retrieved 14 September 2008. 
  45. ^ "Tool Polish Charting". Retrieved 14 September 2008. [dead link]
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  47. ^ "UK chart info Lateralus". Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  48. ^ "UK Top 40 Hit Database". Retrieved 28 September 2007.  Note: User must specify the band as "Tool" and the format as "Album".
  49. ^ "Tool Netherlands Charding". Retrieved 14 September 2008. 
Preceded by
Survivor by Destiny's Child
Billboard 200 number-one album
June 2–8, 2001
Succeeded by
Break the Cycle by Staind
Preceded by
The Disney Album by Michael Crawford
Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
May 21–27, 2001
Succeeded by
Moulin Rouge! (soundtrack) by Various artists

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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