Loudwire.com 2016 Metal Album Of The Year—-Devin Townsend Project / Transcendence

Transcendence

Devin Garrett Townsend (born May 5, 1972) is a Canadian musician, songwriter and record producer. He was the founder, songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist in extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad from 1994 to 2007 and has an extensive career as a solo artist.

After performing in a number of heavy metal bands in high school, Townsend was discovered by a record label in 1993 and was asked to perform lead vocals on Steve Vai‘s album Sex & Religion. After recording and touring with Vai, Townsend was discouraged by what he found in the music industry, and vented his anger on the solo album Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing released under the pseudonym Strapping Young Lad. He soon assembled a band under the name, and released the critically acclaimed City in 1997. Since then, he has released three more studio albums with Strapping Young Lad, along with solo material released under his own independent record label, HevyDevy Records.

Townsend’s solo albums, a diverse mix of hard rock, progressive metal, ambient, and new-age, have featured a varying lineup of supporting musicians. In 2002 he formed the Devin Townsend Band, a dedicated lineup which recorded and toured for two of his solo releases. In 2007, he disbanded both Strapping Young Lad and the Devin Townsend Band, taking a break from touring to spend more time with his family. After a two-year hiatus, he began recording again, and soon announced the formation of the Devin Townsend Project. The project began with a series of four albums, released from 2009 to 2011, each written in a different style, and Townsend continues to record and tour under the new moniker.

Across all his bands and projects, Townsend has released twenty-three studio albums and three live albums. Townsend’s trademark production style, featuring a heavily multitracked wall of sound, has been compared to the styles of Phil Spector and Frank Zappa. His versatile vocal delivery ranges from screaming to an opera-esque singing, and his songwriting is similarly diverse. Townsend’s musical style is rooted in metal, and his albums are written to express different aspects of his personality.

Transcendence is the seventeenth studio album by Canadian musician Devin Townsend, and the seventh album in the Devin Townsend Project series. It was released on September 9, 2016 via HevyDevy Records.

The Analysis—-

Truth—-Brilliant and bright at the onset, this will actually be my first excursion with this band. The sound, for me is rather epic and filled with all the sounds that attract me to darker musical entities. I love this thus far…it is accessible…but enough out of the mainstream to keep me interested. This is so layered and textured I can only define it as beautiful right at the beginning…..this is incredible.

Stormbending—-With a bit more of a powerful punch to the music, the vocal enters and sucks me into a pleasant vortex I never want to climb out of. This is certainly different than Strapping Young Lad….this is experimental…progressive and damn articulate. I am in love….literally amazing!

Failure—-Again with a pleasant and accessible intro, this seems to cross all genre boundary lines. This is so easy to listen to…but still maintains a perfect mix or rock and experimentation to catch everyone’s attention. the vocal is exquisite….soaring and crashing and literally becoming one with the music. This is sublime….wonderful and damn addictive.

Secret Sciences—-Bright with a layered sound of instrumentation, the guitar and the vocal enters and almost takes me out of my body. The vocal is so damn pleasant and accessible….I just keep wondering why this band is not huge all over the world. I’m not even sure you could define this music as Metal……it IS very progressive and beautiful though.

Higher—-Stark and filled with beautiful acoustic guitar and melodies that threaten to make me weep like a little girl…I am just amazed that I have not invested more time with this band. The song becomes more powerful…but never loses the beauty and construction that started the entire thing off. This is just phenomenal…I sit here in awe….

Stars—-Almost seeming to be part of the previous song, the melody line is very familiar but still utterly addictive and filled with a beautiful resonance. This is a spectacular record…a true journey through the mind of what I think must be a musical genius. I can’t understand how this got past me…..I love this man.

Transcendence—-This trio of songs fit together like a glove in a gloved hand. Epic and beautiful….the songs are like a journey through space and time…I can find no fault with anything on this release…the movements are just incredible….I love this so much…..I can’t say enough good things about the epic nature of these compositions.

Offer Your Light—-A bit more aggressive musically,  this song is much faster and soars above my head with an incredible beauty. The vocal is so superb….I can’t get over the slight aggression but the subtle beauty of the whole thing…this is a journey….fantastic and littered with enough melodies to stick in your head for days.

From The Heart—-Again….the brightness of the music threatens to bring me to tears….I have not heard such incredible beauty and meticulous song construction in a very long time. This is a huge epic track….it feels so big and large to me…I love the power chords that hearken back to power metal days of the 80’s….a melody and chorus that inspires lighters in the air….and a vocal that is so accessible it should be on radio.

Transdermal Celebration—-Amazing…..this band can even take a Ween song and turn it into something full of beauty and pleasant feelings. I intend on buying everything I can get my hands on…..I fully encourage you to do the same…..a truly beautiful journey this one.

***** [!!!!!] out of 5

 

 

 

 

Loudwire.com 2012 Metal Album Of The Year—-Between The Buried And Me / The Parallax II: Future Sequence

The Parallax II: Future Sequence

The Parallax II: Future Sequence is the seventh studio album by American progressive metal band Between the Buried and Me, released on October 9, 2012. The album’s concept is the continuation of the band’s 2011 EP The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues. Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring (guitars) described it as being their favorite release up to now, being mature, dynamic, and with various metal influences from 1970’s progressive rock, to jazz and fusion. It is their longest running studio album to date.

The Analysis—-

Goodbye To Everything—-Sweeping in with a beautiful short interlude full of harmonies and melodies leads us directly into….

Astral Bodies—-The magnificent and powerful guitar chords that open up the song are like a huge wall of perpetual notion. The strains of pure Progressive Metal are all over the melody line that runs through the song. This is airy, spacey and full of an underlying aggression supplied by the bass line. The drums hit hard….the guitars are magical short bursts…then the vocal smacks you in the head with aggression and brutality. A journey all in itself…bolstered by the intermittent prog rock and clean vocals. Magnificent!

Lay Your Ghosts To Rest—-With no proper introduction, this track kicks off with a brand new aggression that still carries a bit of a prog sound thanks to the higher tuned guitars. The drums and the crunching bass line keeps everything legitimate though. This has many movements…often reminding me of the things System Of A Down did with their music. The bright and clean vocals changes the landscape…then we dive back down again….just magnificent.

Autumn—-A bit of an odd intro, as the song takes shape very slowly…all part of the ‘concept’ I suppose. The odd effects and background static are annoying after a bit….and then we magically evolve into….

Extremophile Elite—-And we are returned to the proggish feel of earlier tracks as the music hits you from all angles. The dueling vocals are intense…screaming coming at your eardrums from all directions. This is huge…aggressive….dark…..but somehow magically shiny and fresh. I truly love the clean vocal interludes……such beauty and contrast.

Parallax—-Falling back into a melodic and beautiful acoustic guitar with a spoken word intro, this interlude serves to further whatever the concept revolving around this release is all about. We are then introduced to….

Telos—-I really hate the clear lack of song separation but I suppose that is the right of the band. This may very well be the most aggressive and hard hitting track on this release. The music and the vocal are unrelenting as you get hit over the head wave after wave of aggressive explosions. Clocking in at 10 minutes in length, I feel my attention dispersing to other things. There is a sameness that I can’t escape…..but wonderfully, at times when I find myself bored to tears there are nice chord changes that snap me back and make me pay attention again.

Bloom—-With one huge sweeping movement we are right into this track….the clean vocals coming at you in a staccato fashion that brings you back to the prog feel of earlier tracks and then burst wide open again with deep screaming from the other vocalist. There is so much going on…..I can’t imagine the genius it must take to construct and apply ideas like this.

Melting City—-Everything on this release melds together from one song to the other and leaves me confused sometimes as to where I am at with the whole experience. At the onset, this offers little new to the listening experience…all seeming like a long track…the clean vocals are well placed though…breaking up the monotony and offering much needed variance.

Silent Flight Parliament—-Kicking off with huge sweeping grandiose movements, the bass guitar literally crunches in the back drop of the song. The higher tuned guitars over lay and send the track soaring up into the stratosphere with clear and crisp sounds. The entrance of the vocal brings Roger Waters to my mind…..swirling with the story and then stomped on by the screams of brutal singing that steers most of this release…but this is mixed nicely with the play of clean vocals…a favorite track of mine.

Goodbye To Everything Reprise—-And then it is all delivered in a package full circle. I don’t hate this……but I won’t listen on a habitual level to this band.

*** out of 5

 

Loudwire.com 2009 Metal Album Of The Year—-Mastodon / Crack The Skye

Crack The Skye

Crack the Skye is the fourth studio album by American heavy metal band Mastodon, released on March 24, 2009 through Reprise Records. The album debuted at number 11 on the Billboard 200, selling 41,000 copies in its first week. In Australia, the album debuted at number 19. It had sold 200,000 copies in the US as of September 2010, making it one of their highest selling albums to date.

According to an interview on the DVD The Making of Crack the Skye, this album represents the element of aether, which is represented by the souls and spirits of all things, a theme closely related to the context of the album. Because the elements of fire, water and earth have already represented by the band’s first three albums Remission, Leviathan and Blood Mountain, respectively, the element of air is the only classical element which has yet to be represented by a Mastodon album, as their follow-up studio albums The Hunter and Once More ‘Round The Sun do not represent an element, nor are they concept albums.

Crack the Skye is the first studio album to feature drummer Brann Dailor as the band’s third lead vocalist.

The Analysis—-

Oblivion—-Slow and trudging at the onset, you can feel the music and the tempo building and building as the song progresses. The sounds seem to come from everywhere….the the track really opens up with a huge bright sound and an incredible vocal. The sound of this track is indeed a bit lighter and airy…..but the intensity and dirty feel of the band is still intact. Really nice.

Divinations—-An odd intro, the song really does not connect with me at first…it is indeed fitting my definition of Stoner Rock. I keep thinking of Ozzy when I hear certain snippets of the vocal….at times the song has an endearing clarity……other times it is off on its own groove….leading me down a less enjoyable path. The melody line is strong though…and always present.

Quintessence—-Right from the onset, this surprises me…the feel is huge….epic and well constructed. I love the sounds that are everywhere. The drums are incredible…the guitars lead a nice pace and the vocal is a nice mix of modern and throwback sounds. really great song….perhaps one of my favorites. The many moods the band can conjure…all in one track.

The Czar : Usurper / Escape / Martyr / Spiral—-Epic is scope at almost 11 minutes in length, you can be sure that you will be led on a journey of sounds and movements as this opus continues to conclusion. The onset is pleasant enough….full of electricity and bright guitars. The drums are very present yet a bit understated. The vocal enters and you feel almost like this is a direct continuation from the previous track that you just heard….there is little variance at the beginning. The track…as you would assume takes us through ‘movements’, mini songs if you will….and the instrumentation does change in tone…but still keeps the melody line that began the whole thing. am I the only person that is reminded of Black Sabbath when I listen to this band. This is brilliant…..

Ghost Of Karelia—-Bright and experimental in sound at the onset, the track grows and grows as it progresses. I like the rhythm section of the song…but this has all taken on the shape of one huge long song for me. The musical themes, if you will, all sound familiar…like it is just one huge long story. I already know that band is brilliant….please surprise me guys….this sounds like the 11 minute song I just listened to!

Crack The Skye—-It seems…..with this track that we come full circle once again…the musical and lyrical themes seem to repeat and conclude. This is a trudging track……but there are bright guitar parts that peak and keep my interest. The vocal is a bit more gruff and electric……interspersed by a clean, melodic voice that threatens to sit in your brain for a bit before it leaves you. This is a really, really nice track….my favorite on this release.

The Last Baron—-Ending the release much as it all began, the movements on this song are really incredible. I like this band the more I experience them…..I have never been a die-hard fan. This has grown on me….by far the band’s most polished and well produced record thus far. I am left with a good taste in my mouth and a slight thirst for more.

**** out of 5

 

 

Loudwire.com 2007 Metal Album Of The Year—-Between The Buried And Me / Colors

Colors

Between the Buried and Me is an American progressive metal band from Raleigh, North Carolina. Formed in 2000, the band consists of Tommy Giles Rogers, Jr. (lead vocals, keyboards), Paul Waggoner (guitars, backing vocals), Dustie Waring (guitars), Dan Briggs (bass, keyboards), and Blake Richardson (drums).

Their debut eponymous album was released through Lifeforce Records in 2002, shifting to Victory Records for subsequent releases until 2011. Signing to Metal Blade in 2011, Between the Buried and Me released their first extended play, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues in 2011 and its full-length follow-up The Parallax II: Future Sequence the following year. Their eighth studio album, Coma Ecliptic, was released in 2015.

Colors is the fifth studio album by American progressive metal band Between the Buried and Me, released on September 18, 2007 through Victory Records. The group brought out many different influences within the structure of the songs featured on the album. Some of these influences are not even derivative of extreme metal. Examples include jazz, acoustic pop, arena rock, and bluegrass. The album’s sound was described by the band as “adult contemporary progressive death metal”. Although separated in 8 tracks, Colors gives the impression of one continuous song, with transitions between each part.

The Analysis—-

Foam Born [A] The Backtrack—-Beautifully introduced with a forlorn piano melody and sad voice, I am immediately taken in by the construction. The vocal melodies are breath taking…the progressive feel of the music is almost epic. With many different interludes and styles included in each song, to say this release is a journey would be understated. Aggressive at times….stark and beautiful in others…..I am beyond impressed.

(B) The Decade Of Statues—-With the brilliance only displayed by this band, we wonder if we are even listening to the same record. With huge riffs…aggressive and intense guitars….crashing drums and a death knoll from another age, this is literally brilliant. The huge sound comes at you like an intense tidal wave of schizophrenic mood swings…..leaves me on the edge of my seat.

Informal Gluttony—-Slowing things down to a gloomy trudge, the fusion of instruments is just incredible. There are so many influences here. At times the song has a huge Indian flare to the music…with swirls of instruments riding over the top f the pounding kick drum and the electricity of the guitars. The vocal is the same aggressive style as the previous track…leaving you panting for breath as things are amped back up to the highest degree. This is an incredible journey.The middle break in the song in intense as hell…..I love this.

Son Of Nothing—-Just as quickly as we were introduced, we seem to magically move into a new ‘act’ led by the drums and the aggressive vocal delivery that makes you shake your head and wonder where all of these ideas and construction come from. This is brutally delivered…with classic Florida style guitar squeals and an unforgiving tempo to the pace of it all. This is pretty epic. Just when you are steeled into the brutality…you get a surprise interlude that sets you off your pace…..amazing. So many amazing bits to this song…you can’t possibly get it all at once…this is to be savored and treasured.It magically all becomes beautiful again!!!!

Ants Of The Sky—-And again….we are off and running. There is little distinction between the songs…but each one has numerous mood swings and types of music. The guitars here are delivered at the onset in a pure Metal delivery…with the galloping pace reverberating through your spine…suddenly you have breaks and different melodies occurring all at once…leaving you wonder where this is all going to end up…..you go in and out of the journey….with detours and sidetracks…but you are always brought back home. This is incredible.

Prequel To The Sequel—-Beginning with a huge progressive feel that makes me thing of Yes, this has a pace to it that is so damn pleasant. This is definitely the personification of Progressive….the music literally weaves it self around you as you fall into the groove of the song that comes at you from all sides. The vocal re-emerges….in the aggressive Death yell that is consistent throughout the release…but it all fit together in an almost perfect fashion. This is just so good. I hate to say I have owned this release for at least 10 years and never gave it a listen…that is what happens when you collect…so many great bands never get the attention they deserve from your ears. My favorite track from this release!

Viridian—-Beginning so quiet that the sound almost sounds like silence as the song begins to take shape with an intricate acoustic guitar and beautiful keyboards. Stark…naked and incredibly beautiful……such diversity with this band.

White Walls—-Returning to full form to lead us out of the release, the aggression is in full force and blistering in delivery. The different vocal styles always leave you guessing as to what is coming next….a true sign of a great band. I can’t say enough good things about this band or this release….truly a masterpiece to be listened to and savored over and over again.

***** out of 5

 

 

 

Loudwire.com 2006 Metal Album Of The Year—-Mastodon / Blood Mountain

Blood Mountain

Blood Mountain is the third full-length studio album and major label debut by American heavy metal band Mastodon. The recording of the album finished in April 2006 and it was released on September 12 in the UK and September 12, 2006 in North America through Reprise Records. The album in full could be streamed at the band’s MySpace page a few days prior to the release.

Like Mastodon’s previous studio work Leviathan, Blood Mountain is a concept album. According to bassist Troy Sanders, “It’s about climbing up a mountain and the different things that can happen to you when you’re stranded on a mountain, in the woods, and you’re lost. You’re starving, hallucinating, running into strange creatures. You’re being hunted. It’s about that whole struggle.” Guitarist Bill Kelliher considers this album to represent the earth element. At the time, bassist Troy Sanders called it “sonically the best album we have done.” The band’s emphasis on clean, melodic vocals instead of the harsher vocals that the band used on their early work continues to grow on this album.

The album includes guest appearances by Scott Kelly of Neurosis on “Crystal Skull”, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age on “Colony of Birchmen“, as well as keyboard player Isaiah “Ikey” Owens and singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala of The Mars Volta on “Pendulous Skin” and “Siberian Divide”, respectively.

The Analysis—-

The Wolf Is Loose—-Sounds literally seem to come at you from all directions at the opening of this release. The musical delivery seems even more aggressive than on the previous Leviathan release. The vocal has a menacing quality that allows you to step back with an impressed smug on your face. This is progression…but never loses the epic feel of the band.

Crystal Skull—-The listener really must notice the sludgier feel to this release than on those previous released. The feel of the record…although epic…sounds muddier and vocally disorganized at times…..while the music continues to impress with volume and experimentation. This is dirtier…but really still pleasant to listen to…even casually.

Sleeping Giant—-Melodic and damn pleasant, this in itself is a journey to behold. The huge epic crashes of the music…the muddled vocal that seems to fit the deep heavy murkiness of the music like a glove. This is an incredible song…..you sometimes hear Ozzy in the vocal…..it’s easy to imagine….a different time…a different place.

Capillarian Crest—-I love this song…..everything about it has an intensity and aggressive edge that speaks to me. The vocal is eerie in it’s sound…the music comes at you so fast and hard…there just seems to be layers and layers of different sounds to the song…at times the unending riff can make you lose your mind….but only in a good way. This is just fantastic.

Circle Of Cysquatch—-Beginning with an almost bright guitar line that dissolves in the deepness of the drums and the bass line, the vocal that accompanies this is crazy!!!!  Maniacal in sound and at times this reminds me of Lemmy from Motorhead. This is loud…layered and crowded….but that only adds to the epic sound of the damn thing.

Bladecatcher—-Building and building and then meticulous in the quaint melody line…..only to be slapped in the forehead by the intense and manic sound of the mayhem that ensues. The structure of the song remains intact…but it is so schizophrenic in delivery that it is hard to keep my attention.

Colony Of Birchmen—-Much more accessible from the onset, this still sounds like a lost Sabbath record to me at times. I love the vocal overlays…giving the song a body and melody. The tripiness of the music is unmistakable…this is like a high that won’t leave you be…lol. This all seems to grow more experimental as it progresses….but I can say…the band always keeps the core sound intact.

Hunters Of The Sky—-Epic and really well constructed. This has a masculine sound to it that makes me want to expend energy and lose my mind. I love the layered vocals…giving a texture that seems to ride on top of the music…..the incredible fast bass line steers the ship…and the drums will give you a hemorrhage….but otherwise great…lol

Hand Of Stone—-Muddled and crowded with huge epic sounds only add to the epic feel of this track. This is so psychedelic in sound…..the music all seems to go in a million directions but is somehow magically held together to create a huge lush Viking sounding track that makes me want to embrace the cold and the snow……just magical.

This Mortal Soil—-Slowing things down a bit at the onset, one wonders where this is all going to go. The guitars are layered with a texture I can’t quite describe…..the drums almost silent in the background as the repetitive melody opens up and becomes something epic and concise. The vocal seems to plead with you….begs you to pay attention and embrace the desolation. The interspersed almost spoken delivery breaks everything up….and this quaint song becomes an epic track of unmatched proportion. Just incredible!!!

Siberian Divide—-Continuing much in the vein as we would expect, this track has some beautiful elements to it. The guitars at times gentle before they explode and smack you in the face while the vocal pummels your gut. This is exquisite in construction…I would love to see how this band comes up with the shape shifting feel of the songs all the time…no wonder it takes awhile…you can never rush genius.

Pendulous Skin —-Ending the release with a 22 minute opus seems overblown…..but what else could you ask for. Combining all the elements of the album…..muddled bass lines…..erratic vocals…….intense guitar lines….a melody line that disappears and reappears magically. The end track is a mini release all of it’s own. Enjoy…..

**** out of 5

 

 

 

 

Loudwire.com 2002 Metal Album Of The Year—-Agalloch / The Mantle

The Mantle

Agalloch was an American metal band formed in 1995 in Portland, Oregon, led by vocalist/guitarist/drummer John Haughm. They released five full-length albums, four EPs, two singles, one split single, two demos, four compilation albums and one live video album. They announced their disbandment in May 2016.

The Mantle is the second album by American metal band Agalloch. The album was released on August 13, 2002 by The End Records.

The Analysis—-

Celebration For The Death Of Man—-Surprisingly gentle and serene at the onset, this has the feel of a movie soundtrack to the opening strains. The guitar is intricate and ushers in an underlying darkness that seems to build around your head as the track progresses. It melds magically into…..

In The Shadow Of Our Pale Companion—-The strains of the previous track continue as the song begins….interspersed with bright spots of guitars and an emerging drum line. This truly does play like the soundtrack to an epic dark movie. There is a definite folk sound to the music. I keep waiting for something and then it is there….the evil beguiled vocal that sounds whispered in a Lord Of the Rings style evil and darkness….interspersed with a melodic somewhat clean vocal. Really nice.

Odal—-If there is a complaint to be found with this band, it is perhaps the one speed nature of the music. there is often no variance to the very long compositions that seem to drudge on and on. This track has a bit more life…thanks to some spacey guitars that leave you almost nodding off as the go on and on. This is music really built for true modern day stoners that need little or no hype to their music. This is epic and movie ready.

I Am The Wooden Doors—-Finally there is some real breath laid to this record as the guitars and drums magically come alive and give you something you have been dying for since this all began….some noise and formulation to the dread. This has a really nice sound to it….and the vocal is ghastly and filled with the type of mystery that really gets me going. I love the entire make=up of this track,,,finally I have something a bit heavier to sink my teeth into. There are nice melodic interludes that break up the song and give it a certain beauty before you are swept back down in the moody darkness…..nice!

The Lodge—-Just as quickly, I find myself walking on a snow packed movie set filled with the pretty guitars and atmospheric delivery that has propelled this release thus far. Although the guitars are clearer and filled with a bit more structure, this all sounds like one long movie with no picture.

You Were But A Ghost In My Arms—-We continue on and I am pleased with the very large feel of this track from the onset…the power dies away for an acoustic sound….but the underlying hum returns and you have  in my opinion the best track on this release. The vocal is outstanding…the music gives just the right amount of variance and the drums are incredible….I really like this. Cold….dark and just a tad bit evil. Stellar!

The Hawthorn Passage—-This, at the onset is another great song…there is a guitar progression that plays and seems to steer the song along…while the bass line keeps a steady generic pace. The drums are great again…I like the melody line….there is real substance here…..the song has a wispy feel that sounds nothing like the first half of this record. This is fantastic….I have no complaints here….even if the song is repetitive….the feel of the music keeps it moving along. I love this! Such a great song!!!!

….And The Great Cold Death Of The Earth—-seeming to pick up musically from the previous track, the music is so much fuller and full of atmosphere. The vocal emerges….clean and full of an edge that inspires urgency and a slight sadness. The feel of the song is so huge….and full of an ambiance you would not expect from a recording such as this. This latter half of the record is truly ground breaking…..

A Desolation Song—-Ending the release with the same intricate beauty that it began with, the sound is much more in line with the latter half of the recording. There is a bleakness and feeling of hopelessness as this all comes to a close. It is starkly beautiful and full of waves of emotional music. This is really fantastic.

**** out of 5

Loudwire.com 2001 Metal Album Of The Year—-Tool / Lateralus

Lateralus

Lateralus (/ˌlætəˈræləs/[2]) 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.

The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling more than 555,200 copies in its first week of release. 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. Lateralus was ranked No. 123 on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame‘s “Definitive 200” list.

The Analysis—-

The Grudge—-Kicking off the release with a decidedly Prog feel, the bass heavy intro sends swirls of atmosphere around your head. The vocal enters….and then you get sharp bursts of music followed by atmosphere and then more  sharp blasts. The vocal sounds a bit tortured and filled with a desperation and hurt that is almost painful. There are huge epic moments……I like this….but I just have to admit right out…I’ve never been a big fan.

Eon Blue Apocalypse—-Jangly guitar and a instrumental swirl adds to the dankness of the record here. It is short lived and experimental in sound….one of those famed interludes.

The Patient—-There is no other word for this music than experimental and progressive. Everything seems so layered in different sounds and tones…..you never quite no where the song is going to go. The vocal is classic Alternative in sound….delivered with angst and huge flourishes of expression. I just can’t seem to find any structure to these songs…..there are some brilliant huge elements to the song…which I like. I just wish it all felt like it was meaning something to me personally.

Mantra—-Another odd little interlude that leads us towards…..

Schism—-With what seems to be the centerpiece of this release, the music has little variance from that we have heard thus far. The vocal is much more upfront in the song…with overlays that make it more textured and layered. The whole thing just takes so long to really get started and formulate for me. I don’t hate this…but I will say….Tool has never produced a song I’m in love with. Just not my band I guess….and that is why we are all different.

Parabol—-Odd at the onset and full of desolate sounds and vocals, this is rather haunting and pretty at times. I can tap into the emotional quality of the vocal and the stripped bare instrumentation….but I keep waiting for something more….but I can’t find it. Perhaps I lack taste….lol

Parabola—-And finally the song becomes alive with this built in sequel to the monotony of the previous track. This has a magic melody line that sucked me in right away…I actually rather like this….it has powerful guitars…incredible drums and still maintains the tortured vocal of the previous track. Really nice!

Ticks And Leeches—-A huge drum intro……building and building….filling me with the promise of something grand to become of all of this. The guitars are interesting and then the drums seem to explode…leading you into a journey of a vocal I have never heard from this band. this is pretty stellar…who knew Maynard had it in him to scream like that and deliver lines full of such venom. Pretty good second half of the release for me…I rather like this.

Lateralus—-Returning to the more familiar experimental sounds of earlier tracks, this song seems to take a lifetime to formulate any kind of clear direction. Suddenly huge guitars blast you and you find yourself back in a comfortable range. The vocal comes on the stage….sounding nothing like the last few tracks…..we are again sitting in Alternative-Progressive slop. This is not a favorite……there are high points….but the whole thing is too damn moody for me.

Disposition—-Sounding, at the onset, like everything else mundane on this record. Where is the energy and the vigor…this is all to flat for me…..the guitars are forever and a lifetime to get going….the drums are nowhere…the odd instrumentation rubbing on my cerebellum like a cheese grater. Please…….enough already.

Reflection—-I literally feel empty and without inspiration at this point……there is nothing here that comes close to appealing to me. I could not imagine sitting through an entire concert of this. Really…..and people simply adore this band.

Triad—-Coming back with a bit of steam after the tedious feel of the last few tracks, I still find a lack of inspiration and direction. This is just experimental noise that does nothing for me.

Faalp De Oiad—-I’m done!

**1/2 out of 5