How can we expect anything different from TOOL? With each album, they seem to get stranger and stranger, with obscure videos, lyrics, and imagery, and this album is no exception. Even as I tore the plastic off of it when I bought it, the album just came off as strange. What do we have here? From the transparent plastic slipcase, to the transparent booklet and jewel case showcasing the human anatomy in layers, among other things (something which is not clearly visible on the album scan, due to the difficulty of scanning something like that), I can tell there was some deep thought during the process of the packaging alone. One look at song titles like "Eon Blue Apocalypse", "Schism", "Lateralis", and "Faaip De Oiad", and the even more obscure song arrangements…well, let's just say these aren't your everyday song titles.
I have no idea why TOOL have found mainstream success, because they bear no resemblance to the rather simple bands like the KORNs and LIMP BIZKITs they are often lumped in with. Sure, they're no OPETH, but TOOL certainly did not release a collection of simple songs. Varying tempo changes throughout the songs. Long, slow moments of silence, often accompanied by a percussion performance, and followed by fits of rage from Maynard. There are few radio-friendly songs here, most going well over the six-minute-mark. Even their "radio song" ("Schism") is almost seven minutes long.
What can I say? This is another worthy album from TOOL. This band had a knack for writing excellent material. Catchy at times, mentally demanding at others. Danny Carey delivers another amazing performance on the drums, and it seems to me that most of the album is, in fact, percussion-driven. The music is the same old edgy stuff, with riffs aplenty, unlike the mellower A PERFECT CIRCLE. Maynard's voice has improved again, offering us more of a range, from soft, melodic moments (a good portion of "The Grudge"), to fits of rage and insanity ("Ticks And Leaches").
TOOL is METAL. And damn good METAL! Please don't let their commercial success prevent you from checking them out. They've been around long before this whole Nu-Metal thing came to pass, and have oceans and oceans more talent than any of them.