You’d easily be forgiven for initially thinking that the album opener, vicarious is actually a remix of Schism. This song is a combination of everything Tool has done before and (musical) references previous songs can be heard throughout. Before the song was even over I came to the conclusion that this was Lateralus’s last stand and that from this point on nothing would be quite like it was in Lateralus (with “I need to watch things die, from a distance” being the prominent lyric in the chorus).
Jambi starts off almost like a death metal song would but right at the point where you’d expect a Scandinavian death growl to join proceedings, Maynards melodic voice intervenes as does Danny with some beautiful tribal drum beats! The bass line is also mesmeric (a word you’ll see me use to describe many elements of Tool’s genius). The highlight of the song has to be Adam’s seductive guitar solo in the middle of the song which is something that’s right out of Tom Morellos books but sprinkled with a bit of Adam’s magic to make it as captivating as it is!
10 years a go, Third Eye won over a sizeable proportion of my heart. It was a song of epic proportions that for 13 straight minutes never ceased to amaze me. 10 years later and I fear that Wings for Marie (Part I) and 10,000 Days will do the same. Once I hear that opening guitar I’m drawn in. My attention is purely focused on the musical and lyrical articulation that follows – I could be raped and wouldn’t notice! Part II is a eulogy to Maynards mother. The song undoubtably deals with faith. I think it’s about him eventually coming to terms and beginning to respect his mothers beliefs (she was a devout Christian). The words “10,000 Days in the fire is long enough, you’re going home” are possibly the best lyrics I have ever heard. Adam, Danny, Justin and Maynard are at their best. This is musical perfection! Tool have taken the best elements from not only their own songs but from other influential bands and have produced a sound that I’ve never heard before, yet sounds so familiar to my eager ears!
“t’fuck?” was my first reaction to The Pot. It’s intro is so unlike Tool. Maynard sings in an unusual high voice which makes him sound identical to Will Young! After the initial quirky intro, the song reverts back to something that we’d expect to hear from Tool. But I’d like to point out that it’s never WHAT I would expect to hear from them. Always different yet always in the vincinity of what I expect. It’s this formula that makes this song very accessible. It’s experimental and accessible to fans of other genres but retains an element of toolishness that will ensures it will please fans.
Lipan Conjuring is filler (or seque as Tool call them). Sounds like spoons being banged together a long with some chanting and on occassion someone blowing some air between two sheets of paper. Not really much more I can say about it except for at the start I thought that it was going break into “A wimba wa, A wimba wa. In the jungle, the mighty jungle”. It didn’t though.
Lost Keys initially seems to be another seque. But about half way through it a conversation is introduced which appears to be between a psychologist and a patient.”You need to talk to us, what happened, tell me everything…” “Alrighthy then” a voice replies and all of a sudden the next song, Rosetta Stoned erupts into a robotic fury. There seem to be references to the album Aenima at this point particularly “Pushit”. Although unlike most people, I’m looking at this album as something new, not recycled. The song is nearing it’s peak at 8 minutes, you can sense that they are getting ready to throw something truly groundbreaking at you and that’s exactly what they do! A sublime melodic verse from Maynard is supported by the best drumming I’ve ever heard by Danny and some insane work by Justin and Adam!
Thankfully we’re given some time to recover from that tour de force in the form of Intension, a incredibly experimental song with Maynard chanting and whispering throughout. A very moody song but one of the weaker songs on the album.
Initially the penultimate song Right In Two seems relaxed, almost as if the album was beginning to wind down. All is not as it seems though and soon enough the song begins to pick up pace, explodes and then subsides before once again erupting like a mushroom cloud for one last relentless assault on your ears. Everything combines to form a hypnotic entity. This is new Tool and I like it!
Finally we reach the last song,Viginti Tres which is nothing but machinery sounds for 5 minutes. I’d like to speculate that the song wasn’t fully ripped and that there’s an easter egg at the end of it but the album is already pushing on 77 minutes which doesn’t leave much time for anything magnificent to be introduced.