Mind-Bending Philosophies Used in Progressive Metal Band: Tool’s “Lateralus”


The Fibonacci Sequence: a sequence in which every number after the first two are the sum of the previous two numbers. By using the drums and crafting the lyrics in a certain way, Tool’s song “Lateralus” is executed in a way that portrays the Fibonacci Sequence, once used by the intelligent Mozart and Leonardo da Vinci, in a beautiful manner. The breakdown of this sequence is found in the syllabic patterns created by the drums and lyrics. Tool’s “Lateralus” accomplishes this hard-to-do task by building up the Fibonacci Sequence in the first verse of the song, and then climbing down it when reaching a certain peak of the sequence. The drums in the song change time signatures which ultimately create another pattern named the Golden Ratio. With Maynard James Keenan’s vocals starting at 01:37, which is approximately 1.618 minutes, it creates the Golden Ratio. The Golden Ratio is defined as “The exposition consists of 38 bars and the development and recapitulation consists of 62. The first movement as a whole consists of 100 bars. 62 divided by 38 equals 1.63 (approximately the Golden Ratio)” (Rizzi ClassicFM.com). Tool’s complex usage of music elements elevates their music. 

The verses also contain significance in that the verses are 55 seconds long, which is also the eleventh number in the Fibonacci Sequence. Being a complicated topic, one could delve into it for hours and hours, pages and pages. At the end of the day, many factors tie into this song and the album as well to create the complex ideologies once used thousands of years ago by scientists and philosophers.

Tool is a band that utilizes math and science in their music to create more complex themes and abilities in the music world. Their fans are truly dedicated to the music that is produced by them. Tool has created music aside from their most popular album Lateralus, including other albums such as Ænema and my personal favorite 10,000 Days. If you are a person that is interested in getting into metal, and are a math person, I totally recommend checking Tool out.