Tool’s metal work

'Lateralus' leads slew of new albums atop chart

Rock ‘n’ roll reclaimed the album charts this week, as math-metal powerhouse Tool led a parade of new releases dominating the rankings, including works by Weezer and R.E.M.

As foreshadowed by retailers’ reports of brisk sales over the past several days, Tool’s “Lateralus” (Tool Dissectional/Volcano/Zomba) commandeered the No. 1 spot, scanning more than 555,000 copies in the week ended Sunday, according to SoundScan figures.

A manager at the Union Square outpost of Gotham-area retailer the Wiz said his 90 copies of “Lateralus” sold out in a day, forcing him to turn customers away following the band’s sold-out show at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom on Sunday.

“If I’d had 200 more copies of that record, I could have sold them out too,” he said.

Close competition

But the band’s reign at the top could be short-lived: “Break the Cycle,” the second LP from Elektra hard-rock act Staind, is currently on track to top Tool’s performance next week, label sources said. If those trends hold, it would mark the first time in months that back-to-back rock albums topped the charts.

Rap diva Missy Elliott’s “Miss E … So Addictive” (Elektra) secured the No. 2 spot with sales of 251,000 in its debut week, shouldering “Survivor” (Columbia) by Destiny’s Child into third place.

Following the R&B trio were nerd-rockers Weezer, who rebounded from obscurity to move more than 215,000 copies of its self-titled third album. Launched into the mainstream in 1994 by the success of its single “The Sweater Song,” Weezer had fallen from the limelight; its last LP “Pinkerton,” released five years ago, met with critical raves but anemic sales.

Back to future

A pair of legendary 1980s groups also got a reprise this week: “Reveal” (Warner), the latest effort from Athens, Ga., jangle-pop masters R.E.M., opened at No. 6, and “Exciter” (Warner), by electronica forerunners Depeche Mode bowed at No. 8.

Dropping to ninth place from second was “Wingspan” (Capitol), a collection of post-Beatles work by Paul McCartney. Sales of the compilation slumped 51% in its second week to 107,000.

In an unexpectedly strong showing, speed-metal perennials Megadeth came in at 16 with “World Needs a Hero,” its first release since signing to the label of U.K. management firm Sanctuary Group.

The soundtrack to “A Knight’s Tale” (Columbia) got a healthy bump, rising from 100 to 42 amid sales gains of nearly 85%, following the film’s opening weekend. But ready-made pop group Eden’s Crush’s debut album “Popstars” (London/Sire) didn’t fare as well: the LP slipped 20 spots to 46 in its third week of release, with sales declining by 37%.

Meanwhile, Tool’s “Lateralus” also caused a stir in the nether reaches of the top 200: A Perfect Circle’s “Mer de Noms” (Virgin), which includes vocals by Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan, re-entered the charts at 167.

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