Artist : Tool
Album: 10,000 Days
Comments: Before I say another word, let me say this: the album is good. The band effectively restates their command over their instruments, and every inane time signature imaginable, while sticking to their trademark tightness. It is correct to say that all cylinders are firing in the area of the execution of the playing of the music, which is both difficult and demanding, while the band powers through most tracks methodically.
Right off the bat, the opening track, “Vicarious,” reasserts Tool’s prowess, power, and presence while simply rocking the listeners face. The second track, “Jambi,” is similar in its volume level and execution of Tool’s eerily mathematic style, and maintains the album’s pace. However, a gear switch is felt in the third track, “Wings for Marie (Part One).” Here the band taps into their other specialty: Atmospherics. Here the lead singer, Maynard Keenan, comes into focus with his ambient, quazi-prophetic lyrical tone. Vague ominous and biblical references lend themselves even further in track four, “10,000 Days (Wings Pt. 2),” to create the darkening imagery typical to past Tool releases. Track five is no reprieve as “The Pot” reasserts the ability of the rhythm section of Tool.
However, as the introduction concludes with track five, track six (or rather track seven because track six is a filler track) represents a crossroads for the album. The pace and integrity of the album thus far, which can be good or bad, is very intense and chock-full of everything that makes Tool what they are. Immediately after the filler, however, the album drops into what could be called ambient rock. Track seven and eight are paired, similarly to “Parabol” and “Parabola” from Lateralus, in the sense that they are thematically linked with the track seven leading into track eight. However, despite the fact that track eight, “Rosetta Stoned,” is one of the album’s strongest, the climax of the pairing is drawn out more than its cousin from Lateralus. Likewise, tracks nine and ten, another pairing, lack a sense of urgency or climax. Granted, they are presented as well organized ambient rock songs, but this is the conclusion of an album we are talking about. Track ten, “Right in Two,” does kick into gear in its final minutes, but not to the point where the conclusion of the project is evident. Finally, the final track of the album, “Viginiti Tres,” sounds like an electrical reproduction of a desk fan.
With all said and done, the album is good. However, it is not great. With an anticlimactic arrangement of tracks, the album almost concludes too early. Even so, at the actual conclusion of the album there is something amiss about the entire presentation of the album. Whereas previous albums, like Aenima, and Opiate, featured raw, edgy tracks like “Hooker with a Penis” and “Prison Sex,” 10,000 Days lacks that raw flavor that had been typical to previous Tool releases. The production of 10,000 Days is nearly flawless, however, production has never been one of Tool’s featured standpoints. In other words, the newly conceived focus on production seems to hem in the expansionist rawness that Tool has pioneered thus far.
To conclude, the album opens auspiciously and reasserts Tool’s place in the progressive metal scene. However, the album eventually falls into the grey area of inconclusiveness and an uncharacteristic sense of overproduction. However, this does not occur to the point of discrediting Tool. In fact, the album is still above the average cut, but this is Tool we are talking about.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Key Tracks: “Vicarious,” “10,000 days,” “The Pot,” and “Rosetta Stoned”
Worth the Money: Yes. Above average, longtime fans will likely be appeased and new fans will be intrigued.