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Tool - 10,000 Days CD (album) cover

10,000 DAYS



Experimental/Post Metal

3.86 | 872 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Without a doubt, 5 stars.

NOTE : Listen to this album with headphones!!!

I do not consider myself a tool fanboy, and I never care to go to the tool website and forums if there are some. This review is completely unbiased as a result, and is given after a dozen listens long after the album "hit" me with its musical brilliance. I believe that Tool progressed after each album immensely. While the trademark sound is always there, the quality and style of the music is more sophisticated, better, and somewhat different. First, they had Opiate: a short, angry album I never enjoyed. Undertow had some great bass playing, better melodies, and influences on Art-rock. Aenima had more complex songwriting with some amazing art-rock passages in some songs and a psychedelic epic at the end. Lateralus is even mathematical in its songwriting and is a technical monstruosity with almost no anger present, althrough it feels a bit mechanical sometimes. 10,000 days takes you to another world for 70+ minutes and does not have that mechanical feel anymore (with an exception of the guitar riffs in Jambi). While it's a masterpiece on its own, it feels like a part of Tool, reusing some ideas in their previous albums. For example, the lyrical themes bring back Aenima/Undertow with current issues such as hypocricy (The Pot). Also, while Lateralus' theme may be life and spirituality, in 10,000 days, there are many references to death.

The members exceeded themselves in this album as well, and sound as a cohesive unit as always.

- Maynard James Keenan: The lead vocalist and composer has an incredible voice and can hold notes for such long times. However, he seems to prefer being a bit less prominent here, as well as mellower. I love that change.

- Adam Jones: The guitars switch from delicate dense electric riffs to agressive rhythmic chords. He also uses new elements such as clean guitar on Right on Two and a talk box in Jambi. I consider him the least vituosic member in the band, but he manages to keep up the high quality of Lateralus and does not attempt to steal the show.

- Justin Chancellor: The bass guitarist plays even better than in Lateralus. The mellow deep bass tone is essential in the success of this album. However, when he changes his style to an extremely addictive groove in the beginning of "The Pot"

- Danny Carey: Drum freaks, I cannot think of any album that has better drumming and percussion than this one. The only ones that come close are Close to the Edge, Tarkus, One, Lateralus, and Meet The Flower Kings. IF you think that the drumming in those albums are incredible, you have to think that there can be even better drumming. He is very versatile, playing aggressive, intricate polyrhythms, tablas, and even electronic percussion. I am awed when listening to this dude, he is incredible here!

Ok, lets go to the journey with me if you listened to the album, or get a summary of what it is about if you haven't heard it yet.

Vicarious: A wonderful start. It has a harmony of thick bass guitar with a mellow guitar riffs. One minute in, a heavy guitar riff begins and the singing starts when the riff stops. The vocal performance is similar to Schism and the bass dominates in the verses. The song talks about how humankind takes pleasure of tragedy on the TV "I need to watch things Die" . The songs has many changes and turns even if it's a radio hit. IT is an absolutely phenomenal track with exceptional singing and probably the most accessible song in the album, even if it is complex and shapeshifting. This reminds me of "The Yes Album": making complicated music while being accessible. The main intro riff is played again and followed by a worthy finale initiated with a mesmerizing drum line. Amazing! 9/10

Jambi: One note guitar riffs dominate this song. The riff sounds simple but it seems to have a different time signature after each measure, or the measure itself is an unusual time signature. Also, it makes me imagine a machine gun for some reason. This is a song where you have to pay attention to the bass playing. Especially in those bass riffs that originate in musical silence. IS it just me or does the singing style in a couple of lyrics reminds you of the vocal style of Flower Kings' "Big Puzzle"? Again, this is a song that shafeshifts so much that I don't understand why some call it repetitive and noise. The talk box solo near the end is interesting, but it could have been much better. 8.5/10

Now, lets go to Wings For Marie, a two-part epic dedicated to his mother who lived paralyzed for 10,000 days as a result of a stroke until she died. If you think a song like "Wish you Were here" is absolutely emotional, check this one out. Tool's masterpiece.

Wings For Marie (part 1): The tool masterpiece starts after one minute when a delicate gutiar riff circles around your head (assuming you wear headphones). This song is extremely mellow and has almost whisper-like vocals, and appropiate percussion. The bass playing compliments the music perfectly with its dense playing. After 3 minutes, the guitar riff changes slightly and an incredible bass riff takes over until there's a short and sudden heavy part followed by an even mellower part that concludes part 1. Whispering and bass guitar are in unison while an ascending guitar riff marks the end of each measure. Wonderful song, really really wonderful song. 10.5/10

10,000 Days (part 2): Thunderstorm effects serve as a mood enhancer on this track that starts very mellow and dark. The bass initially makes the rhythm here and remember to keep paying attention to it as it is one of Justin's best performances. Maynard starts singing non-stop in that spiritual tone. When you think about the style of singing (and lyrics), you realize that this is not the stuff you normally hear on a song played by someone to a dead loved one. This does not sound at all maudlin nor cheesy. The guitar riff is brought back again with thunderbolt sound effects. Maynard then takes the spotlight and sings in a louder tone, while the other members follow him with their instruments. The climax is powerful and the conclusion is similar to the one in part 1. Amazing otherworldy song .10.5/10

The Pot comes as a surprise since the tone and style have nothing in common with the previous epic, especially in the vocalized intro. I love how it builds up. The bass that kicks in is extremely groovy, I love it!!! Then the percussion and guitars comes in and you got a heck of a catchy verse. The rest of the song is extremely well executed and has an "undertow" feeling. If this was in undertow instead, it would have been the best song in the album. It's surprising how many misunderstand the meaning of this song. It is not about pot, it is about hypocrisy. Again, where's the repetitiveness? I don't get it. 9/10

Lipan Conjuring sounds like a chanting tribe. Pretty cool actually.

Lost Keys is more like a bridge rather than a song. IT has a droning guitar sound that stays for like 2 minutes until it slides up. It used to make me nervous, but I got used to it. Another guitar is playing a slow and quite pretty riff repeated over and over again. After the droning guitar sound is over, there's a conversation between the doctor and a nurse. There are lots of gasps and neat sound effects and the song ends when the patient offers to tell the doctor something. An excellent trippy bridge. 9/10

Rosetta Stoned is like Third Eye II. It is an extremely heavy, insane, psychedelic, and complex tracks that goes over ten minutes like Third Eye was. The drumming here is excellent as well as the guitar playing. The lyrics makes me think that the patient overdosed on something. Man, he is really messed up! Anyways, the music is extremely complex here, making this the most challenging track in the record. I won't describe how it goes because it is long and has many changes. It is like a laberynth of sound. 8.5/10

Intension: The album is back on track after a less brilliant moment of the album "lipan -> rosetta" Intension is really a work of art and better than disposition (similar in style). Here, you can find Danny Carey at his very best, as well as all others. The beginning is extremely layered. There is percussion, multiple voices, soun effects, synths. The production is just unbelievable here. Ethereal overdubbed voices start and then a very deep and piercing bass guitar that gives me goosebumps. Then the bass and vocals combine (plus tabla drumming) into an incredibly beautiful moment of musical perfection. This song is very soothing and even hypnotic and makes me wonder what inspiration they got to create this musical tapestry. After that part, you get something even better!! You have a lateralus-like guitar riff and that incredible bass perfectly harmonized. Then, absolutely phenomenal electronic percussion dominate the track. This has to be the best drumming performance I have heard of all times, OMG, It could be possible to make me shed a tear of excitement! The percussion continues and now ethereal vocals combine with them to make the most beautiful piece of music I ever experienced from a metal band. The song ends by slowing down and utilizing some slow bass. This is my favourite song in the album. 11/10

Right On Two: The final proper song is a masterpiece. Starting with a bizarre clean acoustic riff harmonized with another guitar riff and Maynard talking about humans being like animals. The lyrics remind me of Roger Waters for sure, and are probably some of the best Maynard wrote along with Wings pt2. "Monkey killing monkey killing monkey over pieces of the ground. Silly monkeys, Give them thumbs, they make a club and beat their brother down." . The magnificent chorus sums up the meaning of the song. Humans are compared to monkeys and fight for land (countries). If you give them power, they attack others. The tabla drumming is excellent once again, especially during the short drum solo playing over a distorted guitar chord. It is a very accessible song that should be played in the radio, even if it a bit long. This song is better, deeper, and catchier than Vicarious and has magnificent climax. I love the vocals in this part as well as the extremely fast tempo. It is a perfect climax for a perfect album. The song ends with the acoustic riff plus a muted guitar riff. 11/10

Vigniti Tres: Atmospheric sound for 5 minutes. It is very freaky and in one part, you hear a very deep voice saying something like "Francisco" or "The System", I don't know. IT sounds a bit like Ions from Aenima, you might think it is filler, but It fits well into the album. 6/10

So, here you go. Listening to this album is like a journey, an experience. This album makes Lateralus seem like a dull transitional album. The songwriting, production, and inspiration is outstanding, and you should not dismiss it because it may not click on the first listens. Many negative reviews around the net are easy to disagree with, since they just want it to rock, or say its full of sound. It's not sound, it's music, and it's something that you should listen to.

An absolute masterpiece that should be considered a masterpiece and mentioned in music history as an artistic peak in modern music. This is my favourite album after the 70s and easily the best metal-related album I have heard so far. Also, the artwork is something else to talk about. Buy it and get ready for a surprise! Best album package I've seen in music.

Don't miss it!

Highlights: Vicarious, Wings pt1 and p2, Intension, Right on Two

My Grade : A+

PS: if you combine Vigniti Tres with Marie Part1 (in both orders) and play them at the same time with Wings pt2, you realize that they synchronize!! the Marie-vigniti order makes a complex intro with synchronized riffs and vocal harmonies with sound effects in the hard part and the "Franciscooo" voice followed by suddently distorted guitars while the following electrical charge going through your head mix perfectly with the mellow finale. The "Vigniti-Marie" combination seems to be calmer as the beginning has the sound effects (the francisco voice and electric charges appear at appropiate times) and the second half seem to have the same riffs synchronized at parts, making it less complex.

Zitro | 5/5 |


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