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Tool - 10,000 Days CD (album) cover

10,000 DAYS

Tool

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.82 | 691 ratings

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Vanwarp
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Tool's unique style of dark/alternative/artful/progressive music coupled with troubling lyrics and especially their imaginative videos have all assisted in catapulting the band to superstardom over the years. In addition to 10,000 Days, they have three other very impressive studio albums in their back catalog: Undertow, Ænima and Lateralus...

There's a 45 second instrumental intro to the opening track "Vicarious" that segues into a much heavier 20 second passage before quieting down for the verses. I was surprised at the simplicity of it all, even if the music is very much progressive in nature, this only makes the album a little less accessible to the mainstream masses. The simplicity comes from one guitar, one bass and one drummer with some layered overdubs. The music is not as layered as say Katatonia who happen to share much in common with Tool on their very own 2006 release The Great Cold Distance. I'm going to be making some comparisons between the two throughout this review as I analyze and evaluate 10,000 Days. Anyway, back to the opening track, the 5/4 time signature, our infatuation with tv and needing to "watch things die" makes this song an absolute marvel.

The simplicity, from a metalhead's viewpoint, is even more evident on the second track "Jambi." There are moments on this one where the bass work reminded me of Pink Floyd, and other moments where I wondered if this was not Katatonia? One of the biggest differences between the two is in song length. Katatonia has a tendency to keep their songs below the 5 minute mark and keeping most instrumental interludes to a minimum (20 or 30 seconds max) while Tool embellish them and often for much more than a minute at a time on this release. "Jambi" is more straightforward in approach, but the layers of guitar licks really help to create this catchy groove that permeates throughout the song. The multi-layered guitar licks is something Katatonia embellish a lot though.

The almost 2 minutes in length instrumental intro to "Wings For Marie Pt 1" is a perfect example of what I've been talking about here regarding the long-winded interludes. Again, can't help but mention the simplicity of the music of the first 4 minutes before the very heavy 20 second break and the shift to the atmospheric 2 minute ending. This all serves as the appetizing intro to "Wings Pt 2."

The soft opening to " 10,000 Days (Wings Pt 2) " and Maynard's dry vocal delivery works particularly well for me. I love the bass lick, the delicate guitar work, the thunder effects in the background, I simply fell for the downtrodden feel of this one. I was really impressed with Jones emotional guitar work that appears before the thundering and very energetic moment just before the soft atmospheric ending...this song is a tribute to Maynard's mother. Awesome piece of work!

Maynard opens "The Pot" a capella. More simplistic work with the bass, electric guitar and drums in tow. Don't get me wrong here, the band works hard at adding complex little musical moments, but from a metal standpoint this is as simple as it gets. I mean, this is like Pink Floyd on steroids or better yet, take Katatonia's multi-layered music on The Great Cold Distance which is like 10 times heavier and more complex than anything you'll find here. Don't let the title fool you, the theme of the song is actually about hypocrisy...

"Lipan Conjuring" sounds like a native indian chant and is nothing more than an atmospheric interlude while "Lost Keys" sounds like a mess. There's this extended monotone opening warning sound that annoys the hell out of me. This is a little excessive and does not work for me...even if it was meant as the introduction to the next track.

"Rosetta Stoned" on the other hand, is a little more guitar driven. The FX on the vocals works particularly well again. I was most impressed with the music, I really like the energy created here. This is one of the heavier tracks on the album and it contains more experimental elements such as layered overdubs of voice effects. There's a simplistic guitar lick recurring throughout the song, not very bothersome at all though. Percussion loops accompany Chancellor throughout the track and helps to add complexity to the music. The guitar solo at the end is particularly effective and this track has perhaps one of the strongest ending. This is definitely one of the more rhythmically technical tracks on the album. Maynard tells the story of a man contacted by aliens while he was "stoned" on drugs.

I think the band's "Intension" on the very next track was to create a soft, atmospheric, experimental moment. I was driving home when I first got the CD when I heard the bells/siren ringing and I looked around to see where they were coming from. OK, I was fooled by the music, but come on, could have happened to anybody? lol

The opening moments of "Right in Two" immediately reminded me of Katatonia, while the latter would not have hesitated to go heavy very early on in the song, Tool prefer the slow build up approach. This is the other big distinction between the two, Katatonia are more straightforward, less build up, they have this lets anti-up the heaviness approach while Tool are quite the opposite. But the sound and tone, the style of music is very very similar even if the song composition and music can be quite different at times. Maynard compares humans to monkeys and how fighting for land often leads humans to animal instincts.

Instrumental sound effects and a deep voice close out the album in atmospheric bliss..."Viginti Tres."

Even if I'm not completely sold on the album as a whole, 10,000 Days is a very well rounded disc with a good mix of straightforward tracks like "Vicarious", "Jambi", "The Pot", "Rosetta Stoned" ; and the more lengthier progressive experimental tracks such as " 10,000 Days ", "Right In Two" and lets not forget the soft atmospheric experimental moments of "Wings For Marie Pt 1", "Lipan Conjuring", "Lost Keys", "Intension" and "Viginti Tres."

When you consider that some of the longer tracks also include soft atmospheric experimental passages, to many of them does not make an album complete. 10,000 Days is not a very heavy album at all and it only includes about 40 minutes of actual meat and potatoes. The rest is ambient music for those who enjoy the slow building tension that is often found on many progressive albums.

The album gets 4 stars for lyrical content, 5 stars for production, 4 stars for song composition and 3 stars for the overall music content. Average Overall Rating: 4 Stars. This means the album will still be on high rotation in your CD player after 50 spins or long after the probationary listening period has come and gone.

Vanwarp | 4/5 |

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