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Tool - 10,000 Days CD (album) cover

10,000 DAYS



Experimental/Post Metal

3.87 | 949 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Unfortunately after much debate and an extra listen after I took my notes to make sure of it, I'm forced to conclude that TOOL's latest album only merits a 2.5 for me. TOOL is a band that's been around for 16 years and spent five in the process of creating the follow-up to their masterpiece Lateralus. To be fair, following an album of that genius would have been almost impossible for anyone--but after this much time and the experience and even financial means TOOL should have been able to bring to bear on the writing and production, I expected better and did not get it.

That's not to say that 10,000 Days is an unmitigated disaster--and when it's good, it's great. "Wings for Marie (Pt. 1)" and "10,000 Days (Pt. 2)" in particular are outstanding: here KEENAN shows off the full dynamic range of his vocals and the lyrics cleverly walk the line between faith and faithlessness in a way that seems more like OPETH than anyone. In fact, OPETH's Morningrise, especially the softer interlude of "The Night and the Silent Water" comes to mind when I hear this suite. It is interesting to note that OPETH absorbed some of TOOL's atmospheres on both Damnation and their most recent Ghost Reveries--but beyond this suite and "Intension," "Right in Two," and yes, even "Vigenti Tres," it seems largely absent here.

Rather, TOOL seems to return to its earlier days here, and even without having heard their pre-Lateralus albums, it's quite obvious this means a return to a cruder time in both a lyrical and musical sense. In terms of technicality, I should be clear that aside from a lack of dynamism to KEENAN's vocals, and the faint mixing of them compared to the music, nothing is lacking production- and playing-wise. In this way, the experience is akin to my perspective on DREAM THEATER's Scenes from a Memory: individually many songs are at least somewhat pleasant to listen to--a few even extremely good. Put together, though, the album runs on too long and all but a few star songs blend into obscurity. In an ironic twist, even my CD player seems to balk at trying to fully read this album.

Unfortunately for those parts of 10,000 Days that could have been used to create an album that could've come close to Lateralus, there are such undistinguished numbers as "Jambi" and "The Pot," and the underdeveloped "Lipan Conjuring." However, while these are still listenable, by far the greatest disappointment was "Lost Keys (Blame Hoffman)"/"Rosetta Stoned." At first, this suite seemed to have the makings of a great conceptual piece like a mini-The Human Equation in both theme and atmosphere. At the same time, I was reminded of QUEENSRYCHE's Operation: Mindcrime, and that should have been a warning. Immediately with the transition into "Rosetta Stoned," this piece descended into the same kind of vulgarity-for-the-sake-of-sales that riddled Mindcrime--and to judge from the parental advisory stickers on TOOL's earlier albums, their previous works. Shocking images can have their place--OPETH's Still Life certainly ends with one...but what OPETH understands is that the image is best left vague to a certain degree; beyond the intimations of the lyrics, clever atmospherics on the part of the band and the imagination of the listener ought to combine to do the rest.

A "climactic" line like "godd*mn--sh*t the bed" just goes and throws all of that mystique away.

While none of the other songs on the album are quite that boorish in content, it is enough to leave a very bad taste in the mouth of one who favors sophistication over cheap shock. In the end, despite my best efforts to like this album that came in such fancy packaging, it's clear that 10,000 Days will soon go the way of Scenes from a Memory, an album packaged with equal pretentiousness in purposeless solos: burned to the hard drive and occasionally sampled in pieces...the enjoyable pieces, anyway. The album itself I'll probably sell, and based on this disappointment I am unlikely to ever trust enough to purchase another TOOL album without hearing it first in its entirety. I had hoped that they had outgrown their immature past, but apparently not. Casual and non-fans would be advised to consider carefully before purchase.

FloydWright | 2/5 |


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