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Tool - 10,000 Days CD (album) cover

10,000 DAYS

Tool

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.83 | 694 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Tool's first album since 2001's Lateralus has them treading into unmarked territory (at least for them). Let me say this first and get it out of the way, if you're looking for Lateralus II, you won't find many connections with that album (except maybe in the first track). In their 16 years of existence as a band, Tool have released four studio albums, one live album and an EP, the fourth studio album being this one. I'll also say that along with Ænima that this is my favorite Tool album, as there aren't really many sore spots, except for some meaningless interlude tracks between the more exciting pieces. This album is a 70 minute journey that will have you at the edge of your seat, as there are many twists and turns in the sound and the variances between the lighter more atmospheric sections are quite stunning and ultimately very creative at the same time.

The opening track is really the only thing on the album that has any connection with the previous album, that song being Vicarious. The unison and disorderly riffing from Jones and Chancellor combined with the bells from Carey coming into the staggering 5/4 main riff is quite brilliant if you ask me. Chancellor and Carey are superb in the rhythm section and Jones offers some nice counterpoints with his precision riffing before going into the solo middle section and the closing ending section (with a fantastic start stop riff). Fantastic opener in the end. Jambi follows with a consistent 9/8 guitar theme from Jones and slowly the other members of the group add in to the sound (especially the spacey bass sound from Chancellor), but Jones remains the foundation of the piece. Jones also unleashes a wicked talk box solo towards the end to round off the song nicely, though it does meander around the same riffs. Wings for Marie is an atmospheric introduction to the epic 10,000 Days. It contains dancing guitar melodies (heavily echoed and delayed) and a spacey bass line with some nice underlying percussion from Carey and Keenan's quiet almost spoken vocals. It's a pretty cool piece, but doesn't really go anywhere for the length that it is. 10,000 Days (which is Wings Pt. 2 where Marie was Wings Pt. 1), though, makes up for it. It begins where Wings for Marie left off with dancing guitar and bass melodies and consistent drum work from Carey before picking up in intensity (mixed storm effects also queue in this dynamic change). Although it's a slow buildup to the climax around the 9 minutes, it comes off successfully and really hits a heavy ending with powerful riffing from all fronts. The Pot begins with Keenan's vocals over a tabla/bass groove that soon brings in an crushing main riff that relies on an ascending lead and resulting feedback. It's an ok piece but not something I would call brilliant, although the riffing is pretty killer.

Lipan Conjuring and Lost Keys (Blame Hofmann) follow and are probably the most useless tracks on the album (along with Viginti Tres, but there's something to it that makes it worthwhile if you read Zitro's review you'll see what). Lipan Conjuring is just chanting for a minute and adds nothing spectacular (or even anything at all) to the album, and Lost Keys is essentially what Wings for Marie was to 10,000 Days for Rosetta Stoned, an instrumental interlude that rather than waste another track on could have been added on. All it is is guitar feedback and a repetetive guitar riff played over and over again. Rosetta Stoned, though, makes up for it. The alternating 4/4 to 5/8 riffing in the intro is really cool and Keenan's distorted vocals add a sense of tension to the sound. Alternating 5/8 and 6/8 (or is it 11/8) make up the main vocal sections and staggering start stop riffing comprise a key component to the vocal performance. It's not the best song on the album, but it's among my favorites. Intension is a mellower piece that has a heavy bass presence and Danny utlizing the tabla to compliment the more light atmosphere (despite the bass being very heavy here). Jones unveils a mixed guitar riff underneath a dynamic bass line and Carey using some electronic drumming. It's a song filled with noodling and what some would call filler but I like the instrumental prowess of the group. Right in Two is my favorite piece on the album, as it has all the elements of a great song and surpasses them all. A great main guitar melody (in 11/4) is played is subtle variations throughout the piece (along with mixed percussion and tabla from Carey and some well timed guitar harmonics), and what begins as a quiet more psychedelic piece ends as a full blown rocker with a staggering riff towards the middle of the song. Keenan's lyrics and vocals are also superb at all parts of the piece, but the music is the main draw as it is nothing short of fantastic. Fantastic 9 minute rocker and the last true piece on the album. The album ends with Viginti Tres, which is more or less a 5 minute soundscape that is probably one of the most useless pieces I've ever heard. It does end the album on a desolate and frightening note, as the song does has a spooky atmosphere to it that is pretty enjoyable.

In the end, I think you can't go more right with a purchase of 10,000 Days. Although there are some meaningless tracks that act more as filler than anything else, there are a lot of really strong pieces that make up for them. It's not a masterpiece, but it's damn close to one and is tied with Ænima as my favorite Tool album. Highly recommended. 4.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |

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