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Tool - 10,000 Days CD (album) cover

10,000 DAYS



Experimental/Post Metal

3.87 | 943 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Tool Finally Gets It Right

I have a bad habit of liking the album that follows the critic's favorite, which usually is a "maturing" of the band's sound. I loved Type O Negative's October Rust which felt like a consolidation of the band's sound after their uneven popular hit Bloody Kisses. Similarly, Tool's albums were always extremely unever affairs for me. Frankly, I rarely finished the entire disc with Aenima or Lateralus despite the fact that each had some great tracks. I never liked Adam Jones' minimalistic guitar style, and Maynard's pseudo-avant interludes did nothing for me.

Like many, I got 10,000 Days very uncertain what I was getting. The lead song (and single) "Vicarious" was clearly recycled ideas, but promisingly with a much better guitar sound. But starting with the quick riff that ends the song, the album just takes it up a notch and I remember just listening to the disc with giddy glee for the first time. It was one of those albums that got me calling my metalhead friends to check out. It just seemed like the band had finally broken through and created an entire album showcasing the brilliance that I'd seen only in moments before. One of the biggest shocks I when coming to Prog Archives was discovering that the general opinion seemed to be that this album was poor while Lateralus, which mostly bored me, was seen as an absolute masterpiece.

The guitars contribute more 10,000 Days than any other album in Tool's catalog. On "Wings for Marie" the bass and guitar actually play interlocking lines that compliment each other, rather than Jones simply following along. The distortion is fuller, more colorful, and the overall mix benefits substantially. At the same time, the whole band seems to be embracing a more textured sound with Maynard contributing multiple layers and effects being used with clear interaction with the parts of the song. The lyrics are the most personal of Keenan's career, dealing mainly with the illness and death of his mother. While retaining the emotional intensity of earlier angry and depraved outbursts, he now displays a more mature range of emotion. As such the Wings for Marie Suite is one of his best performances ever.

There are clear singles on this album, and some are better than others. "Jambi" is great, relying on a monster gallop rhythm. "The Pot" clearly preaches to the Tool choir, but its spine twisting rhythm is so much better than 90% of prog metal that utilizes odd time signature as a math exercise rather than a real vehicle of musical expression. As stated, "Vicarious" is stock Tool, but doesn't really grab me.

Unlike earlier albums, the interludes make much more sense. Instead of feeling random and grasping at intentional wierdness, there is a sense of spiritual exploration. "Intention" combines a harmonic chant with a polyrhythmic feast from drummer Danny Carey and bassist Justin Chancellor. "Lipan Conjuring" is a faux Native American chant that flirts with being too pretentious but works because of its brevity. "Blame Hofmann" is basically a feedback solo that gets a little tiresome but its whole point is evoking the feeling of being locked within one's own body in a sickbed. The transition into the schizophrenic "Rosetta Stoned" reminds us that Tool were once masters of evoking madness and frenzy. The combo of the two songs is over fifteen minutes long, and probably could have gotten its work done in less than 10. "Right in Two" features one of Maynard's worst, preachy lyrics over a solid but typical Tool groove.

Because of the somewhat weak ending, 10,000 Days misses masterpiece level in my mind now. But it's still clearly the most accessible Tool album in retrospect. It's also the most complex harmonically and retains the rhythmic adventure that is key to the band's sound. I think it's overall rating is artificially low due to fans that had embraced Lateralus getting something different than they were looking for. But for a newcomer to the band, I would actually recommend this one first.

Negoba | 4/5 |


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