Once more Tool returns after a long absence to leave us all speechless. In an industry where most bands would perish taking five years between records, Tool has managed to not only flourish but also continue to grow. With concerts selling out in under a minute, Tool is an anomaly in the music business, with the long breaks in between records seeming to make them even more desirable.
Ever since “Sober” was released of their first full-length record Tool has been an unstoppable force in heavy music, and “10,000 Days,” while not as heavy and aggressive as some of their previous work, will no doubt continue their legacy. The packaging itself is worth the money with a truly unique concept. Armed with stereoscopic lenses, the internal artwork is once again is captivating with Alex Grey (who also did the artwork for 2001’s “Lateralus” and lent his talents for the “Parabola” video) continuing to out do himself. But I’m not going to spend this whole article talking about that, so let’s get the music itself.
(1) Vicarious – The disc opens with the first single, a song that starts with signature bass from Justin Chancellor and the chirping of Adam Jones’ vintage Les Paul. This lightness is soon replaced with crunching guitar riffs that makes the listener want to jump into the mosh pit. Then Maynard enters, his crooning voice taking over your ears. The song was an excellent choice for the first single because it has everything that you expect from a vintage Tool song, displaying that they are back and haven’t lost any of their potency.
(2) Jambi – Jambi starts out with awesome tremolo picking and then switches into my favorite bass line of the whole album. With the delay turned way up, Chancellor brings us to a fond memory of his solo in “The Grudge.” Also featured in the track is Adam’s first use of the talk box, which he discussed in Guitar World’s May 2006 issue (the interview is something every Tool fan should read).
(3) Wings for Marie (Part 1) – The first part of the epic title track serves as a good intro for it. Not much stands out here. A couple cool riffs, but the track is definitely more a build up for what I consider the best track on the album (much as “Parabol” is to “Parabola”).
(4) 10,000 Days (Wings Part 2) – This song is one of Tool’s crowning achievements of their career. The song is very slow, but very deep at the same time. I particularly love the sounds of the thunderstorm in the background, a task handled by the very odd Lustmord (he also did the remixes on the “Schism” and “Parabola” DVD singles, and his ambient CDs are brilliant in a very bizarre way). The part that really makes this track stand out for me though is Maynard’s vocals. “10,000 days in the fire is long enough, you’re going home.
You’re the only one who can hold your head up high, shake your fist at the gates saying, ‘I’ve come home now!’ Fetch me the spirit the son and the father, tell them their pillar of faith has ascended. It’s time now! My time now! Give me my, give me my wings!” After those lines the other half of the song is mostly instrumental, and although well done, doesn’t capture me as much as the first half of the song does. But it is that first half that makes this song, in my opinion, the most powerful they’ve ever done.
(5) The Pot – This song starts with Maynard singing in a tone that doesn’t sound much like him. After a couple lines Justin starts in with a fast bass riff, joined soon after by Danny Carey tapping on the bongos, and finally by swelling feedback from Jones. The song sounds more like material from the “Undertow” days than “Lateralus,” it’s more of a straightforward rock track. A very good song, but nothing specific that makes it stand out as unique.
(6) Lipan Conjuring – This is a purely filler track and could’ve been left out without being missed. It’s just chanting for one minute and eleven seconds. I didn’t mind the filler tracks that swept through “Aenima,” but this has no place and is very pointless.
(7) Lost Keys (Blame Hoffman) – This is an intro for the next track. It’s a simple guitar line over a lot of feedback, ending out with a conversation between a nurse and a doctor. The track ends with the doctor asking the patient, “What’s happened? Tell me everything.”
(8) Rosetta Stoned – “Alright then. Picture this if you will,” the patient begins over signature Adam Jones feedback (much reminiscent of “Stinkfist,” I LOVE the first 15 seconds of this song). The patient then begins to ramble with a story about being abducted by aliens (remember “Faaip de Oiad,” same kind of stuff). His story ends with the memorable line, “ET revealed to me his singular purpose. He said, ‘You are the chosen one, the one who’ll deliver the message. A message of hope for those who choose to hear it, and a warning for those who do not.” This song is one of the oddest they’ve ever done. Musically it is fantastic. With Danny going between pounding on the toms to once again tapping on the bongos. Adam also whips out the talk box again. Those who enjoy Tool’s frequent play with changing time signatures will enjoy “Rosetta Stoned” thoroughly.
(9) Intension – This song picks up where “Disposition” and “Reflection” left off. A very calm track with both tribal and electronic drums, it’s a nice track to kind of relax the listener after the turbulence of the previous track. Both Adam and Justin have some interesting parts in here as well, while Maynard has more of a minimalist part.
(10) Right In Two – This song has Tool fans stunned, and in a good way. Everyone I’ve talked to absolutely in love with this track. About half the song is very light and calm (it reminds me of “The Patient”), but that’s all interrupted by a frantic tabla line, followed by a crushing bridge displaying Adam, Justin, and Danny rocking out as hard as they can. This song, along with the title track, makes the CD. I don’t know else to say, so I’ll leave you with a quote. “Angels on the sideline, puzzled and amused. Why did Father give these humans free will? Now they’re all confused.”
(11) Virginti Tres – “(-) ions” part two. Not a bad track to end on, just random noise. It’s TOOL! You expect them to end a CD with a normal song?
So that’s it, all eleven tracks of this journey. I’ll say here what I tell everyone who asks about the CD. Get it for “Right in Two” and the title track! Those two songs are well worth the cost, and the other tracks a very well done as well. In my opinion though, those two songs make this a CD that every fan of the genre should own. Not only that, get it to hear Maynard talk about God and faith without the profanity and blasphemy, but instead with a more reflective tone. It’s like if you heard Hitler giving a speech about the importance of human rights. It’s weird, but interesting.
“Don’t these talking monkeys know that Eden has enough to go around? Playing in this holy garden, silly old monkeys, well there’s one who’s bound to divide it right in two.”