I purposely waited one year after the release of "10,000 Days" to give this review so that it would be a better indication of my feelings towards the record, rather than a quick and excited review about a hugely anticipated album.
After what felt like an eternity since 2001's incredible album "Lateralus," Tool unleashed their most progressive album to date in the form of "10,000 Days." The album was shrouded in secrecy, as is Tool's way, revealing very little other than the track names a short few weeks before the album's release.
It quickly surfaced that the album's title was related to the amount of time lead singer Maynard James Keenan's mother spent paralysed from the neck down, and the album's longest duo of tracks "Wings For Marie / 10,000 Days" is a surprisingly touching yet angry account of that story. Clocking in at a collective 17 and a half minutes, the duo is an epic Tool song, so different to anything they've done before, a live masterpiece and by far and away the best thing on this album. Fans were slow to warm to the track but all eventually come around to its sheer strength, vocal complexity and lyrical and emotional power.
The album itself, in its entirety, is a revelation, much like "Lateralus" was and "Aenima" was before that. Opening with powerhouse radio single "Vicarious," the album starts with a roar and continues its charge through second song, live favourite "Jambi." After the assault on the senses that is "Wings For Marie / 10,000 Days," fans experience Maynard James Keenan's highest vocal attempt yet, the unusually apt "The Pot," which boils with energy reminiscent of the "Undertow" days.
The enigmatic "Rosetta Stoned" oozes with drug-induced paranoia and is the heaviest guitar track Tool have done since "Aenema" nearly ten years ago. The song must be heard to be believed, sporting various different vocal styles and an even more prolific variance is rhythms and styles thoughout.
The album's second-to-last track, "Right In Two" is possibly the band's most ingenius lyric writing showcase to date with unforgettable comparisons between human beings of today and our ancient monkey ancestors, with some interesting comparisons unmistakeably drawn together.
The only negative thing I can say about "10,000 Days" is a common complaint I have about Tool's records despite being a huge, huge fan, and while a bit nit-picky, it is regarding their shallow attempts at expanding the CD length by pouring the likes of "Viginti Tres," a four minute distorted sound that leaves the album ending on a particularly low point after such a strong start and fantastic run all the way through. One wonders why "Viginti Tres" is even there.
But that is a very minute scuff on the shining trophy that is "10,000 Days," in my opinion, one the best album released since Tool's own "Lateralus" in 2001. Every song (proper song!) is conpletely stunning and entirely different from the next and people will be listening to this record for decades to come.