There can be little doubt that in a world saturated by made for money music the very existence of a band such as TOOL, a Heavy Metal band at that is all the more pleasing and satisfying. Some five years after the release of the awesome ‘’Lateralus’’ Maynard and co. return with what is essentially a massive cinemascope, technicolor Progressive Metal album.
Never one’s to watch the clock ‘’10 000 Days’’ is long overdue what with Maynard’s extra curricular job hoping with A PERFECT CIRCLE this album has been delayed by a year or so but what’s a year inside the minds of TOOL? With the average track length weighing in at the seven minutes mark this is not the easiest record to get into. As if any other TOOL album is. However given the status that ‘’Lateralus’’ has attained in the preceding five years ‘’10 000 Days’’ has, some would say, a monumental task in front of it.
For you see the knives are out for TOOL. The success of ‘’Lateralus’’ and ‘’Aenima’’ are becoming something of an albatross for the band and already the reviews for ‘’10 000 Days’’ are not as encouraging as those for the previous two offerings. However take it as it is. This is TOOL and this is TOOL resplendent in Metal-tastic Prog glory. Opener ‘’Vicarious’’ showcases the sound that defined ‘’Lateralus’’ a natural successor to ‘’Schism’’. ‘’Jambi’’ follows suit also echoing the success of ‘’Lateralus’’ with ease. The monumental brace of ‘’Wings For Marie’’ and the title track convey the pain and anger at the death of Maynard’s mother through cancer. Clocking in at seventeen minutes it is archetypal TOOL. ‘’The Pot’’ is overtly commercial and lyrically daft but features a signature bass line whereas the Native American chanting of ‘’Lipan Conjuring’’ passes with a murmur. ‘’Lost Keys’’ ambles rather meaninglessly but the power and grandeur of ‘’Rosetta Stoned’’ soon brings things back to focus. This leaves the three remaining tracks that feature the best and worst of TOOL. ‘’Intension’’ is sheer bravado and self indulgence but oppressively TOOL. ‘’Right In Two’’ is again a touch more commercial with easily Maynard’s best vocals but ‘’Vigniti Tres’’ is sheer and utter nonsense.
TOOL is a collective of mighty Adam Jones’ riffs sandwich between the messianic drumming of Danny Carey, the languid bass lines of Justin Chamberlain and the haunting melancholy bite of Maynard’s terse voice it’s hypnotic and resonant and deliriously complicated. And although not quite attaining the level of ‘’Lateralus’’ ‘’10 000 Days’’ is still the best Prog Metal album you’ll hear this year. (Online May 31, 2006)