Tool: 10,000 Days
Tool - 10,000 Days - [Volcano Entertainment]


This is definitely the new Tool album, not a fake made by neither humorous fans nor one by the humorous band members themselves, the actual CD with the Alex Grey Artwork and perhaps an overall theme about different points of view (a thesis supported by both cover artwork and the lyrical content), the natural progression to 2001’s Lateralus.

Many speculations came with “10000 Days” (or as some may call it “10K Days”), starting from the meaning of the title – some say it refers to Maynard James Keenan’s mother, which suffered a stroke that left her partially paralyzed for approximately 27 years (which are approximately 10000 days) until her death – and continuing with the amount of influence Meshuggah will have on Tool since the two toured together prior to the album’s release; there is a certain upfront Meshuggah-like tone in some songs, especially in “Vicarious” and “The Pot”, but it is safe to say that the being who influenced Tool the most on this album is in fact Tool
“Vicarious”, the opener, is sharp and indeed upfront with the lyrics bluntly criticizing Reality TV (or TV in general), or the way people watch other people’s lives rather than living their own (these are just some interpretation).
The jitter-jattering “Jambi” follows, as if continuing the riffing of the opener like a backup supply of energy just when you though the album would die on you; this one definitely demonstrates that above mentioned progression.

At this point some might say the album indeed dies on you, with the duo of “Wings for Marie, Pt. 1” and “10,000 Days (Wings, Pt. 2)”, but I beg the differ.
A comparison to Lateralus’ “Parabol” & “Parabola” comes to mind, but quickly disintegrates… this time were talking about a certain round/infinite (almost on the verge of Pink Floyd) atmosphere, with all that’s attached to the term Progressive (i.e. reprises, repetitions, dynamics, hinted riffs and lines…); both parts of “Wings” can be interpreted as written for Maynard’s deceased mother, Judith Marie Garrison, perhaps as remorse on past mentions in both Tool and APC songs, as if coming to terms with her christian point of view (or at least understanding that one can have whichever point of view that’s appropriate to him/her); or this could be the other way around, you can never know with Keenan.

“The Pot”, with the title and lyrics revolving around… well…you know what, is so fresh and groovy while Keenan pushes his voice to the limit- and the limit is good; this is not the first time this band tackles using mind-expanding-substances and their implications, and they continue tackling this topic (perhaps in the best way yet) – after the seemingly close-to-a-slave-song “Lipan Conjuring”, a chant with some chain rattling – in the second duo of this album, “Lost Keys (Blame Hofmann)” (with a possible reference to Dr. Albert Hofmann, the father of LSD) and “Rosetta Stoned”; the former, having feedback pulled to an almost siren-like sound accompanied by simple guitar picking, is a conversation between a nurse and a doctor about a patient that will appear in “Rosetta Stoned”, this is actually the intro to the incrazed “Rosetta Stoned”, where the guitars sound so thick and Keenan goes at a Patton-like variety or voices.
This is told from the patient’s (or stoned person’s, if you wish) point of view, and unveils a very frantic story (an acid trip, yep, an acid trip), with aliens, government conspiracies, candy, prophecy, chemistry, fetal spooning, the Chosen One, delivering messages, can’t remember what they said, god damn! I shit the bed.

After such an experience the thing I need the most is to relax, and “Intension” is just what I need… a bass line that is slow and low enough to hypnotize, some sort of mantra and trip-hop like electronics – this is soft & gentle madness, the kind you’ll have better acid trips to. But this is not all there is to this track, for if you listen to in backwards you’ll find that it has massages like "Listen to your Mother", "Your Father is Right", "Work Hard" and "Stay in School" which seem like a joke or a part of the song’s meaning.

The surprise in this album comes in the way of “Right In Two”; just when you though they won’t deliver another Lateralus-like song with just the right amount of experimentalism, and just the right amount of heaviness and bounce – they did.

To seal the deal we get the swirling noises of “Viginti Tres” (meaning 23 in Latin), with hissing that build up along with a robotic voice. This is said to be the ending track for a piece that consists of both “Lateralus” and “10k Days” (meaning its the 23rd track), this fits well if you don’t include Lateralus’s “Faaip De Oiad” as an individual track.
More speculation regarding “Viginti Tres” are ones that claim that if you play it followed by “Wings for Marie, Pt. 1” while “10,000 Days (Wings, Pt. 2)” is playing – the times match, btw – then you’ll get a new song, kinda like a Tool Megazord.
This concludes this review, and the speculations. Or does it?

Ofer Vayner

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