Tool: 10,000 Days
Tool: 10,000 Days
The late, lamented Might magazine had art-prog-metal titans Tool pegged when the bandís sophomore album, ∆nima, dropped 10 years back: "Too much reading under blacklights." What better aural complement is there to sparking up in a darkened, purple-tinged dorm room while staring at the cryptic, holographic artwork that encloses the bandís albums? The bandís 2001 Lateralus was ∆nima with less ambient breathing room, fewer surefire hooks, and zero lyrics worth drunkenly shouting in a crowded bar. The new 10,000 Days is Lateralus with more ambient breathing room, the hovering ghost of singer Maynard James Keenanís mother--who passed away between albums--and a few new twists.
Which is enough: Toolís routine of half-decade silences between albums guarantees maximum commercial and visceral impact when each new record finally drops, even though the band is mostly ripping off its own shtick of stop-on-a-dime precision crunch. Sure, you could almost lay the chorus of Lateralus lead single "The Grudge" over Days lead single "Vicarious." Sure, the intended crushing peaks of the desolate "Wings for Marie (Pt. 1)" come across as almost anti-climactic if youíre at all familiar with the bandís earlier work.
But this re-Tooling softens you up for almost-new songs like the heavy-lidded "Intension," where Justin Chancellorís bass moves like lava in a lamp as Danny Carey taps at hand drums, Keenanís drugged vocals ooze like molasses, and Adam Jones ever so slowly brings his guitar to the forefront of the mix. "Lipan Conjuring" sounds like a cross between a cappella gospel and a Native American ceremonial chant. And then thereís Keenanís mouth-of-madness, Exorcist-worthy rant at the outset of the 11-minute tour de mind warp "Rosetta Stoned." And if 10,000 Days leaves you anticipating the next one, just remind yourself that 2011 is five years away. And thatís a long time to spend under blacklights.