By Michael Cullen
Californian progressive rockers, Tool, take a further turn towards their artistic side with their fourth major studio release, 10,000 Days.
Continuing where their previous album, Lateralus, left off, the feel of 10,000 Days generally goes in a more subdued direction. This album also shows Tool exploring more personal themes than they have in the past.
The emotional side of this album comes from, singer, Maynard James Keenan’s lyrics. The name of the album itself refers to the stroke his mother had and the 27-odd years she lived paralysed before her death, during the writing of the album. A two-part song, Wings for Marie/10000 Days was written about it ?? this is essentially Keenan dealing with his mother’s death through the band’s music.
Other themes are more reflective on the world. Some of the other elements explored include hypocrisy (The Pot), the world’s fascination with violence through the media (Vicarious), and excessive drug use (Rosetta Stoned).
Musically, Tool is as on point as they ever have been. Tool’s shift in style manifests itself as long instrumental interludes which link between the heavier sections of the album. 10,000 Days features a spectrum of music, ranging in tone. From the quiet contemplation of Wings for Marie/10000 Days to the frustration and confusion of Rosetta Stoned.
Tool’s signature of making rock like nothing else out there is back. There unique way of blending their unusual style of playing their instruments takes time ?? every aspect of Tool’s songs are crafted and re-crafted until the band feels satisfied. The average time between the release of Tool’s albums is 4-5 years; this is a band who makes music as art, not just entertainment.
Tool have always been a band who have written long songs ?? songs that feel like a journey when you listen to them; 10,000 Days is no different. Featuring two 2-part songs – Wings for Marie/10000 Days and Lost Keys (Blame Hoffman)/Rosetta Stoned (clocking in at 17:28 and 15:01 respectfully), 10,000 Days seems to harken back to the 1980s ?? the days when progressive rock was at its most popular and long songs were the norm.
Tool are a band who make music for art’s sake. With their unique time signatures, unapologetic but intelligent lyrics, idiosyncratic instrument playing styles, and their natural evolution from angry teenagers to matured artists, Tool are an artistic band if you’ve ever heard one.