Tool – 10,000 Days

We’ve got Tool tickets!! YAY! As you may recall, I recently mentioned here that we were going to go see them when they came around, but then Danny Carey hurt his arm and the tour was postponed. Well, Mr. Carey is back and the band is on the road again and we’re going to the Copps Coliseum show in Hamilton in early July! Apparently, the show sold out in 12 minutes (as well it should), so I consider us lucky to get seats. I’ve never seen Tool before, and I am beside myself with excitement! You can, of course, expect a full review of the show on these pages in the aftermath.

As a result, I’ve been constantly listening to the latest Tool album (and the one for which they are currently touring), 10,000 Days. I want to be right up to speed on all of the new songs before we go. And you know something? This record is really, really great. There isn’t a bad song on here. Now, I’m a little biased, as I own all of Tool’s albums and love them all, but this one fits into the legacy with ease. If you’re a Tool fan, you’ll know exactly what I mean. If this is your first introduction, it’ll serve you well and will lead you to going out and getting the rest of their albums. It’s that good. I added this album to my Best of 2006 List last year, and for very good reason.

Tool has a sound, a way of playing that is entirely unique to them. Oh sure, others have tried to emulate them but it always comes off sounding just like what it is: a bad Tool impersonation. Maynard James Keenan’s voice simply soars over the heavy cacophony with a menacing beauty. The musicianship is, of course, completely awesome. Listen to the highly intricate guitar sounds, which are out of this world. The combination of the bottom-heavy bass and the thundering drums are Tool’s core, the bedrock on which this inimitable sound is built. Taken together, this is a completely unstoppable group of musicians.

One of the things I love best about Tool is their willingness to experiment, to hold their sound up to the fading light and turn it in their hands to explore it from every angle. Sure, this results in every album having a couple of weird-sounding, short musical interludes. But even these fit the flow of the albums, serving as introduction to just how far these men are willing to go to get just the sound they want. And the full-length tracks are entirely surprising and innovative, pulling the listener along with strength and creativity. On top of all of this, they fucking rock. ‘Nuff said.

If you’ve never tried it, Tool sounds great played through good headphones, with the lights out and candles lit. Spend some time with the songs on 10,000 Days in this way, let them be all that your senses are taking in, and you’ll be astounded at just how incredible these songs are. Tool is a band that seems to take pride in uncompromisingly doing things their way, and we are all that much better for it.

It’s been a long time between albums (the band never seems to be in a rush, instead preferring quality to quantity, for which I am entirely grateful!), and the arrival of this record was welcome indeed. Forget the pretenders to the throne. Tool is your one-stop nirvana, and 10,000 Days will blow out your mind and make you come crawling back for another listen, again, and again, and again…

Oh man, I can’t wait to go to the show.

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