10,000 Days (2006)
Reviewed by MaT, added on May 10 2006
Tool has always been one of those bands that seems to be loved by every hard rock fan on the planet. Them and pre-Napster Metallica were the two rock bands you could count on that brought about a blind fan loyalty that bordered on craziness. Even today, it's difficult to walk around a populated area without seeing somebody wearing their black Tool t-shirt. And I guarantee you, if you walk up to this person and shout "Maynard is a fucktard!", they'll unhesitatingly ninja kick the side of your head and piss on your unconscious face while then facing west and saying their daily prayer to the "God" Maynard James Keenen, who no doubt is sitting in his luxurious L.A. condo, drinking $25,000 bottles of wine and getting blown by a 14 year old girl wearing nothing but hundreds of cum-attached twenty dollar bills that said Tool fan gladly donated to the Church of Tool, not realizing of course, that the name of the band directly refers to himself as a person.
10,000 Days is the bands follow-up to 2001's Lateralus, but "follow-up" is a bit of a misnomer because after 5 years of silence, Tool has managed to cobble together a record that sounds like Lateralus Z-sides. Now, I've never been a fan of Tool, but I have at least respected them. Their dark toned sludgy prog-rock was never anything amazing, but at least the band was able to create some rocking riffs and melodies in between all of the off-rhythm, start/stop nonsense they waded in. Tool fans will say that the band has always had a "unique" sound, but what they really mean by "unique" is that all the songs sound the same. Of course, I don't mean that literally, but if you listen to Tool's catalog, you'll hear the same recycled lyrics, chords, and solo notes repeat themselves from record to record. The band plagiarizes itself with the opening track on 10,000 Days; a track named "Vicarious" which sounds suspiciously like "Schism" off of Lateralus, especially the intro. Whereas past Tool albums at least had some great melodies, Days is full of forgettable tracks that make one wonder if the band actually had a full album's worth of Z-sides to release. The ridiculous packaging (the disc comes with "glasses" incorporated into the packaging itself that you look through to view various 3-D images in the booklet) claims that the album is 11 songs in length, however I would dispute that as one track is a bunch of dudes humming, one is what sounds like a bunch of ambient sounds with a sample of movie dialogue playing over it, and coupled with the songs that sound like blatant rip-off's of past Tool material like the aforementioned "Vicarious" and "Ring in Two", the album comes off more as a collection of rejected tunes the label never wanted to put on past releases.
As for the "God" that is Maynard James Keenen, the album is full of ridiculous lyrics (if you don't believe me, click here to read the lyrics to the "cleverly" titled "Rosetta Stoned") which either come across as something a depressed 14 year old teenager would write or harken back to that shitty song the Barenaked Ladies wrote back in the mid 90's full of pop-culture references. Even the one shining light on any Tool album, Danny Carey, drummer extraordinaire and possessor of the coolest trapset on the planet, disappoints here. The drums sound like they were phoned in and Carey does nothing on the album that makes you say "Holy shit, did I just hear that?", as is the case on past Tool albums. When the closest thing to a "God" your band has is the drummer, and even he sounds like he isn't interested, you have a problem.
As mentioned earlier, I've never been a Tool fan, but I have heard all of their albums multiple times and 10,000 Days is easily the worst of all of them. Here's hoping no Tool fans read this and decide to ninja kick me upside the head and piss on my face. But I can't resist: "Maynard is a fucktard!"