With a new Tool album on the way, I thought it would be fun to review some of the posts that came out around the time of their last album 10,000 Days release. One review that sticks in mind is the infamous review from Andy King, who I believe was a radio DJ who attended a listening party.
From memory he didn’t realise there was a non-disclosure agreement, and published a review of sorts online. It was reasonably quickly taken down, but the internet did what the internet does, and preserved it for prosterity.
Here it is!
Track 1- “Vicarious” (7min 3sec).
Mesmeric start. Hypnotic beat. Jagged, angular off beats. Familiar trancey passages punctuated by a guitar part reminiscent of an older Tool track. Tribal drum beats fuck with a lovely melody and climax with Maynard’s vocals.
Track 2 “Jambi” (7min 12sec)
Melodic intro with almost balladic vocals from Maynard. Lighter feel (almost, dare I say it, APC-tinged) but not for long. Danny gets stronger – Baresi releases our tubthumper and the feel gets much heavier into ‘chugga chugga’ off beats. Then – here’s some unusual guitar work. Man, it’salmost Hendix-like! Then back into a heavy tribal groove
Track 3 “Wings For Marie (Pt 1)” (6min 20sec) / Track 4 “10,000 Days (Wings Pt 2)” (10min 26sec)
Starting with Buddhist temple-flavoured gong tweaking the collective nipples of Kraftwerk, a deep sphincter-rumbling bass and om chanting might recall ‘Parabol’. After 3 minutes of this nerve-wracking niceness, all Hell breaks loose with mega-heavy riffdom before slipping back into spaciness after 30 seconds. Like an epileptic convulsion in a night of deep sleep. Hawkwind does Greensleeves whilst Pink Floyd look on. The Record Company people are starting to look nervous and uncomfortable as if they have seldom HEARD anything so strange and worrying. What the fuck is this? Let me outta here! I need to go snuggle the Radio One Playlist! Suddenly it’s a crazed sea shanty for whacked-out space travelers. ‘You’re the only one who can hold your head up high. It’s my time now… my time now… give me my… give me my…’ duets Maynard with himself. Danny fights free of the evil clutches of Dr Baresi and goes off on one. Adam’s guitar recalls something off Lateralus again. It’s Triad, I think, but it’s almost impossible to identify one riff whilst another song goes on. The musical equivalent of rubbing one’s head and tummy simultaneously in different directions. They’re doing this on purpose to fuck with our heads. Bastards! Returns to full-on rhythmic Toolishness to end. No it isn’t the end. It doesn’t end like any other song ends.
Track 5 “The Pot” (Probably 6min 11 sec)
Oooooooh. This is THE one. Ya know what, pluggers? Radio might even go for this! Maynard’s vocals at the start are quite extraordinary. Place equal parts of Chris De Burgh, Tiny Tim and Bilal The Muezzin in a blender and run for your life. Easily the most commercial track to date. In fact, easily the most commercial track Tool have EVER done. That guitar is waaay strong again. Did Adam bribe Baresi? This is still twisted. It’s hard but commercial. The end spells a relief as climactic as a boil bursting. I go ‘Yessssss’ and the whole room of cool jouros looks round at me as if I’m a Bateman cartoon ‘The Man Who Ordered A Pork Sandwich In Blooms’. This is a SERIOUSLY awesome track. Just you mark my words.
Track 6 “Lipan Conjuring” (1min)
In which Maynard becomes a Native American for no good reason. Strange, but we like a bit of strangeness.
Track 7 “Lost Keys (Blame Hofmann)”/ “Rosetta Stoned” (14min 45sec)
(Could be two medium length tracks and a terribly short one, too. I’m now losing the will to live with the stopwatch. It’s 14min 45sec of music, whatever) Guitars to the fore again. One long note with almost blues-like, overlaid note progressions. f@!# me, it’s House Of The Rising Sun cut with Ketamine. There are unsettling whispers and talking. Is this a bad trip or a psychiatry session? Come to think of it, is there a difference? ‘How Are You Today?’… ‘Tell Me Everything’ then THWACK! Into such a breathtakingly slappy, powerful riff kick that I’m actually physically winded for a nanosecond. Demonic, growling, rap noise over rhythmic heavy heavy groove. Forget the Were Rabbit jibe. This is a f@!# full-on, nasty, shaven headed WEREWOLF. A lightbulb goes mental in the room. The Record Company almost lose all cool and run for it. I damn nearly join them but now I AM crying. I am gulping back wracking sobs at the sheer Toolishness of this monstrous, magnificent track. This is the real deal. Again snippets from Lateralus. You ARE playing with us. You ARE! This is Tool’s equivalent of ‘spot the Hitchcock in the Hitchcock film’! But I don’t care. It’s like The Best Of Tool in one song. The Bomb. It ends like the violent end of a violent life. And then it ends again. Unless that’s another track, of course….
Track 9 “Intension” (6min 44sec).
Odd noises. Sea shore meets ironworks. Ever see the cartoon meisterwerk ‘Spirited Away’? You MUST! In it there is a character called Kamajii The Boiler Keeper who has 6 arms and an army of small black coals. This sound is similar. Soon joined by elastic bass and drum twangling over multi-layered Maynard whisperings and chanted vox. Shades of Pink Floyd again. Shades of the more ‘moody’ Lateralus tracks again. Reflection. Disposition. Tribal and hypnotic.
Track 10 Right In Two (9min 04sec. I think)
Melodic, slow, hypnotic. Almost balladic. Wall of Sound build-up. Danny does some Bamboo pole-type drumming into big rif***e. Big, big sound. Tool at their weightiest. It’s almost Chinese at the end.
Track 11 “Viginti Tres”
The walk out track (their description not mine). Oddness. The Noodles of Satan.