I did a very bad thing and downloaded the album too. Have been reading the mini reviews and wanted to have my 2 cents.
Firstly I have to say I’m a little disappointed in the album overall. Tool will always be one of my all time favourite bands, but just like Lateralus, if you’re going to leave it 4 to 5 years in between releases then people (me) are going to have some pretty big – huge – expectations (which are obviously hard to meet).
I’m also disappointed in myself for downloading it – you definitely lose something in opening your presents before christmas, plus I don’t have the packaging, art and CD to complete the experience.
Vicarious – reminds me of The Grudge. Thought it was a stock standard opener on first couple of listens, but have since changed my mind – this is the best song on the album (lyrically and structurally). The album’s finest moment comes at about 6:34 when the song reaches its peak and Maynard’s vocals soar: “Vicariously I live while the whole world dies… Much better you than I”
Jambi – not bad, probably the 3rd best song on the album. Plenty of the trademark choppy bass and fuzzy guitar sound we’ve come to know and love. Again reaches its climax around a minute from the end. I can hear what people are saying when they mention the Audioslave-like bass riff.
Wings for Marie – a much slower and quieter song after a promising start. Picks up around the 4 minute mark, was expecting the song to sprint to the end for the slam dunk finish, but slows back down and fades into the next track.
10,000 days – an 11 minute epic. Builds slowly and steadily with plenty of guitar wail and the ever-present driving bass. Again fades off instead of building to a crescendo.
The Pot – probably the track that brought the biggest smile to face on first listen (and 2nd best track on the album) – the boys have gone back to their roots for this one. Can’t stop thinking this sounds like a more polished version of a track written circa the Opiate EP. The guitar is largely a cut and paste from Prison Sex. The last couple of minutes are Tool bliss.
Lipan Conjuring – Maynard and co get in touch with their inner Buddha, or something. Breaks the tracks up nicely, but gotta say this is filler (and I wanted all killer, no filler).
Lost Keys – more filler. Slow guitars accompany dialogue presumably played out in a hospital emergency room or rehab centre. The only thing that raised my eyebrows is the doctor’s voice sounds Australian!? (go Aussie! Russell Crowe – get the heck off the Tool album and go back to being a pompous yob).
Rosetta Stoned – I’m assuming this follows on from the previous track, with the mentally disturbed patient spewing out the various reasons for his affliction. I agree, Krispy Kremes (and Birkenstock sandals) are the root of all evil – too bad they taste so good. Some great drumming in this track, and it picks up markedly after the first few minutes, but I’m not sure it works overall.
Intension – another quieter slow burner. People are going to hate me for saying this – but this would have to be the most forgettable track on any Tool album.
Right in Two – more along the lines of what I was expecting from this album – a longer and more complex song. Undoubtedly the heaviest song on the album, even if it takes the long road in getting there. Goes right off towards the end (in a good way).
Viginti Trees – more filler to close with… sheesh. 5 minutes of messing about with keyboard/synth sounds. Best described as the sounds of descending into hell.
Closing comments: I realise I’ve been flippant (a bit of a smartarse) here, but I remain a huge fan – I wished for another album for so long… and 10,000 days is a good album, it’s just not a great album. Tool are clearly a band who do things their own way and I have no problem with them breaking away from the standard 3 minute song format. As with all Tool albums, I appreciate this as a whole, a piece of art – but there is just too much filler here for it to rate as a classic. I feel it loses its way in the 2nd half especially. Therefore, in my opinion, I think this falls somewhere slightly below Lateralus, with Aenima remaining their best work.