The time has come to draw the Tool journey to a close, however this wont last long as a thirteen year gap between albums will end with another record later this year! With 10,000 Days I have have taken the most time as once again the words to describe this music often alludes me. It has however been the easiest record to get into with many hallmarks of their sound now etched in my mind. The one most distinctive is the cyclical rhythm guitar work that needles in timing oriented jabs of chords and palm muted chugging. On paper it could almost play like a Djent record akin to Meshuggah but Tool take a typically artsy approach with their plastic and narrow guitar tone. One can then relish more so in the winding patterns without the crushing intensity.
The guitars temperament lets dense atmospheres brood as its habitual chugging becomes a current to flow with. Although its polyrhythms and time signature play is clear in this department, much of the bass, drums and second guitar too play into this mentality with the more common constructs dabbling with subtle shifts and oddities. Its a firm backbone for a stage of expressive, emotive and freeing tangents to emerge from, not only does Keenan rise from this foundation but both the lead guitar and even bass get involved in brewing these swells of musical delight. Danny Carey too will dazzle with his ambidextrous playing. It feels like a light can be shun on him at any moment within the record and something interesting will be taking place at his kit.
The records pacing is something of contention. After a steady opening fifteen minutes of chug and churn riffing and swells of expression, the music shifts for the next seventeen with two slow burns. The title track itself builds to an brief out poor of energy that is short lived and after The Pot it feels like the record never gets locked into a groove. Lost Keys has its melancholy guitar lick laying down a sadness that is amplified immensely by this howling guitar feedback that conjures a feeling of grief and punishing loss. It moves into heartbeats and a conversation with a doctor that makes the song feel like a soul has been clutched from the jaws of death.
Rosetta Stoned brings back the foundational guitar work and theme established. Its another epic brew of swelling music that takes its time mounting through itself but after that eleven minutes the album tends to loose my captivation as ponderous and crawling paces of subtle and tender atmospheres don't quite grab me as much as they did when the record was fresh. Its a strange criticism because the dynamic nature of this band is whats so interesting but as it draws on the magic of their pacing feels lost as the momentum keeps sinking back into the quiet. Its hard to say what record is their best but this certainly feels worthy of being considered alongside Lateralus.
Favorite Tracks: Jambi, The Pot, Lost Keys, Rosetta Stoned