What more could a fan ask of Tool after they have delivered an album such as 10,000 Days? The answer doesn’t exist.
10,000 Days opens stronger than Tool’s previous albums. The abrasive first track, “Vicarious,” is one of the best songs on the album and one of Tool’s best to date. While vocalist Maynard James Keenan paints a face of disgust and wonder on our society for its consistent indulgence of violent media-singing “I need to watch things die (from a distance)”-drummer Danny Carey inches his way up and down your spine, preying on you like a cancer.
As the album slows down, there is the emotional forest fire that is this album’s strongest song, “10,000 Days (Wings Part 2),” which is a rough estimation of the days Maynard’s mother, Judith Marie Keenan, struggled with paralysis before she passed away.
It is a daunting and distressing task listening to Maynard spew his lyrics, coated in the blood of a man who’s only able to bite his tongue as he begs the God he’s denied and resented all his life to allow his mother passage into the gates, singing “I only pray heaven knows/When to lift you out/10,000 days in the fire is long enough/You’re going home.” Other songs like “The Pot,” “Rosetta Stoned,” and “Right in Two” continue to delicately sprinkle the already blessed album with ripe insights and curious instrumental passages that act like a progression to nowhere.
10,000 Days is the strongest album 2006 will probably see. An album of this strength rarely surfaces long enough.
Before that happens, it’s important to note the album for what it is: a declaration of love and admiration from a son to his mother.
Danny Gordon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.