Waiting for Tool to release an album can be an odd experience, especially if you happen to be a relative newcomer to the bandâ€™s legion of fans. On one hand you are curious about the musical direction the band has embarked on whilst making the album (listening to Toolâ€™s album in chronological order bears testament to this). On the other, there is the odd mixture of information, disinformation, rumours, hearsay, and whatnot. Much of it, to the delight of the fans themselves, originating from the band itself (Maynard even issued a statement on the Internet saying that the people who downloaded the album ahead of the release date would be very surprised come May 2nd, leading many to assume that this was a decoy).
So it was against this background that Toolâ€™s latest offering, 10,000 Days came into the horizon.
The title, and the subsequent release of the track-listing, generated even more rumours. 10,000 Days? That title was almost normal by Tool standards. Consider the previous albums, EPs, etc. — Undertow, Opiate, Ă†nima, Salival and Lateralus — and you begin to see how the title 10,000 Days seems almost out of place in their discography.
No matter. The album leaked on the Internet and, like bees are drawn to honey, was downloaded by those who have waited years for something new from Tool. I was amongst those who downloaded.
"Vicarious," the opening track, is an odd song that will grow on most listeners. Upon hearing it for the first time, I was disappointed. Maynardâ€™s vocals sounded muffled and the song sounded like something that was deemed inappropriate for Lateralus. Subsequent listens have resulted in this becoming probably my favourite offering of the album.
From this odd beginning, the album begins to take shape and the path Tool traveled becomes increasingly clear. Up until Ă†nima, it was clear that this was a band that was pissed off, certainly Maynard was. Lateralus saw them channeling the anger into a musical plain that can be described as ambient. The angry riffs and vocals were still there, but there was space for the listener to soak him or herself in before letting the anger take hold â€“ sort of like Physical Graffiti Led Zeppelin meets Dark Side-era Pink Floyd.