Sound — 10
After the godsent opus that is "Lateralus" all I could think about was the next chapter. So the world waited, "feet cold and eyes red" and yearned with each passing day for the next gospel in the saga that is Tool. Now it's here and both the ravenously faithful and obligatory blasphemers alike are ripping it apart. This album's sound is huge. Production is, at the very least, on par with "Lateralus". Joe Barresi did a monumental job engineering this album to stellar standards as well as working with Adam Jones with configuring his guitar's tone and delivery for the album. Justin Chancellor, alongside Jones, helps to deliver the best rhythm section Tool has ever produced, as is showcased on songs like "The Pot" and "Jambi". Jones digs into an old bag of tricks filled with new magic as he impliments some previously unused guitar sounds while stepping up his playing tremoundously. Likewise, Chancellor has never sounded better, playing some songs with unbelievable complexity and accuracy. Then there's Danny Carey, Danny Carey is, well, not human. Not only can he play polyrhythms in his sleep and cleanly hits every note. Needless to say this is his best album.
Lyrics — 10
There is no doubting Maynard James Keenan. The man is an authentic genius who has proved his ability, time and again, to weld seamless and almost transcendental words, whose syntax almost bleeds with introspection. But I've seen many reviews where people have just trashed his performance on this album, and for what? Being blunt is not a sign of weakness, rather a sign of control. Maynard's lyrics are direct and less veiled on this album, but he has many moments of poeticism and right when you think Maynard is slipping silently under the cover of a parable he jumps out at you only to knock you off your feet with mastered honesty or unorthodox humor. Overall, the lyrics fit the music and vice-versa. Not only that, but the man can sing, really well. "The Pot" might well be Maynard's most interesting vocal performance in Tool and he nails every falsetto/herculean scream to the T. All in all, nothing in the Rev's department has changed, he is still one of the best alive and will continue to be so.
Overall Impression — 9
10,000 Days is Tool being Tool. The problem with expectations is that we form preconceptions. So based on this, it seems people preconceived Breaking Benjamin's concept album. Wrong. This is Tool evolving, and in the scope of their career this is a perfect piece in their puzzle. This is not "Lateralus" or "Aenima" and, surprise, surprise, wasn't meant to be. It is mindblowing as usual, pummeling polyrhythmal assaults and abrasively beautiful lyrics that change into dreamscapes of somber revelations and dissonant echoes of strings. Nothing is trite, nothing out of place, it's a work of art meant to be looked at collectively, as a whole, not as a hit list served up MTV style. There is something at work here, something genius, and more importantly, something evolutionary. Tool is changing, shedding skin and whether the critics want to accept this or not, Tool is the best band in the world and this album, like it or not, is another gold brick in their almost mythical temple.