In 2003, Tool’s unprecedented sense of rhythmic interplay absorbed the listener’s attention with an almost supernatural gravitational pull, positioning fans to expect a streak of groundbreaking releases over a long, sustained career. Then Tool started taking forever between albums and fell into a rut of self-imitation — which, for the most part, appears to be over. For starters, the new record isn’t the mere carbon copy of Aenima that the last one was. At first, the long, quiet stretches that demand patience will likely prompt you to suspect that Tool has succumbed to terminal self-indulgence. Think again. On repeated listenings, it becomes clearer that the band hasn’t sounded this focused in more than a decade, and the sheer ambition of this material more than makes up for the gradual weakening of the group chemistry that first set Tool so far apart. Though it’s a welcome display of a luminary band regaining its step, 10,000 Days is bound to lose listeners with short attention spans. Those who remain should marvel at getting lost again and again within the album’s vast, atmospheric sprawl. (And those without tickets to the concert on Thursday at Memorial Hall are shit outta luck.)

Categories: Music