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Tool — 10,000 Days




Bottom Line:

10,000 Days

Progressive Metal

3 Stars
Magical moments shine despite lack of hooks.

Earlier this year, progressive metal powerhouse, Tool, released their new studio recording, 10,000 Days to an anxiously waiting public (it was their first studio recording since 2001’s chartbuster, Lateralus). Choc-full of odd-time signatures, polyrhythms, technical riffs and lengthy, epic songs, the characteristics of Tool’s secret formulas remain a presence throughout their new creation. However, the quality of the songs themselves on 10,000 Days has come under fire from a variety of die-hard Tool fanatics.

Similar to how “The Grudge” opened the floodgates on Lateralus, the creative lead-off track “Vicarious” kicks open the door of 10,000 Days with power and precision. Displaying their ease and fascination with odd-time signatures (especially their mysterious connection to the number “5”), “Vicarious” and the following riff-laden, “Jambi,” prove that the musicianship of the members is as strong as ever. Other stand-out tracks include “The Pot” as well as (perhaps) their best and most melodic track of the CD, “Right In Two.”

On the other hand, though 10,000 Days (like any Tool recording) is indeed quite an undertaking. Despite some very strong tracks, the majority of songwriting on the new release doesn’t seem as memorable or harmonious as previous endeavors. 1996’s Aenima, for example, is perhaps the most balanced recording of songs containing an equal amount of musicianship mixed with unforgettable hooks, and emotive and melodic songwriting.

Unfortunately, the past two Tool releases haven’t quite matched the balance of magic found on that epic recording. Although the above-mentioned tracks stand out as remarkable moments, the greater part of the songwriting and melodies on 10,000 Days becomes somewhat-forgettable. One can’t help but hear the strong influence of Tool’s idols and recent touring partners, King Crimson, throughout this record. This new release features too many moments containing linear/looping riffs, prolonged ethereal sections, and other moments that sound improvisational.

Despite some of its shortcomings, the production values, sound quality and musicianship of the recording are still far beyond what you get from many bands and genres today. It’s probably safe to assume that Tool is and will continue to be a leader in the world of new metal and progressive music for years to come. One last thought: It is fine to be as progressive, risky and different when writing music – just make sure there’s a collection of “songs” hiding in there first!

– JG

Matt Willis — Don't Let It Go To Waste




Bottom Line:
Matt Willis

Don't Let It Go To Waste

Melodic Rock/Pop

3 Stars
British boy wonder set for world domination.

It’s easy to write off “boy bands” and other producer-fabricated musical groups. When former teen music stars move on to solo endeavors, it’s rare when they actually display serious musical potential. Thankfully, this is one of those times.

Most Americans don’t know the English teen trio, pop-rock sensation, Busted, but they know the familiar short story: too-popular teen heartthrobs eventually have a weird breakup and move on to other projects. Matt Willis, one third of the aforementioned band, has shed his boy band past and set his sights on rockdom. He definitely hits the mark.

Written in collaboration with producer Jason Perry and Daniel Carter (both members of British nu-metal band, A, which is currently on an extended hiatus) and Julian Emery, Matt’s solo effort is filled with infectiously catchy pop rock. Musically, the songs display a fun mix of influences ranging from Def Leppard to Billy Idol to Green Day to Avril Lavigne, with a subtle touch of Oasis and Fountains of Wayne thrown in for good measure.

The band is tight, the hooks stick in your head, and overall, the CD rocks. Songs like “Hey Kid” are going to be obvious stadium anthems, “Up All Night” will bring back the air guitar, and ballads like “Don’t Let It Go To Waste” display mature songwriting and expressive performance.

Recorded in more of a project studio environment than a typical major label spotlight location, the production values are excellent, so between the great pop and rock songs, and excellent engineering and production, overall this CD is one of our favorites of the past year.

I don’t know when the CD will be shipping in the United States – we purchased it internationally from – but you can bet this will be a huge hit in 2007. Visit for info.

– SK
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