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10,000 Days

First, a note on release dates... if you'd read my previous entry on this album, you'd know I had this on advance order, to arrive the morning of release. But by annoying coincidence, the morning of its release was May Day Bank Holiday. No post.

I've waited five years for this album to be released, and this morning it dropped onto my doormat. I was so excited, I promptly fell right back to sleep. (It takes a LOT to get me up.

A few hours later, blinking but just about conscious, I pulled it from the packaging. First thing that hits you is the packaging. Their last album Lateralus was a masterpiece of packaging and artwork. The CD case was in an almost opaque black sleeve, and the insert was composed entirely of transparancies, each page adding a new layer to the strangely occult image shown. It was the kind of album you could just hold up to the light and stare at.

But 10,000 blows it out of the water. This is quite simply the best artwork I've ever seen in an album. Somewhere Pink Floyd are weeping. You probably think it's weird to be getting this excited about the artwork, but check this out...

The front cover is of an impassive, dark face, emblazoned with the various flaming eyes and other graphical devices that are almost a trademark of Tool. But a flap settles over it, putting two lenses over its eyes.

    That's quite impressive enough, but the real good bit begins inside. As you unfold the packaging, you come across a little disclaimer about misusing the stereoscopic lenses. And then you realise what they're really for...

Yes, the album unfolds into a kind of image viewer. The stereoscopic lenses exploit an old optical illusion, letting you see the various pieces of artwork included in 3-D.

Three dimensional artwork. I mean come on. Even the track list becomes three-dimensional. Even the pictures of the band - which are a first for Tool. They're famously secretive about their personal lives, even their appearances. They very seldom appear in their own music videos, until now never in album art, they don't often to interviews... most Tool fans would walk right past them in the street, without even noticing.

There will be a follow-up discussing the music, but I think musically, this isn't the kind of album you can tackle all at once. It needs repeat listens. Lots of them. :)


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