10,000 Days is the fourth studio album by American rock band Tool. The album was released by Tool Disectional and Volcano Entertainment on April 28, 2006 in parts of Europe, April 29, 2006, in Australia, May 1, 2006 in the United Kingdom, and on May 2, 2006 in North America. Recording took place at O'Henry Studios in Burbank, California, The Loft, and Grandmaster Studios (both in Hollywood, California). It marked the first time since recording 1993's Undertow that the band had worked at Grandmaster and without producer David Bottrill. It was mixed at Bay 7 in North Hollywood, California and mastered at Gateway Mastering Studios in Portland, Maine. 10,000 Days spawned three singles: "Vicarious", "The Pot" and "Jambi".
It debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, with first week sales of 564,000 copies. By the end of 2007 the album had sold 2.5 million copies worldwide, and was awarded a Platinum certification by the RIAA.
The album would become the band's last release in over a decade.
The album was recorded at O'Henry Studios in Burbank, California, as well as at The Loft and Grandmaster Studios in Hollywood, California. It was mixed at Bay 7 in North Hollywood, CA and mastered at Gateway Mastering Studios in Portland, Maine. The June 2006 issue of Guitar World (released April 11, 2006) featured an interview with guitarist Adam Jones discussing the new album. Jones explained that recording techniques for the album involved the use of a "pipe bomb microphone" (a guitar pickup mounted inside a brass cylinder), and a talk box guitar solo on the song "Jambi". The "pipe bomb microphone" and other studio related information was further detailed in the June 1, 2006 issue of Mix. Drummer Danny Carey operated many of the sound effects on the interlude tracks on the album using electronic drums called Mandalas.
The title 10,000 Days refers to roughly the orbital period of the planet Saturn (actual time period is 10,759 days), which adds up to nearly 29 years and marks, according to Keenan, "the time when you are presented the opportunity to transform from whatever your hang-ups were before to let the light of knowledge and experience lighten your load, so to speak, and let go of old patterns and embrace a new life." Keenan expected that the songs composed would "chronicle that process, hoping that my gift back would be to share that path and hope that I could help somebody get past that spot.” It is rumoured that the album is a reference to Maynard James Keenan's mother who was paralyzed for 10,000 days (27 years) before she died.
The compact disc packaging for 10,000 Days consists of a thick cardboard-bound booklet partly covered by a flap holding a pair of stereoscopic eyeglasses, which can be used to view a series of images inside. Viewed with the glasses, the artwork produces an illusion of depth and three-dimensionality. Alex Grey, who created a majority of the album art for Lateralus and its accompanying video "Parabola", reprised his role for 10,000 Days. The CD face itself is decorated with stylized eyes, arranged in a seemingly logarithmic spiral toward the center (adapted from a previous Alex Grey painting, "Collective Vision"). As with Tool's other albums, the lyrics are not printed within the artwork; vocalist Maynard James Keenan has instead released the lyrics online. On May 5, 2006, the band's official webmaster hinted that "the four individual photos [of the band members] can be used as the pieces of a kind of puzzle", but the puzzle and its meaning "will just be another nut to crack".
In an interview, Alex Grey, who worked on the illustrations for the 10,000 Days and Lateralus covers, said that many of his artworks for Tool have been based off and influenced by the visionary journeys of a brew called ayahuasca. He described the 10,000 Days cover as "a blazing vision of an infinite grid of Godheads during an ayahuasca journey", and also talked about the Lateralus cover in a similar fashion. Grey stated in another interview when making the 10,000 Days cover that it depicts visions received during a DMT trip (the main chemical ingredient in ayahuasca).
On March 27, 2006, Billboard.com posted an article about 10,000 Days, which mentioned that "Vicarious" would be the album's first single. "Vicarious" was officially released to radio on April 17, and entered both the Modern Rock Tracks and Mainstream Rock Tracks charts both at number 2. A music video for the song was released on DVD on December 18, 2007. The song has also been featured as a playable track on the video game Guitar Hero World Tour. The second single from the album was "The Pot", which peaked at No. 5 on the Modern Rock chart. It was the band's first number 1 single on the Mainstream Rock chart. A video for "The Pot" was scheduled to shoot over the 2006 holiday season. "Jambi" was the third radio single and received airtime on both Modern and Mainstream Rock formats.
10,000 Days received generally favorable reviews, albeit with less enthusiasm than previous Tool albums. Most critics praised the album as another example of Tool's musicianship. Critics who gave 10,000 Days a relatively low score questioned the merits of its ambient interludes, which Tool have also used on their previous releases. In addition, the song "Vicarious" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance. Rolling Stone magazine named it the 38th Best Album of 2006. The album also received a Grammy Award in 2006 for Best Recording Package. In 2008, 10,000 Days garnered another Grammy nomination when "The Pot" was nominated for Best Hard Rock Performance.
At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 68, which indicates "generally favorable reviews", based on 19 reviews. Rob Theakston of AllMusic wrote: "It's not only a step forward for the band, but a re-embracing of the epic-length rock songs found at the roots of early heavy metal." Nick Cowen of Drowned in Sound praised the album, describing it as "probably the most engagingly brilliant heavy metal album that'll be released on a major label all year." Alternative Press magazine wrote: "As with everything in Tool's oeuvre, 10,000 Days packs enough beauty, heartache and triumph that it will be dissected, studied and envied by younger bands for years to come." Evan Serpick of Rolling Stone stated that on the album, the band "maintains a level of craftsmanship and virtuosity unparalleled in metal."
Nevertheless, Adrien Begrand of PopMatters stated: "Stupendously packaged, the music robustly mixed and often achieving new levels of bleak beauty, 10,000 Days is too strong a work to call a disappointment, but the constant need to fill out a CD to 75-80 minutes is threatening to become the band’s undoing." Jess Harvell of Pitchfork Media was critical in his assessment of the album: "Rather than delving further into experimentation or exploring their strengths, Tool have made an...A Perfect Circle record." Ayo Jegede of Stylus Magazine panned the album, criticizing the band in the terms of "being progressive": "I’m not sure, but I think “progressive” is about growth and change. I think it’s about not being trapped in your own little universe where everything you say matters."
On April 14, 2006, a 30-second clip from "Vicarious" aired on Pittsburgh radio station "105.9 The X". Subsequently, the entire song was leaked in WAV format when a private FTP server (used to distribute the song to radio stations) was left open without password protection for a few minutes. The entire album was later leaked to the Internet, despite heavy security and strict conditions regarding media previews. Exactly how the album came to be leaked is unknown. Some rumors had led fans to believe that the band leaked it to spite their record company, yet statements from Keenan in interviews expressing his distaste for Internet leaks seem to contradict this.
All songs written by Carey, Chancellor, Keenan and Jones.
10,000 Days entered the U.S. Billboard 200 chart at number 1, selling 564,000 copies in its first week. It was Tool's second album to top the Billboard 200 chart upon release. In Australia, 10,000 Days debuted at number 1, selling 39,278 in its first week. In the UK, the album debuted at number 4, the highest chart position the group have managed in that country. It was certified Platinum in the U.S. by the RIAA on June 9, 2006. As of April 2007, 10,000 Days had sold 2.75 million copies worldwide. As of July 7, 2010, the album had sold 1,736,000 copies in the US.