I know I may be a little late here. Tool has been around for more than a decade, and I apparently missed the wagon. I recently got my hands on 10,000 Days, their latest album (from 2006), and I can’t leave it alone.
Musically, it is such an interesting mixture. I am a fairly big fan of post-grunge hard rock bands like Breaking Benjamin, Trapt or Chevelle, and the aggressiveness of Tool’s music resonates with this fiber that I have. In addition to this, Tool is progressive rock, which pretty much mean that they have very unconventional song structures. Also, they hide brilliant easter eggs in their albums.
Lyrically, Tool is very dark, but full of meaning. I guess it is essential to understand the context of 10,000 Days in order to appreciate the lyrics of the album. Maynard James Keenan’s mother was paralyzed for about 27 years (~10,000 days) before dying, and she was very religious. Maynard himself on the other hand, is not. Now go read the lyrics while listening to the title song of the album. Simply brilliant. A profoundly touching eulogy.
I still have to listen more deeply to their other albums, but so far, I prefer the production quality of 10,000 Days. Being an amateur in music production, it is hard for me not to be biased towards well produced albums. Nevertheless, I bow before the deeply artistic and complex music of Tool. Getting such a mixture right is very rare.