Tool still whipping fans into a frenzy after nearly 30 years
In case you are unfamiliar with these rock icons, let’s have a little history lesson – cause ya’ girl loves a bit of history.
Native to LA, Tool formed back in 1990 and included drummer Danny Carey, guitarist Adam Jones, vocalist Maynard James Keenan and bassist Paul D’Armour. Justin Chancellor then stepped in as the band’s bassist in 1995 and has been with them ever since.
Tool are an enigmatic band, utilising complex music sequences and arrangements consisting of various combinations of psychedelic and progressive rock. If you’re a Tool virgin, may I recommend you check out the 2001 album, Lateralus.
The guys boast 3 Grammy Awards, a string of worldwide tours, and songs that topped the charts in several countries. You’d think after nearly 30 years together, Tool would have a slew of albums to their name. However, Tool have only released 4 studio albums, an EP and a 1 box set.
As you can imagine then, fans were positively beaming with joy when new album rumours started circulating.
The band, especially lead singer Maynard James Keenan, have been teasing a follow up album to 2006’s 10,000 Days for some time now – back in February 2008, Keenan claimed ‘Words & Melodies 100% DONE on all but 1‘ of the record’s new songs. Then a year later, he tweeted, ‘Best Ballpark Guess- Release date somewhere between Mid May and Mid July.‘ They sure know how to keep fans hanging on their every word.
Tool hit the Rockville Festival stage on May 5 in Jacksonville, Florida to debut 2 new tracks of this long-awaited album – Descending and Invincible. This show also marked the first on their US tour, before they move on to Europe.
Descending is classic Tool, mimicking the 10,000 Days and Lateralus era. It’s full of knotty riffs and complex rhythms thanks to Adam Jones’ psychedelic guitar drones, Justin Chancellor’s menacing bass, and a dynamic performance from drummer Danny Carey.
Invincible offered a chance for Keenan to really open up, belting out lyrics about ‘beating tired bones. and a ‘warrior struggling to remain consequential’. Both tracks are quintessential Tool, but the latter is harder-hitting and my personal fave of the two.
Check out the fan videos below for a taste of the new stuff. In true Tool fashion though, the songs are long (11 minutes and 12 minutes respectively).
Three days after Rockville, Keenan announced on Twitter that the album officially drops on August 30, 2019. He then followed up a response to a cheeky fan-made meme to confirm it was 100% happening.
Aside from their obvious talent, part of what catapults Tool to the top of metal news after three decades is the mystery they create in the lead up to album releases, coupled with the limited accessibility to their music.
You won’t find them on streaming sites like Spotify, because they want their albums consumed as a complete work and prefer to not compromise on this unless they need to (back in the 90’s, radio singles were the only way to get air time, so they had to get on board to get their name out).
These days, Tool is popular enough that they don’t need to play the streaming game – so they don’t. They want you to experience the album from start to end with breaks, noise, jokes and all. It’s how they make their music and it’s how they want fans to experience it. It gives us a chance to channel the retro years and revisit vinyl and CD (I guess we can say that CDs are fast becoming a relic).
That doesn’t mean you don’t get some of the psychedelic rock melodies from Maynard James Keenan on Spotify, as his second band A Perfect Circle can be found there as can Pusifer (also featuring Keenan), as well as Danny Carey’s second band, Volto.
Stay tuned for the album review in September after the album drops, and let’s hope they announce an Aussie tour too!