Tool’s fifth album has become an abstract noun, or so it seemed to the fans after years of delays (12 years have passed since the last album), fake news and internet trolling. Two months ago Google unintentionally made a cruel joke by alerting that “IllutionWorld by Tool was released today”, mixing Tool with rapper TOOL$. The fans weren’t pleased, to say the least. Maynard’s tweet from last Monday was cold water for the burn, as he finally revealed that the album is coming next year.
Waiting for this album came to be a running gag at some moment. What is baffling about the whole story is the amount of rage that this album caused among the fans throughout the years. To see why is this, let’s look at the facts.
Tool music is perplexing and contemplative, touching parts of the soul and mind in curious ways. The band puts real creative and technical effort in making of every song. Every feeling is raw and refined at the same time. When first class musicians and creative soulmates gather to translate their life experience and critique of reality into sound, putting heart, soul and mind in the matter, incredible things happen.
That’s exactly how Tool happened and it’s no wonder that most of their fans are diehard and obsessive. People tend to immerse in music they like very much, making it a part of their personality. Previously mentioned Google incident wasn’t the only one. In 2014 Adam Jones told a group of fans, that not only is their album finished but it’s being released the next day – with a dramatic pause and “just kidding” following that. Next day a website presented the joke as news and everything flew through the roof. Jones wrote to the website manager, but he never responded and the content was still there, unchanged. The band had to release a statement afterwards, explaining that the new album is not done.
Anyway, when you tease someone about something so dear to them, they can get quite offensive. Fans couldn’t just let it all slide and the tension grew.
On the other hand, it’s a bit selfish to expect artists to make music because you want them to. Music is about expression, sending message through vibration. It’s a snippet of life made into sound. It requires inspiration, time and hard work.
Tool didn’t have it easy in the last few years. They faced a lawsuit in 2007, when friend of Adam Jones claimed that he designed the artwork for the group and thus wanted credit for it. The process was prolonged multiple times and lasted for seven exhausting years. It got really ugly, depressing, time consuming and very expensive.
In an interview for Yahoo!Music from 2015, Jones openly talked about the effects of the lawsuits and mentioned that a band member, who wished to remain unnamed, is facing a serious illness. These serious and time consuming problems are not a fertile soil for creativity and artistic expression.
Besides, the guys are not that young anymore. They have families and kids that need their dedication. All that and touring already requires a tight schedule and creativity doesn’t work in schedules.
Drama is finally coming to an end, as the time of the release is relatively known (he didn’t say the precise date). It seems that Maynard was serious this time (he posted some April fools tweets before), and considering the release of a 4 minute snippet of their new song Descending at the end of April this year, it feels safe to mark 2019 as the year when the fifth Tool album will finally be released.