[This was my weekly column for GlobalNews.ca. -AC]
If you’re not a fan of Tool, you’re excused from reading this week’s column. With all due respect, you just won’t understand how momentous the events of the last couple of days have been. If, however, you have been waiting (im)patiently for some mythical day when the group would finally release a new studio album, you’re delirious with joy. Not only is the record here but it’s good. Very, very good.
We Tool fans have been suffering for a long, long time. The last album, 10,000 Days, appeared on May 2, 2006. When Fear Inoculum dropped at midnight this past Friday, it ended a gap of 13 years, 3 months, and 29 days between albums.
That’s a long time. Let’s put it into perspective:
- George W. Bush was still president. Barack Obama would serve two full terms before Trump was elected.
- There was no such thing as an iPhone. Steve Jobs wouldn’t unveil the new device for another eight months.
- MySpace was still bigger than Facebook.
- Netflix was still in the business of renting CDs by mail.
- Spotify wouldn’t go live for another couple of years.
But here’s my favourite metric. In the space between Tool albums, the New Horizons spacecraft was launched, crossed the Solar System, encountered Pluto, and is now well into the Kuiper Belt, some 5 billion miles away from Earth.
Why did it take so long? What was the holdup? A litany of legal problems, countersuits, clashing schedules, and an impossibly high creative bar. Let’s deconstruct things.