Fear Inoculum is TOOL’s latest record. Before that, it was 10,000 Days. The gap between these two records? A staggering 13 years. But is there hope for a new TOOL album? Let’s find out…
TOOL is one of the greatest bands working today. Unlike pretty much every other metal and/or rock band on the planet, TOOL is uniquely placed: it has a massive, loyal fanbase and its members are all incredibly wealthy. This means there’s no real rush to do anything, whether you’re talking about recording new music or touring.
The band is also steeped in mystery, always has been. This is part of its allure. You never really know anything about any of its members. Most fans don’t even know what Adam Jones or Danny Carey look like, despite the fact TOOL is one of the biggest bands on the planet. That in itself should tell you everything you need to know about TOOL.
In order to better understand TOOL, you need to think about the band as more of an art project than an honest-to-goodness rock and/or metal band. TOOL does pretty much whatever it wants when it wants. If it wants to spend 13 years working on a new record, it will. And there’s nothing the label or “management” can do about it.
You could say that TOOL is a bit, well, lazy. That the band is all too happy to just sit on its ass, play a few festivals every now and then, and spend the rest of their time twiddling their thumbs inside their mansions. And if you did say that, you’d have a point. The band reportedly had Fear Inoculum wrapped a full 12 months before Maynard recorded his vocals. Twelve long months.
Is Fear Inoculum The Last TOOL Album?
Many believe that Fear Inoculum will be TOOL’s last album. Adherents to this belief cite the band’s age, Danny Carey is now in his sixties, for instance. But I do not agree with this sentiment. Both Jones and Carey have gone on record to say there will be another TOOL album. Carey even said the band has “loads of material” that could be worked into a new TOOL album.
But what you have to keep in mind is this: Fear Inoculum was the band’s last album in a five-album record deal which, much to the chagrin of record company execs, took the band almost 30 years to complete. TOOL is now free of this record contract, meaning it is an independent agent, free to do as it wants. And for a band of TOOL’s stature, this is an incredible place to find oneself.
There’s more motivation. The carrot on the stick has gotten larger because now we’ll be free agents – we don’t have to deal with a record company or if we do, we deal with it on our terms, because we can do whatever we want now.Danny Carey
What could this mean? Might we see a few EPs released? Shorter, concept albums? With a band like TOOL and the way music is consumed nowadays, it really is anybody’s guess. Personally, I think we’ll get another full album from TOOL. I think it will land sometime in 2026. And my gut feeling is that this album – the 2026 TOOL album – will be its last before an indefinite hiatus.
You Won’t Have To Wait 13 Years For A New TOOL Album
If you’re a TOOL fan and you’re worried you might be dead before the next album drops, don’t be. Danny Carey, in an interview with Metal Hammer, confirmed that the next, new TOOL album will not take 12 years to record and release. Apparently, it’ll take around five to six years once the band gets back from its Fear Inoculum touring commitments.
We’re going to tour on this probably for two or three years at least, I imagine … There are no leftover Tool songs because of the process it takes to compose our songs [but] there are tons of riffs and jams and things … It’ll take three years after touring [to put together another album]. That’s just the way it is with our band.Danny Carey
What’s most interesting about Carey’s comments is that he says there’s loads of material laying around, stuff from jam sessions and whatnot. Plus, neither Justin Chancellor (the bassist) nor Adam Jones is in any other bands, at least full time, unlike Carey and Maynard. With this in mind, one could assume that between Chancellor and Jones there’s plenty of new ideas, riffs, and compositions knocking around.
Like Aphex Twin, who claimed he has enough unreleased material to produce a new album every year for the rest of his life, it feels like TOOL, now out of its old record deal, could push forwards with a renewed vigor not seen since the late-90s and early 2000s. Hell, they could even do what The Beatles did and stop touring and just produce studio records. I know I’d be cool with that, especially if it meant more new material released more often.
New TOOL Album Release Date
Overall, the good news is that TOOL fans won’t have to wait 13 years for another record from TOOL. By all accounts, including statements from the band itself, the next TOOL will likely get a release date sometime between 2026 and 2027, once the Fear Inoculum tour is concluded and the band has had three to four years to work on new material than another 12 to 18 months to record it.
Of course, all this could change. None of the members of TOOL are getting any younger, so the band could just as easily never release another record. Imagine if Maynard decided he didn’t want to do another record? Or Adam quit the band to focus on something else? It could happen. A lot can happen inside an almost ten-year period.
Ever the optimist, I’m hoping for a brand new full-length album from TOOL, plus a couple of EPs. TOOL are free agents now, no longer under contract with any label, so they could – and I hope will – use this change of circumstances to produce and release more music in the near and not too distant future.
I mean, why wouldn’t they? Age isn’t what it used to be, especially if you have plenty of money – as ALL of TOOL do. If you can live comfortably, as they all do, and the creative drive is still there, as it clearly is, then I think TOOL’s latter years could easily become some of its most prolific and interesting. Even more so if the band decides to start releasing shorter, less time-intensive EPs like Mastodon did with the outstanding Cold, Dark Place.
Either way, the overall good news is that a new TOOL album will almost certainly happen and we won’t have to wait 13 years for it. The bad news, as always with TOOL, is that nobody – including the members of the band – seems to have any idea when it actually happens. And when they do know, we’ll be the last to know – TOOL is about as secretive as a band can be.
RichardRichard has been playing guitar for over a decade and is a huge fan of metal, doom, sludge, and rock music in general – though mostly metal. Having played in bands and worked in studios since the early 2000s, Richard is a massive music production geek, a fan of minimalist recording techniques, and he really likes old-school guitars.
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