Maybe you’ve heard of the art metal megaband Tool before. Perhaps you know Tool was formed in Los Angeles in 1990 by vocalist Maynard James Keegan and guitarist Adam Jones. Maybe you know their first full-length studio album Undertow was released in 1993. Maybe, just maybe you even recognize the droning bass riff to their song Schism. Perhaps you’re aware the song’s standard 12/8 time signature is split into two parts, resulting in A “Schism.” Thus, the theme of the music matches the theme that the lyrics are based on. Then again, maybe not. This type of obscurity is a common thread in Tool’s songwriting. Additionally, it manifests in every other aspect of the band’s creative efforts, including their explosive live performances.
Precursor to the Plague:
Rumors of the long-awaited 5th studio album began swirling as far back as 2014. Everything from “family commitments” to lawsuits were cited as key reasons for the delay of new material from the band. Guitarist Adam Jones hoped the recording of the album’s material would be done before the end of 2015. But, he emphasized that the band would not rush to meet an arbitrary deadline. Fast forward to May 5th 2019 when the band debuted 2 new songs “Descending” and “Invincible” live at the Welcome to Rockville festival in Jacksonville Florida.
On July 29th, 2019 Maynard James Keegan confirmed the new album would be Titled Fear Inoculum and the album’s title track would be released as a single, becoming the band’s first release in 13 years. Fear Inoculum was released on August 30th, 2019. The same day, the band announced a North American tour with stops in 26 cities in support of the album.
An integral part of the Tool experience is their acclaimed live performances. The mixture of cutting-edge lighting, sound design, high art stage sets, and the chance to hear the intricate movements of the music performed live at pulverizing volume is truly sublime. Thus, the shows become their own hermetically sealed worlds. Worlds where sound and light are free to collaborate in a manner that is truly unique.
Each stop on the tour offered a unique print from artists. These include Alex Grey, Joyce
Su, and Miles Johnston. They commemorate the experience; “Following the band’s sonic, lyrical, and visual output, intersecting themes from the pneuma of the individual artists coalesce into a transmundane unity. Phantasmal hierophants, nightside archetypes, alien taxonomy, and morphological constructs are featured, along with sacred geometry, hidden allegories of spiritual energies, subtle anatomy of occult hyper-chemistry, and magical radiances of ascending intelligences. Whether you’re a collector pursuing the gamut, or Tool enthusiast wanting a souvenir from the show, inspired works from the impressive list of artistic contributors are sure to enhance your surroundings.”
Much like the referenced “Chasing Ponce De Leon’s phantom song” in the track Invincible we have been on a similar journey this year and hope to soon find the fountain of youth so we may once again “lurch into the fray.”