New Tool Album: Singer Maynard James Keenan In The Studio

After over a decade of false starts and delays, Tool’s long-awaited new album may finally be released as news dropped that lead frontman Maynard James Keenan is in the studio laying down vocals.

An update on Tool’s website announced the news.

“In speaking with Danny last night, he told me that the band has temporarily MOVED some of their gear into a larger space (across town) where MAYNARD is working on VOCALS for some of the new Tool material. I’m sure that he has already been doing this to some extent, but now he has more room to breathe and a better vocal booth.”

There is some speculation that the new Tool album could be released this summer to coincide with their upcoming headlining gig at The Governors Ball Festival in New York City.

The latest official announcement gives a glimmer of hope for diehard fans, although there is some reason to remain skeptical that a Tool album will drop this year. For one, when Tool released 10,000 Days in 2006, George W. Bush was president and the iPhone didn’t exist.

Tool performing at 2006 Coachella Festival. [Image by Matt Sayles/AP Images]

Though the album was a commercial success, 10,000 Days did receive mixed reviews from some critics. Pitchfork compared the album to Keenan’s long-time side project A Perfect Circle, a group whose music is known for being less prog-metal and more introspective hard rock.

There have been innumerable rumors claiming that a Tool album was coming, but nothing ever materialized. Anticipation reached a fever pitch in September when Tool drummer Danny Carey sat in for a week on Late Night and as Consequence of Sound noted, host Seth Meyers announced, “Be sure to look out for a new album from Tool sometime soon.”

During the lengthy hiatus, Tool fans have been relentless and vocal about their increasing impatience. The constant droning of Tool enthusiasts worldwide hasn’t been lost on Keenan who once labeled his most zealous fans as “insufferable people” during an interview in 2015 to promote his side project, Puscifer. Indeed, Tool fans are often the poster children for fans gone wrong.

For its part, Tool has eluded through the years to a deeply methodical recording process that gives some insight into why there have been so many delays.

While being interviewed for a 2014 Rolling Stone feature, Tool’s guitarist Adam Jones, bassist Justin Chancellor, and Carey explained that the album crafting process consists of the three of them playing through musical ideas and crafting songs that are then sent to Keenan to add vocals so the tracks can be finalized. In that same interview, Jones compared Tool’s musical creation to the process of a painter who is “struggling and suffering.”

In a rare and far-reaching interview on the CBC’s The Strombo Show in late January, Maynard James Keenan spoke at length to George Stroumboulopoulos on a range of topics including Trump, Islamophobia, wine, and of course the latest on Tool.

When Stroumboulopoulos mentioned Tool fan’s “fervor,” Keenan struck a somber note, lamenting the “crippling” effect of adulation on the growth of his loyal audience.

“I feel like I failed if I didn’t get you to move that piece on your own and you’re hanging your next moment on some poems and some bulldozers. So yeah, that’s not a good feeling to feel like you haven’t done your job.”

Whether it is perfectionism or need to break fan dependency, Tool’s delay in releasing music has only added to their allure.

In a 2015 list of top American metal bands published by Loudwire, Tool ranked at No. 6.

Tool’s glacial pace at putting out albums and their continued insistence on avoiding streaming at all costs make them one of metal music’s most elusive and compelling acts. The frenzied reaction to even the possibility of new music shows that when Tool finally releases their next album, it will only further their impact and legacy.

[Featured Image by Felix Marquez/AP Images]

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