Fans of 90s and 00s grunge/rock/metal/alternative music were thrilled to hear that Tool will be releasing a new album in 2018, a full 12 years since their last release, 2006’s divisive 10,000 Days.
Tom Morello of Audioslave and Rage Against The Machine has spoken out saying he’s listened to the new material and it’s “really great.” Morello reported that the new Tool music is “epic, majestic, symphonic, brutal, beautiful, tribal, mysterious, deep, sexy and VERY Tool,” reports Music Feeds.
Morello even said that it’s the best he’s heard from Tool. He said he can’t wait to hear the whole record when it’s released next year.
A promotional image has been circulating, showing the Tool guys having a perverse barbecue in a California setting, reports Team Rock. Once you get over singer Maynard’s NSFW apron, you might notice the Hollywood sign sneaking into frame in the background on the left. Could the band be planning to slay L.A culture or even to take shots at individual celebs, Eminem-style, in their “sexy and brutal” new music?
It wouldn’t be the first time Tool has been critical of L.A. In the title track of their 1996 opus Aenima, Maynard James Keenan envisaged a doomsday scenario where the entire city of Los Angeles was wiped out by a combination of meteors, comets, tidal waves, and earthquakes (poetically rendered as “fault lines that cannot sit still”). Keenan characterized this as nature doling out deserved violent wrath on the city of vacuous Californians. The lyricist/singer uses a number of interesting tropes in the strong “Aenima” track lyrics, listing the type of fripperies Los Angeleans obsess over in a sing-song segment (“fret for your figure and fret for your latte…”) and adopting an agonized son posture for a moment when he wails that “Mom’s [mother nature’s] coming round to put it back the way it oughtta be.” There is also a moment after the list of fripperies (latte, contract, et al.) where Maynard shifts perspective dramatically and characterizes L.A. as “one great big festering neon distraction,” encouraging us to visualize the city of bright lights and shallow figures as a gaping wound — a gash — festering on the side of America (albeit a shiny, neon one).
“One great big festering neon distraction.
“I’ve a suggestion to keep you all occupied.”
The backing vocal “learn to swim” sounds out, sinister, at that moment, reminding us that the fickle Californians could soon have graver things to worry about — the city, which is itself a big shiny distraction, ought to brace for something unforgettable. The shift from a very small to a very large perspective is striking and well-timed, as is Maynard’s unforgettable edict “F*** these dysfunctional, insecure actresses,” which came at a time in the 90s when Oprah Winfrey-style talk show over-sharing was just taking off, alongside a burgeoning, ever-bolder celebrity magazine industry. These two forces combined to produce a media atmosphere where anorexia/bulimia issues, anxiety and depressive disorders, bad childhoods, excessive partying, dark triad boyfriends, messy divorces, emotional breakdowns, and botched plastic surgeries were documented by the press ever-more-eagerly and discussed ever-more-candidly by a cohort of press-hungry, sometimes-vulnerable L.A. actresses.
“F*** these dysfunctional, insecure actresses.”
Consequence of Sound published an excellent article to mark the anniversary of Aenima‘s release, describing the way heavy music was evolving at the time and the unique elements Tool brought to the table.