It was in 2006 when Tool released their 4th studio album '10,000 Days'. Since then, they had been quiet. With a big lawsuit hanging over their heads, they hardly played shows after their 10,000 Days tour, leaving rabid fans waiting. Soon, it became a running joke. Tool will never release an album again. But after 13 years, after all the speculation and controversy, Tool released 'Fear Inoculum' on the 30th of August to the public and the legion of Tool fans, along with others collectively lost their minds.
TALK ABOUT A COMEBACK!
Expectations were really high for the album. At one point, a lot of fans wished Tool didn't release another album, fearing that it would tarnish the almost untouchable back catalogue. People who saw them live this festival season got a gist of what the album could sound like with songs 'Invincible' and 'Descending' and the first vision of the album was shared with the public with the release of the first single off the album being the title track itself, 'Fear Inoculum'. Did the album live up to the hype? There's a lot of mixed reviews coming in mostly falling into two categories - It isn't as good as '10,000 Days' or 'Lateralus' or, it's a perfect album. I would agree to the later. The 86 minute album filled with 6 grand opuses, supported by 4 psychedelic breaks creates the strongest album Tool has ever released. Whilst earlier albums contain classics, the collection of songs along with the track listing on this album are incomparable to what came earlier. In true Progressive Metal fashion, most of these songs average at 10 minutes. '7emptest', the 16 minute finale is being regarded as Guitarst Adam Jones' finest musical hour whilst 'Chocolate Chip Trip' is a perfect example of how Drummer Daney Carry is one of the best drummers of all time. Accompanied by probably the best mix on any Tool album by the evil Joe Barressi, the album is untouchable. If there was a near-perfect record, this is it. But could it hold up to Pop standards?
A DIVE INTO THE BILLBOARDS
Tool's last two albums '10,000 Days' (564,000 copies sold) and 'Lateralus' (555,200 copies sold) both reached No.1 on the Billboard Charts and according to calculations, the new album could be there before you know it. Currently, they face competition from Taylor Swift's latest release 'Lover', which currently stands at No.1 with 679,000 units sold, but is predicted to fall around 70-80% and go down to around 218,000 units in the next two weeks. This number is based on the notion that her last release 'Reputation' opened with 1.238 million copies sold, but fell down 79% very soon. The same was observed with Taylor Swift's seminal release '1989', which debuted at 1.287 million copies sold and again, fell down 69% in it's second week to 402,000 units. Given Tool's previous album sales, there could be a very high chance that 'Fear Inoculum' could also reach No.1. The issue is, the music industry isn't like it was in 2006. But as we mentioned in our earlier article about Tool and their comeback strategy, they seemed to be on the right track - and the current numbers support that. The title track 'Fear Inoculum' debuted at No. 93 of the Billboard charts, making it the longest song to ever enter the Hot 100 at 10 minutes and 21 seconds, beating the record previously held by the late David Bowie. Along with that, it went over 10 million plays on Spotify. The album since its release has also reached around 14.5 million plays collectively on YouTube.
THE RACE FOR NO.1!
The album has only been out a couple of days and given the immense response to it, it seems highly likely that the record might reach No.1. HITS Daily Double projects the album to sell around 240,000-260,000 units by its first week. Also, given the recent No.1 achieved by Slipknot's latest release 'We Are Not Your Kind', Metal really seems to be doing well this year. If Slipknot could beat the widely famous 'Old Town Road' by Lil Nas, Tool might just beat Taylor Swift quite swiftly, with the upward projections for the album expecting around 300,000 to 310,000 copies sold by the first week. Although Tool's fanbase might not be as big as Taylor Swift's, it's abundantly clear that they have an insanely crazy fan base. When Pre-orders for the album were released, a very extensive and expensive Physical package was being sold for around $60, which now is reselling on eBay for not less than $100. That even on a reselling standpoint is almost a 200% increase. This plays into the resurgence of the physical format in the last 5-7 years as well. Tool has both going though - both physical sales and online streams. They seemed to have really cracked the modern day music business. And they haven't even released the Vinyl version of the album yet!
If you haven't heard the album yet, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Check it out below: