hmv's Albums of 2014: Tool
Every day throughout January we're going to be previewing 2014's biggest records. Today we evaluate whether 2014 will be the year that Tool finally return with a new record, here's hoping.
A little background…
Tool’s last album, 10,000 Days, came out in 2006, a full eight years ago. Even for Tool, this has been a long wait. In that time, bassist Justin Chancellor has recorded an album under the name MT Void, vocalist Maynard James Keenan has toured and recorded with Puscifer and bought a vinyard, and Chinese Democracy actually came out. The band hasn’t been entirely inactive, appearing at the occasional festival (such as Ozzfest in Japan last year) and even the odd tour, but this is the longest, and quietest period of the band’s history.
The writing process for their new record has been ongoing, on and off, since around 2008. A movie was also touted and with guitarist Adam Jones’ connections in the movie industry this is a possibility - Jones worked on set design and SFX for several big films including Terminator 2. They are a hugely ambitious band and take their art seriously. The 10,000 Days packaging was particularly spectacular, folding out into a pair of lenticular glasses and a series of 3D photographs and pictures, so there is no doubt that a new project will be big, bold and slightly left-field.
What it's called?
No idea, Tool are such a secretive bunch that information like this never slips out. Their first three records all had single word titles, so that seems like a good bet.
What Will It Sound Like?
Tool’s style has evolved hugely from Opiate, their first EP. They were always different and more considered than their peers’, but also raw. From debut album Aenima onwards, they really found their feet and each release showed more maturity, with odd time signatures and deep, obtuse lyrics becoming their signature. They still retain a very basic setup, though. Jones’ shuns guitar pyrotechnics in favour of atmosphere and texture, Justin’s bass is a rumbling lynchpin and in Danny Carey they have one of the most dedicated and challenging drummers around. Maynard is a lyrical genius, even writing the lyrics of the song Laterlalus to correspond with the Fibonacci numbers. This means that any new album will be a deep record, demanding repeat listens before its true nature reveals itself. We can expect long songs too, most Tool tracks clock in at well over six minutes.
Who's Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?
Tool always at least co-produce their own records, and, on 10,000 Days, produced it themselves completely, with no word on producers for this album, it's likely that'll be the case again. No word on guest appearances, though they've been known to include a few guest vocalists, with the likes of Henry Rollins and Bill McConnell among the singers who've sung on earlier Tool records.
Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?
Rumours of a new Tool album abound whenever a new Tool album isn’t out. This could have been written every year from 2009 on- but there is a certain momentum that a new album WILL be out this year. Maynard has commented that Jones, Carey and Chancellor are perfecting the music before he gets to lay down his vocals, but both Keenan and Jones’ have stated that there will be a record out in 2014, though with their sloth-like pace, a late summer release or after is likely.