Though the journey to their long-awaited fifth album has been fraught with drama and endless twists and turns, a series of new studio updates reveal that Tool’s first album in eight years is finally coming to fruition.
In a new posting, the band’s webmaster said the record is “progressing rather nicely.” Even more exciting, the webmaster hinted that King Crimson percussionist Pat Mastelotto is participating in the recording sessions.
“Good friend and King Crimson percussionist Pat Mastelotto stopped by the Tool loft the other day to listen to the guys working on new material,” the webmaster wrote. “Since the recent sound-proofing renovation, I’m told that the writing/arranging sessions have been progressing rather nicely (welcome news for those waiting for a new record).”
In a separate update posted to Instagram, guitarist Adam Jones shared a photo from inside the studio. It featured what appears to be a breakdown of one album track’s time signatures along with the hashtag “#SmokeOnTheHorizon”. Fans have speculated that the hashtag could be the name of a song and/or a reference to Deep Purple’s signature tune “Smoke on the Water”. Such a reference point makes sense, as the band’s previously described the LP as “more metal sounding” and full of “good, nose-bleeding riffs.”
If things are indeed progressing as nicely as indicated, it’s a definite change of pace for Tool. In March, Jones told a Portland audience that the album was “100% done,” adding it could arrive as soon as “the next day.” However, in a follow-up statement the next day, the rest of the band explained the album wasn’t nearly complete and that Jones’ “off-the-cuff joke was taken out of context.”
Following a stint into the studio, Tool emerged in July to explain the real reason for the album’s lengthy delays. Essentially, Tool has been locked in a legal battle over the last decade with a friend of Jones, an artist who was seeking credit over work he provided. Following a series of countersuits that’s costing “millions and millions and millions,” the band is due back in court in January. Of the whole sordid affair, Jones said, “I find it so hard to be creative when you have something awful nagging at you, just stuck between the hemispheres of your brain and affecting your sleep and your relationship with other band members.”
As we await more news and updates, revisit a few Tool favorites below.