4,863 days in the fire was long enough. In the wee hours of August 25, 2019, an escapade for the history books (and hilariously appropriate for Tool’s storied career in trolling) was happening in Las Vegas, Nevada. The story was one of fear and loathing, involving a CD of Fear Inoculum stolen from a Target warehouse and one man’s mission to find a way to bring this album to the internet. Because it’s 2019, our thief had no idea how to rip audio from a CD in order to get the music out there, but by the time the 3 AM hour was rounding on the east coast, the mission was accomplished. That’s why instead of following the titular character of Tool’s 2001 song “The Patient”, I was not going to wait it out for the final stretch of six days. As of writing this, I have heard 79 out of 86 minutes on the Tool album, and it’s almost certainly the 79 minutes that actually matter.
The purpose of this article, much like the last one, has little to nothing to do with the actual music of Tool. This article is about bands that made us wait even longer than Tool’s 13 year and 4 month stint of leaving their fans hanging in the balance. For simplicity’s sake, there are going to be some ground rules that keep this list from being a never ending showcase of random other musical acts and artists that have no comparison to Tool other than making fans wait decades for new music. It would be easy to use The Eagles’ 28 year gap between albums or Tom Petty reviving his first band from the 1960’s in the mid-2000’s as prime examples, but they suck (The Dude speaks the truth about The Eagles 100%) and have no relevance to Tool or my readership. One is that the band has to be some sort of alternative rock and/or metal, or had been relevant in Tool’s glory days of the 1990’s and 2000’s. The other is that bands who went on hiatus or broke up during their downtime and came back years later with a new album are fair game, because I would hardly call Tool’s career for the vast majority of the last 13 years the typical active band schedule. Playing 10 shows per year with the same setlist over and over again with no new music and maybe one song change per tour is not a great example of band activity and stability, no matter if every one of those shows sold out and the band continued to rake in millions of dollars. Tool used every excuse in the playbook to avoid releasing a new album; lawsuits with their record label, lawsuits with art collaborators, lawsuits with management, marriages and parenthood, side projects, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer, injuries and health issues, even a supposed scrapping of an entire album. A third merit is that it has to be an album I actually heard before, so anything I never listened to is off the table, I’m not omnipotent. So now that the impossible has befallen us, let’s look at who else kept people right there, giving blood and keeping faith over the years, even longer than Tool’s ridiculous 13 year, three month and 28 day gap between albums.
Just missing the cut are Jane’s Addiction, Godflesh and Aphex Twin who had us waiting a paltry 12 years and 11 months between studio albums. Thanks a lot guys, at least Aphex Twin and Godflesh have continued to release things worth listening to.
A Perfect Circle – Eat the Elephant (released 13 years, 5 months, 19 days after 2004’s eMOTIVe)
Without a hint of fucking irony, the first band to make people wait a whole 6 days more than Tool was Maynard James Keenan’s other band A Perfect Circle. Of fucking course they did, I’m not even trolling, read the Wikipedia article for yourself.
Was it worth it?: Fuck no. This album is terrible.
Eyehategod self titled (released 13 years, 8 months, 17 days after 2000’s Confederacy of Ruined Lives)
Eyehategod’s NOLA sludge metal is not for everyone, but it definitely is for me. This band can use the excuses of Hurricane Katrina, the reformation of Jimmy Bower’s much more famous band Down, the death of drummer Joey LaCaze and singer Mike Williams’ longtime drug addiction and alcoholism as valid reasons for this delay.
Was it worth it?: Yes, this album is great and sounds like classic Eyehategod, albeit with better production values.
Alice in Chains – Black Gives Way to Blue (released 13 years, 10 months, 22 days after 1995’s self titled album)
When you were Alice in Chains, you had a lot of leeway to take forever to do anything, and even that didn’t stop them from being extremely prolific in their original incarnation, at least while it still existed. In 2002, Layne Staley died of a combined heroin-cocaine overdose after many years of tortured existence and hardcore drug addiction. In 2006 Jerry Cantrell resurrected the band with Mike Inez and Sean Kinney, along with longtime collaborator William Duvall. They released their first of three albums so far under this resurrected lineup in September 2009.
Was it worth it?: While many old school Alice in Chains fans denounce any work not featuring Layne, Black Gives Way to Blue is truly a great album worthy of the Alice in Chains name. The vast majority of the lyrical content deals with Layne and moving onward, and Jerry, Sean, Mike and William have kept the musical styling deep in the Alice in Chains tradition. While this album and the subsequent Alice in Chains albums can aptly be described as Degradation Trip parts 3-5, they are all solid works.
Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky (released 13 years, 11 months, 1 day after 1996’s Soundtracks For the Blind)
The brainchild of the legendary Michael Gira, Swans launched a comeback in the 2010’s when they released this album. Since then, they have released three more albums which received major critical acclaim, experienced the band’s greatest commercial successes in their career, and has cemented their legacy. I also saw them live in 2012 and again in 2014, and not only got to meet the band members but I also got to cook Michael some dinner.
Was it worth it?: This album is good, but for my money, it’s the subsequent 2012 album The Seer which is their best comeback album. 2014’s To Be Kind is no slouch either. Swans lost nothing in their downtime in my opinion.
Guns n’ Roses – Chinese Democracy (released exactly 15 years after 1993’s The Spaghetti Incident)
This album is a joke. It was a joke before it existed, it was a joke upon release and it remains a joke now that Guns n’ Roses consists of Axl, Slash, Duff and a bunch of people who dicked around on this album. But hey, this album has Buckethead, Nine Inch Nails’ Robin Finck, Godflesh and Primus’ Brain Mantia, The Replacements’ Tommy Stinson, A Perfect Circle’s Billy Howerdel, Nine Inch Nails and A Perfect Circle’s Josh Freese, Killing Joke’s Martin Youth and Sebastian “I fucking love trains” Bach on it, so it can’t be that bad, right?
Was it worth it?: HELL MOTHERFUCKING NO. This shit sucks. Before the Tool album was the joke, Chinese Democracy was the joke, and now that I heard Tool’s album, Chinese Democracy is still the joke.
Cynic – Traced In Air (released 15 years, 2 months, 3 days after 1993’s Focus)
Cynic’s album was released the same day as Chinese Democracy. Cynic’s album was way, way fucking better than Chinese Democracy. Cynic was formed by former Death members Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert, along with Sean Malone, and are considered pioneers of technical death metal. This album expanded to more progressive metal and even jazz based influences.
Was it worth it?: While I’m a much bigger fan of Focus than anything else they ever released, it’s not like this album was bad, or even boring for that matter. It’s worth a listen.
Glassjaw – Material Control (released 15 years, 4 months, 22 days after 2002’s Worship and Tribute)
Glassjaw skate by into this because they released a pair of EP’s a month apart in 2011 which would have otherwise disqualified them, had it been released as a full album. Glassjaw’s raucous blend of post-hardcore, nu-metal, screamo and at least on their comeback album, full fledged metalcore is something that can be hard for the uninitiated to embrace.
Was it worth it?: This was a great album, and far heavier than anything they had ever released as a whole. Shortly before this album’s surprise release announcement, they were playing in town and I had to go to someone’s party instead. I learned Glassjaw played 7 songs off of this album before anyone even knew they even existed and was instantly pissed I did not get to hear these songs for the first time live and in person.
Dr. Dre – Compton: A Soundtrack (released 15 years, 8 months, 22 days after 1999’s The Chronic 2001)
If there was ever a trifecta of albums that would never be released, it was Chinese Democracy, Fear Inoculum, and Dr. Dre’s long rumored and discussed Detox, which actually had two singles released in 2010 before being scrapped. However, once the N.W.A. movie Straight Outta Compton hit theaters, Dr. Dre’s mythical third studio album was surprise released shortly afterward. Compton might not be titled Detox, but this will absolutely do.
Was it worth it?: An insanely impressive guest roster including legends like Snoop, Ice Cube, Eminem, Xzibit and The Game and at-the-time young bloods like Kendrick Lamar, Anderson PAAK and Jill Scott made for great collaborative efforts. If you like gangsta rap with lyrical showmanship, you’ll fucking love it just as I did.
Celtic Frost – Monotheist (released 16 years, 1 month, 18 days after 1990’s Vanity Nemesis)
When Celtic Frost broke up in the early 1990’s, they were going out as a joke. They pioneered all sorts of extreme metal genres with their early works like Morbid Tales and To Mega Therion, but made a turn for glam metal of all genres with 1988’s Cold Lake, still one of the worst metal albums of all time. When they came back in 2006 with Monotheist, their sound was more reminiscent of gothic doom metal, with a heavy dose of sludge and black metal.
Was it worth it?: This is the best Celtic Frost album in my opinion. This might be a shocking and unpopular one for some, but this is an incredible record. Their reunion only lasted a handful of years before they splintered again, but Tom G. Warrior continued to release great gothic-doom metal with Triptykon afterwards.
Soundgarden – King Animal (released 16 years, 5 months, 23 days after 1996’s Down on the Upside)
I have already discussed this album at great length in my tribute to the late Chris Cornell and Soundgarden article, but it was very welcome to have Soundgarden back as an active band for the first half of the 2010’s. R.I.P. Chris Cornell, we’re still missing him very much only a short couple years after his untimely death.
Was it worth it?: While this album definitely is not measuring up to the legacy of Badmotorfinger or Superunknown, this was a worthy final installment for Soundgarden.
At the Drive-In – In-Ter A-Li-A (released 16 years, 7 months, 23 days after 2000’s Relationship of Command)
A legendary post-hardcore record like Relationship of Command is hard to follow up. At the Drive In came in 16 and a half years with later this one with the annoying title to type out. It’s… okay, and I had to take up the opportunity to see them live. At the Drive-In live is far, far better than The Mars Volta, they played 11 songs in the time it took The Mars Volta to play two songs.
Was it worth it?: Sort of. I got to see them live because they went on tour for this album. They had some alright songs on there that I’ll still listen to occasionally, but nowhere near as much as anything from the original run.
Refused – Freedom (released 16 years, 8 months, 2 days after 1998’s The Shape of Punk to Come)
Just like the last installment, another monumental record in post hardcore like Refused’s 1998 album is hard to follow up. Like ATDI, Refused disbanded just as they were gaining attention and left the follow up to the reunion after 16 and a half years. That’s a long time to go, and again, it’s not as if I was expecting The Shape of Punk to Come 2. I still want to see this band live. They are a very good band overall and their work before The Shape of Punk to Come is well worth revisiting.
Was it worth it?: Sort of. At least this band is back together and still touring and regularly releasing music, I say. They will record music for the highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 video game soundtrack and release a second album since their reunion this Fall.
Carcass – Surgical Steel (released 17 years, 3 months, 3 days after 1996’s Swansong)
Carcass are death metal legends, absolutely brutal band that really took the genre new places back in the early days. And that unfortunately ended with their disbandment, but at the time, their fans might have been encouraging them to disband anyway. This album is an insane improvement over 1996’s Swansong, which sounds embarassing compared to albums like Necroticism or Heartwork. I want to see this band live too, and as of 2019 they are finishing a second album since reuniting.
Was it worth it?: Worth every damn second on the Surgical Steel album and the bonus EP Surgical Remission Surplus Steel too, they absolutely destroyed with this album.
Faith No More – Sol Invictus (released 17 years, 11 months, 16 days after 1997’s Album of the Year)
Faith No More is a legendary band, so anything new from them was going to be highly anticipated after their reformation in 2009. Over half a decade after that, Sol Invictus was released in the spring of 2015 with a short and concise 39 minute run time. Faith No More is a band that really leaves me wanting to hear more, but as we near the end of 2019 now, it seems Mr. Bungle is coming back next, and I for one await our new Bungle overlord for Mike Patton project of the day.
Was it worth it?: Absolutely, for what it is. Just like the last few records in this list, the fact it exists and the band was back doing things for it justifies it alone, and there’s quite a group of fine songs there as well.
A Tribe Called Quest – We Got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service (released 18 years, 1 month, 3 days after 1998’s The Love Movement)
I better receive no complaint about listing a hip hop album in this list. Deltron 3030 Part II barely missed the cut at a scant 13 years and one month between release. A Tribe Called Quest were literally on top of the world and at #1 on the charts when Aenima debuted back in September of 1996 at #2, so I will sneak them in here on that justification and say they had a nice tribute to the late Phife Dawg and one last great album in them. Doing a tribute and playing on the Dave Chappelle hosted Saturday Night Live episode directly after Trump got elected was a pretty surreal moment for A Tribe Called Quest too.
Was it worth it?: A Tribe Called Quest was one of the most legendary hip hop groups of all time, it should go without question that one last album from them is worth it.
Metallica – Death Magnetic (released 18 years, 7 months, 27 days after Metallica’s self titled album)
Load, RELoad and St. Anger don’t exist in my household. Fuck those.
Failure – The Heart is a Monster (released 18 years, 10 months, 28 days after 1996’s Fantastic Planet)
Fantastic Planet is another huge album to follow up, and Failure also had the fate of disbanding right as they were gaining traction and releasing their magnum opus. When Failure announced their reunion in 2014, anticipation was lofty. Their second live reunion show was actually part of the “Cinquenta” held where Failure, A Perfect Circle, Green Jelly, Puscifer and Tool all performed together for Maynard James Keenan’s 50th birthday. Failure and Tool go all the way back, to the point where Tool themselves began as what Adam and Maynard have called a Failure ripoff band. Failure have recently released another album that gathered four separate EPs they released over the last year, they are certainly a band that loves a long album like Tool as well.
Was it worth it?: The Heart is a Monster is their second best album only to Fantastic Planet, and this band has only gotten better live since their heyday, in credit to not being extremely troubled with drug abuse like the Fantastic Planet days.
At the Gates – At War With Reality (released 18 years, 11 months, 14 days after 1995’s Slaughter of the Soul)
At the Gates continues this list’s trend of legendary bands appearing. At the Gates pioneered what they call the “Gothenberg sound” of “melodic death metal”. I just think they are a great old school heavy metal group and to have them back is more than welcome. At the Gates continue to tour regularly and have released another album To Drink From the Night Itself.
Was it worth it?: As this list goes on, this moment keeps just being met with yes. Of course At the Gates should go on, they’re fucking great. The list is being narrowed to a criteria of bands I like that haven’t released albums in nearly twenty years at this point. At the Gates can take a nearly 20 year gap and come back, stand strong, release a second fucking album after that and still hold up.
My Bloody Valentine – M.B.V. (released 21 years, 2 months, 29 days after 1991’s Loveless)
This is it. This is actually the “album that will never be released” I can say I saw actually come out before the Tool album. I’m not even a huge fan of My Bloody Valentine, I’ve absolutely listened to Loveless and this album a few times each, but I’m just not that into them as compared to a couple other shoegaze bands.
Was it worth it?: I actually liked this album more than Loveless on the first time hearing it, but I also only ever listened to Loveless maybe 3 times in full ever before hearing it. I understand this band has a diehard fanbase. They might be like, the anti-Tool or something, it’s just that kind of fandom.
Ride – Weather Diaries (released 21 years, 3 months, 5 days after Tarantula)
Ride rode it out just slightly longer than My Bloody Valentine, an astonding feat, but it seems like all these old British shoegaze bands are just competing for an award now. Ride released an album just weeks ago as a follow up to this.
Was it worth it?: I have only ever heard two Ride albums, Nowhere and this album. I feel like these are the only ones I need to ever hear.
Slowdive self titled (released 22 years, 2 months, 29 days after Pygmalion)
Wow, talk about a trilogy. Now we’ve got My Bloody Valentine, Ride and Slowdive all in a row. Well honestly I have to go with the natural order because Slowdive has my favorite shoegaze style of those three bands, if I had to choose. It was also awesome to hear from them again.
Was it worth it?: Again, I have to give it to them, incredible stuff for coming back after so goddamn long. That sort of brevity alone is commendable but they got the songs to back it up the most out of this last run of shoegaze bands that ended up in a row in this list.
Pixies – Indie Cindy (released 22 years, 6 months, 27 days after 1991’s Tromp Le Monde)
This was a hugely controversial release due to the band’s dismissal of bassist and co-lead vocalist Kim Deal shortly before its recording. Pixies had actually reunited almost 10 years before releasing this album, but had only yielded a mediocre single new song on a greatest hits album in that period. Pixies were a major influence on 90’s alternative rock and grunge and had become canonized as gods of the alternative movement in their time away.
Was it worth it?: I am not a fan of this album, nor am I fan of the subsequent record Head Carrier. As of writing, Pixies will release a third reunion album in about a month’s time, and I don’t have any anticipation for it at all.
Quicksand – Interiors (released 22 years, 8 months, 13 days after 1995’s Manic Compression)
Quicksand were an under the radar alternative metal group from the 1990’s who, like many bands in this list, broke up just as they were gaining steam. The band had a large influence on subsequent alternative/nu-metal bands Korn, Glassjaw, Chevelle and Deftones, who now boast Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega in their lineup. Upon embarking on the first tour in support of this album, guitarist Tom Capone was arrested for shoplifting and resisting arrest and was dismissed from the band.
Was it worth it?: While I’ve definitely been more a fan of the bands Quicksand influenced than Quicksand themselves, this certainly doesn’t sound much different from the music on Manic Compression and Slip.
Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want? (released 24 years, 8 months, 29 days after 1992’s Amused to Death)
Roger Waters, former bassist and co-lead vocalist of Pink Floyd, was kicked out of the band all the way back in 1984. Despite this, his solo career went with a nearly 25 year gap which featured exactly one 4-song performance with Pink Floyd during that downtime. I would also like to note that I am not including Pink Floyd’s 20 year gap between 1994’s The Division Bell and the 2014 release The Endless River, because The Endless River consists of throwaway instrumental jam sessions recorded during The Divison Bell, it’s totally useless and barely qualifies as an album, let alone the nearly 2 hour snoozefest it is.
Was it worth it?: This album consists of what was obviously Roger Waters’ ideas for a Pink Floyd reunion/final album, had it ever come to exist. This is pretty much the only time in Roger’s solo career where he actually sounds like Pink Floyd, and it’s worth checking out in that regard. However, it’s extremely derivitave of Pink Floyd to the point of sampling Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall’s sound effects.
Sleep – The Sciences (released 25 years, 5 months, 19 days after 1992’s Sleep’s Holy Mountain)
Okay, this one needs an asterisk, but I can explain. Sleep disbanded in 1998 after recording what was to be the follow up to Sleep’s Holy Mountain and didn’t reform until 2009, but in their time away, no less than three different incarnations of those 1998 recordings were released. In 1999, with no input from the band, 52 minutes of these recordings were released as Jerusalem, and in 2003 the full hour of recordings was released as Dopesmoker for the first time. These recordings consist of one extremely long, extremely heavy, extremely stoned song. In 2012, the band finally released a version of Dopesmoker that they had given their own input on. Dopesmoker’s release spans so many different titles, album covers and track listings that I’m just not even fucking counting it.
Was it worth it?: Best listened to with bong in hand, Sleep’s The Sciences was a glorious return to form. Even though Matt Pike and Al Cisneros went on to establish themselves as legends with their own bands in the time Sleep was inactive, this album lives up to all the hype and then some put forth by the prior output. I saw this band live a short 3 weeks before this album’s release, so hopefully I can see them again and hear some of this live in person.
Possessed – Revelations of Oblivion (released 32 years, 6 months, 10 days after 1986’s Beyond the Gates)
Possessed was one of the origators of death metal, being part of a select few bands in the early 80’s to push the style (along with the aforementioned Death and Celtic Frost). They also featured a young Larry “Ler” Lalonde of Primus on guitar in their original lineup. Coming back with an over 32 and a half year gap in a genre like death metal is just insane, it’s hard to even comprehend. Furthermore, vocalist and only remaining founding memeber Jeff Becerra has been wheelchair bound since the early 1990’s after being gravely injured in a robbery. Possessed laugh at Tool’s paltry 13 year gap between albums.
Was it worth it?: Death metal has come a long, long way since the days of Possessed. It sounds fine for what it is, especially considering the adversity faced by Jeff and the surprising fact this band would even stage a reunion this late in the game.
The Stooges – The Weirdness (released 34 years and 27 days after 1973’s Raw Power)
And with this, we’ve reached the end of our journey. Nearly 35 long-ass fucking years later, Iggy Pop and the Stooges came back with a new album back in 2007. Iggy Pop had always been around after The Stooges’ disbandment in 1975, having had a long and successful career and working with everyone from David Bowie, to White Zombie, to At the Drive-In, to uh… Sum 41 and Green Day. Hey, not everyone makes great music after all. The weirdest thing about all this is that Iggy Pop has gone on to outlive Bowie and Lou Reed, against all odds in that trio of weird, druggy legends, but also went on to make an album with Queens of the Stone Age three years ago that was his most commercially successful and critically acclaimed since the 1980’s. Iggy Pop is punk and rock’s crazy shirtless grandpa, he has lived the lives of a million men, and we love him.
Was it worth it?: No, unfortunately this album fucking sucks. It was also the last album Ron Asheton would perform on before his death in 2009.
And there we have it, a list of bands that took longer to release a new album than Tool did, and this is just collected from the pool of music that I’ve actually heard. You yourself can now listen to 79 out of 86 minutes on Tool’s new album Fear Inoculum online and probably finish the album before you finish reading this entire list. Next time, we’re diving deep into the Fear Inoculum album on the final installment of Tool week .