The Year in Rock 2019: Tool finally releases new album, Slipknot returns & other metal news

RCA RecordsAfter 13 years, the new Tool album actually became a reality.

Throughout the decade, fans waited with varying degrees of patience for the next effort from the Maynard James Keenan-led metallers, who hadn’t released an album since 2006’s 10,000 Days. The fabled record, which had essentially become the Chinese Democracy of 2010s, was continually delayed due to a variety of reasons, including a complicated and arduous lawsuit and Tool’s own slow-moving creative tendencies.

But in August 2019, the album was finally released. Titled Fear Inoculum, the 87-minute collection includes six songs with that last over 10 minutes long, as well as four relatively shorter instrumentals. The title track and lead single, which clocks in at 10 minutes and 20 seconds, reached number one on Billboard‘s Mainstream Rock Songs chart, and became the lengthiest song to ever chart on the all-genre Hot 100 ranking.

Fear Inoculum was an immediate success commercially, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 with the best sales week for a rock band in over a year. The Grammy voters were also fans, nominating the song “Fear Inoculum” for Best Rock Song and “7empest” for Best Metal Performance for the 2020 ceremony.

While they didn’t take as long as Tool, Slipknot also made their much-anticipated return in 2019.

The masked metallers dropped their new album, We Are Not Your Kind, the follow-up to 2014’s .5: The Gray Chapter, in August. We Are Not Your Kind debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and spawned the singles “Unsainted” and “Nero Forte.”

Leading up to the release of We Are Not Your Kind, Slipknot parted ways with percussionist Chris Fehn, who’d been in the band since 1998. In March of this year, Fehn had filed a lawsuit against Knot frontman Corey Taylor and percussionist Shawn “Clown” Crahan, claiming that they’d been hiding money from him through outside businesses.

The week following the news of the lawsuit, Slipknot announced that Fehn was no longer in the band. He was replaced by an as-yet identified percussionist, who made their debut in the “Unsainted” video. Because of the mask that the new member wears, fans have referred to Fehn’s replacement as “Tortilla Man.”

Here are some of the other big hard rock and metal releases of 2019:

Ozzy Osbourne, who spent most of 2019 battling health problems, this year released two new solo songs, “Under the Graveyard” and “Straight to Hell.” He plans to release a new album called Ordinary Man, his first solo effort since 2010’s Scream, in 2020. The Prince of Darkness also collaborated with Post Malone and Travis Scott for the single “Take What You Want.”

Papa Roach dropped their new album Who Do You Trust?, featuring the singles “Elevate,” “Who Do You Trust?” and “Come Around.”

Bring Me the Horizon released the album Amo, a more experimental, guest-filled follow-up to 2015’s That’s the Spirit.

Korn returned with The Nothing, their first album since 2016’s The Serenity of Suffering.

Bad Wolves dropped their sophomore album N.A.T.I.O.N., a collection of all original material after the band broke out in 2018 with their viral cover of “Zombie” by The Cranberries.

Volbeat released their new album Rewind, Replay, Rebound, featuring the lead single “Last Day Under the Sun.”

Skillet and Alter Bridge both released new albums, Victorious and Walk the Sky, respectively, and then hit the road together on a co-headlining tour.

HELLYEAH came out with Welcome Home, featuring the final recordings from drummer Vinnie Paul, who died in June 2018.

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