While it may have been forever since Tool released an album, at least we now have a better understanding of the delay. The band has been sued by a longtime collaborating graphic artist, who wants some sweet Tool royalty money. Anticipating such lawsuits, the band had taken out insurance to protect themselves from something like this, but when the insurers refused to pay up, that led to a seven year legal battle which is still ongoing. The legal troubles led to enough distraction that the band couldn't fully focus on writing new music.
Regardless of the suit, we know the band is writing. At this point even a new riff will excite me. Adam Jones recently spoke to Metal Hammer and gave this interesting morsel of a quote about the new material:
“We’re always on an experimental path. We never think about what worked on the last record or what’s good on the radio right now. It’s a selfish process, we just go in there with some riffs. We experiment and the riffs start to take a different path and over time, this riff from last week might go really well with this riff from two years ago. We piece stuff together, almost like a film soundtrack, you know? But I’ll tell you this – there’s a lot of stuff in 7/4. Breaking up 7 can sound like an even number to the listener even though it’s an odd number, that’s really exciting. Rosetta Stoned had some elements of that where we had a middle break and the end rhythm of 7 against 5. It kinda opens up a whole can of worms! There’s some really light stuff going on but there’s also a lot of heavy stuff in there too.”
He keeps mentioning the heavy stuff and I love it! Jones refuses to rush the music because, ultimately, he doesn't want to look back and regret not fixing something:
I don’t want to just get it out and worry about the next record, then look back and go, ‘Why did I do that? It’s a piece of crap.’ I want to sleep well at night, it’s my legacy you know? Some day, I’m gonna croak and I wanna look back on what I did and go, ‘I worked really hard, took the time and had integrity.’ I know our fans are frustrated and obviously want to hear new music.
A true artist cannot be rushed. We'll be waiting.