TOOL's long-awaited new album, "Fear Inoculum", has landed at positon No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The band's first effort in 13 years shifted between 270,000 equivalent album units equivalent album units in its first week of release. Of that sum, between 248,000 were in traditional album sales.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units are comprised of traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
According to Billboard, those numbers are particularly astonishing as TOOL achieved them "without the assistance of a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer, any sort of album pre-order/pre-sale access code promotion, or a single merchandise/album bundle — all of which have become the norm for most major albums in recent years as artists struggle to sell albums through more old-fashioned or traditional methods."
"Fear Inoculum" beat Taylor Swift's "Lover" for the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart. "Lover" After debuting at No. 1 last week, "Lover" fell to No. 2, with 178,000 album units moved.
The news of "Fear Inoculum"'s impressive debut comes amidst news stories of the album release being met by lengthy lines at retailers as music lovers clamored to get a copy of the limited edition, physical version of the CD. The spectacular, groundbreaking packaging boasts a four-inch HD rechargeable screen with exclusive video footage, charging cable, two-watt speaker, a 36-page booklet and a digital download card. The Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS) released a rare statement, describing the event-like album release: "Several stores had well-attended midnight sales on Thursday (it was my store's first midnight sale in 10 years). When we returned to work on Friday morning, there were lines at the door… the TOOL release was the biggest thing to hit retail in years."
The success wasn't isolated to the U.S., with the album debuting at No. 1 in Australia, Norway, New Zealand, and Belgium, as well as Top 5 debuts in the UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Ireland, Italy and Finland.
Critically, the album was met with equal enthusiasm. NPR proclaimed "'Fear Inoculum' was worth the 13-year wait," NME awarded the 10-track offering a perfect five-star score, The Atlantic dubbed it "precise and devastating," Revolver declared it "a masterpiece that will be dissected for years to come" and Entertainment Weekly said the collection is "deeply satisfying, both as a distinct artistic statement and as accidental fan service to a base that expects nothing less than unflinchingly unique artistic statements."
"Fear Inoculum" arrived on August 30 via RCA. The 85-minute collection was produced by TOOL, with Joe Barresi engineering and mixing the release. Barresi also worked with the band on 2006's "10,000 Days".
As previously reported, the "Fear Inoculum" title track recently became the longest song to ever land in the Billboard Hot 100. The TOOL cut, which entered the chart at No. 93, has a running time of 10 minutes 21 seconds, 24 seconds longer than the previous record holder, David Bowie's "Blackstar".