9 Bands Like Tool to Hold You Over Until Their Next Release

Tool, a band that defy more conventional forms of genre classification, a band who are singularly dedicated to their music and the integrity of the final outcome, through the years has given us some truly awe inspiring music.But the band’s many fans have been left somewhat rabid lately for a new release given that despite assurances that it was in the works, the band has been negotiating some troubled waters in their personal and professional lives. Suffice it to say several years have gone by without the new release appearing.

At this point it’s been 9 years since the band’s last release, 10,000 days. An album that while not as critically fawned over as some of their previous releases, still provided an exceptional listen for someone wanting a little more than pure riffs. In March, a long and protracted lawsuit regarding an insurance company was settled in Tool’s favor and once again they confirmed that they were pushing their efforts onto the fabled next album. With a tentative release expectation for the end of 2015, fans would be wise not to get too hung up on a particular date to expect the release; given Tool is a band who shrugs off deadlines if they are going to have a negative impact on the final quality of the release.

Bands like Tool

So, while we wait for their next album, let’s have a look at a few bands like Tool that will provide a similar sort of experience to allow you to get your ‘Tool-esque’ fix in the mean time.

1. A Perfect Circle

A Perfect Circle have a rather direct connection to Tool, given that founding member Billy Howerdel was actually a guitar tech for them, and of course they have Maynard James Keenan, Tool’s vocalist. They offer a listener more than just your standard rock; they take you on a journey of deep and guttural rhythms, soaring leads and intricate melodies.

And though their line-up has been through several changes over the years, they still offer a constant source of inspiration for those looking for a little more exploration in their rock music. With several albums and numerous tours under their belts, A Perfect Circle don’t look like they’re about to stop any time soon.

2. Karnivool

Australian prog-rockers Karnivool offer listeners the same brand of beautifully crushing riffs and soaring yet intense vocals that they can trace back to Tool. Karnivool provides a journey through an expansive sonic landscape and with each release they have continue to grow their popularity, reaching new heights.

After exploring a variety of metal sounds, 2010’s “Sound Awake” saw them further embrace their progressive roots and explore a truly exhaustive variety of soaring sounds and intensely deep harmonies.

3. King Crimson

King Crimson are without a doubt the fathers of progressive rock as we know it. Absolute masters of offbeat harmonies and explorative music, Crimson have had a constant stream of success since their inception in 1968. Tool themselves state Crimson as an influence, as indeed do most bands who bear anything resembling ‘progressive’ in their music, and though Crimson can be occasionally far more offbeat than Tool, their similarities can still be seen.

A must-listen for anyone who wants to have a little more depth to their music and for anyone who is willing to explore some unusual musical avenues. Driving force and only constant member Robert Fripp is sure to provide you everything you’re looking for.

4. Rishloo

A comparatively lesser known band than some of the others we’ve mentioned so far, Rishloo offers listeners the same deep and intense riffs that can be found from Tool. Progressive Metal masters Rishloo are constantly pushing forward with their at once crushing and dreamy brand of progressive mastery.

Soaring and intense, alternating between gentle and extremely hard within moments, the vocals soar above the steady and intense riffs to provide a truly intense listening experience. Constantly pushing forward but with a singularly intense desire to maintain their artistic integrity, Rishloo surely deserve all the success they can get and are more than worth a listen if you’re not familiar with them already.

5. Porcupine Tree

Coming from the mind of modern progressive rock master Steven Wilson, Porcupine Tree is an absolute must-listen for anyone looking for those deeply delicious textures and unusual melodies that Wilson conjures with apparent ease. They have been on hiatus for the last 5 years as Wilson has been embarking on his successful solo career. Nonetheless, there is still an expansive back-catalogue for listeners to indulge and savor the wonderfully cerebral music that Wilson is known for thanks to his adoration of progressive monoliths Pink Floyd.

Never dull, always intriguing and always shifting direction, Porcupine Tree provide a magnificent glimpse into true creativity and are always there to take on a journey those listeners willing to follow.

6. Deftones

Originally lumped into the Nu-Metal movement, the Deftones swiftly showed critics and audiences alike that they had far more to offer than that and that they had a deeply progressive urge that they were going to explore. Offering listeners a deeper and darker look into the progressive world, Deftones provide beautifully melodic and crushing riffs while the vocals blend seamlessly from whispers to soaring leads.Having passed their 25th year in the business, it’s suffice to say that the Deftones are doing something right, and are showing absolutely no signs of slowing down despite the tragic passing of bassist Chi Cheng.

7. Dream Theater

A band known as much for the sheer technical proficiency of its members with their instruments as well as their expansive and magnificent melodies, Dream Theater have truly grown to be one of the leading lights of modern progressive music. Though as with all progressive bands, their exploration into a variety of different sonic textures and styles prevents them from settling in a single genre classification.

John Petrucci, John Myung and Mike Portnoy have been churning out the expansive and crushing riffs since 1985, and with each release they serve to further show why they are so rightly revered and why they have grown into true masters of their art.

8. Meshuggah

Since 1987 Swedish progressive metal outfit Meshuggah have been churning out the intense and extreme brand of metal that has won them international acclaim and legions of fans. Offering listeners a darker and more nakedly aggressive listening experience, they still bear the mark of their progressive nature by combining it with deeper and more interesting textures woven throughout their work.

Extensive employment of unusual time signatures make Meshuggah a band that are probably not a good idea if you’re looking for something ‘easy listening’, but if you’re looking for a truly unique listening experience that takes you on a hellish polyrhythmic journey, you can do no better.

9. 10 Years

10 years are an excellent option for anyone looking to satisfy their Tool-fix as they have cited Tool as an enormous influence over them as well as having lead vocals being constantly noted in terms of their similarity.

They’ve also lately been compared to another entrant on this list, the Deftones, and it’s without a doubt that 10 Years offer a superb option for anyone looking for some soaring vocals and stunning melodies.


Hopefully you’re now armed with plenty of bands like Tool to explore while we wait patiently for the next release. Such Titans of Progressive Metal will not be moved but by the strength of their own motivation and will not settle for less than the best when it comes to the final recording.

What do you guys think? Any other suggestions for bands like Tool?


2 Comments Join the Conversation →

  1. dave

    Thanks! I’m probably going to create a Bands Like Tool Part 2 and I’ll include some of these.