Tool's 'Fear Inoculum' Just Went to No. 1

And they did it by actually selling albums
Tool's 'Fear Inoculum' Just Went to No. 1
Tool's hugely anticipated new album Fear Inoculum has secured the No. 1 spot on Billboard's Top 200, making it the biggest debut for any rock album to be released in over a year.

Coming via RCA Records, the record grabbed the coveted spot on the U.S. album charts — and the No. 1 spot here in Canada — by selling 270,000 equivalent album units, with actual album sales making up 248,000 of that amount, according to Nielsen Music.

This marks Tool's third consecutive No. 1 debut on Billboard's Top 200, but the way the band achieved this feat this time around is more than a little impressive.


Unlike with so many No. 1 album these days, Tool's Fear Inoculum — the group's first album in 13 years — grabbed the top chart position purely via album sales, avoiding the modern practice of bundling the album with concert tickets and/or merchandise in efforts to inflate chart figures. This means Tool earned the No. 1 the old-fashioned way — by actually selling albums.

Fear Inoculum was only sold in two formats: a digital download and an elaborate limited-edition CD, which sold out almost immediately and is now going for hundreds of dollars on the online resell sites such as Discogs and eBay. The physical CD arrived in three different variants and came bundled with a rechargeable 4-inch HD screen that displays exclusive visuals, along with its own speaker and 36-page booklet.

Also, no vinyl version of Fear Inoculum has been announced, meaning the album sales primarily came via the so-called "dead" CD format.

The last rock album to post a bigger week than Fear Inoculum was Dave Matthews Band's Come Tomorrow, Billboard points out. That 2018 album sold 292,000 units (versus Tool's 270,000), but Dave Matthews did that bumping up sales via a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer, not by just selling records.

In addition to claiming that top spot in the U.S., Fear Inoculum debuting at No. 1 in Canada, Australia, Norway, New Zealand, and Belgium, as well as Top 5 debuts in the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy and Finland.

Tool are set to take Fear Inoculum on a North American tour later this year, and you can see all the upcoming dates here.