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Tool Hold Record For Longest Metal Song To Win A Grammy

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In 2019 and continuing to 2020, Tool managed to break a number of career and general music records, showing that perhaps good things do come to those that wait, specifically 13 years. The Prog-metal legends released their fifth studio album, Fear Inoculum, in late August of 2019, which charted at number 1 while also breaking the record for longest song to enter the Billboard Hot 100. “Fear Inoculum,” the albums title track and 10 minute and 20 second long single, landed at No.93 on the Billboard Hot 100 during it’s release. The track surpassed David Bowie’s 9 minute and 57 second song “Blackstar,” and broke the record for longest song to enter the Hot 100 at 10 minutes and 20 seconds. Interestingly enough, “Fear Inoculum” wasn’t even the longest song on the record, it was the second shortest song on the album (not counting the interludes), as most songs on Fear Inoculum range from 10 to roughly 16 minutes in length.

Staying in the camp of “longest songs,” Tool have jut broken another record in this same category. “7empest,” the longest song on Fear Inoculum at 15 minutes and 44 seconds, won a Grammy for Best Metal Performance at this years 62nd Grammys Awards. In the history of Best Metal Performance, no other winning song in the category tops or even comes close to “7empest” in length, and to further detail this here’s a list of the years past winners.

‘Best Metal Performance’ Wins by year and track length

1990 Metallica, “One” 7:26

1991 Metallica, “Stone Cold Crazy” (Queen cover) 2:17

1993 Nine Inch Nails, “Wish” 3:46

1994 Ozzy Osbourne, “I Don’t Want to Change the World” (live) 5:02 (studio version 4:05)

1995 Soundgarden, “Spoonman” 4:07

1996 Nine Inch Nails, “Happiness In Slavery” 5:21

1997 Rage Against the Machine, “Tire Me” 2:57

1998 Tool, “Ænima” 6:39

1999 Metallica, “Better Than You” 5:21

2000 Black Sabbath, “Iron Man” (live) 8:21 (studio version 5:58)

2001 Deftones, “Elite” 4:01

2002 Tool, “Schism” 6:43

2003 Korn, “Here to Stay” 4:30

2004 Metallica, “St. Anger” 7:21

2005 Motörhead, “Whiplash” 3:49

2006 Slipknot, “Before I Forget” 4:38

2007 Slayer, “Eyes of the Insane” 3:22

2008 Slayer, “Final Six” 4:07

2009 Metallica, “My Apocalypse” 5:01

2010 Judas Priest, “Dissident Aggressor” 2:58 (studio version 3:06)

2011 Iron Maiden, “El Dorado” 6:49

2012 Foo Fighters, “White Limo” 3:22

2013 Halestorm, “Love Bites (So Do I)” 3:11

2014 Black Sabbath, “God Is Dead?” 8:52

2015 Tenacious D, “The Last in Line” (Dio Cover) 3:43

2016 Ghost, “Cirice” 6:02

2017 Megadeth, “Dystopia” 4:59

2018 Mastodon, “Sultan’s Curse” 4:09

2019 High On Fire, “Electric Messiah” 4:16

2020 Tool, “7empest” 15:43

It’s no staggering surprise that Tool won this year for Best Metal Performance, seeing as the Grammys tend to favor past winners and usually the more successful/commercial names in rock and metal. While “7empest” is no commercially ready song by any means (being nearly 16 minutes), Tool were certainly the most commercially successful of the nominees among Killswitch Engage, I Prevail, Candlemass, and Death Angel.

Disregarding the past four years, the Best Metal Performance category has been a highly controversial topic amongst the metal community, mainly considering the ‘commercial-bias’ the Grammys have shown towards metal almost every year. To make matters clear, in 2015 Tenacious D won a Grammy under Best Metal Performance for their cover of “The Last In Line,” a song originally by Ronnie James Dio. Tenacious D being a comedic rock act and winning over several respectable and legendary metal names was a pivotal moment of frustration in the metal community, and to many it only affirmed their disdain for the award ceremony. While the Grammys certainly have no bad intent towards metal, their attentiveness in the genre has year and again been lackluster. However, amongst the nominees and winners of the last four years for Best Metal Performance, the Grammys certainly have come a long way, and now they often give nods and sometimes even wins to lesser known yet critically acclaimed acts, e.g. High On Fire (2019’s winner).

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