Hi folks. Today is about the release of one of my favourite bands, Disturbed and their new album Immortalized, which comes out two days from today. I think it is important to talk about because this is from a band, who has recently just come off a hiatus, which lasted for almost 3 years. Something else to keep in mind is that Disturbed have had 4 consecutive number one albums with: Believe, 10 Thousand Fists, Indestructible and Asylum, which was released August 31st 2010. They also released a compilation of b-sides called The Lost Children, to help keep the fans at eas for a while at least, while they went into hiatus. They also did their own projects such as: Device, Adrenaline Mob and Fight Or Flight. Even producing other bands was not out of the question either. For example: singer David Draiman produced the band Trivium and their 2013 album vengeance falls, which sounds like a Trivium album but it also has the influence of Disturbed. However, I liked it for all aspects of the album.
Now, Disturbed are back with a new album and a new producer, after working with Johnny K for their first 3 albums and the last 2 being produced by the band. This time they are working with Canadian producer Kevin Churcko who has worked with such artists and bands as diverse as: Five Finger Death Punch, Ozzy Osbourne, Shania twain, The Corrs, Britney Spears, Hinder and Michael Bolton to name a few. He brings his own signature sound, which is most noticeable in the drums. If you listen to any of the albums by the artists I mentioned, you will hear what I’m talking about. Pay particular attention to the pitch of the snare drums. Here is his Wikipedia article on him. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Churko
I mentioned the drum sound that he brings to the table on most if not all, of his albums he has produced because he is also a musician and drums are one of his instruments. This new album from Disturbed is no exception to this and the drum sound as heavy as ever.
Before I get into the album track by track, let’s take a look at each album and how the band has evolved since forming in the mid 90s. In 2000, The Sickness was released, introducing us to the band and singer David Draiman’s percussive vocal style, which could be mistaken for wrapping. He has disputed that on one occasion, while being interviewed on a radio station in Toronto. The interviewer said something about his wrapping and David said “oh, no no no no my friend it’s not wrapping” in his even tone of voice and said that it is his singing style. You really can’t blame anyone for misconstruing it though, because of the song Pour Some Sugar On Me bye Def Leppard which incorporates much the same singing style. Although in the case of Disturbed, they were unfortunately lumped in with the Nu Metal that was popular at the time. As they have evolved they managed to get away from as much of it as they could, without straying too far from their original sound. In fact, they stay with the original sound but have added things along the way, which I will get into while talking about future albums.
With The Sickness it had to of the most popular songs on it in the Disturbed catalog: Stupefy and Down With The Sickness. The latter being most notable for the staccato vocal scream that David does. I can’t even coppy it, unlike Korn’s Jonathan Davis in the song Freak On A Leash during the breakdown. The album is both musically and vocally heavy, with David’s voice not going soft very much. Some of my favourite tracks on it are: The Game, Stupify, Down With The Sickness, Violence Fetish, Fear, Numb, Want, Conflict and their cover of the Tears for Fears song Shout. The songs I haven’t mentioned are by no means bad but they just aren’t the ones that have stood out since it came out in 2000.
Believe continues much of what The Sickness had to offer but there is more of an emphasis on melody this time. David’s voice does go soft but it is only during certain points of certain songs in which this occurs. In particular the songs: Awaken, My Mistress, Remember, Breathe and the dark acoustic track Darkness. Really… you had to figure that they would go in this direction to expand the sound for their own purposes and not for celling more albums. Even so, Believe debuted at number 1 and the band went on tour to support it.
Ten Thousand Fists was a sort of return to the sound on The Sickness but with most of the melody of Believe intact. This time, the band tuned the guitars down a half step and added guitar solo’s. Okay… if you are a musician and you are reading this and you are a fan of the band, you know that they wrote the first two albums in e flat and or dropped d flat tuning. They continued this on Ten Thousand Fists but also added droped c tuning to the mix, to make the sound heavier. When I met Pete Loeffler from Chevelle in 2002, I asked him about tuning the guitars down for their latest album at the time, which was called Wonder What’s Next. He told me it was to make the sound heavier. This was compared to the d standard tuning on their previous album Point #1. It makes sense to me now that I think about it because the lower tuning does give the music more of a menacing tone, when needed. Is it any wonder why most extream metal bands have done this in the past few years? Also, why do you think Korn use 7 stringed guitars tuned down as low as a 1 being the lowest note and Fear Factory using low tuned guitars throughout their career? Anyway, I digress.
Some of my favourite songs on this album are:
Ten Thousand Fists for how it opens the album and with the anthemic chorus. I like how it and the over all tone of the album is up-beat yet more aggressive than Believe.
Guarded for it’s aggressive and melodic contrasts within the song.
Stricken for all of the elements of the song itself including the drop c tuning and the guitar solo.
Sons Of Plunder for much the same things as Guarded but it has all the elements of the bands sound to that point without the guitar solo.
Overburdened is a track which is not a balad but is slower and has a melodic bass riff which works for the song, along with Davids vocals.
Forgiven is another song that my favourite part is actually the melodic breakdown before the guitar solo. David sings “walking the line that the world has drawn, fighting for balance alone in the dark. Will you cary the burden the world has grown? Will you destroy everything in your sight? You alone can give this one more try! You alone will berry me tonight.” I love how David sings it and how he leads us right into the guitar solo. It’s a shame that it wasn’t released as a single.
Their cover of Genesis’s Land Of Confusion is also a stand out track for me. I like the original version but this kicks the song up another level. This song was and is also appropriate for Disturbed because of what it is about. The band have sang about politics throughout their albums and an earlier track Deify features samples from George W. Bush and some other voice in the beginning of the song.
Indestructible continues where Fists left off, sort of. However it is more of a return to the earlier sound on The Sickness, married with elements from the last 2 albums.
I like the album as a whole and I don’t want to really take it apart because there really isn’t a favourite track on it. All though, if I had to pick a track that I would have to say is my favourite it would have to be Haunted, for it’s melody and how it goes from being heavy to melodic, similarly to Guarded. This time, the melody is a part of the chorus.
Asylum is unfortunately, my least favourite album because of its decidedly dark tone. I actually expected something similar to Indestructible! What I did notice with it and Believe is the lack of keyboards and samples on both albums. I had read that it would have a similarity to Believe but I actually expected more of the melodic aspects of it in this album.
Some of my favourite tracks on it are: Another Way To Die, Never Again, The Animal and Ishfwilf, which is actually their cover of U2’s I Stil Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. For some reason it makes me think that one day they will also cover the theme for The Simpsons. Hopefully they will guest star on the show one day like U2 did?
Okay, now that I have the previous studio albums out of the way, we will now get to the new album and I will go through it track by track. In The Eye Of The Storm is basically an instrumental track, which is the chords of the chorus of the next track. It reminds me of the beginning of Asylum and it’s instrumental track Remnants, which also leads into the title track.
Immortalized is the first full song on the album and is the first indication of the heavier sound of the album. This song and most others are tuned down to a droped b tuning and the song itself could be another booster for the American military, much like the song Indestructible.
The Vengeful One is the first single from the album and was the first ssong that was my indication of the new tuned down heavier sound. It could be about those who worship a figurehead, who turns out to be an evil false prophet.
Open Your Eyes is a track that is possibly about how some people don’t keep up with what is really going on in the news and don’t bother to look deeper into the stories they see or hear, apart from what they are told in the media.
The Light is the fifth track on the album and is surprisingly, in a major key. However it doesn’t stray too far from the sound of the album and the over all sound of the band.
What Are You Waiting For? is the next track on the album and is about doing something now and not waiting for the right time.
You’re Mine is the next track and is the first track in the dropped d flat tuning. It is a bit bouncey but at the same time, it retains the heaviness of the album.
Who is one of two songs with profanity in it. The chorus says “who the hell are you?” and “who the fuck are you?” a few times. It is possibly about someone changing completely from what they once were.
Save Our Last Goodby is about not being able to see or hear your friend or loved one anymore, dew to their death. There are a few times within the song, where a phone is heard to be ringing. First, with an answering machine message, then a full mailbox message and the final one says the number is no longer in service.
Fire It Up is about those who partake in the pleasures of “the leaves of the devil. “At the beginning of the song you hear someone possibly smoking a bong and some dialog before David sings the first verse.
The Sound Of Silence is indeed, a cover of a classic Simon and Garfunkel song and it is much different from the original. It retains all the words from the song but it is in a different key and the first instrument we hear is a piano, as apposed to acoustic guitar. Also, there is no harmonized vocals on this version and there is an orchestra to make this version much more surprising.
Never Wrong is about someone who thinks they are always right, regardless of the outcome and is a return to the sound similar to the song Criminal from Indestructible.
Who Tought You How To Hate? is the last track on the album and is about being tought to hate, despite having no mean bone in your body. It kind of reminds me of stories I have heard of regular teenagers who are convinced to fight with a terrorist group Isys. This is despite that they were born in this society and grew up with aspirations of going to college and having a normal family and career. Think about that while listening to the song and you will understand.
Over all, I like this album and it reminds me of the last 3 albums. I actually expected something like this, when asylum was released in August 2010. It is also good to hear David using all of his vocal range on this album. For example: The Sound Of Silence hears him using a baritone range then going up to a tenor. At the end of the song he goes to his regular singing voice and this is most certainly, David’s showcase. Will it be released as a single? Probably not but it is a stand out track none the less. Oh, I should also mention that I took a listen to the entire album on iTunes on Monday morning and composed the bulk of this post, after finishing it.
Congratulations to: singer David Draiman, guitarist Dan Donegan, bassist John Moyer and drummer Mike Wengren for another stellar album for the fans and a return to form. This album to me combines all elements which make up the bands sound. This includes all the keyboard and samples, David’s vocals and style, the various guitar and bass tunings and Mikes drumming. Let us also not forget the addition of Kevin Churcko to fatten up the sound, with heavier drums and the new downed tuned guitars. This all makes for a very rewarding listen from beginning to end and I hope this shoots strait to number 1 and stays there for a few weeks.
Well, that’s it for my review and sort of analysis of the new Disturbed album. Talk to you soon.