Monday, August 24, 2015

Disturbed - Immortalized (2015)

I did not think of it at the time it happened, but coming out of the shock and starting to think about it, I realized that it was a great decision for Disturbed to take a break from each other. Even if the band have done some amazing work and never released a bad album, they were kind of stuck in a vicious cycle of releasing about the same album over and over again every two or three years. Yes, there are things that does separate the albums apart, but those were only small details. So after a four year long hiatus where the band members have had the chance of relaxing and working on other projects (such as Device and Fight Or Flight), they are now back to bring back their patented bombastic metal style to us all.

But even with this hiatus in mind, it is like the band has not been away at all when you are listening to "Immortalized". The sound is still the same and the band itself is not doing anything hugely different from before. It sounds good and crisp at first, but you eventually remember that it is the same old story going on again. I am not saying that Disturbed are a complete "copy and paste" band, but you cannot get away from the fact that they have not evolved their sound an awful much since they released their debut, "The Sickness" from 2000. five albums and 15 years later, and the band keeps on going in their own, secured and well tested path.

I will give them this though, they are truly acting like full blood professional in their works. The production is big and bold, which fits the music perfectly to get as much power as possible from every beat. Their lyrics are still very interesting and well written, dealing with several different subjects from the evil power of media to the benefits of smoking weed (singer David Draiman have said earlier that about 95% of the songs he has written was done so while being high). Speaking of David, he and his signature vocal style does its thing as well, using it to create melody waves, both hard and soft. And let us not forget the occasional WRAH-AH AH, although those were rare in "Immortalized".

And just like any other Disturbed record, the band is cramming the better songs in the beginning of the album. Not to say that the second half only contains fillers ("Who" and "Never Wrong" does certainly not deserve such a shameful description), but the album is definitely front heavy. The title track leads the assault with its heavy, Corroded like approach, only to burst out into a epic, rebellious chorus that brings those ten thousand fists back up in the air. "The Vengeful One" sure catches your attention without really shining, while "The Light" feels more like it came from the 90's American skate-punk movement, but those two songs does speak to the more commercialized part of the fan base. The other part of that base should appreciate "Open Your Eyes" and "What Are You Waiting For" more, with their power and clear Disturbed vibes. So yeah, listening to the first half of the album is enough to get the full on Disturbed experience, but it is not an excuse for skipping out on the rest entirely, just one or two songs from there is enough to go on.

Lastly, I have to talk about the cover of the album, the Simon and Garfunkel classic "The Sound of Silence". Disturbed has done some impressive covers back in the day (for instance, "Land of Confusion"), and I do think it is an interesting interpretation of the song, but does it fit the band? I am not completely sure on that. The voice of David Draiman is a little too dark to give the song an extra dimension, which is so important since the singing is a big part in the song and the emotions it brings out. However, the band did manage to give the track a great, epic orchestral coating that seems fitting, and this cover certainly helps in giving the album some variety. It also helps in making the following song, "Never Wrong", seem tougher and heavier than what it actually is. So I do think it ultimately was a good fit in "Immortalized".

The hiatus have not changed Disturbed one bit, and that is both a good and a bad thing. The good news is that they hold the same quality as they did before the temporary break up. The bad news however, is that the band is still as predictable as always. Disturbed has certainly became the Nu-metal movement's answer to AC/DC and Motörhead. They practically makes the same album over and over again, only with slight changes here and there. It still sounds terrific, and "Immortalized" is certainly a more lively album than its predecessor, "Asylum", but the band does not take any risks at all. The hiatus has served them well, and I am glad that they are back at full swing, but this album could be the start for the band to end up in their old ways, which will probably lead to another hiatus in another 10-15 years, or even worse, a permanent break up.

Songs worthy of recognition: Immortalized, The Vengeful One, Never Wrong

Rating: 6,5/10 Lights

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