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Device, ‘Device’ – Album Review

Device-Device
Warner Bros.

When Disturbed went on hiatus, there was the question of whether it would be a short break with the members just enjoying some time off or a longer period that would see everyone pursue other projects. Then we got our answer when David Draiman announced a new hard-edged industrial-influenced project called Device.

Draiman teased the disc as being more industrial sounding than his work in Disturbed, and he was definitely right on with that assessment. Much of the band’s self-titled debut disc works in industrial elements, with Draiman and the outfit’s co-founder Geno Lenardo serving up some electronic effects while keeping things on the harder-edged for Draiman’s longtime fan base.

Right off the bat, the heaviness is evident in ‘You Think You Know,’ a full-on rocker that feels like a cross between Draiman’s past in Disturbed with a little early Nine Inch Nails influence. The track itself is one of the stronger ones on the disc, with Draiman vocally on par as he belts about cynical expectations, singing in one part, “You think you know, but you’re horribly blind / You think you know that the story’s defined / You think you know, but your heart has gone cold inside.

For fans of Draiman’s work in Disturbed, ‘Penance’ may most closely mirror his previous work. The song does have the electronic backing, but also infuses rhythmic and staccato drumming to accentuate his delivery and there’s also a few of his trademark animal grunts in the track. The band follows with ‘Vilify,’ one of the stronger cuts on the album and a solid choice for the lead single. The track highlights Draiman’s vocal dexterity and is the perfect blend of what he’s previously done and what’s he’s trying to accomplish with his new band.

Aside from Draiman’s popularity as a member of Disturbed, part of the hype that came with the album is the disc’s impressive guest list. One of the finer moments comes as Draiman hooks up with Deep Purple‘s Glenn Hughes on ‘Through It All,’ the album closer that feels like a ballad that’s been rocked up, but still connects with the proper amount of sentiment. ‘Out of Line,’ a mid-disc cut, is a standout track with Serj Tankian and Draiman trading worldview commentary to perfection with a little Geezer Butler bass work thrown in for good measure.

Device’s cover of the Ozzy Osbourne / Lita Ford classic ‘Close My Eyes Forever’ features stellar vocal work by both Draiman and special guest Lzzy Hale, but the transition from ’80s power ballad to chugging electronic rocker hits a few speed bumps along the way. And ‘Opinion’ and ‘Haze,’ tracks featuring Tom Morello and Avenged Sevenfold‘s M. Shadows, respectively, are definitely solid songs but perhaps not up to the arguably unreasonable expectations that came with those collaborations. It’s a bit of a curse and a blessing as the “names” draw listener interest, but some of Device’s finest work comes on its guest-free material.

As an artist, Draiman deserves credit for thinking outside of the box and attempting to expand his horizons, and the debut disc definitely provides a solid foundation in place for future Device recordings.

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