Disturbed, ‘Immortalized’ – Album Review
Disturbed have been on hiatus for the past few years. During their time apart, band members participated in various side projects. Frontman David Draiman formed Device, whose self-titled debut album landed at No. 11 on the Billboard 200 album chart and spawned the No. 1 rock single “Villify.”
The band secretly regrouped in 2014 and recorded Immortalized, their first studio album since 2010‘s Asylum. Disturbed pick up right where they left off, not missing a beat. They have always known how to write hit singles, with a string of number ones over the years. They made the record label’s job nearly impossible on the new record, because out of the 13 songs on the standard edition of the album, more than half could legitimately be rock radio hit singles.
After an intro, Disturbed show they aren’t rusty with the opener “Immortalized,” a moderately paced track with the band’s trademark metallic crunch and Draiman’s unmistakable vocal stylings. “The Vengeful One” was unleashed as the record’s first single, immediately rocketing to the upper echelons of the chart, and there are plenty more where that one came from.
Disturbed have crafted a distinctive sound over the years, and whether you call it a style or a formula it is immediately recognizable. The production by Kevin Churko (Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach, Rob Zombie) showcases the rhythm section of Mike Wengren (drums) and John Moyer (bass), giving it a driving bottom end while still providing plenty of room to shine for guitarist Don Donegan. As with previous albums, electronic and industrial elements add texture and atmosphere.
When it comes to variety, the band does a nice job in sequencing the songs. The middle of the record features the groovy and downright danceable “You’re Mine” followed by the angry and aggressive “Who,” with a chorus of “Who the f--k are you?!” That’s followed by the more introspective and emotional “Save Our Last Goodbye.”
In a recent interview, Draiman revealed he likes to write songs after smoking pot, and the song “Fire It Up” is an homage to weed, complete with an opening bong hit.
The most unexpected track on Immortalized is the band’s cover of the ‘60s Simon & Garfunkel classic “The Sound of Silence.” Disturbed do not metalize it at all. It’s a mellow rendition featuring just Draiman, piano and some orchestration. He shows a different side to his voice, using different textures and deliveries.
Disturbed have been one of the most successful bands of the past 15 years, and that will continue with Immortalized. It will most likely continue their streak of No. 1 albums and undoubtedly spawn several more radio hits. It won’t change the minds of those who weren’t fans before, but the album will hit the spot with the band’s legions of worshipers.
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