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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Disturbed

Asylum

Review by Gary Hill

I remember hearing a couple songs from Disturbed early in their career and finding myself unimpressed. Well, I’m not sure if they have changed their sound or my tastes have changed, but wow, this is a killer disc. It rocks out like crazy and is both catchy and meaty. It has plenty of numetal on show, but there are a lot of other sounds incorporated, too. I’ll have to dig into Disturbed’s catalog and check out their older stuff because this album has really convinced me.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.


Track by Track Review
Remnants

An instrumental introduction, this starts very much like progressive rock and grows up very gradually from there. After a time it moves into something that combines that sound with a more pure heavy metal texture. That section feels like a cross between something from Metallica’s Master of Puppets album and Kiss. It’s quite a cool tune.

Asylum
This pounds out of the previous number and seems to combine something of an epic metal sound with a Godsmack sort of angst and vocal delivery. It’s a smoking hot tune with a number of intriguing changes and alterations built into the ride. There’s a smoking hot jam later and it then drops to a short keyboard based break.
The Infection
A more instantly accessible tune, this is rooted more in mainstream numetal. It’s still got plenty of meat on its bones, though. It’s pretty typical of the genre, but these guys do it so well that it doesn’t matter that’s its not overly original. They take it through several changes and I particularly enjoy the instrumental section on this.
Warrior
Far more aggressive, this is a fiery cut that combines modern metal with Godsmack. It’s a killer tune that’s one of the strongest on show here.
Another Way To Die
They start this with a melodic movement that’s rather like a power ballad. It powers out to a more standard numetal jam, but again, they do it so well, that it doesn’t matter that the genre can be a bit mundane. There’s a smoking hot instrumental jam later that’s more melodic and even a bit progressive rock like.
Never Again
This is more aggressive and just plain feels mean. Yet, the chorus is melodic and more like alternative rock of the 1990s blended with numetal. A real screamer that’s still quite accessible, this has some killer riffs, great performances, and is a highlight of the set. The instrumental section on this has a lot in common with European epic metal.
The Animal
Space-like keyboards, not that far removed from something by Hawkwind, start this off. From there the group take it out into a jam that feels a times a little like Powerman 5000. This is quite melodic in some ways, yet there is still a hard rocking edge to it. It’s a killer tune that’s one of the standouts. It’s got some intriguing alterations and changes built in and rocks out quite well. It definitely shows some of the group’s range. There’s even a section later that’s based on a riff that feels like it could have come from European world music. This is one of the most dynamic pieces here and is quite interesting.
Crucified
The riff that drives the majority of this is quite cool. The song has a lot of diversity and a real sorrowful lyrical presence. Comparisons to Tool would be appropriate in some ways. The track makes nice use of contrast between heavier and more melodic sounds. In fact, there’s a section later that’s one of the heaviest movements of the whole disc. This is arguably the best song of the whole album.
Serpentine
In some ways this cut is among the most typical numetal piece here. Yet, it has some sections that are meatier and feature some seriously aggressive sounds. While I’d consider this to be one of the weaker pieces on this set, it would be a highlight of many albums. That’s a testament to the strength of this release as a whole.
My Child
A crying baby gives way to an aggressive jam that’s pretty typical Disturbed. It’s a monstrously ferocious piece with some melodic elements built in at points. While its somewhat by the numbers approach makes this one of the weaker cuts here, it would, again stand tall on many albums. There is an instrumental section mid-track that’s not that far of a stretch from Dream Theater.
Sacrifice
Quite heavy and aggressive, this again has elements of Godsmack built into it. Still, there are sections that are nearly progressive rock-like at times. The guitar solo section even calls to mind Guns N Roses (or at least Slash) a bit.
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