I was a sophomore in high school when “Down with the Sickness” hit mainstream rock radio stations in March of 1999. I remember I was still new to the metal genre, and upon hearing the song, I began to think, “This is the kind of song you break bones too.”
I then remember buying my own copy of The Sickness and saying that David Draiman had remarkable singing talent, while he simultaneously coined his now-famous, barking mad scream (as heard in “Voices”).
And from that point on, Disturbed was ever emblazoned into my memory as real anger management music.
For every metal band, going through changes of musical orchestration can be a series of “make or break” moments for them. In the case of Disturbed, you can be exactly that – disturbing – or you can be vampiric or dark and pop/rock melodic with powerhouse guitars and synth ruling your choruses. Believe took a very nu-metal turn, with melodies and a mildly positive message in some songs, while maintaining a strong, “in your face” persona. The downside was hearing “Prayer” on 96 Rock every 5 minutes – which is why I rarely listen to radio, anymore.
Disturbed is a great mainstream metal band with a nasty habit (from Believe on) of being overplayed. I partially blame MTV, but then again – who doesn’t? Ten Thousand Fists was decent, in the arena of making a heavy metal monster out of one of my favorite songs of all time – “Land Of Confusion” by Genesis – and bringing serious edge back after Believe.
So, does the band’s latest creation put “ten thousand fists in the air” or leave you wondering whether or not you “can remember” the real Disturbed?
The answer is so simple, it defies song-by-song analysis: they landed right where they should be.
Indestructible is one of those few mainstream metal albums that leave you moshing in your best friend’s living room one minute, and just banging your head the next – neither of which can be trivially discounted in such a genre. With the title track’s ominous beginning, one might think it’s another Believe, but no. This song booms in with Megadeth drums and monstrous guitar, while Davey-boy summons demons from the pits of hell to do battle.
Afterwards, you get the first single, “Inside The Fire”. Melodic in base nature, but with lyrics pretty meaningful by heavy metal standards, Draiman chants on about the tale of a man who is given an offer he can’t refuse – follow the Devil himself into hell so that he may be with his love for eternity. Ah, how the dark romantics loom glorious.
Normally, this is where I’d say “…and this one is so and so, and it’s good/bad,” but that serves no real purpose, here. That can be both good and bad, to some degree. Every song on this album speaks it’s own mind, but at the same time they are all pretty much identical. I know you’re asking, “How could this POSSIBLY be a good thing?”
Let’s do the math, shall we? Metal can be placed into four very broad categories – punk and thrash (early Metallica, Anthrax, Suicidal Tendencies), orchestrated symphonic dark metal (Opeth, choice Cradle of Filth, Lacuna Coil) 80s hair bands and glam rock (KISS, Poison, Motley Crue), and everything else that makes you want to be murdered in the Wall of Death mosh pits to the likes of DevilDriver. This album covers 3 out of 4 categories intermittently, while maintaining the truly dark and twisted aspects of Disturbed’s heyday.
How good is this album? If you’re comparing it to your local metal bands in the bars or guys playing the 2nd (or 3rd) stages of Ozzfest and Mayhem Festival, then it’s marketable rock but not something to kill your mother over. If you’re buying this album at FYE, then by all means trash the kitchen, do a few shots of Jagermeister, and kill a small animal for fun.
I cannot stress this enough – it is MAINSTREAM METAL! This is about as hardcore as radio has been since The Beautiful People or The Sickness had moms and dads breaking car stereo knobs in panic. Until they play Ankla on 96 Rock, I doubt I’ll be turning that station on much unless I have a craving for classic tunes. I recommend this album for anyone who was a child of the 90s nu-metal or heavy metal scene, because regardless of what is and is not radio friendly…
Disturbed is finally kicking a little more ass, again – even if it is in popular fashion. Like I said, they are right where they belong.