Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Decade With Disturbed Produces Asylum

While Disturbed is the second metal album to top the charts in recent weeks, Asylum still deserves attention. With so many other bands claiming to be working on darker albums, Disturbed just had to be themselves. They never softened much.

Even in the early years, Disturbed's message against conformity comes from the heart. They turned down several substantial label offers in favor of Giant Records (later Reprise) based only on knowing that the label would would back them. Five albums later, anyone questioning whether that worked only needs to watch the recently released documentary Decade of Disturbed.

"It basically tells the story of the band, from its inception to present day," says frontman David Draiman. "The band has had its share of ups and downs along the way and I think we tried to be as open and honest about all of it as we could. It's very insightful and we hope it’s something the fans will appreciate."

As a documentary, Decade of Disturbed presents an extended music television expose, with not nearly the energy you'll find on The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights. But what you will find is the human side to Draiman (vocals), Dan Donegan (guitar), John Moyer (bass), and Mike Wengren (drums) and how they have come a long way from Chicago together.

Asylum, on the other hand, has some clearly brilliant moments, driven by Draiman's rage and Donegan's riffs. The title track, and Warrior prove it. Another Way To Die represents their other side, with a warning against ravaging the planet.

The Another Way To Die track was picked up by Mortal Kombat promos, changing the context. I like the initial video the best. It hits home. The footage makes the vocals alarmist.

On the album, also look for The Animal, Sacrifice, and Innocence. Skip My Child, Crucified, and Never Again. Don't bother with Ishfwilf. As soon as I heard it, I remembered Draiman's early advice to the band that they skip covers. That lasted for a few years.

Then, on Ten Thousand Fists, they covered Land of Confusion by Phil Collins. The cover was popular, but it's not on my playlist. It never will be. It sounds like Disturbed covering Phil Collins. Ishfwilf sounds like Disturbed covering U2. Enough said.

Asylum By Disturbed Scores 6.9 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

Asylum is stronger than Indestructible, with darker and sometimes preachier lyrics as promised. The best of it more than makes up for a band that some fans fear is starting to wind down in the studio. On tour, no one ever hinted to that vibe. See them live.

Asylum is available on iTunes. You can also find Asylum on Amazon.

Decade of Disturbed is being made available via a limited edition collection at Best Buy and with the iTunes LP version. Right now, you can catch the full documentary on MySpace. We have no idea how long it will be available. If you like the Disturbed, see it while you can.
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