originally posted on Saturday, 20 April 2013
By the time Disturbed released their fifth and most recent album, Asylum, in summer of 2010, fans pretty much had an idea of what a Disturbed album would sound liked; David Draiman’s growl of a singing voice and Dan Donegan’s heavy and sometimes over-computer processed guitar licks on top of many different electronic sounds that only a production studio could muster. There were definite differences between each album, but by the time Asylum came out, the band just sounded uninspired and unwilling to really try anything new. To no surprise the band would go on “hiatus” approximately a year later.
That brings us to now; it isn’t quite clear where Donegan or drummer Mike Wengren are and what they are doing (if you know, please leave a comment below), bassist John Moyer is currently one-half of the dynamic rhythm section in Adrenaline Mob, and that leaves David Draiman. Draiman put together a new project, this time claiming to be an “Industrial metal” band with former Filter guitarist Geno Lenardo, as well as numerous guest musician appearances. The name of this project is Device.
On April 9th 2013, Device released their very first self-titled album. The result, to no surprise, is something very close to Disturbed. However, Draiman does seem to be a bit more rejuvenated, and concentrates on his singing as much as he concentrates on his lyrics, something that he failed to do on certain occasions during Asylum.
The album starts off with the song You Think You Know. Right off the bat you’d think Mike Wengrenwere on drums for how similar it sounds like a Disturbed song. The main difference between this song and that of a Disturbed song is the sound of the guitars; while the sound is pretty much as distorted as Dan Donegan ever was, they just sound too obviously processed, like they were recorded, then every note was fed through a computer to warp the sound even more. This is the case for 95% of the guitars on the album. Melodically, the song brings David back to a more Ten Thousand Fists or Indestructibleera of Disturbed.
Penance brings in more of an “industrial” sound in the background, with a slightly more electronic sound in the intro and instrumental breaks. Just like Hunted and War of Lies, both heard later on the album, all three songs have what an industrial metal song needs to be considered “industrial”. All three are terrific heavy tracks for any metal fan, and yes, all three sound like they could have been recorded by Disturbed.
Vilify (the first song released from the album) takes the “industrial” sound in to overdrive. This song is like something off of Disturbed’s The Sickness album on steroids. While a good pumped up metal song, it isn’t clear what instruments are actually being played and what instruments are actually computers.
Being the classic rock/metal fan that I am, as well as the big Halestorm fan that I am, when I saw that on the album there was a cover of the Ozzy Osbourne/Lita Ford 1988 duet Close My Eyes Foreverfeaturing Lzzy Hale singing Lita’s parts, I was all too intrigued. Before my first listen, I couldn’t help but make the comparison between the four singers and their marks in music; Lzzy and Lita both incredibly capable women of hard rock, though Lzzy is on the fast track to having an even bigger impact on the music scene than Lita ever did. Ozzy and David, well there’s no comparison as to which of the two is and will always be the bigger figure in metal, but David is in many ways to this generation of metal what Ozzy has been to metal his whole career.
Anyway, getting back to the song, the vocal performances are exactly as perfect as I could have imagined. Both Lzzy and David put even more emotion in to singing this song than Lita and Ozzy did. The only problem, and I can’t stress this enough for fans of the original song, is that rather than being the ballad that the song once was, it is merely just a slow industrial metal song, taking away certain climactic moments such as the song’s bridge and guitar solo (while both are still present, they just don’t have the same impact on the listener as the original version did). This song would have been much more effective had it been recorded for another album rather than this one.
The album continues to surprise us with guest musicians with Out of Line, this time being a duet withSystem of a Down vocalist Serj Tankian performing one of his better performances along with David. The song in itself continues the Disturbed-esque sound. Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler also graces his presence on the song with his distinctive bass sound, giving a much needed natural sound to the album. Opinion features Rage Against the Machine guitarist extraordinaire Tom Morello. It is the chorus where Tom Morello can be distinctively heard, playing guitar over David’s vocals. Tom also provides a much needed guitar solo to the album.
The album ends with two more tracks featuring very notable guest singers; the first being the song Haze. This song effectively sounds like nothing else off of the album. It features a low sung verse that keeps to itself with little guitars (but a lot of synthesizer) and not so heavy sounding drums behind it all. This all leads to a mammoth of a chorus that competes with many moments on the album. The second verse and chorus is where we here none other than Avenged Sevenfold vocalist M. Shadows, singing quite effectively out of his element and giving the album a style of melodic singing that only Shadows and few others can perform. The bridge of the song, sung by David, bares similarities to moments in the Disturbed song Liberate, rounding off the song to make it one of the best all around tracks on the album.
The album ends on a heavy, but slow and dramatic note with the song Through It All, this time featuring legendary former Deep Purple and current Black Country Communion vocalist Glenn Hughes. Glenn’s vocal range makes for the perfect duet partner for David. The song has a slow pace throughout the until the instrumental break/bridge when it picks up in to a nice fast paced straight up metal tune, with not much synthesizers. This carries on until the end of the song, officially ending the album on an unexpected heavy and dramatic note.
The end result of Device is, as mentioned previously, an album rather similar to something Disturbed may have released. While both bands feature many electronic elements to their sound, it is clear that Device has much more of an electronic sound, as any “industrial” album should, which does differentiate the album from its Disturbed counterparts. With no credit to a drummer or bassist on this album, it is unclear if the rhythm sections heard on the album were actual instruments or if they were just computer programs that sounded like drums and bass, which in this day in age is all too possible. David himself once said that he is a big supporter in the capability of making music with the simply push of a button…something I still personally hold against him.
Nevertheless, David Draiman shows that he is not out of the game, and despite certain hiccups in his career, he is still 100% dedicated to making metal music. Disturbed fans are sure not to be disappointed by the album. Industrial metal fans may not like the album, especially industrial metal fans that have no interest in Disturbed.
“Hunted” – I wouldn’t necessarily say this is the “best” song on the album, but it is the perfect song to show first time listeners the different direction the album takes compared to something by Disturbed. It is strongly synthesizer-driven, but still has the heavy balls-out guitar sound that a metal fan would want. At the same time, David Draiman shows that he can still sing one hell of a great tune practically all the way through, and not just concentrate on certain moments of a song to come out and shine. I do not agree on the bands decision to release Vilify first. While it shows the industrial side of the band, the singing doesn’t strike its listener the way Hunted does.
8 (Out of 10)
|“You Think You Know”||3:39|
|“Close My Eyes Forever” (feat. Lzzy Hale)||(Lita Ford, Ozzy Osbourne cover)||4:36|
|“Out of Line” (feat. Serj Tankian & Geezer Butler)||3:40|
|“Opinion” (feat. Tom Morello)||3:52|
|“War of Lies”||4:05|
|“Haze” (feat. M. Shadows)||4:24|
|“Through It All” (feat. Glenn Hughes)||5:04|