Disturbed – Immortalized

Rejuvenated and reinvigorated—Disturbed has returned with a sixth studio album after secretly writing and recording over the past year and a half. After five years of hiatus a suspicious teaser was posted to the band’s webpage displaying their mascot, “The Guy,” breathing on life support. Within days it was revealed the hiatus was over and that a new album entitled Immortalized would soon see the light of day. Immortalized shows Disturbed having not lost a step and with a fresh tone that, at least for Disturbed fans familiar with their music, shows some change and evolution in sound. Those that have never been fans will not hear much all that different and therefore will yet be swayed by this release. However, Disturbed’s adherents may expect one of their most consistent albums enveloped in incessant intensity and a new positive tone.

The short, yet calm and soothing guitar solo in The Eye of the Storm eases into the title track of Immortalized—an epic warcry with empowering lyrics. Although repetitive and as numerous layers of instrumentation are overpowered by David Draiman’s vocals, the track demonstrates Disturbed’s attempt to forge a different sound. If one stands back, the album as a whole still sounds like Disturbed, but a closer examination shows a slightly different instrumentation style. One hears more numerous chord changes, which do not allow the chords to ring out in usual Disturbed fashion as the songs are commandeered by Dan Donegan’s guitar from beginning to end, accentuating a more active melody. Lyrically, Draiman is in a much more positive mindset these days, now having married and the birth of a son, apparent in many of the lyrics—lyrics that aim to empower and inspire, at times to the point of cliché.

For Disturbed’s standards, Immortalized is a varied album, although overall the album is not very dynamic. The Vengeful One, despite its horrid music video, is perhaps the closest in style to their last few albums and has a bit of an old-school metal feel. Open Your Eyes, with its bouncy dance rhythm and thick guitars, proceeds as another uplifting track, adequate for singing along in an arena anthem rock manner, and features a stellar bridge section—one of many on the album. The Light is easily the most positive track in Disturbed’s discography as an electronic rhythm leads into Donegan’s foray into major chords. What Are You Waiting For is another epic track as Draiman lets out some semi-black-metal screams here and there, once again with inspiring lyrics and an up-tempo chorus. Donegan lets out some decent solos throughout the album, yet they feel restrained, less melodic, fairly short, but still tasteful as on this track.

You’re Mine is another unique song within Disturbed’s discography, primarily for its lyrical theme as a love song. An electronic intro leads into a poppy rhythm followed by more optimistic lyrics. Fire It Up is a divisive track with its lyrical focus on the usage of marijuana. Stoners may rejoice to this song, yet to me it seriously undermines the album with a juvenile topic, although the funky and sloppy rhythm makes the song musically interesting. Never Wrong is another aggressive track and perhaps the closest in sound to The Sickness era. Immortalized closes with Who Taught You How to Hate, which is a decent track, but a different track could have made a more fitting closer for an otherwise solid and consistent album.

Draiman’s vocals throughout the album are predominantly in his powerful clean variety, which coincide with the high energy instrumentation of much of the music. Both of these aspects reduce the dynamics within the songs as the quieter moments are short and few, making the diversity on the album less prevalent. However, their cover of 60s folk duo Simon & Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence is not affected by this. Piano, violin, and acoustic guitar gradually build along with Draiman’s voice. Soft vocals ascend to an incredibly powerful and chilling vocal performance, cementing this track as one of the standouts of their career. An otherwise majestic performance is only hindered by some slight overproduction lending to the artificiality of its violins.

Immortalized, overall, is a solid album and worth the five year hiatus. The band members have returned with redefined purpose and a fresh perspective on life. They managed to craft an album distinct within the Disturbed discography with a number of diverse moments and styles they had not yet explored, as is evident in a number of tracks and bridges. However, after several listens and as the newness wears off, what is left is still a Disturbed album that is not much different from its predecessors, just with a fresher sound and a more positive tone. Some stellar tracks are on this album, with diverse moments, but the dynamics of the overall album did not shift as much as I had hoped. Mike Wengren’s drum work is solid, although few moments stand out, whereas John Moyer’s bass is basically nonexistent in the mix and high mastering. All in all, Disturbed has crafted just what you would expect and would want from a band that focuses on modern, yet accessible metal. Immortalized will surely sate the appetite of the legions of Disturbed fans, while garnering respect (or the same disrespect) from others. Disturbed is back and ready to reclaim their throne atop the mainstream metal/hard rock realm.

Genre: Hard Rock, Metal
Country: USA
Label: Reprise Records
Release: August 21, 2015

1. The Eye Of The Storm
2. Immortalized
3. The Vengeful One
4. Open Your Eyes
5. The Light
6. What Are You Waiting For
7. You’re Mine
8. Who
9. Save Our Last Goodbye
10. Fire It Up
11. The Sound of Silence
12. Never Wrong
13. Who Taught You How To Hate

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