Disturbed misses the mark with ‘Asylum’

Unfortunately, the album cover for “Asylum” is just about the most interesting part of the album.

Joel Dameron, Staff Writer

Disturbed burst onto the current metal scene with their 2000 debut album “The Sickness.” The album spent 103 weeks on the charts, selling over 4 million copies worldwide. It was recently certified quadruple platinum. The singles “Down With the Sickness” and “Stupify” introduced the world to singer David Draiman’s signature vocal wailing and Dan Donnegan’s trademark guitar techniques. I was 14, and it was the heaviest thing I had ever heard at the time.

There were loud, thick, distorted guitars, screaming, pounding breakdowns and crazy expletive-filled rants (at least in the non-Walmart version of “Down With the Sickness”) courtesy of Draiman.

I spent the next few months trying to make my guitar sound as dark and distorted as Donnegan’s. I did not not know at the time about amps or dropped D tuning, so it did not work.

The album was good. Unfortunately, their latest effort falls far short.

“Asylum” was released on Aug. 31, and it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Congratulations to the boys for having four consecutive albums debuting at No. 1. That being said, that is the only congratulatory remark they will get in this article.

There were two decent songs and one honorable mention. Only about a handful of the guitar riffs were of substantial quality. I found that a large amount of the songs had at least one good part, but that is about as far as the album’s eminence goes.

Let us start with “Remnants,” which is an instrumental intro. Donnegan’s solo was kind of cool. It did remind me a bit of something the late Dimebag Darrell (Pantera) would do.

Next we have the title track. “Asylum” opens with the typical pounding Disturbed style guitar riff. Draiman comes in shortly after with his usual grunting and yelling.

I do commend Draiman for straying less and less away from his “Sickness” archetype though his escape is gradual. The chorus is pretty epic and deserves a little credit for its metal catchiness.

However, it is a much too common Disturbed chorus. They have fallen into the habit of doing this on their last few albums.

“Another Way to Die” is the best song on the album. The opening guitar riff is pretty cool, and its combination with the first little solo is awesome. It once again reminds me of a slower Pantera-type song.

The distorted riff that comes in after the first part is pretty awesome as well. The chorus is very nice.

I believe this was the first single. Good choice, boys.

“The Animal” and “Serpentine” have an interesting chorus setup. Other than these songs, that is about as interesting as the album gets.

Another song worth mentioning is the cover of U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” It was a hidden track at the end of the album.

I do not like U2 at all, and I never will. I hate Bono’s preachy politics (you are a rockstar, stop your whining and get over it) and I think the Edge is severely overrated as a guitarist (the man has one sound.)

All hatred aside, they have a couple of good songs, and this is one of them.

Disturbed does very well at covers. The cover of “Shout” by Tears For Fears is great and one of my personal favorites.

They also did a cover of the Phil Collins song “Land of Confusion” on their 2005 album “Ten Thousand Fists.” Their cover was not bad, but I do not like the song choice. The music video was terrible as well.

They also did great covers of Metallica’s “Fade to Black” and Judas Preist’s “Livin’ After Midnight.”

“Asylum” just was not that good of an album. It was not a disappointment for me because their last four albums have just gotten progressively worse.

Ever since they strayed away from their first album sound and went towards the whole new-age ’80s metal thing, their quality has diminished to the point of boredom and predictability.

This is said in light of the fact that both Donnegan and Draiman could probably easily beat you up if provoked.

Hopefully my rating does not provoke them.

I have to stop writing now before it affects my abilities and turns me into a hack. Until next time, make love not war.

Photo from disturbedzone.com